Christian Concern are vowing to take Westminster Council to court over planning rules surrounding their annual display of ‘Progress Pride’ flags on London’s Regent Street. Andrea Williams explains why

Regent Street pride flags

Source: Christian Concern

With everything else going on in the world, why would Christians care about flags?

An enormous display of ‘Progress Pride’ flags has, once again, appeared on Regent Street – an iconic shopping street in London’s West End. The display was first put up as a one-off in 2022 to mark 50 years of Pride. But it has re-appeared in June ever since despite significant opposition.

This year, Christian Concern formally objected to the planning application. Even though the flags are now flying, we will be seeking a judicial review, and arguing the point that permission should not have been granted.

Why do flags matter?

First, let’s think about flags. They don’t have any power in themselves; they can’t sin or harm anyone directly. But, for thousands of years, flags have marked out people or territory as belonging to a particular nation or cause - for both good and ill.

When tens - or hundreds - of flags are flown in a small area it dominates the landscape, sending the message that the cause or identity associated with that flag is also dominant. 

What does this mean for Pride flags?

Pride flags stand for an anything-goes approach to sex. Consent is all that matters; if everyone involved agrees to something, it’s to be respected and honoured, no matter how degrading it is.

This isn’t God’s pattern for our sexuality. He made our bodies male and female, with sex for within marriage, to strengthen the relationship and produce “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15).

Progress Pride flags are undeniably divisive, even within the groups they claim to represent

How we use our bodies matters to God. He isn’t only interested in the contents of our minds; in 1 Corinthians 6:20, we are told to glorify him with our bodies, too. Turning away from God’s design harms us. Sometimes there are immediate, tragic consequences, but there are also long-lasting spiritual harms caused by sin.

Rainbow Pride flags celebrate a harmful morality. Flying them everywhere, as typically happens in June, glorifies an ideology that leads people into sin and away from life in Christ.

What is Progress Pride?

New Progress Pride flags go even further. As well as the 6-colour rainbow, they feature black, brown, blue, pink and white chevrons. Whereas the rainbow was supposed to be all-inclusive, these colours directly represent various groups: people who identify as transgender, marginalised people of colour and people who are living with, or have died from, AIDS. The chevron is intended to suggest that progress towards inclusivity is still needed.

Some go further and add a purple circle on a yellow background for intersex people. This is confused and chaotic. Many people who were supposedly represented under the rainbow flag are dead against this new iteration, as gay journalist Chadwick Moore recently explained in his opinion piece for The Spectator entitled: “Why I hate the new Pride flag”.

For thousands of years, flags have marked out people or territory as belonging to a particular nation or cause

For a start, the message is incoherent. Transgender ideology claims that men and women are interchangeable, defined simply by a person’s feelings. But people with gay and lesbian identities claim they are only attracted to people of their own sex – by definition, this contradicts the transgender position.

Not content with this confusion, it also suggests that gay and trans rights are part of the same struggle as racial equality, which is not true, and offensive to many.

Progress Pride flags are undeniably divisive, even within the groups they claim to represent. They are associated with movements – particularly transgender ideology – that have caused a great deal of harm to young people in recent years. With the publication of the long-awaited Cass Review, is now the time to be glorifying that particular cause?

The flag proclaims a secular religious ideology which seeks to group together categories of people based upon their sexual preferences and identity. In doing so, it creates division between those who recognise themselves under the umbrella of its myriad causes and those who do not. Those who do not join under the flag have been considered “hateful”, “discriminatory”, “intolerant” and “bigoted”.

Pushing back

It would be hard to imagine that Westminster City Council would approve a proposed display by a religion that wished to erect dozens of giant flags all proclaiming the truth of its religion to the exclusion of all others; and yet this is essentially what this flag is doing. Raised far above everyone’s heads, it proclaims a divisive ideology of identity politics with an implicit obligation to accept all manner of sexual expression as morally acceptable.

Let’s start the pushback now.

Say no to the Pride flags that dominate our town centres during summer months.

Say yes to God’s pattern for our lives, honouring him with our bodies by living courageous, holy lives.