“I AM WHO I SAY I AM” – Reflections on Dundee Pride

 

After Perth Pride we have now had the Dundee version.  By all accounts Dundee Pride on Saturday was a great success – thousands of people from all over Scotland (according to the organisers 8,000) took part at some point.   It was well attended and well-funded – Sponsors included Lush, Tay FM, Explore Dundee, the Bank of Scotland,  Dundee University, Dundee City Council, Unison, Clarks Bakery, the Police, and of course the various LGBT charities and government sponsored groups.

I happened to be cycling through Dundee City Centre at the height of the event (lunchtime) and can certainly affirm that the city square was packed.  It was colourful, loud and lots of people seemed to be enjoying themselves.  Even the Church got involved – as this clip shows. –

So everyone is rejoicing.  Everyone thinks its great.  And anyone who disagrees is clearly a bigoted homophobe on the wrong side of history who needs to get with the flow…and if they refuse should be subjected to at least the obligatory 15 minutes hate speech, and a programme of systematic re-education.

Thinking and Saying the Unthinkable

In Orwell’s 1984 we are warned about Crimethink and Crimestop.   Crimethink is to think thoughts which go against the ideology of the State or society (in 1984 the State IS society).   Crimestop is the ability to rid yourself of such thoughtcrime immediately.  You must not think this.

Orwell’s 1984 came to mind as I sat in the centre of the city, observing what was going on.  Because my reaction was precisely the opposite of what the media, the police and the academy told me I should be feeling.  Instead of Pride and Joy, I felt a deep sense of sorrow and depression.  Why?

It’s really quite hard to articulate this because as we move towards an increasing Orwellian society where even to think something that goes against the Zeitgeist is considered unthinkable, to try and speak on such issues is almost impossible.  You are automatically accused and demonised.  People are ‘hurt’ and moralists horrified that someone can be so blind as not to see the good that has happened.

So why was I saddened?  Let me make a few observations…

1.The Corporate Groupthink – I am aware that there are some gay activists who are more than a little uncomfortable at the way that they have become the mainstream and the cause celebre of the corporate capitalists.    Sure – its good for the funding and for getting the message across – but what if something has been lost?   Companies seem to be falling over themselves to offer money and show how ‘with it’ they are.   The Pink Pound is powerful. And corrupting.

2. The Attendance – I know the propaganda – but in reality the attendance was not that great.  Given the level of publicity; political, academic and corporate support and the fact that people came from all over Scotland (plus it was held in a busy centre on a Saturday)…I thought the attendance would have been larger.  The truth is that the vast majority of local Dundonians just got on with their lives.

3.  The Message  – What was wrong with the message?  Was it not all about love, tolerance and diversity?  Surely the Anglican clergyman in the clip above summed it up well?- all are welcome – no matter what their sexuality.  When the message is expressed in that way  it of course impossible to disagree – at least not without confirming the horrible homophone meme!

Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 07.22.03To be honest the promotion of homosexuality was not the problem – it was only an excuse or perhaps a symptom.  The problem is much wider than that.  My problem is the view of humanity which was on display.  It was both fanciful and harmful.  Fanciful because it’s not reality.  And harmful because of the message it puts across.  Sexuality is not our identity.  We don’t have the right to have sex with whoever we want whenever we want.  Sex is not an appetite to be indulged but something sacred to be honoured.  Lust is not love.  It caused me to weep seeing young children being led round in this Vanity Fair where someone dressed as a dominatrix flaunted herself.  Despite the message of joy and love  and a superficial enjoyment – I saw a lot of lonely sad-looking people who seemed to be desperately searching for an identity.

