It’s PRIDE month, a time both to celebrate LGBQT-plus people and to recognize the richness that they bring to us and our society. Our church, Cedar Cross United Methodist in Mill Creek, has long been a supporter of gay rights. We are a Reconciling church, voting to embrace peoples of all gender orientations and encourage all people to participate fully in all aspects of our church. We show our support in many ways such as engaging in past PRIDE parades and taking part in other public demonstrations of support. Part of this expression was to purchase and erect a beautiful banner next to our church’s sign that supported PRIDE month. Sadly, last week an unknown person slashed this sign so severely that it could not be repaired.
It is disheartening to know that someone was so angered and/or threatened by our banner that she/he felt the need to destroy it. But there has been a heartwarming upside. The church has received many emails expressing sadness about this incident, and most have been very supportive of our public support of PRIDE month and of our position regarding gay rights. In fact, we have received donations to replace this banner, which will be happening as soon another one can be made.
I firmly believe that gender identity is not a lifestyle as it is often portrayed. You and I do not choose our gender identity; it is an integral part of who we are and it is a part of the gifts that each of us bring to the world. I celebrate and respect each person, including gender. That, to me, is PRIDE and it is God’s gift.
I am not an official spokesperson of our church so I am writing this only as an active church member. As a member, my heart is warmed by those of you who have expressed support for the church by emails, letters, monetary donations, etc. It is very awesome to know that our banner has been seen and appreciated!
However, I am saddened and concerned for the person(s) who felt the need to destroy our banner. I would love to know the reasoning behind it, perhaps as a way to begin a meaningful conversation. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., hate does not cure hate, only love can do that. PRIDE month is a good time to consider Dr. King’s advice.