Christians & PRIDE Month
In this episode of Christian Mythbusters, Father Jared tries to break the myth that PRIDE month and the church cannot go together. You can hear Christian Mythbusters in the Grand Haven area on 92.1 WGHN, on Wednesdays at 10:30am and Sundays at 8:50am. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple here.
The transcript of the episode is below, or you can listen to the audio at the bottom of the post.
This is Father Jared Cramer from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven, Michigan, here with today’s edition of Christian Mythbusters, a regular segment I offer to counter some common misconceptions about the Christian faith.
Happy Pride Month! I’m enjoying seeing all the rainbows and messages of support all over social media as we celebrate PRIDE and raise up our LGBTQ siblings and their ongoing fight for equality and justice in the world and the church.
I know in our area there probably aren’t many churches that are planning on celebrating PRIDE and so I thought this might be a good week to break the myth that PRIDE month and the church cannot go together.
First, a little background on the onth. In the 1960s, homosexual acts were illegal in nearly every state of our country with the exception of Illinois. If you were a restaurant and had openly gay employees or served openly gay customers, you ran the risk of being shut down. Because of this, most gay bars were operated by organized crime, which (on one side) paid police to look the other way and (on the other side) blackmailed wealthy customers. It was even a crime in New York City to dress as a member of the opposite sex.
When it came to the Stonewall Inn, the payouts had stopped, most people think, triggering the police to decide to shut down the bar for good. On a hot summer night in late June of 1969, eight undercover police officers entered the bar and began arresting the bar employees along with any drag queens or cross dressing patrons.
More police arrived and, according to witness reports, the crowd was enraged when the police roughed up a woman dressed in masculine clothes. The Stonewall Riots began and lasted for three nights, launching the start of the Gay Rights movement. A year later, on the first anniversary of the police raid at the Stonewall Inn, New York gay activities organized the first Gay Pride Parade. It began with just a few hundred people but by the time it reached Central Park it had thousands of people joining in.
So, why should the church celebrate PRIDE month?
Well, let’s be honest, the church has for far too long been on the side of oppression, dehumanization, and the rejection of our LGBTQ siblings in Christ. Christian leaders have lauded therapies to convert gay people, to make them straight, with deadly consequences and a markedly high increase in the risk of suicide for those who underwent such therapy. Many Christians in our country have fought (and continue to fight) the gay rights movement every step of the way.
But not all of us.
The Episcopal Church began reconsidering our stance on LGBTQ persons and the church in the 1970s, culminating in the 2003 election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay and partnered priest, as the Bishop of New Hampshire. After marriage equality came to our country, our church also changed our own canons and authorized a liturgy bringing sacramental marriage equality to the church as well.
We do this because Jesus tells us that the law and...