LGBT

The Real Meaning of the Rainbow

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Two years ago, I remember sitting in the Oklahoma Memorial Union at the University of Oklahoma as people crowded around the TVs to watch and celebrate the legalization of gay marriage. I figured there would be a celebration this year on the anniversary of that day. Instead, a whole month was dedicated to LGBTQIA+ pride. You can see it everywhere: social media, pride parades, TV, movies, magazines. As a Christian, I obviously do not condone homosexuality or any of the other lifestyles included in LGBTQIA+. I believe the Bible when it calls them sinful. Of the many issues I have with pride month, one of the biggest is their adaptation of the rainbow from a Biblical symbol to a symbol of gay pride.

Earlier this month, a Google doodle celebrated a gay man named Gilbert Baker, who came up with the concept for the modern day pride flag. It started with 8 stripes, but has since been cut down to six. The remaining colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Baker assigned a meaning to each color. Red is life, orange is healing, yellow is sunlight, green is nature, blue is serenity, and violet is spirit. None of those color meanings are bad. What I believe is bad is that the rainbow flag represents something unbiblical, even though the rainbow was originally a Biblical symbol.

Let’s go back in time for a moment to after the flood that destroyed God’s original creation, except for Noah and his family. In Genesis 9, God makes a covenant with Noah that is represented by the rainbow.

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with…every living creature on earth…Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood…”And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (Genesis 9:8-15)

Whenever I see a rainbow, I thank God for not flooding the earth and destroying all creation, even though I am a sinner not worthy of saving. But it’s more than that. Rainbows remind me not only of God’s covenant with Noah, but also of all the other promises he made in the Bible. They remind me of God’s everlasting love and faithfulness and forgiveness.

That is why it’s insulting to see such a sacred symbol waved around in celebration of sin. I feel like I can’t use the colors of the rainbow without people thinking I’m supporting gay rights. I’m not. I just like the rainbow because of what it represents to me (and also because it’s pretty).

I know this is a controversial topic and that I probably have an unpopular opinion. But I felt the need to share this because I wanted to stand up for God. I’m sure that it’s upsetting to him, too, to see the sign of his covenant misused in such a way.

I’m not expecting anything to change. I know that the rainbow will continue to be the symbol of gay pride. I only hope that it will also continue to be remembered as a sign of God’s covenent, and of his love.

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