How should Christians who hold a traditional, orthodox view of sexuality and gender engage with Pride month? Andy Robinson says we must consider three things


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In June 1970, the first Pride marches took place in three cities in the US. Two years later, London held its first Pride event. In the nearly five decades since, there has been huge growth. This month will see Pride flags all over schools, supermarkets and city centres around the world.

So how should the Church respond? It is easy to feel afraid, to fear that an alternative religion is taking over our public spaces, forcing us to join in the worship. For many, that will lead to anger.

For others, perhaps particularly those working in the public sector or who have children in school, there’s confusion. How do I respond when my children or I am invited (or instructed) to participate in a Pride event?

Understanding the origins of Pride is important

My prayer is that, as followers of Jesus, we think clearly where Pride is concerned. But don’t be surprised if it also leaves you feeling conflicted because, as we wrestle with the question of responding to Pride, we need to consider two streams of thought. 


“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

Here, we see the basis for human dignity and equality – we are all made in the image of God, so Christians will want to stand against homophobic or transphobic abuse. That’s why understanding the origins of Pride is important. Initially, it was a response to prejudice in the late 1960s. Basic human decency means that we need to acknowledge how many older gay people will have lost friends to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, or have been subject to intense persecution because of their sexuality. This should factor into our response to Pride.

At the same time, being made in the image of God means that we are at our best when our identity is determined by our creator. Part of that involves the bodies he has given us in making us male and female. According to Jesus, this becomes the basis for our sexual ethics (Matthew 19:4-5). So, Christians can also feel a deep sadness about Pride, believing it encourages people to pursue a life pattern which is not best for them and which does not honour God.

The Fall

As human beings, we are not what we should be. Not every desire I see within myself is good and to be encouraged. That’s the Bible’s teaching (see Mark 7:20-23) and human experience.

Sadly, much of what Pride represents is an encouragement toward ungodly desires. Even the title is deeply problematic, given the right posture for a human being is humility, recognising that everything we have is from God and that we are accountable to him. Pride celebrates a way of living that runs opposite to God’s story – the marriage of a man and woman being his plan to illustrate the romance between him and his people that is at the heart of the universe.

But the Fall will impact how we respond to Pride in another way, for we are all fallen. Having critiqued same-sex sexual desire in Romans 1, Paul quickly goes on to tackle judgementalism: “At whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself” (Romans 2:1). There is no unbroken place for me to stand.

That doesn’t mean we must approve of all that happens under the label of Pride. But it should impact our tone.


There is no way around this – Jesus has a very clear sexual ethic. In Matthew 19, he clearly defines the marriage of a man and a woman as the right context for sexual union, and that’s before you get to the instructions around gouging your eyes out if they cause you to sin (Matthew 5:29).

Much of the Pride movement is ultimately harmful to people and displeasing to God

And yet you also see Jesus going towards those who are living outside those sexual ethics, such as when he offers living water to a woman who has been married five times and is now with a man who is not her husband (John 4).

Furthermore, when he sees the crowds, he is full of compassion because they are like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). That feels profoundly relevant to Pride. On many marches, there will be those who have grown up with some of the pain of feeling different and yet, tragically, have been led to believe that life is found away from their creator.

An appeal for nuance

Essentially, I am encouraging us to think about two things at once. As Christians, we must have compassion for, humility towards, and a desire for the dignity and fair treatment of LGBT people. At the same time, much of the Pride movement is ultimately harmful to people and displeasing to God.

When we engage in discussions around Pride, whether in school, our place of work, with friends or family, it may be useful to ask: “What are you asking me to say by being part of this? If you are asking me to say that nobody should be subject to bullying, then I’m happy. But if you are encouraging me to say that all ways of living in relation to sexuality and gender should be celebrated then, with all humility, I’m afraid I can’t agree.”

Inevitably, Pride month brings deep emotion - both for those involved and those fearful of it. But one of the gifts that the Church can bring is careful and humble thinking that honours all those made in the image of God and points people to the life that can only be found as we acknowledge our creator.

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