I AM

Perhaps this was most summed up in the Amnesty International LGBT group waving placards which said “I am who I say I am”.  That’s one of the biggest and most harmful lies being sold to our children and young people.  “I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky” is fine as a Disney song, but dangerous as a mantra for life (especially when you act upon your belief and jump off a 20 storey building).   It is only God who can say “I am who I am”.  Yahweh is the only eternal self-existent and totally independent being.  Human beings are made in his image, but we are limited, interconnected, dependent and do not have an absolute principle of self-determination.  Worse than that we are trapped in our fallen human nature – all of us.  Telling us to indulge that nature is like trying to put out a fire by throwing petrol on it.   Telling our children that they can be whoever they want to be, that they should indulge whatever feelings they have, is deceitful and cruel.  ‘m sorry to be rebellious – but I just don’t buy into this message.

Of course all of this is part of the greater human rebellion against God.  Some people see significance in the fact that the LGBT cultural misappropriation of the rainbow only has six colours (as opposed to the seven).  Six is the number of man (666) but 7 the number of perfection, the number of God.  Whatever the truth of that its a good point.  There were good things in the Pride parade, but because of what was missing it was ultimately poisonous.

Dundee does not need the message of Pride.  That only leads to a fall.  We need humility.  We need a recognition that we are broken people in the midst of a society that is largely broken.  We need repentance and renewal and reformation.

Jesus Wept

So how should the Church react?  We could be like the Anglican clergyman, utter meaningless truisms parroting the culture and proudly proclaim that God affirms people in their sin (is it any wonder that most of the Church in this city is in such rapid decline?).  We could be like the angry demonstrator returning Pride with pride by shouting louder.   We could just bury our head in the sand, keep quiet and just hope it all goes away. Or we can be like Jesus and weep over our city  “As he approached Dundee and saw the city he wept over it, and said, ‘if you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41-42).   “Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed” (Psalm 119:136).

Instead of going along with the Darkness, or just shouting at it,  why don’t we bring light?

Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 08.44.32

As it happens next Saturday there will be another event in Dundee City centre.  CreationFest is coming to town.  The cities evangelical churches are getting together and from 12 to 8 are holding an open air event with the aim of bearing witness to Jesus Christ.  This is not an anti-Pride festival…but it is pro Christ – ultimately it is the light of Christ not Pride (of any sort)  that will bring healing to our cities and nations.

Wouldn’t it be great if Christians from all over the UK (and elsewhere) came to Dundee to celebrate Christ this Saturday?   Imagine if there were 8,000 Christians here – without the media publicity and the corporate sponsorship? (Maybe I should ask Dundee Uni and Dundee City Council if they will sponsor us? After all they are all for diversity and equality!). Why not come and visit the new V and A and then join us in the city centre.  If you are not able to come then please pray for this witness – I would certainly value prayer – I will be doing a seminar and some open air preaching.  I also have the great privilege of finishing the day in the Steeple Church at 8pm with a message entitled ‘Hope for Dundee’.  May the Lord grant tears of repentance and joy!

Instead of saying ‘I am’ lets point to the real ‘I am’  – as this wonderful poem from David Bowden show us…

29 thoughts on ““I AM WHO I SAY I AM” – Reflections on Dundee Pride

  1. Declarations on this blog that a person’s identity is not based on their sexuality ring a little hollow I’m afraid.

    We know what you want homosexuals to do David. You want them to lead lives devoid of any physical expressions of their sexual desires because you believe those acts constitute a sin.

    Do you listen to the words you use to describe homosexuals or any of their attempts to counter the long historical tradition of hatred and discrimination they have endured with public expressions of their pride in who they are?

    It’s remarkable that you are able to discern that people are “sad”, “lonely” and “desperately searching for an identity” simply by looking at them – how fortunate you are to have such a gift.

    It doesn’t take very much imagination at all to think what your reaction would be to someone saying that their are good things in Christianity but because of what it is missing it is ultimately poisonous.

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    1. John – they may ring hollow to you…but that is what I believe. I don’t define people by their sexuality…you may do.

      And yes I do think that all human beings should follow the instructions of their Maker as to sex and sexuality. I don’t believe that there is a human right for everyone to express their sexual desires as they like.

