fbpx
Home/Rod Dreher/The Shame Of Pride Month

The Shame Of Pride Month

I arrived yesterday in Vienna for the summer. The Austrian capital is in the throes celebrating the High Holy Month of Pride. The trams all fly Pride flags, the stores are decked out in festal decorations, and the rainbow banner is everywhere. A foreigner arriving here would think there was a national holiday or religious festival going on. They would be right.

You see this?

How about that! Shoot rainbow bullets at the enemy, and suddenly the Left finds war to be glorious.

This culture war is having measurable effects on the generation raised within its rituals. The political scientist Eric Kaufmann has a new report out about it. Here’s the summary:

  • The last decade has seen a precipitous rise in the share of Americans identifying as LGBT, particularly among the youngest adults. Today, among those under 30, a wide range of surveys converge on a number of around 20%.
  • Government data from Canada and the UK indicate that surveys might be overestimating the extent of the rise in LGBT identity. This caveat must be kept in mind in understanding this report.
  • Nonetheless, these government sources indicate that the trend is real, even if less reliable surveys might exaggerate it. The UK’s Office for National Statistics finds that 7.6% of those 16-24 identify as LGBT, which can be taken as a low-end estimate for that country.
  • The most popular LGBT identity is bisexual, which is significantly more common among women than men.
  • When we look at homosexual behavior, we find that it has grown much less rapidly than LGBT identification. Men and women under 30 who reported a sexual partner in the last five years dropped from around 96% exclusively heterosexual in the 1990s to 92% exclusively heterosexual in 2021.
  • Whereas in 2008 attitudes and behavior were similar, by 2021 LGBT identification was running at twice the rate of LGBT sexual behavior.
  • The author provides a high-point estimate of an 11-point increase in LGBT identity between 2008 and 2021 among Americans under 30. Of that, around 4 points can be explained by an increase in same-sex behavior. The majority of the increase in LGBT identity can be traced to how those who only engage in heterosexual behavior describe themselves.
  • Very liberal ideology is associated with identifying as LGBT among those with heterosexual behavior, especially women. It seems that an underlying psychological disposition is inclining people with heterosexual behavior to identify both as LGBT and very liberal. The most liberal respondents have moved from 10-15% non-heterosexual identification in 2016 to 33% in 2021. Other ideological groups are more stable.
  • Very liberal ideology and LGBT identification are associated with anxiety and depression in young people. Very liberal young Americans are twice as likely as others to experience these problems. 27% of young Americans with anxiety or depression were LGBT in 2021. This relationship appears to have strengthened since 2010.
  • Among young people, mental health problems, liberal ideology, and LGBT identity are strongly correlated. Using factor analysis in two different studies shows that assuming one common variable between all three traits explains 40-50% of the variation.
  • Because the rise in LGBT identity is so heavily concentrated on the political left, its influence on the balance of power between the two parties is likely to be limited.
  • College students majoring in the social sciences and humanities are about 10 points more LGBT than those in STEM. Meanwhile, 52% of students taking highly political majors such as race or gender studies identify as LGBT, compared to 25% among students overall.
  • Various data sources indicate that gender nonconformity – trans and non-binary identity – reached its peak in the last few years and has started to decline.
  • What kind of high school or college a young person attends poorly predicts their likelihood of identifying as LGBT. The one exception is Liberal Arts colleges, where 38% of students describe themselves in this way. This indicates that schooling might not have a large effect on changes in LGBT identity.
  • Overall, the data suggest that while there has been an increase in same-sex behavior in recent years, sociopolitical factors likely explain most of the rise in LGBT identity.

Read the entire report.

The US Embassy to the Vatican has, for the second year in a row, raised the Pride banner— which, let’s be honest, makes the US Embassy more honest than some clerics within the Vatican. This identity splits churches, as we have seen for some time. For example, some progressive Methodists have embraced a drag queen preacher, “Penny Cost,” who describes “herself” as a “Dragavangelist”:

Recently, a video was posted by openly gay Isaac Simmons, an associate pastor at Hope UMC in Bloomington, Illinois, who has been widely celebrated as the first drag queen certified as an ordination candidate in the UMC. Simmons regularly preaches in drag as the female persona “Ms. Penny Cost,” and has been featured as a speaker for progressive United Methodists across the country.

The video immediately raises questions about the wisdom of ordaining Simmons. Blatantly titled “The Bible is Nothing” the video is now featured prominently on Simmons’ website. It contains repeated use of profanity (including blasphemy), consistent anger-filled claims against orthodoxy, casual hate, and a denial of God. Simmons opens with a shocking disparagement of the Bible’s unique authority, stating, “The Bible is no more holy than Allen Ginsburg’s howls of life, no more peaceful than Oscar Wilde’s Requiescat in pace, and no more stronger than Tammy f—ing Faye’s g—d— eyelash glue.”

Simmons delivers the poem orally as himself (wearing a shirt with the words “PROUD MARY” and an apparent picture of a statue of Jesus Christ’s mother overlaid with rainbow colors), rather than in his drag queen persona. In this video, he calls the Bible “nothing but poetry, pain, and performance” and refers to God as “God, themself” (avoiding male pronouns for God).

