You are undoubtedly familiar with Pride Month, described as “a month, typically in June, dedicated to celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride.” Now school officials in Austin, Texas, are preparing for “Pride Week” to be held later this month. “Pronoun buttons,” rainbow flags, LGBTQ stickers, and other items will be distributed to students and staff. The event is timed to coincide with National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week.
I was unaware of either “week,” so I wondered what other LGBTQ “Pride” events are held these days. It turns out the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) website lists more than one hundred and fifty different such events.
Why so many? IGLTA explains: “The LGBTQ+ rights movement has made tremendous strides over the past few decades and much of the progress in visibility is thanks in part to gay pride parades and marches that have taken place in cities around the world.”
Why can we expect more “Pride” events?
“Pride” events began with the Stonewall Riots in 1969. Since that time, there has been a concerted, focused effort for more than fifty years to normalize LGBTQ behavior.
But this strategy exposes its inherent weakness: Something that must continually be normalized is, by definition, not normal. Otherwise, it would not need to be continually normalized.
For example, no one seeks to normalize sexual relations within heterosexual marriage. This is because such relations are already normal and express God’s design for humans to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) as “a man shall . . . hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
By contrast, same-sex sexual relations are not God’s design: “Men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:27).
Likewise, elective abortion is continually being normalized in our culture because it is not normal for a mother—or for society—to end the life of an unborn child. The illogic of abortion is clear: We instinctively know that killing an innocent person is wrong and that an unborn baby is innocent. It is therefore wrong to kill an unborn baby.
How much does religion benefit the US economy?
However, as we noted earlier this week, those who do not like a message are prone to attack the messenger. In this case, when Christians defend biblical marriage and the sanctity of life, our religion is attacked as homophobic and part of a “war on women.”
Consequently, it is important for us to show our secular critics the value of religion to secular society. Here are some examples:
- Research shows that “religious attendance once or more per week leads to an extra seven years of life expectancy.” Religious involvement is also linked to a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, less depression, and less alcohol and drug use.
- Religious participation by kids results in less juvenile delinquency, less drug use, less smoking, better school attendance, and a higher probability of graduating from high school.
- Adults who regularly attend religious services commit fewer crimes and give more money to charity.
- Studies indicate that “higher rates of religious beliefs stimulate [economic] growth because they help to sustain aspects of individual behavior that enhance productivity.”
According to sociology professor Rodney Stark, all of this benefits the American economy in the amount of $2.6 trillion per year, which is about one-sixth of our nation’s total economic output.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
Of course, the greatest benefit the Christian religion offers society is not a religion about God but a relationship with him. I believe if more secular people understood this fact, they would view Christianity very differently.
They see our faith as just another religion with duties, rituals, and obligations. In a sense, they are like those who came to Jesus’ tomb to finish burying his corpse and met angels who asked them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24:5–6).
We “seek the living among the dead” whenever we treat Jesus as anyone or anything other than our living Lord. When he is an idea, a theology, a model, a movement, or a religion, he is as dead as if he were Muhammad or Buddha. When we seek and encounter Jesus as a living person, we personally experience the fact that he is alive because he is alive in us.
Have you met the risen Christ for yourself? You can today if you will ask Jesus to forgive your sins and become your Savior and Lord. (For more, see my website article, “Why Jesus?”)
If you have, have you met him again today? His word promises, “The Lᴏʀᴅ is near to all who call on him” (Psalm 145:18). As a result, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus assures us, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Tony Evans was right: “God will meet you where you are in order to take you where he wants you to go.”
Will you accept his invitation today?