RAINBOW QUESTIONS IN THE GAY MONTH
It’s an irony of Taylor Swift’s latest music video “You need to calm down”, that its support of the gay community in its gay month is almost clearer about blind opposition to gays than who and what gays actually are. They are humorously portrayed/caricatured in a semi- surrealistic, magic realism kaleidoscope of types which includes a Trans and a celebrated straight actor….which borders on misrepresentation however unintended.
To gather from some quarters of American Christian media like the evangelically inclined Christian Post, the chief reason those who most dislike the“Gay Pride” concept (especially as represented by Pride parades), is because they feel it’s Luciferian, the reflection of an attitude raised like a fist against God….
Even allowing room to criticism and family friendly issues, that’s still a heavy take seeing that Pride parades differ little from the less criticized Rio Carnival; and if parades include the occasional float with kink, they usually have more people in shorts and tee shirts supporting this or that hospital, agency or even occasionally church. Stressing the devil fell through pride overlooks how people of all persuasions say things like “have you no pride?” meaning self-esteem, and even Christians will say “I’m proud to be Christian”.
Simple self-acceptance was the original meaning and likely remains so for the majority. At parades many feel they are affirming or reclaiming themselves against histories of personal confusion, social and domestic rejection and in some countries police violence and legal ban. For some, the carnival, like any carnival, is a chance to let off steam, laugh, perhaps even parody oneself; but though fifty years on from Gay Lib’s foundation there’s more party than protest in the West (places like Turkey and Georgia are another matter), what’s certain is that most gays are not usually like the exhibitionists of some parade floats. If drag queens retain some prominence it was because Pride originated among a revolt of drag queens against police violence.
All this conceded, now that Gay Pride has extended itself beyond parades and rights campaigns to a more cultural and ideological appropriation of a whole month that celebrates “pride” and “diversity”, new questions are posed about meaning and representation. And no song, video or tweet can hope to reach into some of the issues now involved.
I was prompted to write this in reaction not to the Swift contribution but a youtube titled Madness and Chaos at 2018 Tel Aviv Gay Parade https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoWU6jCnasE In this some Christian preachers declare against the sin of the many Jews partaking in, or just come to witness, a Pride parade that the preachers consider unworthy of the land of the Bible. They of course ignore facts like how Ultra-Orthodox Jews have rallied against and assaulted gay Jews – at Pride 2009, two were killed and fifteen injured and in 2015 a gay Jew died from a stabbing at Pride. Jewish society would rather celebrate its minorities than endorse their exclusion. And while mass levity doesn’t belong to popular images of what serious Israel is about, the preachers also haven’t absorbed that the festival of Purim isn’t vastly different including that sometimes men will be dancing in drag.
The video embarrassed me, not least because I consider it misguided whether in relation to Jews or anybody, to make acceptance or rejection of the gospel you’re preaching dependent upon acknowledging a person’s gay orientation is something root and branch evil to be repented of. This is to play with people’s minds and integrity because, sexual issues apart, save for people abused, drugged or somehow compelled into it, gay is normally an inborn orientation, a psychology early manifested and before any sexual expression. Also in addressing lesbians, the preachers ignore that nowhere does Hebrew Torah actually forbid lesbianism. (It’s an interesting omission which raises questions what and who any ban on male same sex in Leviticus might imply – one answer and even from Philo is sacred prostitution).
But there’s no smoke without fire, even if it’s not quite hell fire, and the idea of a damnable “Gay Pride” whether Jewish or any other, has undoubtedly been encouraged by activist adoption of just the Rainbow flag. Objection to the flag derives from the fact that a rainbow like an emerald is around the throne of God (Rev 4:3). Also seven, the colours of the rainbow, is the number of perfection and in Genesis the rainbow is the sign of divine promise and covenant.
Rainbow flags have nonetheless been adopted over the centuries by numbers of groups from the Protestant peasants of the German Peasants’ uprising in the sixteenth century to Jews of the Ben Ohr movement in the twentieth century. It got adopted in San Francisco in 1978 following the assassination of the city’s gay mayor, Harvey Milk, though perhaps helped by the fact that for years, the rainbow sung by gays’ icon Judy Garland had been a symbol, rather as for the German peasants, of a quasi-millennial hope for improvement.
