What’s The Big Deal? Nobody Owns The Rainbow, Right?
There's a story in today's (6/22/21) Yakima Herald Republic (YHR) about Central Washington University's response to the theft and burning of a Pride flag from the Student Union.
While the suspect has been arrested for the crime, school officials collaborated with Seattle Pridefest to borrow a giant 30 X 130 foot rainbow flag for a a display event to publicly reaffirm the University's commitment to support the LGBTQ+ community and in a liberal college town that makes sense.
On today's KIT's Morning News radio show we talked about the "Celebrating Pride Month" billboard on South First Street in Yakima. There may be more of them around town, but that's the one I saw and that's billboard one of our listeners called in to talk about.
A little back story is that the caller has very strong religious beliefs based on the transformational power personal impact of God's presence in his own life and as a result isn't shy about speaking his mind.
His take was a three-fold question and comment. First he wonders if a "Welcome to Yakima where we celebrate Pride Month" is a message that truly reflects the the promotional nature of the community. Not that we aren't accepting of other lifestyles but that we also aren't about promoting alternate lifestyles either. Taking out a billboard is definitely making a statement and while individuals and organizations are free to do that, the caller wondered if it's a message expressed by a few meant to convey a community-wide sentiment. Fair question.
The caller also expressed frustration at Pride organizations use of the rainbow as the representation of a collective of differences (colors / LBGTQ+) that all work beautifully together. It's his contention (and of many other religious people too) that the rainbow is something much more than the natural phenomenon of: " light, shining through water, (like when the sun shines through the rain) is bent and reflected, causing you to be able to see the different wavelengths forming the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet."
I misspoke this morning when I mentioned the book of the Bible that references the rainbow as physical evidence of a contract between God and mankind. as Ephesians but it's really the first book, Chapter 9 in the book of Genesis.
Genesis tells the story of how after Noah built the Ark and it rained for 40 days and nights destroying all life on earth, God vowed never to do that again and he said the rainbow was proof that the rains will end in all future rainstorms.
Genesis 9 verses 8 to 17. Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:9"I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you10and with every living creature that was with you--the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you--every living creature on earth.11I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.
"12And 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:13I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.14Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,15I 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.16Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."17So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth."
Obviously to Christians this is a pretty big deal and seen as much more significant than a simple sticker on a school notebook, a design on a T-shirt or a flag claimed to represent the varieties of alternate identifications and lifestyles that fall under the heading of LGBTQ+. The same Bible that tells the story of the rainbow also has a lot to say about what it is the Pride supporters are supporting. Perhaps you can imagine the frustration or even insult?
As the show came to an end, another caller checked in to say she understood the previous callers concerns abut the reverence for the symbolism of the rainbow to Christians but she added that the government isn't to choose to side with the tenents of one religion over any other. True...but here is more here to be said...and so we will tomorrow morning at 7:15 on the Morning News.
As the great Charles Osgood used to say, "we'll see you on the radio" !