      Yes – I did see people who looked really sad and lonely – in the midst of all the hype.

      As to my reaction you don’t need to imagine. I can tell you…if someone said to me that they regarded Christianity as ultimately poisonous because of what it is missing – I would just ask…what is it that is missing?

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      1. ” I don’t believe that there is a human right for everyone to express their sexual desires as they like.”

        Is anyone actually arguing for that? Sex must always involve consent and I have never met anyone who argues otherwise.

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      2. Why must sex involve consent? Who made that rule? Who determines what consent is? Can a child give consent? What about two brothers giving consent? Its not quite as simple as your rule implies

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      3. “Why must sex involve consent? Who made that rule? Who determines what consent is? Can a child give consent? What about two brothers giving consent?”

        1. Do you want someone to have sex with you without your consent? Do you empathise with other people? Does that tell you that other people don’t want people to have sex with them without their consent? If yes, then you answer your first question.

        2. We made that rule because we live as social organisms.

        3. No. A child cannot give consent. The mere fact you have to ask that is, frankly, frightening.

        4. 2 adult brothers can give consent yes. Would I do that? No. Is it immoral, that’s debatable.

        “Its not quite as simple as your rule implies”

        Correct. Morality is difficult, full of grey areas and requires hard thinking.

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      4. I’m asking who made the rule? And on what basis? Of course I agree with it…but on what basis is that rule made?

        But we live in a society which says a child can consent to having their gender changed….but not to when they wish to be sexually active? Again who makes those decisions and rules?

        The fact that you think incest is ‘debatable’ is what is quite frankly, frightening.

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      5. “I’m asking who made the rule? And on what basis? Of course I agree with it…but on what basis is that rule made?”

        We make it. Based on empathy, logic and hard thinking.

        “But we live in a society which says a child can consent to having their gender changed….but not to when they wish to be sexually active? Again who makes those decisions and rules?”

        Are you saying you have an argument for why children can consent to sex?

        “The fact that you think incest is ‘debatable’ is what is quite frankly, frightening.”

        It is debatable. I wouldn’t do it because I find it distasteful. But what I would do, or what I would find distasteful isn’t a basis for morality. It’s the actual harm/benefit an action causes that defines whether something is moral or not. That is why it is debatable.

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      6. Empathy, logic and feeling….I don’t think so…your faith is great!

        No – I’m saying I have an argument as to why children can’t consent to gender change.

        Who determines what is harm/benefit? What if homosexual sex was found to be harmful…? Would you then condemn it?

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  2. If the old story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” were written today, the young boy who cried out, “Look, the Emperor is naked!” would be carried off for correction, reeducation, and sensitivity training. He would be told how unenlightened he was for not being able to see the non-existent clothing of the emperor, while the people around him would continue to stand in silence.

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  3. “Celebrating humanity and God’s love for humanity in all its diversity”?
    All. So I take it that this clergyman holds special services to celebrate the humanity of drug pushers, sex traffickers, thieves, pimps, extortionists, embezzlers, etc, etc.
    I wonder what his reaction would be if he found out that someone in his church had embezzled all the church’s funds. Would he be celebrating that? Or if he found out that one of the organisations in his church was a front for sex-trafficking. Would he be celebrating that? Or that his church hall had been used for the purposes of a gay orgy in which men engaged in sex with as many other men as they could find. Would he be celebrating that?
    I wonder what he thinks Jesus meant by these words: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
    And I wonder if the reverend gentleman could refer me to that text in the Bible (because somehow I’m having difficulty finding it) where Jesus celebrates the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and calls on his followers to copy it. “You were born hypocritical. God made you that way. Let us celebrate the way God made you.” Something like that, I suppose.
    And what about pride? Does the reverend gentleman tell his congregation that they should cultivate pride, that humility is disgraceful and that pride is the noblest of the virtues?

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    1. Mike,
      you are perfectly correct that those ‘outsiders’ who voice public approval of the overt Pride agenda would draw back from some of the things that lie at the door. One day soon they they may well find that they are not able to. It is inconceivable that the bright displays of colours do not disguise many a murky mind. (I’m sure you won’t mind me saying that gorgeous clerical vestments have been used to hide the same darkness and so has the flashy tie of the evangelist.) There is a real danger in endorsing what something says it is when there is good reason to think that a great deal else is hiding under its skirts, so to speak.
      There is a progression that Paul maps out for us in Romans 1:28-32:-

      a. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God,
      b. God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
      c. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.
      d. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness.
      c’. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
      b’. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them
      a’. but give approval to those who practice them.

      The backronym G.A.Y. (good as you) stems from the same resentment as PRIDE with the intention of getting in the face of those who think that homosexuality is shameful. It is time to acknowledge that Christian disapproval of homosexual acts is in no way on the grounds of being ‘Holier-than-thou’. We could, I suppose, construct an acronym out of ‘As no good as you’ but it wouldn’t have the same ring to it.

      Yours,
      John/.

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  4. “Sexuality is not our identity.“

    I think part of that is the problem of the Church. Growing up I didn’t think my sexuality was abnormal until I was told it was by the church, among others of course. Suddenly, I was no longer a simple person just expressing their natural desires but a “homosexual”. I really don’t care what anyone says now, and I don’t experience any homophobia these days, so it is a much smaller part of my identity, a piece of a puzzle, even though I have a same sex partner.

    It’s kind of like people weren’t as militant about trans rights until the church (again, among others) started talking about bathrooms. I had never really thought about trans rights before and trans people have been using their chosen toilets for years without issue, but all of a sudden we were all forced to take a side (the cynic in me thinks that the church and Republican Party needed a new galvanizing issue after gay marriage to fill the coffers).

    The problem partly with this article and with the church’s response to LGBT issues in general is that you think it’s all about endless sex. Some people enjoy being promiscuous, stay or straight (and including some I’ve met in the CU). All power to them as well. For others, myself included, it’s about deep and meaningful relationships, commitment and sacrifice. That’s not meant to impress anyone or say ‘look at me, I’m just like you’ but to say that we are a more nuanced and diverse community, far more than a simple sex act, and until Christians accept that they will always be seen as ignorant.

    As for people looking sad and lonely. The amount of evangelical Christian things I’ve been to where people look sad and lonely… I’ve counseled and comforted many youth and young adults, non-LGBT, who have ended up in tears because they don’t fit into the cliques of assembles Christianity. Pride is no more broken than all other human endeavours.

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    1. The word transgender now covers a far wider selection of people than the original severely dysphoric persons who had full “reassignment” surgery. Bathrooms became an issue when it became clear that the majority of transgender persons weren’t having surgery and intact males were using female-only facilities, which are purposely there to provide privacy, dignity and safety for women on grounds of biology. So as far as sides go in the bathroom debate, there is women’s safety or to heck with women’s safety.

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      1. Except it’s the same story over and over again; the communist menace, the gay menace, the transgender menace. The church and the right create a ‘predator’ and then use it to galvanize financial support for organizations like Focus on the Family or Christian Concern or the Republican Party in America. Historically many trans people have been unable to afford surgery and where they could it would often take years, so I fail to see how “intact males” using bathrooms, as you put it, only suddenly became an issue.

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      2. But thats not what I’m saying. I’m not talking about any bogeyman or menace – the real menace is our own sin. Today as it happened I was speaking to a female leader in this country – who said that under no circumstances she would want a man (even though they identify as a woman) in her toilets. Maybe you should listen to different people and stop mindlessly promoting this weird and dangerous ideology?