Originally, designer Gilbert Baker’s flag had eight colours, but hot pink for sex(uality) was dropped because of problems finding the right fabric and then, due to problems with vertical hanging and display of the flag, the Pride rainbow was given six instead of the seven colours of nature and the bible. This still wouldn’t redeem it to the most theological minds because 6 is the number of mankind -which is why the notorious 666 represents “the wisdom of a man” (Rev 13:18) which never arrives at the spiritual and divine 7.
It follows that you can, if you wish, perceive the gay movement as encroaching on the divine or anticipating the Antichrist’s world order by implicitly claiming for itself a power and perfection that denies all Christian notions of sin and perfection. If tact and the best social relations were the aim, arguably a different flag, one less liable to inflame already sensitive feelings should have been adopted, but compromise was never the prime gay characteristic. Besides which, Gilbert Baker’s aim was to reflect LGBT (now LGBTQIA) diversity. And since 1978 this diversity has certainly been increasing!
LGBTQIA (which now makes for a 7 letter logo ) means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Questioning or Queer, Intersex and Asexual.
AN UMBRELLA TOO LARGE?
The problem with this enlargement of the umbrella is that it can finish subtly misleading and be undermining of some basic aims and ideas worth retaining. Gay/Lesbian is by far the largest constituency (90% or more) of these affiliated minority groups. Given the preponderance it is, or at least was, possible following the line of founders of modern gay lib like Harry Hay, to define beyond any justice claims, something more essential: a distinct mindset and philosophy, even theology. This could better answer to conservative charges gay is nothing but a chosen “lifestyle” and by implication an indulgent one to be cast away like old clothes because it represents nothing essential or purposive.
The other lesser groupings, though they can share a similar sense of grievance and will to change conditions, bring different stories and can represent a different outlook needing its own definition, but which taken together are often closest to agnostic, anti-essentialist Questioning/Queer division.
The most authentic “gay pride” flag would arguably be purple in harmony with many long held traditions and symbols. Be that as it may, today a rainbow flag declares less “gay pride” than a virtual takeover by “queer pride” And that’s a distinction that matters, certainly where religion and spirituality are concerned, but also very much general political and legal direction in today’s increasingly, at times dogmatically and eccentrically PC and identity politics driven society.
PROBLEMS WITH QUEER
The most fundamental fact about Queer and the associated Queer theory, which originally owed a lot to bisexual thinkers, is that it affirms “identity without essence”. It does so rather as for postmodernism there is no true and final author of a book; authorship and meaning are produced by all its readers. If there is nothing innate, this means (and it can play right into the hands of the conservative critics of gays) any gay identity represents wilful sin. But since for classic Queer there is nothing purely spiritual or transcendent anyway, there is not only no sin but no objective system of ethics outside of what political engagement might more materially achieve in service of your chosen tribe. Queer acknowledges neither God nor soul (it may even mock and satirize them like the Indecent Theology of Marcella Althaus-Reid).
A SORT OF REVOLUTION
The Queer person can make up their lives and assume personas as they go. Life is a long, as good as pan-sexual experiment or living theatrical production of selves, experienced with whoever fits at the moment. Family as under the early Soviet regime which regarded family structures as transitional at best, is undermined and almost irrelevant. Progress through life can be about pleasure in harmony with Queer theorist Foucault’s “The invention of new pleasures” (such as he fatally pursued in American bathhouses) and even possibly biblical forecasts of the end times, “and they shall be lovers of pleasure rather than God” (2 Tim 3:4). But with everything and everyone “equal”, people must be accepted as they are or think they are (as in the recent startling case of a six foot male with a beard insisting on being called Madam on pain of being sued for disrespect of his equal status). In this materialist’s virtual dreamworld there is no moral judgement to make – unless as regards “tolerance” and “acceptance”, values borrowed from Christianity and Liberalism but differently interpreted and applied.
Though so-called would-be queer theologians do exist proclaiming a marginalized protesting Jesus, in its purest, most authentic form, Queer is one more version of materialistic hard left, cultural Marxist doctrine. Cultural Marxism, based on the “critical theory” originated in the Frankfurt school of philosophy which included the likes of Marcuse and Adorno, substitutes traditional Marxism with revolution in the hands of a new proletariat. Its revolution is less economic and class-based than socio-cultural. It is composed of a coalition of the discontented, marginalized and aggrieved such as women, gays, students, blacks, indigenized peoples etc. who can be educated and stirred, as especially American campuses have been stirred, to outrage by activist academics, who hand insurgents the gun of dogmatic, legalized PC principles. These theoretically can be used to land the opposition in court and jail to the point law almost overtakes government.
