Both truth and charity demand at this point that we face up to the connection between the LGBTQ movement and the forces of darkness.
As another Pride Month comes to an end, the war for the soul of the world has intensified. I thought briefly that the tide may have been turning, but I was wrong. Let me explain.
Near the end of May, I was talking to a friend about my writing routine. I told him I had begun frequenting my local IKEA store in the afternoons to sit in the café. It's only about ten minutes from my house, and with my wife's family membership card I can have all the free coffee I want. It's a big, bright space where no one bothers me, and I have been very productive there. If I lived in Vienna, I might sit in the Café Bräunerhof. If I lived in Paris, I could go to La Closerie des Lilas. But I live in the north Dallas suburbs, and I'm more or less broke, so I make do.
But as I told my friend about my makeshift workplace, he reminded me: "Pretty soon the atmosphere will be unbearable in there. Pride month!" I acknowledged that an eruption of rainbows might be a bit of a distraction, but I showed up on June 1 anyway. Sure enough, I was met out front with the latest version of the imperial banner, which had temporarily replaced the flag of Sweden in between Old Glory and the state flag of Texas. "Ugh," I thought, "but at least the other two are still there." Once inside, however, I was surprised that things seemed just about normal—same mediocre coffee and same cheap furniture. No gayer than usual.
And then, everywhere else I went, I began to notice—or not notice—the same thing. The Pride stuff didn't seem that bad this year.
Now, my mild sense of relief amid mundane retail experiences is partly geographically biased. I live in one of the least Pride-oriented large population centers in the nation. For example, the Texas Rangers are the only Major League Baseball team without any kind of Pride event. But elsewhere—everywhere?—it's different. The Pride flag has flown all month at the White House, with our Catholic president's explicit approval. A friend sent me a picture of the same standard flying outside the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland, and I am told it's the same all around the world.
Then there were a few silver linings to some of the darkest clouds we've seen yet.
Target stores decided to sell transgender merchandise to children, as well as apparel designed by a Satanist—obviously a catastrophe for traditionalists, but apparently a step too far for the normies too, as the store sort of backed down. (But they blamed us bigots for having to do so.) And there was a small sign of hope when Bud Light's progressive marketing disaster resulted in sales dropping almost 27%. Finally there were the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose decision to honor the blasphemous Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence resulted in abysmal game attendance and a huge protest led by Southern California lay Catholics, but not the Archdiocese.
Victories? Sort of. Five years ago—heck, even one year ago—the battles themselves would have been unthinkable.
But then there were the parades.
Several days ago, I happened to notice that a gay friend in Nashville declared he would not be going to the local Pride gathering because he felt "unsafe," specifically naming the Daily Wire's Matt Walsh as someone whose work has somehow endangered people. I won't link my friend's posts just in case he doesn't read this article and we may still have a relationship; but I was utterly baffled. Unsafe?! It was in Nashville where a trans person had just murdered third-graders because they were Christians.
Or have we forgotten so soon?
Footage and stories from parades all over the United States reinforced who is really unsafe.
In Seattle, naked men road bicycles and splashed around in a fountain where children were present, and even "flaunted their genitals." In Hollywood, men were seen performing sex acts at a "family friendly" celebration. And in New York City, a large crowd of parade attendees marched to the chant, "We're here, we're queer, we're coming for your children." Oh, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the self-described "leading edge order of queer and trans nuns" were there again too!
Finally, in photos from an unidentified event circulating on Twitter, presumed Pride activists were photographed walking behind a large sign that read "Satan loves homosexuals." Another person displayed a t-shirt that said "Not today Jesus," with a goat's head bearing an upside-down pentagram, rainbow horns, and a flame. (I won't link it, but variations of this shirt are widely available online.)
Now, I know these parades have never been morally edifying, to say the least. But we're dealing with a whole new level of evil now.
