Christofascist Organization Lays Claim to “Gay” Rainbow

A rainbow for LGBT rights

Rainbows mean many things to many people. For a Heathen like me, a rainbow stands for Bifrost, the bridge that spans this earth we live on – Midgard, or Middle Earth – and Asgard, the abode of the gods in the heavens. According to Gylfaginning 12, it was erected by the gods between the heavens and earth and the Aesir ride over it every day. It is guarded by the god Heimdall (below) and will be destroyed at Ragnarok. It’s not only lovely, but it’s functional, and not at all symbolic of covenants except perhaps as a commitment from the gods to their children. That’s my practical-minded ancestors for you.

Bifrost: A rainbow for Heathen folk

Other ancient cultures had explanations for the rainbow of course. The Greeks also saw the rainbow as a path between Earth and Heaven; the Chinese as a “slit” in the sky which was sealed using stones of five different colors; and the pre-Islamic Pagan Arabs saw it as Qaus Quzaħ in Arabic, or the war bow of the god Quzaħ. I could go on and on.

A rainbow for the Inca

Rainbows are as old as earth’s atmosphere, and doubtless there were tales told of it we will never know, from the time before history came to be written down.

Of course, scientifically speaking, a rainbow is, as Wikipedia tells us,

an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines on to droplets of moisture in the Earth’s atmosphere. It takes the form of a multicoloured arc, with red on the outer part of the arc and violet on the inner section.” It “spans a continuous spectrum of colours; the distinct bands are an artifact of human colour vision.

And obviously, nobody can own a rainbow. I mean, you just can’t. You can’t touch it. You can’t even see it unless you are standing in the right place. To claim you have a right to use a rainbow and nobody else does is absurd, given how many people have found ways in which to use on in their advertising and packaging.

Unless you’re the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), that is. This Christofascist organization has other ideas. They say the nasty old gay rights people have stolen it – from them. Yes, it’s rightfully a Christian symbol, apparently. Maybe this would be a good time to ask for the cross back, since it far predates Christianity – back to the Stone Age, in fact. Think they’ll bite?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, head of the Ruth Institute, a San Marcos, California-based organization and “a project of the National Organization for Marriage” says they ought to have the rainbow, not “the gay lobby” because “the rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant with man.

“Proposition 8 was passed by a great grassroots coalition that included people from all across the religious traditions, and also people of every race and color,” Morse recognizes. “We are the real rainbow coalition. The gay lobby does not own the rainbow.”

I imagine she is talking about the part where God promised Noah not to destroy the earth with another flood in Genesis 9:13–17, rather than the more famous covenant with Moses.

Of course, as I have pointed out above, the rainbow is actually many things to many people, and meant important things to people long before the covenant of which the good doctor speaks. For example, in the far older (2150-2000 BCE) Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet 11) the rainbow is the “jeweled necklace of the Great Mother Ishtar” that she lifts into the sky as a promise that she “will never forget these days of the great flood” that destroyed her children. It goes without saying we can’t privilege one “historical” record over another so we have to accept that the Epic of Gilgamesh tells it like it is:

Then Ishtar arrived. She lifted up the necklace of great jewels that her father, Anu, had created to please her and said, “Heavenly gods, as surely as this jeweled necklace hangs upon my neck, I will never forget these days of the great flood. Let all of the gods except Enlil come to the offering. Enlil may not come, for without reason he brought forth the flood that destroyed my people.”

And yes, of course, the flood is much older than Judaism as well. Just as Christianity “borrowed” from the Paganisms that came before it, so did Judaism from those of previous eras. There is nothing new under the sun – including the rainbow.

We could pursue this course endlessly but it’s really rather silly isn’t it?

Dr. Morse the rainbow was “appropriated” by the LGBT community.

Look at all the uses to which rainbows have been put over the years:

A rainbow for Lucky Charms!

Lots of people use rainbows these days. Leprechauns live at the end of them and Lucky Charms cereal comes immediately to mind. Should General Mills give their rainbow back as well and maybe the Leprechaun along with it for good measure?

Appropriated by the LGBT community, Dr. Morse? Seriously? Seems to me a lot of people have been using the rainbow over the centuries. I begin to suspect that like most fundamentalists, she has not bothered with her history lessons, certainly not with Religion 101. If we’re going to start giving back what’s been taking the list is going to get quite long, and I’m afraid I’m going to be insisting on that cross.

“We can’t simply let that go by. Families put rainbows in their children’s nurseries. Little Christian preschools will have rainbows…Noah’s Ark and all the animals…. Those are great Christian symbols, great Jewish symbols.”

This is where the buzzer sounds – and it sounds an awful lot like a raspberry.  It’s a great symbol period, use by many people for many thousands of years, and in origin, it is no more Christian than the Christmas tree. Dr. Morse, do not collect go, do not collect $200. I don’t think your grubby, bigoted mitts should be allowed to sully a beautiful rainbow.

If you’re ready to read more from the unbossed and unbought Politicus team, sign up for our newsletter here!

16 Replies to “Christofascist Organization Lays Claim to “Gay” Rainbow”

  1. If we’re going to start giving back what’s been taking the list is going to get quite long, and I’m afraid I’m going to be insisting on that cross.

