Pride Month

Michael Gerson & Pride Month

Mark Tooley on June 20, 2022

Former George W. Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson has identified as an evangelical and frequently writes from a faith perspective. As a Christian, he often chides, with frequent justification, conservative political Christian activism for moral failure. He has moved leftward politically and, evidently, theologically. His latest Post column celebrates Pride Month.  

Gerson’s column implied that only the old and retrograde are not yet on the Pride bandwagon. Amid his celebration, he does not bother to explain why traditionalist Christians and others, including hundreds of millions of people globally, still adhere to their ethical perspective. Instead, he wrote: 

Among religious young people, certain questions are growing more insistent: Why should we assess homosexuality according to Old Testament law that also advocates the stoning of children who disobey their parents? Isn’t it possible that the Apostle Paul’s views on homosexuality reflected the standards of his own time, rather than the views of Jesus, who never mentioned the topic?

These canards, repeated for decades especially by liberal Protestant activists, ignore historic and ecumenical Christian teaching about marriage. The universal church’s understanding that sex is for husband and wife does not rest on ancient Hebraic punishments or first century taboos. From Genesis to Revelation, marriage as the union of man and woman parallels God’s fidelity to his people and their fidelity to him. In Christian cosmology, Christ is the Groom, and The Church is His Bride, whose wedding culminates history.

In a new book, The Next Methodism, Warren Smith of Duke Divinity School, in his chapter on marriage, stresses its eschatological significance. God ordains marriage for husband and wife to grow in holiness and in knowledge of God. The covenant of marriage signifies the “mystical union of Christ and his church,” and “points to the new covenant binding God and his people through the body and blood of Christ.”  In marriage, husband and wife mediate God’s love to each other. Each spouse must persevere with an unmerited love that forgives, recalling God’s own forbearance.

Smith notes that Jesus told the Sadducees there is no more marriage in the resurrection, as marriage is for procreation in this world. Jesus told the Pharisees that man and woman would leave their parents to marry and become “one flesh” that nobody can separate. St. Paul’s rejection of same gender sexual relations is drawn from the Torah and affirms Jesus’s understanding of marriage as exclusively an earthly male/female union. These teachings show that sex and romantic attachment are not essential for human completion, as “sex has no place in the final, perfect state of human existence,” when “men and women will live together in the community of saints as brothers and sisters of Christ.” Smith recalls that Jesus’s commending celibate persons who serve God underlines that sex is not God’s design for all persons. 

In a 2017 Catalyst article, Smith explained that “since sex is not essential to human flourishing,” the Bible’s “regulations about sex do not unjustly deprive any class of people what is necessary for their fulfillment.” Instead, the “Scripture’s teaching on sex, when understood within the theological understanding of human nature and destiny, is rightly seen as ordering our lives toward, and preparing us for, the perfection of human nature in the resurrection, the destiny for which we were created.”

This eschatological view of marriage and sex is the universal standard for Christianity, with only shrinking Protestant denominations in the West dissenting. These liberal churches see sexual fulfillment as a human right. Their preexisting membership decline accelerated after rejecting traditional Christian marriage teaching. Ironically, after opening marriage to “all,” the number of weddings they celebrated plunged. Gerson enthused: “The advance of same-sex marriage, it seems, has generally ended in cake and dancing.” Churches heeding his counsel are enjoying much less wedding cake.

Marriage, of course, is not chiefly for cake. Historic church teaching on marriage has been a gift to humanity across 2000 years, increasing human dignity with chastity, monogamy, equality, and mutual service. In mirroring Christ and His Church, this teaching across time and culture is the opposite of “pride,” self-fulfillment and self-actualization now so popular in the modern secularizing West.

Gerson across years has rightly stressed Christianity’s duty to serve the common good, often citing his admiration for Catholic social teaching. But central to that teaching, and to universal Christian anthropology, is the understanding of marriage as the union of man and woman, and the protector of sex’s sacred purposes.

If Gerson is to offer Christian ethics and compassion as a measurement for political justice, then he should consider the eschatological and anthropological architecture that sustains it. If he rejects that architecture, then at least he should explain it fairly.

