Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandating of same-sex marriage in all 50 states, millions of social media users changed their user profile pictures to rainbow flags, the de facto symbol for the gay rights movement.
Many people now cringe at the very sight of anything rainbow-colored, because it flies in the face of their deeply-held religious convictions. I admit that a small part of me cringes, too, at the sight of the rainbow flag. But I choose to love the sight of rainbows, and here’s why.
The real promise and meaning
According to the Bible, the first rainbow was given by God as a sign to Noah that He would never again flood the whole world in judgment (Genesis 9). The sudden appearance of a rainbow in the sky, each time it appears, shows that God always keeps his promises.
It’s not just in Genesis we read about rainbows. The prophet Ezekiel associated the appearance of a rainbow with God’s presence (Ezekiel 1:28). The Book of Revelation speaks to the power and innate glory of rainbows. “I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire” (Revelation 10:1) Some interpret this angel to be Jesus Christ, while others just say the angel represents God as a messenger. Either way, the rainbow upon his head isn’t some agenda; it’s a sign of God’s truth and radiance.
While most rainbow-clad social media users believe they are pronouncing their support for gay marriage with a rainbow, they are—whether they realize it or not—actually declaring the glory of God and His promises.
Why is the rainbow flag, which was created less than 40 years ago, recognized as the universal symbol for the gay rights movement? The theories range from wanting to show a multitude of diversity to a vague reference to the Judy Garland song.
While the gay rights movement may have started out calling for tolerance, much of it has become too intolerant today. A rainbow shows a multitude of colors, not just one. Why would a movement whose symbol is a rainbow force everyone to have the same opinion? In a democratic-republic like ours, we need a return to plurality where there is a civil respect when people disagree.
“Look, Daddy, a rainbow,” said my two-year old recently. She had arranged some nail polish bottles into colors and liked the way it looked. I felt my heart sink, then raise. She is right. Rainbows are pretty, and children still recognize that.
Psalm 8 says, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants.”
Children, who, yes, share a sin nature from Adam and the Fall, still do not have their perspective tainted to the degree most young adults and adults do, especially we modern-day people.
The Bible says, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted” (Titus 1:5). Through her pure eyes, my daughter taught me that day that rainbows are still pretty to look at and should bring a smile to our faces, not a grimace.
In conclusion, the rainbow does not belong to any political movement but to God. And I predict that, centuries from now, after the rainbow flags fade, few will remember the rainbow was ever used as part of the LGBT movement, and countless people will remember the true meaning of the rainbow.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”—Isaiah 40:8