Faith and Pride in Self
By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Faith Columnist—
“The Supreme Court ruled LGBTQ+ people cannot be fired for their orientation!” according to a text from my dearest friend regarding the High Court’s decision released in June 2020. He noted, “This is important to my family and me.” June of this year was the first Pride Month his family flew a Rainbow Flag at their Southern home. No, it is not in Florida, it is the real South.
Shortly after arriving home from Europe (just as the pandemic hit), he shared, “I was almost stranded for 4 months before I could rejoin my husband and two children.”
He further reflected, “There are many people who suffered so we could be a family. I have sometimes had issues with the word Pride. As a Christian-gay man married to a Christian–gay man raising two adopted children to be Christian, I understood pride as one of the deadly sins. But I realized pride in the streets is positive and spiritual and no different than the pride I share at the dinner table with and for my husband and two kids.”
“There are very different concepts to pride,” he observed. “Pride also can be affirming who God made us to be and before we were in the womb we were known—every part of us even who we love.”
Pride, as noted by my friend, comes with a joyful belonging because we are and were meant to be part of Creation. Pride is a self-recognition of value, purpose, and belonging.
Building a life with a person you love is something to rejoice and celebrate. The day may arrive when my decent, extraordinarily talented, quick-witted friend becomes the first gay man elected to high office in his Southern state.
Yet this man’s greatest legacy will always be his marriage and adorable, happy, healthy children. Of course, there will be grandchildren someday! And, I expect Daddy and Papa will be around to hold their first great-grandchildren and take the clan to Disney World.
This is pride grounded in knowing you and your family belong to and are blessed by God (defined gender neutral). You are spiritually whole and sustained knowing your tribe is equal to every other family because it is conceived in love.
My dear friend and his family are empowered (or burdened) with the opportunity to be an example to young, single LGBTQ+ adults and, in some cases, men and women leaving “traditional” marriages after many years. This family is also an example to those needlessly threatened by same-gender marriages. These are positive outcomes of pride.
Culture, religion, and ethnicity can be a source of pride. It does not mean one heritage whether Arab, Celtic, Slavic, Asian, Persian, or African is better than another. Each has its place in the human family. All offer perspective and their own wisdom from which we learn and grow.
Because you’re a LGBTQ+ person doesn’t give anyone the right to deny you of your faith or heritage. Just ask a LGBTQ+ Irish Catholic who celebrates St. Patrick’s Day!
It’s also good to be proud of one’s academic and professional accomplishments. Discipline, persistence, and hard work should be celebrated. At the same time, it’s worth remembering there is always someone smarter and better educated than you and me. If you’re a great baker, you’ve also been blessed by being able to bring joy to others with awesome cakes and cookies. And yes, someone probably bakes better than you.
Pride, like all things in life, can be positive so long as humility and perspective keep it in check. Everything is interconnected and part of the same evolving, expanding Cosmos where you and your families are meant to belong. The world can’t be complete without you. If you’re not already doing it, take pride in it.
*Paul is a personal chaplain, seminary trained, and ordained priest, and lawyer in greater Albany, NY. He’s the author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis.”