    If Christianity had to give up all the symbols and concepts it took from others, there would be nothing left of it. Look at Christmas — Zoroastrian mythology, Roman practices, Germanic symbols, not a trace of any real connection with Christianity — and yet the modern ignorantsia throw a fit when someone is so deviant as to say “happy holidays”.

    The gay lobby does not own the rainbow.

    And probably doesn’t claim to. They aren’t the ones who want to have exclusive rights and tell other people not to do things.

    It’s noteworthy that NOM doesn’t demand that everyone else who uses the rainbow image “give it back” — only the gays. They don’t want the gays to have anything at all. They don’t want the gays to exist.

  2. I find this very disturbing. Does this mean that all of fish in the ocean belong to the Christians? You can’t drive an inch down here in Knoxville without seeing a fish on the back of someone’s car. There those salmon supper tonight.

    On the other hand, I once sat in the Tyson McGee Airport here in Knoxville and there was a rainbow that was firmly planted on the runway straight out in front of us. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the beginning of a rainbow. I seen no pot of gold, no Lucky charms, I seen no Christians under it, nor did I feel particularly religious when I seen it.

    quite frankly if the Christians want to claim the rainbow for themselves than they should be responsible for its maintenance and upkeep. Perhaps they should pull a Google enfranchise the word rainbow. In any case, screw em

  3. The real issue here is that the militant anti-gay bigots are attempting to label the Gay Pride Flag as a symbol of evil, and even saying that the flag’s association with gay pride makes *all* rainbow imagery inappropriate for children. With this, they are teaching young people that anti-gay discrimination is good. That is the real issue.

  4. I agree that’s an issue as well, but rather as a consequence or a symptom of what I see as the real issue, which is the continuing appropriation of imagery/rituals/etc that Christianity has engaged in for many centuries.

    The same fate befell the Pagan gods (they became dumb idols, or worse, demons as a result) – as well as substituting saints for gods and subverting rituals in honor of those gods, everything that is held to be good by “the Other” is held to be evil by Christianity – Judaism did this too in the post-exilic period when polytheism was being stamped out by the monotheists.

  5. I keep meaning to get one of the little Viking fish you can buy to put on your car.

    And of course, the fish symbol they use is Pagan as well – an ancient fertility symbol. It has been associated with numerous goddesses.

  6. Wow. I’m almost afraid to type anything, not knowing to whom the letters on my keyboard belong.

    To whom would they say the sun belongs? And the ocean? Because if the ocean belongs to god, they had best get their drills outta there ASAP. I can’t see Jesus approving of killing marine life and the ecosystem.

    I think I can work with this belief system and make the point that they need to get their mitts off of everything they try to control. Women’s bodies are next. I’ll close with if God makes all people and he makes gay people then God must not want anyone messing with them. Unless they profess to know more about God’s will than God. Or unless their agenda isn’t really to serve God. Which is it?

    Extremist Christian logic fail.

  7. Epic – exclusivity run amok – this bs is completely contrary to the ideals which under gird a modern liberal democracy.

  8. I am so sick of these people! The Christian’s have stolen all the pagan holidays through the year, now they want the rainbow also, too?
    This is very devious of them. These symbols are archetypes that predate christianity. In a movie (one of Dan Brown’s?) I was shocked to see on a church window the symbols on the Tarot card “the World” the Ram,the eagle,the bull,man! I was like WTF? Go into any church you will see symbols “stolen” from pagan times.
    We can’t let them do this. Symbols are part of everyone’s background from the dawn of man. Hraf, I’m not putting this well, but I’m sure you know what I mean.
    This is downright evil what they are doing.

  9. I agree, it is evil. Absolutely, irredeemably evil. And each time they do it, someone is diminished, disenfranchised, or delegitimized. As a result, everyone is he poorer for it. With this, the gay community is the main target but they wouldn’t be the only ones to suffer as they would go on from this victory to some other symbol or rite – rather like claiming that Islam is not really a religion at all. Only they, apparently, can make that determination.

  10. I was a Rainbow Girl, an offshoot of the Masons, in the 1970s when I started seeing “our” rainbow flag appearing around San Francisco. We thought it meant support for Rainbow Girls. We giggled when we found out it had to do with being gay just because we were teenage girls and teenage girls giggle at that kind of thing. I don’t remember anyone being offended by it. We did want to let them know that their flag was missing the indigo stripe between blue and purple that ours had. Being teenagers, we also thought our way was the right way.

  11. That’s a great story, Cassandra. Like you say, no big deal, no cause for complaint let alone outrage.

    A couple of years ago I had a rainbow decal on my car window – from the Union of Concerned Scientists. I was warned people would think I was gay. I replied that was their problem, not mine.

  12. So by looking at a rainbow you can become gay ho-nos no more rainbows god wants us all to be gay ahahahahahahahahahahaah

  13. Up until the age of twelve, late eleven, actually, I was Christian. But I started to get curious. About…everything. I had always been very much into equal rights, so one day when I heard a Pagan girl crying because her Christain friends had left for being Pagan, I started to research about religions. I found that Christianity made many people’s lifes harder, that the cross wasn’t always a Christian symbol, among other things that weren’t right. So…I left Christianity pretty fast. And guess what? My life is harder because certain Christians constantly tell me to go to hell, or that I’m going to hell.
    As for this whole rainbow thing, up until now I didn’t know that it was at all a Christian symbol. No one has any right to ‘claim’ it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.