Before I go any further here, I would be a jerk and a fool if I didn't admit that I worry about hurting my friend in Nashville and other friends, along with some of my former parishioners and colleagues from my past in parish ministry—people who are already in a lot of pain. I especially regret and seek to avoid further alienation from family members. And so, as a small consolation, I want to quote my friend and former colleague Matthew Petrusek, who has written and spoken in various places on these matters with searing criticism coupled with true charity. His disclaimer is better than any I could come up with:
It's likely you know someone, are related to someone, or maybe even a parent to someone who's in this group. You likely love them very much and they may, indeed, be exceptionally lovable. You certainly don't want to hurt them, and, in fact, that may be the reason you've hesitated to say anything about their professed identity. Setting aside the scurrilous knee-jerk accusations of "hatred" and "phobia" that inevitably accompany any skepticism, or even, ironically, curiosity about the meaning of the Pride movement, the search for clarity should recognize that addressing the topic honestly may cause real, even if unintended, pain to good people. And so it goes without saying, to draw on Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical, that truth must never be separated from charity.
That said, both truth and charity demand at this point that we face up to the connection between the LGBTQ movement and the forces of darkness.
Here's the way I see it now. Obviously not everyone marching in Pride parades is interested in my children or anybody's children. And of course, they're not all Satanists. But I just don't buy that the growth of their movement and normalization of their identity and lifestyle is a mere "coming out," or simply bringing to light what has always been confined to the shadows.
The number of LGBTQ adults has doubled in just ten years, with staggering numbers among 18-25 year-olds (21%). The number of transgender youth has doubled in five years. There is objectively some kind of rapid social contagion at work, and from a Catholic perspective, especially in light of the explicit Satanic messaging of at least some portion of the LGBTQ movement, it appears to be more like a sudden-onset possession.
Christians have forgotten how to evangelize pagans, and mainstream scientism has made us ignorant of spiritual warfare. It is therefore no surprise that we are stuck in the same long retreat that we have been in since at least the late 1960s, always trying to adapt our message to the Zeitgeist, or at least congratulating ourselves for our winsomeness and our avoidance of making a fuss. Meanwhile, things are getting much worse, much faster. We can't stand by anymore when the door to our public square is kicked open wider to the Enemy and his servants every June. I'm not sanguine about victory, but we shouldn't just surrender. Let's strategize.
One simple message that I saw emerge this year for the first time in my memory is the wider promotion of June as the month of the Sacred Heart, complete with flags. Because Pride is both so sacrosanct and so ubiquitous, suggesting the celebration of anything else during this month will appear counter-cultural. And we must appear counter-cultural now. The USCCB's invitation to pray an act of reparation on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart—something which emerged from the scandal at Dodger Stadium—ought to become normal for Catholics as one activity that resists the flow of progress.
Moreover, clearly the Target and Bud Light boycotts are working. After so many failed attempts over the years, it's finally time for Catholics to be the people whose money is not available to companies that promote anti-Christian values. In the political arena, it should go without saying that we must keep up the fight to remove inappropriate books from school libraries, maintain parental rights over the whims of confused children, and generally foster the traditional family.
Finally, protests like the one against the sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in Los Angeles may have to become de rigeur. Catholic men, in particular, ought to organize and make their peaceful presence felt at Pride marches in every city, every year from now on. We see what happens when we evacuate the public square, and even a small but predictable presence may change Satan's calculus.
I don't think I'll be going back to write at the IKEA café. I'm grateful for a more stable perch these days, where no rainbow flags fly. But as Pride month winds down, I'm resisting the temptation just to be rid of it on July 1 and move on. Instead, I'm imagining what next year may hold, and I encourage all Catholics to do the same.
St. Paul tells us, "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).
The time for valor in this struggle has only just begun.
Andrew Petiprin. "The war for the soul of the world." Catholic World Report (June 27, 2023).
Reprinted with permission from Catholic World Report.
Andrew Petiprin is a former Episcopal priest, and is the author of the book Truth Matters: Knowing God and Yourself. He came into full communion with the Catholic Church with his wife and children on January 1, 2019. Andrew is a lifelong Christian, was a Marshall Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford from 2001-2003, and was a Fellow at the Word on Fire Institute for several years. Andrew and his family live in Plano, Texas.Copyright © 2023 Catholic World Report
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