Cultural Marxism, popular in academe and reaching schools in modified form, aims to undermine existing society, traditional democratic and liberal values along with religion by bypassing or progressively outlawing them, portraying them as nothing but forms of oppression. Its Marxist/Leninist outlook does not scruple to use democracy to undo democracy and will opportunistically combine with those parties like radical Islam who may help further globalist, totalitarian aims, even if they can hope to be dissociated from such rival radicals later on. (It has been noticed one won’t find many or any feminists or gays opposing oppression of women and gays in Muslim majority societies). Everyone and everything is reduced or reducible to the will-o-the wisp state of “equality”. Any sensible, traditional Socialist would, like the very Socialist Bernard Shaw, accept that, practically, complete equality is an illusion, inequality of talent and situation will always see to that and it’s only sensible to recognize the point. But cultural Marxism’s revolution is not sensible, it is dogmatic and almost rejoices in its refutations of the real.
Queer’s large umbrella is now so wide it will include, as some Gay Pride parades do, persons who lay no special claim to be gay at all but who just want to party and be seen, but who certainly believe in “diversity” and “inclusion” to the point of orgy in one direction and in the other consent to “equality” to the point of marriage for all (even in pan sexual groups of three or four if need be).
Just as some feminists have taken alarm at elements of Trans theory, one can well argue (and I warned of this two decades ago when I was thought alarmist for it), Queer subtly undermines the very notion of being gay. But for queer style identity politics and its cultural revolution, this doesn’t matter. Queer undermines because to the original questions of gay lib founders like Harry Hay, about what gay is and what for, the truest answer, is quite simply meaningful “difference”, the contribution of a needed liminal consciousness.
Gay psyche and vision are nature’s necessary contra naturam variation on a theme…… Except that there has to be a theme. Thus, the Renaissance was a particularly gay associated movement that helped take society to a new place; but it could not have done that given an anarchy within society in which just everybody and equally was changing society or themselves, (even assuming they could do that, which they couldn’t). One would always need to privilege talent, vision and genuine character difference above queer’s privilege of those with only grievances and interests.
THE MARRIAGE EQUALITY IDEA
A classic example of “anything goes” queer values ignoring or denying any vocation to gay difference, but instead if anything confusing values (in some cases dividing families and churches to have its political/egalitarian way), has been the widespread movement towards so-called marriage equality.
Most gays are not strongly disposed to marrying and having families – the urge seems strongest in America with its strong conformist streak and Israel where without a family one may feel anonymous and unfulfilled. Regardless, a truly gay marriage (and I do believe in some such ideal form of partnership) but representing “difference” and its responsibilities, would need to have been some form or name of “union” (such often already existed before the equality drive). It could have been an arrangement not calling itself marriage and not claiming complete “equal” freedom as regards offspring (I’d say there is more case for adoption than various surrogacy arrangements if there must be children). It was two gays, one Catholic and one agnostic, who led the campaign against Marriage Equality in Ireland in 2016 and were left with serious complaints regarding the treatment they received from media and how the campaign (much helped by overseas funding) was managed. The pair had expressed severe reservations about gays and parenting. As have sometimes those so raised. In a recent youtube feature on gays in Israel, asked how he felt about having two fathers, a young boy, plainly unenthusiastic, said “It’s OK, but a bit weird.”
The gay leaders of the Irish No campaign weren’t exceptional. Many gays, including notable ones like actor Rupert Everett and fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana, have voiced serious reservations about gay marriage and gays having children, but they have been either dismissed or screamed at as traitors to the cause by the anything but representative “inclusive”, virtually communist gay/queer, anything goes establishment, some calling for the censorship of these dissidents from the new dogma. I myself was in Ireland during the Referendum and having reservations about some of the things being said and assumed. But I could obtain no interview or feature with the Irish Times despite having a world first and published doctorate in issues of gay spirituality, so that I was more qualified than some to be expressing views at that time.
But people need to realize media generally is now considerably globalist and not disposed to whatever or whoever could stand in the way of the related Cultural Marxism. (I was long puzzled by treatment of me by The Irish Times on various counts, but now I see that long time investigative journalist of the Independent, Gemma O’Doherty accuses the Irish Times of being an arm of a globalism threatening many aspects of national life, it makes more sense to me).
