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FAMILIES AND FRIENDS

wilts

How often do you see news flashes, read articles, or are encouraged to reject Pride activities? Too often, those news flashes, articles, and personal encouragements flow from “Christian” sources. They may be news flashes on a church website; maybe an email or instant message from your faith, sharing negative comments regarding a Pride event; and, most blatantly, many groups of Christians physically gather and protest violently and loudly with their own flags and negative signs. 

It’s very disappointing to see folks who believe they are Christians behave this way. We remember and believe Jesus never condemned nor rejected anyone because of their differences from others. We are all different from each other, taller, shorter, different skin and hair colors, shaped differently, maybe born missing a body part, autistic. No one is a perfect copy of someone else.

Do you make fun of or criticize someone who speaks differently than you do? Do you reject a family member because they are autistic or physically challenged? How do you feel when your varied family member is insulted or rejected because of their inherited difference? Yes, we said, “inherited”! Biologically and neurologically, those differences are genetic and not choices. Our gay son did not choose to be gay, and we didn’t desire or expect him to be gay. He was born that way and realized it many years before we connected and started understanding his desires and needs. 

Yes, many faiths proclaim the Bible supports rejections and bashing LGBTQ+ individuals, which also rejects and bruises their families and friends. Jesus never supported rejecting and insulting anyone. The Bible is not a textbook, although most faiths appear to think it is. We believe Jesus supports and encourages all families to be loving and supporting of all their members. 

Adventist Today shared an excellent article, “How Christians Misunderstand Pride Month,” written by Pastor/Author Alicia Johnston. Alicia holds an MDiv from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, as well as an MA in Clinical Psychology. She was an effective and genuine church pastor until she came out as LGBTQ-affirming and bisexual, which ended her Adventist church ministry. 

In this excellent article, Alicia states, “Pride Month is not the opposite of humility; it’s the opposite of shame.” Too often people judge Pride events incorrectly. They believe celebrating Pride is not being humble, quiet, and accepting. It’s being loud and demanding. They shame those celebrating their equality, not their egos. Alicia states, “Christianity is often the source of shame for which Pride is the antidote.” 

She continues, stating, “Don’t allow your pride of superiority to show by rejecting the pride of equality the LGBTQ community is celebrating this month. Don’t think you are better than LGBTQ people. Don’t criticize people who are taking pride in being just as good as everyone else. There is nothing sinful about believing you are equal.” 

She has felt the pain of rejection, of misunderstanding, of loneliness. Everything opposite from Jesus preaching for everyone to accept, understand, and love one another like God loves us. We don’t need to insult and bash families and their “rainbow” members. We need to love and understand, which provides Christian balm to the rejections our families and their members have encountered. 

Be proud of who you are, families and their beautiful members, “that pride is an antidote to shame, just as humility is an antidote to sinful pride.” 

Thank you, Alicia, for your thoughtful comments; and many thanks to Adventist Today for publishing and sharing Alicia’s article. We highly recommend connecting to Adventist Today (https://atoday.org/); they are genuine allies for all of our “rainbow” families. 

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— John and Carolyn Wilt, Families and Friends Directors

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