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America’s LGBTQ establishment

Pride Month shows who really has power in America


San Francisco Mayor London Breed raises a rainbow flag outside the main entrance of City Hall on June 7, 2021. Associated Press/Photo by Olga Rodriguez

America’s LGBTQ establishment

How do you take over an empire? That is a question that I used as a title for a lecture I gave each year in my Ancient Christianity class. The answer is simple to state but somewhat more difficult to achieve in practice: You simply need to control time and space.

Christianity achieved this in the Roman empire during the fourth century, a century that opened with the last great imperial persecution of the church and ended with Christians firmly established as the dominant religion officially sanctioned by the state and privileged above all pagan rivals. By no coincidence, it was also the century that saw struggles where the deployment of martyr relics was used as a means of claiming ownership of land for sacred purposes and the development of liturgical calendars for marking the rhythm of the year in distinctly Christian terms.

In our modern days, the same principles are deployed by those who seek to control our world. And Pride Month is surely the most ostentatious, annoying, and egregious of them all. June has been taken over by the avant-garde of the sexual revolution. It is the high feast of the progressive liturgical calendar and almost as long as Lent—though committed of course to self-indulgence, not self-denial. Pride parades pass through the streets, flaunting ever more exotic forms of explicit sexuality, often cheered on by parents with small children.

Even accounting firms, surely the most boring of institutions (and I write as the son of an accountant) feel the need to post rainbows in windows, affirm support for LGBTQ politics on their webpages, and even, as I witnessed in Toronto last year, paint the steps to their otherwise prosaic office buildings in the requisite rainbow spectrum. And above all flies the flag with its ever-changing design, a symbol in itself of the instability of inclusive sexual identity politics. It is almost guaranteed that the flag of last year now excludes some new group that demands not merely acceptance by society but full-blown affirmation.

To be sure, gay white men, unattracted to women presenting as men, drop further down the intersectional hierarchy every year and are now barely one step up from their straight counterparts. Yes, June, once the harbinger of summer sun and fun family vacations, is now a grim annual marathon for anyone who has hesitations about the orgy of identities and the exaltation of sexual expression that have laid claim to the mainstream of cultural life in America.

If you are truly marginalized, you tend not to have months celebrating your existence.

This is way beyond believing homosexuality should not be a criminal offense or that the persecution of people because of their sexuality is evil. Some of us have never regarded such things as legitimate or acceptable in a free society that values human life and the importance of treating all human beings as made in the image of God. Pride Month is not about civil rights, it is about ownership of space and time. It is a demonstration of cultural and political power and an opportunity to erase from public view those who refuse to acknowledge that power.

And all of this puts the lie to the notion that the LGBTQ+ itself somehow represents the marginalized. Not at all. It’s the establishment. For if you are truly marginalized, you tend not to have months celebrating your existence. Nor do you have flags and icons to proclaim your presence in—no, your ownership of—space, real and virtual. In fact, like Jews in Nazi Germany or kulaks in Stalin’s Russia, you rather hope not to be spotted, not to have any public profile, for fear of very dire consequences. Nor if you are marginalized are there punitive sanctions, formal and informal, to be faced by those who will not recite the liturgy you prescribe and sport the badges you demand.

Indeed, push back via democratic means on the colonization of space and time by this narrow identity group and you can expect private industry (as well as government) to take up the cudgels against you. LGBTQ groups are no longer speaking their notion of truth to power. They are the power and the only speech they want allowed is that which they sanction. That’s what the powerful always do.

Though we should push back and seek its displacement with festivals celebrating virtues instead of vices, Pride Month is sadly here to stay, an annual reminder that yes, the LGBTQ+ lobby has decisively taken over the American empire. But given that obvious fact, can we now at least be spared the sanctimonious claptrap that pervades the other 11 months of the year, that which complains about continuing marginalization, negative stereotyping, and oppression by a hostile culture? That’s nonsense, as Pride Month makes very clear indeed.


Carl R. Trueman

Carl R. Trueman taught on the faculties of the Universities of Nottingham and Aberdeen before moving to the United States in 2001 to teach at Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. In 2017-18 he was the William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University.  Since 2018, he has served as a professor at Grove City College. He is also a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor at First Things. Trueman’s latest book is the bestselling The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. He is married with two adult children and is ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.


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