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.
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 país, 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”
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