Foffsets generally serve as rally points for the unit. They point to something that a culture holds sacred. The Stars and Stripes have been, for many generations, just such a rallying point in America. The fact that the burning of the flag, though protected by the Constitution, was considered by its opponents and supporters to be remarkably serious, testifies to this: one cannot desecrate what is not considered sacred.
That’s just one of the reasons why it’s interesting that the US Embassy in the Vatican flies the rainbow flag for Pride Month. Commentators pointed to the obvious intent to offend the Catholic Church. But the embassy’s decision also sends a message to the American people: another flag has government endorsement. The message of “inclusion” it represents signals to Americans who might disagree with the LGBTQ+ movement that in these interesting times, belonging to the republic the true national flag represents is more about tolerance than a sincere statement.
The issues surrounding LGBTQ+ inclusion are, of course, manifold. First, there is the logical problem that any movement deploying the rhetoric of inclusion must face: if everyone is included and no one is excluded, then the movement is meaningless. So the language of “inclusion” here is really a code word for precisely the opposite: it effectively means the exclusion and delegitimization of any person or group who opposes what movement actors view as a acceptable opinion. Acceptable thinking will generally tend toward a view of reality that sees these dissidents as mentally deficient, subhuman, or simply evil.
Second, the focus on inclusion must inevitably default to homosexuality. It’s interesting how the word “queer” and its cognates are beginning to supplant the old taxonomy of “gay”, “lesbian”, and even “bisexual” in mainstream LGBTQ+ parlance. Reason speaks of the central incoherence of movement. Gay men and lesbian women have binary gender identities rooted in biology. Rather, it is “transphobic,” to use the psychologized terminology generally used to discredit any pushback against the transgender movement. Indeed, in the wonderful world of intersectional mythology, white gay men and white lesbians rank somewhat higher in the political hierarchy than their heterosexual counterparts.
In fact, the LGBTQ+ movement has always been a political marriage of convenience. Before the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, lesbians generally viewed homosexuals with deep suspicion, as those who enjoyed male privilege and whose sexual desires and experiences differed fundamentally from those of women. Only the suffering caused by AIDS gives these men the status of victims and attracts the sympathy of lesbians. Gays and lesbians then made common cause against the normative status of heterosexuality. As for the addition of the T, it’s interesting to wonder how a form of body dysmorphia that isn’t necessarily related to sexual desire became a key part of the alliance. Again, the answer surely lies in a common opposition to what the movement calls “heteronormativity”.
But a movement built on opposition to a common enemy is not enough for long-term unity, especially when that common enemy itself becomes culturally weak and implausible and when the positive affinities between constituent members are not only very weak but, in the case of the L and the G versus the T, in fact antithetical to each other. When you then add to the mix the fact that queer and trans identities are detached from any stable biological foundation, the recipe for identity chaos is obvious.
And that brings us back to the question of the flag. The Pride Flag itself is now in a state of flux to which the notion of inclusion detached from any objective foundation must inevitably lead. There is an intersex inclusive flag. There is a Progress Pride flag. There is a polysexual pride flag. In fact, there are now over fifty Pride flags and, given the many intersectional variations, the number is likely to continue to grow.
All of this speaks of a movement that is basically incoherent. The inconsistency of this movement, theoretically called “inclusion”, is likely to become more and more problematic over the years. And that raises two questions.
The first is somewhat amusing: Did the Biden administration, by flying the traditional rainbow flag of Pride, inadvertently exclude or snubbe the more than 50 sexual and gender minorities who now fly their own pennants? This is, of course, the eternal risk of the cheap virtue signal to which the Biden administration is prone, built as it is on the quicksand of political tastes. The president is going to have to allow much taller flagpoles, or much smaller flags, if he wants to appeal to the entire rainbow covenant and include everyone.
The second question is more serious. For a flag to be a powerful and sacred symbol of unity and purpose, it must symbolize a genuine common sense of unity – a unified moral vision around which individuals can rally within a larger imagined community. wide. That the pride flag already has so many variations reveals the lack of unity that has always marked the LGBTQ+ movement when the cameras weren’t rolling. This disunity only became more evident with the advent of intersectionality and the triumph of homosexuality and transgenderism. It is therefore important that a nation decides to endorse the flag of pride and thus integrates its moral vision into its national ethos. And it begs this question: if the pride flag can’t even hold together the community it claims to represent, how can it possibly provide a stable vision for a nation and its national culture? By flying the Pride flag at US embassies, the Biden administration is signaling that it believes it can do so. The 50+ variations seem to suggest otherwise. The queer nation will ultimately turn out to be no nation at all.
Carl Trueman is a professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College and a member of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
To help First things expand our community of employees by support our Spring 2022 campaign with a tax-deductible donation today.
If you are not already subscribed to first thingsvisit www.firstthings.com/subscribe to learn about our subscription options.
Photo by Matt Brown via Creative Commons. Cropped image.