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      3. To be honest I don’t push for it in real life, just compassion. There is a tendency in the ‘bathroom debate’ to see trans people all as predators rather than human beings. I don’t personally care who I share a bathroom with, but I do appreciate that that may be a male privelige. My point was though that I don’t remember anyone talking about bathrooms before the marriage equality debate was won. And my original point was that if the Church, and others, hadn’t treated LGBT folk like they were less than, then there would be no need for pride. If you (as in the general, not the personal you) treat all trans people like predators, of course we’re going to stand up and say something.

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      4. What you don’t remember is not really the issue. Its the press who make it the issue. The transgender agenda has only recently been pushed in the media – which is why you don’t remember it. Pride is not really about civil rights – its about promoting and enforcing one particular sexual/political philosophy on the whole of society.

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      5. I would disagree with your assessment of Pride, but then I hate the capitalization of it (which has turned into something akin to the capitalization of Christmas). I can understand your dismay as I too am a little repulsed when M&S tries to sell me a ‘Pride sandwich’.

        I would also disagree with your assessment of the media. You think the media is trying to push an agenda, but I would say that the media just likes a story about a villain and an underdog and it’s easy to see the church, which historically has held political power both in the UK and US, as the villain, and trans people, who suffer much higher rates of violence, as the underdog. I don’t know how to prove it either way, but I would say that it was initially the bathroom bills that caused the media to start to cover it. The reality is though, the coverage is good for right wing parties who seem to do better when they can convince voters that their values and safety (ie, the faceless trans person hiding in the toilet) are under threat, and I think they really push these stories, to the detriment of trans people and people like yourself who want to have a respectful debate and show the love of Christ.

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      6. Your view of the media is somewhat naive. And left wing and liberal parties also love scare stories which show their values are under threat…(cf. the current hysteria about Brexit….or the Far Right…..or creationism….or homophobia….or Islamaphobia…!

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    2. I didn’t make that entirely clear… it isn’t just a case of dysphoric people aren’t getting surgery. Neither is it that your genuinely dysphoric person poses an inherent threat.

      Now we have a significant number of males under the expanded definition of transgender, who are not diagnosed dysphoric, are not on any hormonal treatment or medical programme, and have a penis. They include autogynephiles and those with a barely concealed hatred of women. They don’t have any regard for women’s rights to privacy and dignity whatsoever. Which is not funny when you are trying to toilet, wash, undress or sleep. We neither want to watch nor be watched by males in these vulnerable situations outside of our personal home lives. And now self-id is being proposed on both sides of the pond so any of these jokers can proclaim himself a woman without much further ado. Problem right there.

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  5. “mindlessly promoting this weird and dangerous ideology?”
    Do you mean Christianity? That’s what the ancient Romans thought! Lots of people have died because of Christianity and Atheism, but has any been murdered in the name of LGBT rights?

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      1. Are you denying that Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot were atheists…or that the parties and countries they led were atheist? The reason that I berate those who declare that Hitler was a Christian is that he wasn’t. Whereas these atheists were atheists!

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      2. I don’t deny that Stalin etc were apparently without religious faith but recognising that and then concluding that it was their atheism that led them to kill millions are two incredibly different propositions.

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  6. Sorry Frederick, you’ve lost me.

    To be honest I don’t push for it in real life, just compassion: that should make it very easy for you to see why women of every shade and stripe don’t want males in situations where they are particularly vulnerable.

    There is a tendency in the ‘bathroom debate’ to see trans people all as predators rather than human beings: some people may have this tendency but it is by no means all. It is being made abundantly clear with those with ears to hear.

    I don’t personally care who I share a bathroom with, but I do appreciate that that may be a male privelige: that’s good of you. You’ve likely got the equivalent strength and stamina to fight off any attack that might come your way. Maybe you should stand up and speak out for the women who deserve the right to have spaces free from male bodies. Women of all sexualities. You understand that is not just the man’s feelings involved here right? We could have a whole bathroom full of decent ordinary blokes, but we wouldn’t want them there either.

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