  1. Comment by Roger on June 20, 2022 at 4:01 pm

    Most people do not understand, is that Paul was tutored by the Risen Jesus. Paul does not quote words from the earthly Jesus. His message is NEW from the Gospel of the Kingdom, promised to Abram, Isaac, Jacob and King David. This is the reign of Christ, called the Millinniineum. Paul’s message is the Body of Christ, only found in Paul’s letters. God called LBGTQ an abomination. It hasn’t changed. Broad is the way that most go down, narrow is the way of righteousness, and few find it. The UMC is headed in the wrong direction, and Wormwood is leading the pack. Unbelief is what kept Israel out of the Promised Land for 40 years. The UMC has not been an obedient Church to the scriptures. Accountability has been absent, by incremental decisions of our Church Leadership, regardless of the size of the Church, by saying we can tolerate this or that now.. Judges 21 25 ( A paraphrase : In these past years ,there was no leadership in the UMC, every man did that which was right in his own eyes. )

  2. Comment by Pat on June 20, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you for your comments.

  3. Comment by Dan on June 20, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    A Christian can be compassionate and loving without having to affirm and be an ally of LGBTQIA+ behavior. As others have noted it is quite ironic that we celebrate “pride” month when the first recorded sin that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven along with other angels was “pride” and denying what his proper relationship to God is.

  4. Comment by Jeff on June 20, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    “Former George W. Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson… has moved leftward politically and, evidently, theologically.”

    Quelle surprise! Including W & Laura, are there any bushies that haven’t moved left? Mom & Pop Bush surely did. Friendship with the world, enmity with GOD, that sort of thing.

    “Gerson’s column implied that only the old and retrograde are not yet on the Pride bandwagon. ”

    LOL! Old and retrograde… I like the sound of it! 🙂 Toss in “unapologetic Christian nationalist” and you’ve about got me pegged. I know who I am in Christ and I am not ashamed!

    Warren Smith’s commentary on the true import of marriage and the temporary role of sex within it is good thought provoking stuff. Thank you for that.


  5. Comment by td on June 20, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    The ignorance that supposedly educated people have about homosexual sex in the amcient world at the time of Christ, paul, and the early church continues to be astounding. Homosexual acts, outside of judaism, were common and accepted at that time. If jesus had wanted to change the jewish teaching on Homosexual acts, he could have done so. He did not, and the early church did not. In fact, paul explicity reaffirms the judaic tradition.

    It simply is not true that accepting homosexual acts as holy is modern progress- the ancient world accepted them, and the progress was rejecting them as immoral. Our society is not progressing on this issue; it is regressing to paganism.

    I also do not understand how the self proclaimed enlightened people do not see how Homosexual acts are anything besides sexual abuse.

  6. Comment by David on June 21, 2022 at 8:20 am

    The Sadducees, otherwise known as “priests and scribes,” rejected the afterlife altogether as it was regarded as non-biblical. Their traditionalist question to which Jesus responded was mocking the Pharisees’ belief in this.

    Same-sex relations did exist in ancient times but generally were not as we have today. The Greeks had a ritualized system with men of about age 30 taking a boy starting puberty, then around age 16 according to Ovid. This involved the giving of gifts, etc. Graphic depictions of what transpired have come down to us. Let it suffice to say that the boy was approached from the front between the legs and never the rear. Relationships between two adult men were the subject of comedies in the theater.

    Slaves of either sex could be used by their Roman-era masters without public disapproval so long as the master did not take the “woman’s part.” Many cultures objected to males being penetrated, hence “as with a woman” in Leviticus.

    Marriage was not considered the best lifestyle in early Christianity. No marriage ceremonies are even mentioned. Indeed, most marriages were probably arranged and amounted to little more than business transactions between families. Jesus was expected to return shortly so there was no need for long-term relationships.

    A few other things, “40” was a figure of speech and considered a moderately large number, and “70” a very large number in Hebrew usage. Hence “40 years” should be understood as “a long time” and not a precise count. This is similar to when we say “wait a minute” which does not indicate 60 seconds, but a short time.

    The serpent in Eden was clearly described as a creature and not an angel. Satan was regularly visiting (“walking”) heaven and earth in the time of Job. Hence the serpent was not Satan despite what some Christian texts may claim.

  7. Comment by Search4Truth on June 27, 2022 at 11:04 am

    Mark correctly mentions that “marriage as the union of man and woman parallels God’s fidelity to his people and their fidelity to him.” He probably should have added, and the infidelity of his people to Him and the consequences that befell them as a result.
    This “Pride” movement is nothing more than the age-old story of man rejecting God’s plan for them and the offer of redemption and salvation. The left claims that because God is love He won’t condemn anyone to hell. While at the same time they are rejecting His offer and choosing hell for themselves. He will simply respect their choice.

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