The poem eventually devolves into a condemnation of “theology of toxic masculinity” and “Christian terrorists who wield their flappable doctrine to inflict harm on God’s queerly anointed creation.” Simmons even likens Christians with traditional biblical beliefs to literal murderers of gay people like Aaron McKinney, Roger Nunez, and Omar Mateen.

In a generation or less, the congregations that embrace the Penny Cost fraudulent version of Christianity will be defunct. Cause of death: suicide.

I’m with Calvinist theologian Carl Trueman on all this. Pride Month is not the kind of thing you can simply roll your eyes at and get on with it. He writes:

If anybody wants to understand what is happening to the public square in America—indeed, if anyone wants to know how America, or at least her ruling class, wishes to understand itself, they need look no further than Pride Month. If the arrival of the Pilgrims, the founding of the nation, and even the contribution of Martin Luther King Jr. receive no more than 24 hours on the national calendar, the LGBTQ+ alliance has an entire month to party in the streets. And this street party is enabled by the countless commercial ventures that post rainbow flags in their windows and on their websites.

For anyone not completely hoodwinked by the erotic obsessions of our day, taking pride in one’s sexual identity—indeed, even considering sexual desire to be an identity—would seem at best pitiful and at worst a deep perversion of what it means to be human. Yet, here we are. And we should not underestimate the power of what it signifies.

It is a basic fact of history that if you control time and space, you also control the culture. The early Christians of the fourth century knew that as they slowly but surely claimed space in pagan Roman culture for churches and marked the rhythm of time with the development of the liturgical calendar. And all sides in our current political divisions know this as well. It is why debates about the naming of Columbus Day and the status of Confederate statues and the flag of the Confederacy are such contentious topics. These arguments are not just about the things themselves. They are about who owns time and space. In short, they are about who owns the culture’s memory and imagination.

This makes Pride Month something with which no Christian should have any sympathy whatsoever. It marks the beginning of summer with a dramatic assertion of human autonomy and the sovereignty of individual desire. The rebels take over time. And with their flags and their parades they assert ownership over space—public, commercial, virtual, and even—via yards signs and symbols on social media posts—personal and private. It is not about what the state allows consenting adults to do in the privacy of their bedrooms. Far from it. Rather, June witnesses as comprehensive an attempt at cultural revolution as one is ever likely to see.

Read the whole thing. 

If you are a Christian, or any sort of traditionalist, you cannot support Pride month — even if you have no problem with homosexuality. I have a couple of gay conservative friends who are not religious, and who are comfortable being gay (one is partnered, the other isn’t, but is open to it), and who hate the way sexual desire has become an identity and a cultural celebration. Though they don’t share Trueman’s (and my own) negative judgment on homosexual behavior, they would likely agree that Pride month is “a dramatic assertion of human autonomy and the sovereignty of individual desire” — and, as conservatives, reject it. The reason Pride has been so seamlessly co-opted by consumer capitalism is because both celebrate desire as constitutive of personhood and virtue.

This is something that Christians who identify as conservative need to think about. Before the rise of LGBT and woke capitalism more generally, most of us didn’t have a lot to say negatively about capitalism and how it shapes morality and deforms the human person. In fact, we would have probably thought even saying such a thing was to endorse socialism! We were wrong. Any ideology that worships desire makes an idol of a false god. At its best, a capitalism bounded by Christian ethics can provide the material benefits of capitalism without losing sight of the fact that the market is made to serve man, not the other way around.

Pride Month is a 30-day celebration of human desire, sexual autonomy, and the defiance of all that restrains desire’s expression. It is, in that sense, Luciferian — and it’s what the West worships. All those rainbow flags do — I saw one on top of a government building this morning — is make explicit the post-Christian decadence that was spreading within the West even when LGBT was a fringe phenomenon.

We are being weighed, and we will be found wanting. You watch. From Live Not By Lieshere’s a passage about how eros-worship opened the door to revolution:

Regarding transgressive sexuality as a social good was not an innovation of the sexual revolution. Like the contemporary West, late imperial Russia was also awash in what historian James Billington [in The Icon and the Axe: An Interpretive History of Russian Culture— RD] called “a preoccupation with sex that is quite without parallel in earlier Russian culture.” Among the social and intellectual elite, sexual adventurism, celebrations of perversion, and all manner of sensuality was common. And not just among the elites: the laboring masses, alone in the city, with no church to bind their consciences with guilt, or village gossips to shame them, found comfort in sex.

The end of official censorship after the 1905 uprising opened the floodgates to erotic literature, which found renewal in sexual passion. “The sensualism of the age was in a very intimate sense demonic,” Billington writes, detailing how the figure of Satan became a Romantic hero for artists and musicians. They admired the diabolic willingness to stop at nothing to satisfy one’s desires and to exercise one’s will.

Pride goes before a fall. Like I said: you watch.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

leave a comment

Latest Articles