A Return to Fidelity: Princeton Professor’s Brilliant Move to Flip ‘Pride Month’ on its Head
On June 1, businesses, government, and even churches will erect rainbow flags and publish proclamations about the importance of “Pride Month,” a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities. (Of course, the little plus sign means the list goes on and on, including queer, questioning, intersex, 2-spirit, and more. One version even includes “friends and family.”)
This rush to celebrate LGBT lifestyles is both exclusionary and offensive to conservative Jews and Christians, who follow the Bible’s teaching that God created humans male and female, that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that pride is a cardinal sin, not a virtue.
Rather than merely complaining, Princeton professor Robert P. George decided to do something about it. He launched an effort to flip “Pride Month” on its head—dedicating the month not to a specific interest group, but to a moral virtue, fidelity. (George is a member of The Heritage Foundation’s board of directors, and The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.)
“Fidelity” derives from the Latin word “fides,” meaning “faith” or “trust.” The word implies “strict and continuing faithfulness to an obligation, trust, or duty,” according to Merriam–Webster.
You may have read about the rather disturbing recent WSJ poll indicating a precipitous decline in our fellow Americans’ belief in the importance of such values as patriotism, religion, family, and community—the values that used to unite Americans despite our many differences. There are a million things we can and should do to restore the faith of our people, and begin to heal the dreadful division in our county, but I would like you to join in one small one.
As my Facebook friends know, by the authority vested in me by absolutely no one, I have declared June to be “Fidelity Month”—a month dedicated to the importance of fidelity to God, spouses and families, our country, and our communities. I’ve been working with two friends, Deacon John Barry and Deacon Michael Forrest, on a Fidelity Month symbol, which can be used in all the ways we use symbols these day, on T-shirts, websites, flags, etc. The symbol features a myrtle wreath-myrtle being a symbol of fidelity. We’ll be sharing the symbol soon (though, to give you an idea, I’ll attach a prototype here).
I’d be grateful if you and any organizations which you are involved in, or in which have influence, to recognize and celebrate Fidelity Month. Put out a statement. Hold an event (like hosting a speaker on the importance of any of the values we need to restore). Use the symbol to make and fly a Fidelity Month flag. Use the symbol as your Facebook banner or profile picture or on your website. Think of other things to do.
If you are a public official and your office recognizes special days, months, etc., please officially recognize Fidelity Month. If you are a legislator, please do whatever you can according to the customs and traditions of your legislative assembly to raise the profile of Fidelity Month.
If you are a clergyman, please make sure your church or parish or synagogue or mosque or other congregation does something for Fidelity Month.
We will launch Fidelity Month with a webinar early in June. We’ll share details on that down the line. Please do not wait, though, in thinking about and planning your Fidelity Month activities.
Please share this message with others who should receive it. And please use your social media accounts to promote Fidelity Month.
George freely acknowledged that “absolutely no one” gave him any authority to declare June “Fidelity Month.” Nonetheless, he has done so, and I believe we as conservatives should join him in this effort.
George proposed dedicating June to “the importance of fidelity to God, spouses and families, our country, and our communities.”
I have often joked that June should be considered “humility” month, because in the Western Christian worldview, pride constitutes the great sin of rejection of God in favor of yourself, while humility represents a great virtue. Humility entails surrendering yourself to God and reenacting in a small way the humbling of Jesus, who gave up the presence of the Father to take on human form and become a servant among us, even becoming obedient to the point of death.
The great Christian hope rests in the fact that God exalted Jesus after this great humility, and he will also exalt those who humble themselves in the way Jesus did (Philippians 2:3-8).
Yet humility carries a negative connotation. “Pride” has succeeded because the LGBT movement associates it with the message that human beings have inherent worth, and no matter your sexual orientation or gender identity, you can take ownership of yourself.
The proper response isn’t just to negate what the LGBT movement promises, but to take the positive view of humanity and ground it in something more noble.
Ownership of yourself means little without the ties that bind us to one another. Loneliness creeps into our hearts, whispering that social media or entertainment will satisfy us, but pleasures often ring hollow unless they are shared. The deepest friendships and relationships require a give-and-take, a context where each person loves and serves the other. These bonds are familiar to us because we experience them all the time—even if we don’t want to admit that the best word for them is “duty.”
“Fidelity” acknowledges your inherent dignity, but it forces you to consider the dignity of your neighbor, as well. We must be faithful not just to ourselves, but to our families, our communities, our nation, and the God who created us.
The LGBT movement encourages people to take pride in their identities, but Fidelity Month encourages us to fulfill our obligations to one another. It recognizes the inherent dignity of all people and encourages us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Pride views the world through the lens of self, and each person is indeed a magnificent image of the ineffable God. No person becomes himself without the help of others, however.
I can only take pride in my accomplishments because my mother and father raised me. My success relies upon the many who invested in my education and the country that established a culture of opportunity. My very breath relies upon the God who established an ordered universe and fashioned me in his image.
The “Pride” of the LGBT movement often entails a rejection of each of these obligations. The movement denies parents’ rights to educate their children on matters of sexuality, attempting to use gender and sexuality as a wedge to separate children from their parents. The movement denies the goodness of America, preaching that the United States is an oppressive place for people whose very notion of individual worth comes from a Declaration of Independence.
Of course, the pinnacle of “Pride” is the claim that God holds no authority over us—that we can choose our own lifestyles and even rewrite biology to tell the One who made us male and female that he placed “transgender” people in the wrong body.
“Pride” is all about infidelity, breaking vows and duties to spouses, to children, and to God. Sexual liberation rests on the idea that marriage only lasts as long as feelings of love do, and family courts will decide who takes care of the children.
Fidelity Month does not come with a political program. It merely represents a response to the endless barrage of rainbow flags as June approaches.
It offers representation for those who are tired of seeing a constant reminder that America’s institutions are in lockstep with the sexual revolution, for those who are tired of having their faith demonized as “anti-LGBT,” for those who truly do want to live and let live, but who see any dissent from rainbow orthodoxy quashed in the public square.
Finally, it offers a subtle reminder that Christians are not to strut about as though we are holier than the “Pride” brigades. We are redeemed sinners, called to faithfulness—not a mean-spirited “Pride” of our own. As St. Peter urged us, we should make a defense, giving the reason for the hope within us, “with gentleness and respect, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good name in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Let us strive to live out the fruit of the Holy Spirit this Fidelity Month, and thank God that Robert P. George has crafted a fitting answer to the world’s unfaithfulness.