This weekend it was reported that Gilbert Baker, the man who designed the first rainbow-colored Gay Pride flag (at the behest of Harvey Milk, no less), was found dead the age of 65 in his New York apartment. His loss will certainly be felt within the gay rights activism community, but it’s safe to say that at the very least, his legacy is secure. Since his very first flag flew over the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in 1978, six-color rainbows have become synonymous with LGBT solidarity and identity all over the world.
Except, not anymore, because this dude says so!
Worst example of cultural appropriation ever: LGBTs stole the rainbow from God. It's his. He invented it. Gen. 9:11-17. Give it back.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) April 2, 2017
I don’t know, man, if we’re talking about cultural appropriation, it seems like you’ve co-opted a lot of language from the Bible to be a total shit to other people, which would seem pretty counterintuitive to all that “Love thy neighbor as yourself” and “Do to others what you would have them do to you” rhetoric that’s in there — and that’s to say nothing of how all the best Christian holidays were adapted from pre-existing Pagan rituals.
But I guess you’re the boss! Here’s all those rainbows you wanted!
Although, why stop there? God is the official copyright holder of rainbows, yes, but as we all know, he’s a very prolific creator with a lot of different IPs. So what else should we refrain from borrowing in our own art? Jesus, of course; pretty much anything divine is right out. Heck, the human form in general is probably a no-go, while we’re at it Animals, too, probably, so say goodbye to all your pretty nativity scenes (plus all TV and movies and Chick Tracts and fine art and pictures of your kids) because there’s nobody actually left to be in them. What else we got… plants, mountains, canyons, rivers, oceans, plus any natural wonder I’m forgetting to mention — gee, all that really leaves us is words and tessellated shapes, huh?
Yes, to those of us in the “secular world” (ie: anybody who thinks forcefully imposing the tenets of your religion on other people isn’t cool no matter who does it), this sounds completely ridiculous. But I bet you’ll be surprised to know that this is actually not uncommon as a historical practice in many monotheistic cultures. it’s called aniconism, which is a practice that forbids the use of visual imagery to depict living creatures and religious figures so as not to inadvertently practice idolatry, and has been used in conservative forms of Jewish, Byzantine, Amish, Buddist, and — yeah, you knew this was coming — Islamic tradition.
Of course, this is not meant to be a “Hah, gotcha, you believe something that is not unlike what a Muslim might believe!” reversal on Mr. Fischer— that would potentially imply there’s something wrong with being Muslim, when the problem is actually with fundamentalist proselytizing as a general concept. My point, really, is that all conservative systems are more or less the same when you get deep down into it, so maybe you shouldn’t expect the entire world to subscribe to your very particular interpretation of your beliefs in the same way that you probably wouldn’t want to follow a belief structure more conservative than yours. After all, would you really want somebody telling you that you can’t read picture books with your kids anymore because they’re a perversion of God’s works?
So leave gay people and transgender people and women and Muslims and everybody else alone already and maybe reread the part of the bible where Jesus talks about God’s infinite love for everybody and how you shouldn’t judge other people, if you really need something to be pedantic about. Or else, I’ve got a great rainbow for you: