Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Pride and Shame

We obtained this rainbow flag in Italy when our LGBT symbol became a rallying flag to oppose whatever war the U.S. was waging in the Middle East at the time. 
"Pace" means "peace" in Italian.

How can I write about pride when there is so much shame about racism, reactionary politics and policing, confederate symbols and namesakes, as well as our failure to contain a deadly pandemic that disproportionately punishes people of color and/or poverty?

That thought crossed my mind as I hung our rainbow Pride flag on our front porch in honor of LGBTQIA Pride month and anticipated writing this post. And, after writing this, the U.S. Supreme Court recognition of LGBT employment rights makes this post all the more relevant.

Pride was what I needed when I began to affirm myself in my 20’s a half-century ago, pride of who God created me to be as a gay man. And a healthy dose of pride is what we all need to confirm who God has created and called us to be and confront the truly shameful parts of ourselves and our nation’s history that led to slavery, Jim Crow, and brutal murders of black men, women, and children.

Some refer to slavery as our original sin, but I think our displacement and murder of Native/Indigenous peoples preceded and anticipated the enslavement of Africans, borne also of our racism and cultural superiority complex.

I once wondered how descendants of slaves could ever overcome the generational PTSD inflicted by our nation. Now I wonder if and when white Americans will ever get over our sense of privilege and entitlement at the expense of people of color and of other nationalities.

Jesus would not be happy.

Jesus told the parable of the Good mixed-race Samaritan as an example of loving one’s neighbor and revealed his Messianic identity to the mixed-race Samaritan woman at the well who became his first evangelist. Jesus was moved by the wisdom of a Syrophoenician woman, healing her daughter after initially resisting her request. Jesus healed ten lepers, but only the mixed-race Samaritan returned to give him thanks. And Jesus remarked in wonder at the faith of a centurion, part of the occupying force of the Roman empire, healing his paĆ­s, a word which could mean slave or lover.

Jesus is the original disruptor-in-chief by demonstrating values that lift us all.

Atlanta is majority African American. And our Pride, now celebrated in October around International Coming Out Day, does not focus on LGBT people alone but encourages all to take pride in who God created them to be. Atlanta also hosts the annual Black Pride festival for LGBT people, the largest gathering of its kind. Atlanta, said to be “the city too busy to hate” is becoming “the city too busy to shame.”

“Pride is faith in the idea that God had when God made you,” Isak Dinesen (nee Karen Blixen) wrote in Out of Africa. She added, “Love the pride of God above all else and the pride of your neighbor as your own.”  (I’ve quoted this many times!)

When we celebrate our neighbor’s worth, we offer gratitude, praise, and honor to the God who created all the peoples of the earth, even as “the arc of the moral universe… bends toward justice,”* as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. anticipated the “Beloved Community,” the Commonwealth of God.

*This is King’s briefer and more memorable allusion to a longer quote of abolitionist Theodore Parker, a Unitarian pastor of the 1800s.

A different post also entitled: Pride and Shame

With his wit, wisdom and word-play, poet, pastor, and friend J. Barrie Shepherd has been a good companion in this epidemic through a new chapbook entitled A Pandemic Portfolio: From BC – (Before Corona) to AD – (After Distancing) – Poems Composed in a Season of Pestilence. Proceeds go to Barrie’s local charities that include two food banks and may be obtained by a donation of $5+$2 postage to J. Barrie Shepherd, 56 East Shore Drive, Chebeague Island, ME 04017 or email

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Copyright © 2020 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for non-profit use with attribution of author and blogsite. 


  1. Good morning Chris,
    There is so much in this post worthy of discussion, but I don't know where to begin. I will say that I very much love your Pride flag with Pace on it. Peace must begin within each of us before it can go out into the world.
    I am pleased that the ruling came down in favor of LGBTQ+ working rights, but I am wondering why that even had to be an issue! Talk about white, hererosexual arrogance!
    I wish I could put more into words, but I must reflect on all of this for awhile. Your words are my thoughts put in a much better way.

    Continued blessings on you, Chris,

  2. Thank you for this blog. I thought of you, and many friends, when I heard of the Supreme Court ruling. I love this flag.

    1. Thanks, Barb! Good to hear from you! Sorry I didn't publish your comment immediately--I sometimes take the whole weekend off from the internet,ha!