Something to be proud of…Pride defined is a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. I was born in the 1960s and a proud member of the Big Red Machine era of the Cincinnati Reds, I am proud to be identified with the successes and history of the leaders of those baseball teams. I’m proud of our strong biblical heritage as a nation, the character and sacrifice of our founding fathers and every generation that has stood for our founding principles of freedom gives me great pleasure wherever I am in the world to say I am an American. I’m proud of my family, my community and I am honored and blessed to say that I am a Christian.
When it comes however to the cultural trends of today’s America, especially those values that have the potential of causing harm to the fabric of our nation, I find nothing to be proud of. I cannot support nor can I celebrate gay pride. I know good people and have many friends who practice a homosexual lifestyle. I know that there are wonderful Americans who are doing great things in America who are gay. The biblical perspective I share here today is not directed at good people or good work, it is directed at the core issue of the LGBT movement in America and the harmful effects that are ahead for a nation that for the sake of not saying something that may upset others, remains silent and in effect, gives consent.
I’ve had the honor a number of times to speak to inner-city high school students in central Ohio on a host of controversial cultural issues. On one occasion before I started, I asked the question, when I say the word Pastor or Preacher, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Without thinking there arose a chorus of “hateful”, “mean”, “homophobic” and so on. Though that didn’t surprise me it saddened me quite a bit. I mention this account to say that whenever any Pastor or church leader speaks publically on this controversial issue from a biblical perspective they are immediately confronted with a media trained public who sees their point of view as hateful and mean spirited.
Former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee said recently in an interview with the Christian Post, the movement for LGBTQ equality is the “greatest threat” to America’s moral fiber. “The biggest threat to biblical principles today is the failure to apply a biblical standard of maleness and femaleness,” The Governor went on to say, “People are afraid that if they are really biblical, it will alienate people, and I think that’s nonsense,” he said. Pastors today have the incredible opportunity to share biblical truth in a moment our nation needs it most. As my good friend Jim Garlow describes the moment, “Pastors can choose temporary popularity with the world-system while they capitulate to destructive behavior and lifestyle choices and violate God’s or they can choose to love people so much that they articulate God’s truth on even these controversial matters and share truth in a tender and respectful way that releases the Holy Spirit’s power to help people have victory over wrong behavior decisions.”
So, I cannot take pride in something that I feel is not pleasing to God and is harmful to those who practice this lifestyle. There is one other component of my decision though. I cannot support gay pride month because it promotes a larger agenda that has the potential of harming our children and grandchildren! Dr. Michael Brown writes I do not celebrate LGBT pride because there is an agenda attached to it. In other words, this is not just a matter of me appreciating LGBT people as people, or recognizing their accomplishments for the sake of their accomplishments. Instead, to celebrate LGBT pride is to recognize and embrace a larger cultural agenda. He wrote in 2011, “the legitimizing of homosexuality as a perfectly normal alternative to heterosexuality also requires that all opposition to homosexual behavior must be delegitimized.” —referring here to the church, pastors and church leaders who do not accept and celebrate this lifestyle.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m confident that I will be misunderstood and greatly disliked by those who have been conditioned see me as hateful and indifferent for simply expressing my biblical perspective on this issue. That does make me sad, but it does not change my convictions. With the amazing love that God has for everyone, I will continue to share the truth of God’s word, because as Jesus said, He came to set free those who were oppressed! June is still the month of June, the month we celebrate Flag Day, D Day and Father’s Day. I still choose to celebrate the amazing blessings God has filled my life with and I will in every way endeavor to glorify God with my life and my influence. God has blessed my life, that’s something to be proud of!
Tim Throckmorton is the former executive pastor for Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, and Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene. He is currently senior pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.