Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

America, Tear Down This Flag

The latest religious symbol of the regime will ultimately fall.


The pride flag has quickly become one of America’s national symbols. Once exclusive province of gay ghettos like San Francisco’s Castro District, you can now find pride flags everywhere in a bewildering variety of colors and patterns. They fly from the flagpoles of our embassies, over our cabinet departments, at the FBI, and even decorating the White House. The transgressive has become not just mainstream, but the establishment itself.

Whatever the professed intensions of some individuals who fly it, the public meaning of the pride flag, and in particular the public meaning of flying a pride flag at the centers of government power, is not a demand for tolerance. Rather, it is a demand that we worship new gods and new rulers. People understand this intuitively. It is no accident that after the left’s gay marriage victory in Obergefell v. Hodges and the subsequent capitulation of the GOP several years later enshrining Obergefell in federal law, the White House, the literal center and symbol of American regime power, festooned itself in the colors of the pride flag. The flag is a fundamentally political symbol. The left understands this, which is why they push for the pride flag’s ubiquity. Conservatives, for the most part, do not.


Political radicalism is baked into the origins of the pride flag. It was never simply a plea for acceptance, but a call to radical activism to overturn traditional American norms and values. Gilbert Baker designed the original flag at the behest of his friend, gay activist Harvey Milk (whose abuse of underage boys, corruption, and deep involvement with the mass murderer Jim Jones have been sanitized in our popular culture). Baker himself was a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a radical activist group that dresses as nuns and uses religious imagery and language to satirize gender roles and mock traditional morality. They have been called by one prominent gay historian the epitome of “genderf***” and have been attacked by church officials for their mockery of religious rites and symbols.

Today, the pride flag has innumerable variations, with the one attaining the most currency, the “progress” flag, adding an additional chevron with stripes representing both transgenderism and intersectionality. When Americans honor that flag, whether in parades or on public buildings, we are honoring transgenderism, we are honoring the genital mutilation of children, and we are honoring a radical cleaving of sex and gender completely at odds with science. This pride flag is a celebration of a culture in which every kink and deviance, real or imagined, is exalted.

Lady Gaga insisted that LGBT people were “born this way,” but her gay anthem has failed to keep pace with the latest ideological fashions. Today, gender and sexuality must be fluid, which means it can be foisted on impressionable and confused youth: Facebook lets you choose from seventy-one gender identities, each of which can be celebrated by its own magical version of the pride flag. Little wonder that the prevalence of these alternative sexualities has exploded: Gen Z is 20.8 percent LGBT, according to the latest Gallup poll, up from just 0.8 percent of those born before 1946 and 4.2 percent of Gen Xers.

Of course, the pride flag invariably takes a starring role in “Pride Month,” when we are scolded by our moral betters if we oppose the policy preferences of the “LGBTQIA+” community as they roll out their latest demands. Pride Month is a recent invention, first celebrated in the last year of the Clinton presidency, and never acknowledged by a Republican president until Trump inexplicably decided to do so in the last two years of his term. Now we are expected to treat Pride Month as a sacred period. Indeed, to criticize the pride movement publicly risks professional consequences, as the donors to the successful ban on Gay Marriage in California found in 2009. (It is interesting to note in the context of our current kulturkampf that even Californians didn't accept gay marriage 13 years ago.) It is okay to burn an American flag, and it is de rigueur in some circles to refuse to salute it or to kneel during the national anthem. But disrespect to the pride flag—well, that won’t be tolerated. And if you dare deface this sacred symbol, you can count on prosecution, possible imprisonment, and a mandatory struggle session. 

In 2019, the Trump administration, responding to grassroots conservative pressure, banned pride flags at U.S. embassies and military bases, where woke bureaucrats had demanded we fly them. The administration sensibly argued that only the American flag should fly from the U.S. flagpole at federal installations. The Biden administration quickly undid this sacrilege. Less than three months after taking office, they rescinded the executive order and made it explicitly clear the pride flag was welcome to fly on the same pole as the American flag for the “duration of pride season.” (Note the term “pride season” extending the pride flag raising from the “International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia” on May 17 and through the entire month of June.) Recognizing that this move might not be popular even in 2021, they announced it in a secret cable. Eventually, the secretary himself would proudly raise the progress pride flag over the State Department.

How can we respond to the demand that we honor things that are inherently dishonorable? At a minimum, any future GOP executive branch should reinstate Trump’s flag order, and better yet, push for a law that says only the American flag can fly over federal government buildings and that no other symbols of political or social movements should be promoted on the job by federal employees. More broadly, we need to educate people on the real meaning of the pride flag, which is not about acceptance or tolerance, but about fomenting a radical cultural revolution. We should fail to pay it any obeisance, and within the law (or even outside it for those willing to risk the potential legal consequences of civil disobedience) we should take all necessarily steps to remove these flags from our public life.

I don’t hate LGBT identifying people, and unreservedly condemn any violence or harassment against them. Many have been outstanding allies in the fight against wokeness. But when we fly the pride flag, we are not, contrary to activist claims, simply endorsing human dignity or the right for people to do what they want in the privacy of their own bedrooms. We are endorsing the elevation of a radical set of values and institutions at complete odds with America’s history and traditions. We are endorsing genital mutilation of minors. We are endorsing—in the religious terms of the Abrahamic faiths—a sort of Baal worship in the destructive, crazed, and libertine cultural and sexual revolution that is damaging millions of adults and, more damningly, millions of American youths.

In his famous speech in 1987 in front of the Berlin Wall before the fall of communism, Ronald Reagan demanded of Soviet Premier Gorbachev that he “tear down this wall.” Later in the speech, Reagan predicted: "This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality... For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth.” Similarly, the pride flag and the corrupt and immoral regime it symbolizes will ultimately fall. It cannot withstand faith, and it cannot withstand truth. America, tear down this flag.