Why I Pride
Welcome to Pride Month at Accidental Tomatoes! Throughout June we’ll be sharing posts about inclusiveness and allyship and featuring podcast guests from the LGBTQ+ community whose creative and innovative expressions of faith are adding beauty and diversity to our world.
The other day I read a post by a fundamentalist pastor I happen to know lamenting how people have been lured by “the culture” to celebrate pride in LGBTQ+ identity during Pride Month.
It was typical and predictable. And thoroughly not worth expending even a moment of my time or energy on a response.
As we like to say in Appalachia, “It’s no good fighting with a pig. You end up muddy and smelly, and the pig likes it.”
Instead, I decided to use this space today to share some of the many positive ways LGBTQ folks have impacted my life and the work I’m trying to do to in the world.
So here, in no particular order, are the top 5 reasons why I Pride.
1. The gift of deconstruction
Like most people who identify as Christian in some form, I grew up with certain assumptions about gender and sexuality. My deconstruction process allowed me to see those for just what they were: unchallenged assumptions that didn’t necessarily have any basis in truth.
And like most people who go through deconstruction, my journey led me deeper into, rather than further away from, the biblical narrative…where I learned that many long-held assumptions (not just about gender and sexuality) were actually manufactured by later incarnations of religion and disconnected from their original linguistic, literary, and cultural contexts…mostly for purposes of power and control.
Not only did deconstruction teach me that non-CIS gendered, non-hetero expressions of humanity were not, in fact, “sins,” but also that our whole conception of “sin” is misguided at best and dehumanizing at worst (but that‘s a topic for another post).
2. The Sermon on the Mount
For me, the most compelling part of the Sermon on the Mount, which appears in chapters 5, 6, and 7 of the gospel of Matthew, is the series of Jesus’ admonitions that follow the rabbinic teaching pattern of “You have heard it said […], but I say to you […].”
This is Jesus’ own deconstruction manifesto. It’s his way of teaching a religious/nationalist culture which thrived on exclusion and purity that dehumanization in any form is contrary to what he referred to as “the kingdom of heaven” … which, by the way, referred not to a postmortem destination but to a way of being in the world as we know it.
The Sermon on the Mount teaches that all people are equally deserving of respect and dignity. And that denial of respect and dignity robs both the denied and the denier of their inherent worth.
3. I oppose injustice and oppression in all its forms
For those of us who choose to follow the way of Jesus not as some kind of fire insurance policy but as a way of actually making this life better, it’s evident that the overarching theme of both the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament is not about how to gain favor for the afterlife, but how to be people of justice in this one…which implicitly holds eternal consequences.
Any doctrine, any law, any policy that discriminates against anyone for simply being who they were created to be is directly antithetical to the teachings of scripture. Furthermore, because such directives inherently benefit some people at the expense of others, they are explicitly unjust.
Part of my baptismal vow as a United Methodist is to “…resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”
Discrimination against any people group because of their identity is wrong and unbiblical.
4. I celebrate diversity in all its forms
I cannot for the life of me understand how it is that people can witness all of the diversity found in the natural world and yet somehow think it’s not supposed to apply to humanity.
And yes, there are plenty of instances of sexual and gender diversity found throughout the plant and animal kingdom.
To assume a heteronormative worldview is simply inconsistent with nature…despite what heteronormative people will tell you about what they believe is and is not “natural.”
Diversity is baked into the fabric of the universe. To resist it is to resist reality itself.
5. LGBTQ+ people make me better
I cannot begin to imagine how much less full and rich my life would be without my LGBTQ+ family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and co-humans.
I learn so much from all of you every day how to be more completely human.
You inspire me in hundreds of ways I can’t begin to describe.
Your life is a gift to the world.
Celebrate with Pride!