In recent weeks many so-called “church leaders” have posted anti-pride Tweets online.
While the Twittersphere has rightly dragged the authors of these posts for their lies, it’s alarming — albeit not surprising — how many likes, retweets, and messages of support they receive, especially from other church leaders and people who purport to be of faith.
But perhaps the biggest offender is Franklin Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the charity Samaritan’s Purse. Whether through his sermons, lengthy Facebook posts, or his political stances, Graham always finds a way to show disdain, judgment, and blind condemnation for the LGBT community.
On Saturday, Graham tweeted out his support for the Trump administration’s decision not refuse US embassies requests to fly the rainbow flag during Pride season. In a single tweet he pulled off the hat trick of modern homophobia: he trumpeted Trump’s stance on marginalizing Pride, he swiped at the LGBT community as a whole, and he did both while making himself and others of his ilk seem like the victims.
I could highlight thousands of examples of hypocrisy at work here, from supporting an adulterous, greedy, lying president, to simply pretending you’re a ‘good Christian’ while ignoring massive sexual harassment scandals within the Evangelical church — but that wouldn’t achieve anything. It never does, since Graham’s side is entirely blind to reality and deaf to the truth. Instead, we should demand he remains silent on Pride until he truly understand what it is, and what it represents.
Pride is a celebration about all the good things. It’s an expression of love. It’s evidence of community and support. It’s about visibility and strength. It’s a walking, living testament to how far we’ve come, and a public promise to fight until full equality is achieved for us all.
But Pride is about so much more. It’s also a protest in remembrance of those who we lost.
WHY WE MARCH
We march for 10 year-old Anthony Avalos, who was starved, tortured, and murdered by his mother and her boyfriend for being gay.
We march for 9 year-old Jamel Myles who took his own life when the homophobic bullying became too much.
We march for our transgender family who have been brutally murdered for living their truth.
We march for a generation of gay men who died from a virus ignored by the government.
We march for Matthew Shepard and countless victims of homophobia.
We march for the gay men and lesbians imprisoned, tortured, and killed around the world for daring to love or even just to exist.
We march for the young, unnamed gay man who was killed in the Pulse Nightclub massacre, whose body went unclaimed because a father was ashamed his son was gay.
Where are Franklin Graham’s prayers for these people? Where is his charity for the families who lost the ones they love? Where is his compassion for those who lost their lives for simply being who they are?
Until Franklin Graham — or any other church leader — treats the memory of these people with the honor and the compassion they deserve, his thoughts on Pride are not worthy, relevant, or welcome.