What Do You Do With PRIDE?

by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director

June has been designated as “pride month.” Not just any pride, not pride of nation or ethnicity or even place of origin, but pride about your sense of self or attraction to someone that is counter to the design of creation and the revealed will of God. It is a fascinating incarnation of the celebration of confusion and delusion that is presented as a colorful recognition of freedom.  The White House declares that Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity.[1] The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQIA+ civil rights organization in the United States, declares:

This Pride month is about centering our defiant joy. Despite those who are trying to silence us, to push us back into the closet, to erase us under the law, we march and dance in the streets in celebration of one another and of our community.[2]


The general public has embraced the month, and it is nearly impossible not to be impacted somehow. From secular businesses to progressive churches, we are made aware of the month.  Our world is awash with unicorns, multicolored flags, parades, drag performances, and rainbows.


Christ-followers are often perplexed as to how to respond. Many orthodox Christ-followers are caught in the secular vice of mandated celebration.  Many employers require symbols of acceptance prominently displayed on corporate logos, workspaces, and internet postings. PRIDE paraphernalia is distributed with religious fervor. Evidence of one’s PRIDE celebration has almost become like a passport to enter a foreign country. Refusal to acquiesce to the demands of the cultural and/or corporate narrative may, at worst, cost you your job or, at best, label you as a bigot.


But amid all the celebrations, parades, corporate buy-ins, and even protests, we must not lose sight of what is most important – people.  People are messy. We don’t always fit into preconceived ideas of who we should be or act in ways some think we should act. We have all kinds of hurts, traumas, misconceptions, and wounds we try to manage, so those hurts don’t manage us. Add to that, the bible informs us (and observation confirms) that we all fall short of God’s plan for us (sin) and are inclined toward sin (Rom. 3:23; Ps. 51:5). Disobedience to God’s design always brings about pain and feelings of incongruency. We compensate for our pain with pleasurable coping mechanisms of every conceivable kind to create some semblance of peace, congruency, and balance in our lives. We are pleasure seekers and pain avoiders. In his article, Why Pride Is Nothing to Be Proud Of, Dr. John Amodeo, states that pride is often driven by poor self-worth and shame, and that we feel so badly about ourselves that we compensate by feeling superior.[3]


I know that personal pride is not the same as PRIDE Month, but might the name reveal something more? I’m always interested in the roots (the whys) and not just the fruits. Pride, at least the toxic kind, is often driven by hurts and a deep sense of shame. Talking with thousands of folks who identify with the PRIDE movement on some level, I have heard their stories of pain, hurt, and shame. I have seen the devastating results of abuse, neglect, rejection, lies, and, ultimately, sin. No wonder so many want to celebrate their sexual freedom and self-identification. No wonder they desire others to join them in wholehearted affirmation and normalization.


I have no quick fix for these hurts, pains, and beliefs. But the gospel does! Amid our unfixable dilemma, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be our Savior. He came to rescue us from the bondage of our sins and lies and adopted us into His kingdom of love and light. Our shame is removed. Rejection is replaced by relationship. And our self-identification is replaced with adoption as God’s sons or daughters.


I disagree with PRIDE Month. I don’t even think the name is appropriate because pride, especially the kind demonstrated by in-your-face-you-will-celebrate-this-or-else, is something God hates (Prov. 8:13; 16:18). But this month ought to cause every Christ-follower first to evaluate our own lives and repent of the self-righteous pride we often possess. We then need to earnestly pray for those caught up in self-created identities and beliefs crafted to relieve heart-hurts, rejection, and shame. Believers in Christ ought to see beyond the personas to the person, a person created in the image of God, and know that Christ died for them just as He died for us. Christians ought to use the month to get to know people who need to experience the life-transforming love of God, the power of the resurrection, and the hope of eternity. If believers could do that, we would have a month in which our heavenly Father would proudly declare over us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”[4]


[1] “A Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month, 2021,” The White House, last modified June 1, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/06/01/a-proclamation-on-lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-and-queer-pride-month-2021

[2]  “Human Rights Campaign: Pride is More Than a Parade,” The Human Rights Campaign, last modified June 1, 2023, https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/human-rights-campaign-pride-is-more-than-a-parade

[3] John Amodeo, “Why Pride is Nothing to Be Proud Of,” Psychology Today, last edited June 6, 2015, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intimacy-path-toward-spirituality/201506/why-pride-is-nothing-be-proud#:~:text=Pride%20is%20often%20driven%20by,against%20recognizing%20our%20own%20shortcomings

[4] Mt. 25:23 ESV