The promotion of CM’s notion of “tolerance” is even fuelling an entire re-education system and an over-stated one. When decades ago I was at school, an evidently rather enlightened biology teacher taught us about sex but allowed some people could be different too. It didn’t need entire text books and cartoons and demonstrations for children to make and absorb that difference point. One or two gay fairy stories like Cashorelli’s (I should have appreciated them in junior school), would have been quite enough and might have encouraged some notion of the responsibilities of being different as opposed to nowadays in California leaving children with the impression gay is so totally normal it’s something pupils could well be trying on like a pair of shoes to see did they fit!
In the final analysis what can one say but this. People need to know what queer and the rainbow means in the hands of those with influence rather than just those harmlessly riding a colourful float. It’s good to be accepting and tolerant, but not necessarily in the way of the rainbow. One can’t just treat the gay month and Gay Pride as only fun and entertainment.
Gay Pride is meaningful. For its implications Queer Pride is rather more controversial and to endorse it to be trendy or deemed broad-minded is not helpful; it may even in the long run put a noose round your neck to the extent democratic freedoms and the systems of education are at stake and you risk being libelled as “hard right” and “fascist” or “racist” by persons who in fact are far more “hard left” than you could possibly be any shade of right.
And where religion is concerned, if sometimes it is possible to be right for the wrong reasons, then may be some truth in the idea that the rainbow, (confused with a more innocent pride) is against God and/or supports values that genuinely free people just don’t need.
The Gay Pride and “Nudity” Question
A subset of the charge of “pride” as nothing but shame and shamelessness and biblically a “calling evil good and good evil” (Is 5:20), attaches to the reported nudity of the parades. But rather as the pride concept is misunderstood, so too nudity can get misrepresented.
The reality is nudity is usually absent from any parade, either because local authorities ban it or gay organizations self-censor to the chagrin of bona fide nudists who protest rainbow rights are not as inclusive as advertised. Only a few parades (Toronto, San Francisco – where it gets not altogether incorrectly pointed out St Francis was a nudist – Berlin and Madrid) actually allow naked participants. So…what is routinely called the “public nudity” or “open pornography” of parades is liable to mean gay males gyrating in swimmers or G strings and a few lesbians flashing bared and usually painted breasts. While critics will still protest this is exhibitionist and lewd, it isn’t strictly speaking nude; and ironically, if and where nudity is permitted, it could be called less or not exhibitionist at all by comparison.
It’s so widely assumed, and not just by conservative Christians, that nude is lewd, or at least not family friendly, that Net content warnings are put out for any Pride parade video that includes nudity. Given that some displays of kink could be a good deal more disturbing to children, this is odd. The idea of nudity, the notion that it must be shocking, prevails over any reality. If you question that statememt take a look at a conventionally warned youtube of Madrid 2017’s Gay Pride which on and off between about 11.30 and 16 minutes and amid the extreme confusion of the scene (who is in or out of the parade?!) briefly shows members of an Orgullo Nudista (Nude Pride) group. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec0tNj8NQXw&t=346s It’s mostly male as is usual for this kind of exposure, and I would expect the average viewer to be underwhelmed and/or just amused at this contribution to carnival, but hardly shocked, infuriated or feeling corrupted.
However… despite my liberal approach to this whole theme (and in relation to religion see “Naked in Thessaloniki: Riddle and Sign” https://wp.me/p6Zhz7-2F ), I can still be critical and push an anti-queer position as regards, for example, the stand-out case of this year’s Pride in New York (which is not nude friendly like Toronto over the border).
Near the beginning, a tall male in a mankini, itself as good as transparent so that he could be considered nude, skates about wildly waving a notice with simply LOVE on it. If nudity is above all about honesty, the notice should reflect that in any such front-of-parade message, especially one commemorating the bi-centenary of a revolution for which words like “Freedom”, “Rights” “Liberation”, are more to the point, or at least for a carnival “Celebration” or “Fun”. Given what I say in the main article, the problem is that rainbow values aren’t primarily about “love”. They are super-political and “anything goes” to the point of unlimited experiment and every kink. In a sense it’s typical of the wonky, controversial value system of the rainbow now overtaking gay parades and consciousness itself with pure party, that it can highlight an as good as naked skater but not “include” actual more natural nudists (like those in Madrid).
Christians and people generally should be more discerning about who and what they are supporting when they welcome the rainbow and its ideology because all is not what it seems. But to be fair, the Love placard wasn’t rainbow surrounded but rather fire surrounded as though it might even be part of America’s neo-Luciferian movement. In which case perhaps we should be talking about devil’s lies. But this would be to enter deep waters if not high flames, so I can leave the subject there!