Joseph Backholm is Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Political Engagement at Family Research Council. This article appeared in WORLD Magazine on June 10, 2022.
It’s Pride Month again, which means everybody will be asked to show their fidelity to the gods of the sexual revolution. Those who fail will be thrown into the Twittery fiery furnace.
The furor recently reached several major league baseball players who displeased the rainbow mafia. As part of national Pride Month festivities, the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday hosted Pride Night at Tropicana Field, including a special invitation to LGBT fans and a modified team logo that incorporated the LGBTQ rainbow. But, in a development that should have surprised no one, several players objected, and their objection quickly became a national story.
The responses were predictable. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty said the Rays players’ decision was an “absolute joke.” A former player also took to Twitter and said in response, “There is a special ignorance in sports on this topic.” Other responses are not fit to be repeated here.
The way the story was covered in the national media is especially notable. Yahoo proclaims, “Tampa Bay Rays Players Refuse to Wear Rainbow-Colored Logo for Pride.” The headline on CNN read, “Several Tampa Bay Rays Players Decline to Wear LGBTQ Logos on Uniforms for Pride Night.” So what’s the problem with these headlines? An analogy will help.
Imagine an alternate reality where the CNN headline highlighted, “Several Tampa Bay Rays Players Decline to Wear NRA Logo in Support of Second Amendment.” Alternatively, imagine that Yahoo was telling the world, “Tampa Bay Rays Players Refuse to Wear Elephants on Their Uniform at GOP Night.” In any other context, the story would not be the fact that players objected to wearing divisive political symbols but that players were being asked to wear divisive political symbols in the first place.
If you wouldn’t be comfortable asking your employees to wear the cross or a crescent moon on their uniform, you shouldn’t be comfortable asking them to wear the LGBTQ rainbow, either.
The Tampa Bay players who objected cited their Christian faith, but it is not only the deeply religious who object to being told what they must do—and what symbols they must wear. In a memorable episode from the 1990s hit TV show Seinfeld, Kramer refused to wear an AIDS ribbon during an AIDS walk. An indignant organizer told Kramer he had to wear the ribbon, to which he responded, “That’s why I don’t want to.”
In America, there used to be a recognition that people are allowed to make their own choices on matters of conviction. Those choices would be respected, especially where the mainstream of society had recently held to the same convictions. Today, if you get out of line, you have to explain yourself to a watching press that is doing the bidding for social progressivism.
This fiasco could have been avoided through simple courtesy. If you wouldn’t be comfortable asking your employees to wear the cross or a crescent moon on their uniform, you shouldn’t be comfortable asking them to wear the LGBTQ rainbow, either. The LGBTQ movement, however, cannot brook any dissent. It requires being drafted into the cause. Many are comfortable asking people to get on board with LGBTQ ideology, assuming any decent person of righteous convictions would agree. This speaks to the tremendous and unique privilege the LGBTQ community enjoys in America today. Planned Parenthood may get half a billion dollars from taxpayers each year, but not even the wokest of corporations has the nerve to tell their employees they should wear Planned Parenthood’s logo at work. It is the definition of privilege to know that people will do things for you that they wouldn’t dream of doing for anyone else.
But it doesn’t end there. After all, we are talking about Pride Month. Not Pride Day or Pride Week. Martin Luther King Jr. gets one day for leading the civil rights movement, and George Washington must share a day with every other U.S. president, even for being the father of our country. But men who think they’re women? They get a month, and those who aren’t enthusiastic enough can be legitimately concerned for their job security.
Perhaps the best illustration of the privilege now enjoyed by the LGBT political movement is that the Seattle Pride Parade told Amazon they were not allowed to be a parade sponsor. Of course, once you can tell one of the largest corporations in the world they are not good enough to give you $100,000, you should turn in your victim card.