By Zach Terry, 7-6-23
This is one of several articles submitted for Pride Month Retrospective
Humanity has always had an intrinsic (though unspoken) belief that the quickest path to the unity of the state is through uniformity of worship. By worship, I mean holding one thing of greater worth among all other things. This thing may be a traditional God or Idol, or it may be a concept or ideology.
Thus, city-states, kingdoms, and nations have called citizens to bow down to a god, adhere to their commands, and make the necessary sacrifices to appease the deity. In return, this god was to bless the people with plenty and protect them from their enemies. The closer the head of state can associate himself with this deity, the greater the majesty of his rule will be.
The Old Testament book of Daniel recounts an occasion when just this sort of thing occurred. The Nation of Israel had fallen to Babylon, resulting in the deportation of many of Israel’s most promising young leaders. Babylon led young men through indoctrination, grooming, and mental reprogramming designed to erase every visage of their native culture and make them thoroughly Babylonian.
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, knew that if he wanted to erase the culture of these young Hebrew men, he must reorient their worship away from the God of the Hebrews toward a Babylonian deity. Thus, the officials erected a great statue in the image of King Nebuchadnezzar. The King issued a decree that at the sound of celebration, each person was to bow down and worship the statue made in his image. Failure to worship the statue was punishable by death in a fiery furnace.
Make no mistake; the intent was not a deeply held belief that one ought to worship this newly erected statue. The purpose was much more pragmatic, even political. Common worship produces a cohesive whole that is much easier to direct.
As a Pastor who has spent over 25 years studying the scriptures, this passage (Daniel 3) came to mind when our nation began recognizing Pride month. By Presidential proclamation, for a month out of our year, a rainbow flag will be raised, surrounded by great celebration. At the sound of the celebration, everyone is expected to worship (ie, Support LBGTQ+ people, attend Pride celebrations, and post positive words about the movement on social media). Failure to comply will not result in physical death (at this point) but will result in a significant loss of social capital. Your business will suffer. Your electability will suffer. If you speak out against Pride Month out of a deep conviction that it is in serious conflict with the Word of God, you may even be cast into the fiery furnace of cancel culture.
As such, Christians view themselves as a city within a city – existing for the Gospel good of that city. Having been placed in a world system, we speak truth in love to those caught up in Babylon. In our congregation and throughout our listening audience online and on the radio, we minister to some people who are caught up in gender dystopia, sexual strongholds, and a variety of other struggles. We intend to show them a better way than bowing down and embracing the Babylonian idol of Pride. We point them to Jesus, who offers to “make all things new.”
Learn a lesson from history. God is always weighing Babylon in the balance. He will one day step onto the world scene and relieve earthly kings of their duty. The Kingdoms of worldly rulers will not be turned over to the Medes and Persians but rather to the one true King we all long for. Be faithful to Him – King Jesus. Trust that even in the fiery furnace, he will walk with us.
Zach Terry is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Fernandina Beach
The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.