Jewish people celebrating LGBT pride in Chicago were told they could not display the Israeli flag because other people found it “offensive.” Ironically, the march from which they were banned is described by organizers as being “more inclusive” than Chicago’s main Pride parade.
Several people who carried the Star of David flag were removed from the march. One of them said that she lost count of the number of people who harassed her. The organizers explained that they are “anti-Zionist” and that their organization “supports the liberation of Palestine and all oppressed people everywhere.”
Jews were not the only people rejected by this march for “tolerance”—American flags were also not welcome, as they were likewise considered signs of oppression. Flags from other nations were present at the event, however.
The illogic of the organizers’ position is remarkable.
First, they assume that the Chicago marchers supporting LGBT rights in Israel are opposed to the liberation of Palestine. Having traveled to Israel more than twenty times, I can testify that many—if not most—Israelis want a separate state for Palestinians.
Second, Israel is one of the most LGBT-affirming nations on earth. It legalized same-sex relations in 1988, banned employment discrimination against gays in 1992, and included openly gay Israelis in the draft in 1993. Tel Aviv has been named the world’s best gay travel destination. Every year, it hosts one of the largest gay pride parades in the world.
Israel’s critics accuse it of “pink-washing,” endorsing gay rights to distract from its alleged abuses of the Palestinian people. Do they make the same claim against Brazil, which has legalized same-sex marriage but has major problems related to prison overcrowding and rural violence? Or Colombia, which has embraced “marriage equality” but has the second largest population of internally displaced persons in the world? Or Uruguay, which has legalized same-sex marriage but reportedly mistreats minorities?
I am not endorsing Israel’s LGBTQ endorsement or “marriage equality” in any country where it has been enacted. My point is that many who advocate for “tolerance” are remarkably intolerant of ideologies with which they disagree. The best way to measure whether we accept all people is whether we accept people whose beliefs we oppose.
The Christian way is clear: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44). Loving and agreeing are not the same thing. Sometimes the most gracious thing we can do is to oppose unbiblical ideas and actions because we love the people they harm.
Regarding sexuality, the “tolerance train” has left the station. If, like me, you disagree with what its advocates believe, prepare to be labeled, caricatured, and scorned. Then choose to risk their rejection by telling them the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Our mission is simple: Christians are called to love every person Jesus loves.