Christian Concern’s Communication Manager Paul Huxley comments on the Diocese of Llandaff’s support for Pride Cymru.
While English cathedrals host helter skelters and bishops fail to defend the unborn, we can rejoice that the Church of England has not yet sunk to the depth of the Church in Wales (which, though disestablished is also a member of the Anglican communion).
The Diocese of Llandaff is throwing its weight behind this year’s Pride Cymru, which takes place in Cardiff this weekend – the latest in a seemingly never-ending series of LGBT+ Pride events around the UK.
The Bishop of the diocese, Rt Rev. June Osborne, commented, “It’s a privilege once again to be supporting Pride Cymru. The Faith Tent seeks to celebrate the spirit of acceptance I can think of no better context than Pride Cymru to show our LGBT sisters and brothers that they are truly loved.”
It’s interesting that the faith tent seeks to celebrate ‘the spirit of acceptance’, since it doesn’t appear to embrace the spirit of holiness.One act lined up for the faith tent is self-described goth flower princess ‘Bella Tempus’, who’ll be reading LGBT+ propaganda to children during three performances of Drag Queen Story Time. ‘Bella’ (real name Bradley), is a social media influencer and activist both in his drag queen persona and as a gay man.
It truly baffles me why any professing church would consider promoting someone who says “I like taking Christian mythology and iconography and turning it into drag” in a video they named ‘Good Christian B*****s’, also joking about drinking babies’ blood and celebrating queer paganism within the space of a minute.
But the Bishop of Llandaff is unashamed, perhaps even proud of such associations:
“I’m so very proud that many of our clergy and people of faith will be taking part in Pride Cymru. It is an opportunity to give witness to a core Christian belief – that Jesus calls each individual to know their own worth and identity, to know themselves blessed by God, and he bids all relationships to be built on love and acceptance.”
I’ll grant them this – their message is clear; at least to those who visit their website. I’m reliably informed that there is no clear mention of the diocese’s support for Pride in the material available at Llandaff Cathedral. Perhaps visitors to the cathedral, closely linked to the Cathedral School, may not be as supportive of its support for Pride as its online audience?
The Gathering Cardiff is leading worship at the tent, a group whose beliefs include:
“…Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Questioning, Intersex and Allies have a right to express their sexuality or gender identity how they see fit without being censored or being barred from worship.”
The group is all-inclusive to the point of having no standards for sexual behaviour whatsoever. No sexual behaviour is off limits. Sex before, outside of, and in addition to marriage is all fine. As long as you think it’s OK, they’re happy. Do they have any boundaries at all? Prostitutes, animals, family members?
A more subtle approach?
None of this sexual free-for-all should appeal to any Christian who takes God remotely seriously. But perhaps more seductive is the diocese’s ‘Prayer for Pride‘.
I’ve transcribed the prayer below, along with a description of the video footage shown beside each line:
|“O God of love,
||A wooden cross
|We thank you for relationships which sustain us,
||Two women, walking with bicycles, wearing rainbow-branded items
|and enrich our lives.
||Two men[i] holding hands on a sofa drinking wine
|As you love each one of us,
||A group of people holding hands in the air
|So help us to love all people.
||Two young women lying on rainbow flag, holding hands and making a heart sign with their other hands
|May we challenge discrimination with courage and compassion,
||A rainbow flag being waved, as if at a Pride march
|and give us a heart to care for all that you have made in creation.
||Person draped in rainbow flag walking in a field
The language is cloaked in Christian terminology and seems so much more believably Christian. The couples shown look like they’re young and happily in love with one another. Who could be against two people loving each other, as God loves us? What could be more Christian?
But the reason that Biblical Christianity forbids LGBT+ behaviour is not because it promotes ‘love’ in general but because it promotes sexual love in ways that rebel against God’s good creative design.
Very little in the prayer alone would be problematic for any Christian to pray – we believe in a God who is love and we are called to love everyone – even our enemies. The problem is in the context – it is a prayer in support of Pride (which celebrates LGBT+ behaviour) and showing romantic relationships between same-sex couples.
It’s a bait-and-switch. The prayer starts by addressing the ‘God of love’ as if a reference to God’s love sanctifies any kind of sexual relationship. It’s a common trick used by those agitating for LGBT+ in the Church: cherry-pick a Bible verse about love, but applying it to romantic, sexual love instead of its true meaning.
If the diocese was more honest about the prayer, it might be addressed to Eros, the Greek god of sexual love. Because, as Machen observed, when a church abandons the clear teaching of the Bible in favour of the cultural zeitgeist, it ceases to be Christian.
Sex is love?
The cry so often goes out: ‘Love is love’. But it really means that sex is love – which Christians cannot accept.
Love is much bigger than sex. Love, at its purest, is to lay down one’s life for the good of another (John 15:13). The Bible constantly stresses the need for Christians to love one another, yes, by caring for each other’s practical needs but also by growing up into mature believers who obey his commands (Ephesians 4:15).
And that’s the kind of love that the Church should hold out to everyone, without exception. Sexual rebels, drag queens, queer pagans, addicts and wayward bishops alike are welcome to receive God’s love in the deepest measure. Love that, if received, forgives and cleanses us from all wrongdoing (1 John 1:9) and transforms us into those love to do his will (Psalm 40:8).
Love that leads to repentance and sexual faithfulness, not sexual lawlessness and pride .
i. The men in the video have an appearance that is similar to many ‘transgender men’. It seems possible but not obvious that one or both of them is, in fact, a woman, and that they are intended to represent transgender inclusion in the video.