July 31, 2015
On the day the Supreme Court forced same-sex marriage on the country, supporters waved rainbow flags in the streets. (see What Is Love?) Facebook enabled a transparent rainbow icon to be placed over your profile picture in celebration. Within hours, the administration changed the lighting scheme on the White House to that of a rainbow. Interestingly enough, it took them 5 days to lower the flag to half mast when 1 navy and 4 marine recruiters were gunned down by a terrorist just 2 weeks ago. It’s an intriguing time for what we take pride in.
Whether these proud advocates realize it or not, their use of the rainbow is a deeper rejection of God than they ever imaged.
To understand this we must examine the significance of the rainbow by going back to the beginning. Most people, religious or not, are familiar with Noah and the Flood story. Over 500 cultures in every nook and cranny of the globe have a world-wide flood account. Many skeptics argue the fable started in one ancient culture and was passed around to other societies. In basically all the tales, there is a hero who saves some people on a boat. Most refer to animals, food storage and a sacrifice made by the hero at the end. At the time the original tale was supposedly spread, there were no books, no phones, no Internet. They didn’t move around much and even if they did they were not dragging along stone tablets. Epics were passed down entirely by oral tradition for thousands of years. Civilizations existed all across the globe. The only way for a Middle Eastern story this ancient to flourish, even in the most isolated tribes in Africa and the Americas, was if there was a common genesis between all these cultures. Many skeptics want to dismiss the flood story as just legend with no basis in reality, but logic would dictate that with so many cultures having this particular story, no matter the region of the world, would serve to validate the story, not forsake it. The flood account had to be passed down from father to son, grandparents to grandchildren, starting with the group that lived through it.
Thanks to Walt Disney, many of us know and love such wonderful fairy tales as Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and many more. Growing up I believed, as most do, that Disney and his company developed these wonderful tales. It is well-known to those aware of the history of Disney, Walt adapted those stories from the Grimm Brothers’ fairytales. Most stop there, though, crediting Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm as the original authors. Just because the Grimms were the first to write the stories down doesn’t mean they were the inventors of the fairytales either. Those who do their own research discover Jacob and Wilhelm spent years gathering these long-held regional fables from the community. They simply put these pre-existing stories into print.
It is relevant to note even well-known local fairytales didn’t become widely told until the Grimm Brothers and the printing press gave them the ability to spread across the globe. This again gives more support that the flood story was not just a fable but an actual event experienced by common ancestors of all cultures. I use this example to illustrate that sometimes you have to dig a little deeper and a little harder to understand the whole truth.
This can be said about the Noah account. Many attribute its origin to the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, commenting on the specific Babylonian version from the Sumerian region. What is interesting is that Babylon was in modern day Iraq, about 30 miles from Bagdad. It was settled by Cush (which means “Let us rebel”). Cush was Noah’s grandson. His father was Ham, who along with Noah was one of the few survivors of the flood when he boarded the ark. Even so, he rejected both Noah and God’s authority, passing down his rebellion to his son Cush who extended it to Nimrod. At the time of Nimrod, the people of Babylon said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4) After God saw what they were doing, He said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” At this point he split their language so they could not communicate and spread them over the world. And with them, the people took their histories.
So, it is no surprise to me that the Babylonians and surrounding Sumerian area would have an amazing amount of consistency with the Noah story. Just as it is no surprise that they have just as many errors when compared to the Biblical narrative. The important part is that we can connect Babylon directly to Noah and his descendants, albeit rebellious ones, where many place the beginning of the tale.
Just like with the Grimm stories, there are similarities throughout the different versions of the flood account, but they do get distorted the further they get away from the source. It is like a game of telephone where one whispers a phrase or sentence into another’s ear, who passes it on until you get back to the source. It never comes back the same. Though many of the flood narratives have a hero who built an ark and saved a few remnants of mankind from a catastrophic flood, the reasoning for the disaster has two major differences between God-fearing religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and other cultures. One, God spoke directly to Moses who then recorded the world’s history from Creation. All other accounts were passed down by oral history from generation to generation which, as already discussed, led to inaccuracies and errors. Even if Moses’ personal knowledge of the story was incorrect, God rectified any mistakes giving Moses a complete and precise depiction of history.
Second, God revealed how He became disgusted and infuriated enough with man's immorality that He decided to destroy the ungodly people. Finding faithfulness in Noah, God spared him and his family from the annihilation of creation hoping to start over with a righteous leader. All other cultures in some form or another excuse mankind for their role in the cause of the flood. Blame is often placed on the selfishness of the gods of the culture while crediting the hero as being either a partial god or gaining immortality. Even Hollywood butchered the story in a recent “Noah” movie turning it into an agenda driven, global warming propaganda piece. They depicted Noah as a hateful man, disgusted with God and mankind, who almost murders his own grandchild, who did not even exist at the time of the flood. Not wanting to admit that we are a sinful, unrighteous, immoral people, we ignore and deny the truth in efforts to sooth our own ego.
After God destroyed all life outside of those preserved on the Ark and the rain stopped, He promised Noah that He would never again pass such judgment on His creation regardless of how immoral and unrepentantly sinful they became. He attached that promise to the rainbow so whenever we look at it we should remember not only God’s promise that He would never destroy the world with a flood again, but also the reason for the flood in the first place. God’s promise in the flood story is another similarity consistent across cultural lines.
Which leads us to the rewriting of history and meaning of the rainbow. About 150 years ago, homosexuals began using bright colors to communicate their preferences to others. They would often wear such items as a green carnation, yellow socks, or a pink triangle, a symbol adopted from the Holocaust mark homosexuals were forced to wear.
Judy Garland, a huge supporter of the LGBT community, fostered a rainbow connection to the group. Gay men flocked to her performances where “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” became a cult classic for the movement. After World War II, many started referring to themselves as “friends of Dorothy,” a reference to Judy’s role in “The Wizard of Oz.” Judy was reported as saying, “When I die I have visions of fags singing ‘Over the Rainbow’ and the (American) flag at Fire Island being flown at half mast.” It would be another 9 years after her death before the now popular rainbow flag was designed for the colorful community.
In the late 1970’s artist Gilbert Baker of San Francisco combined several bright colors used by the LGBT community as an 8 striped flag. Each color had it’s own significance: pink = sex, red = life, orange = healing, yellow = sunlight, green = nature, blue = art, indigo = harmony, and violet = the human spirit. Hot pink was often hard for flag makers to find so Baker dropped it. He also dropped indigo, or unity, to make the number of stripes even. It seems appropriate as the LGBT has been demonstrating anything but unity with others as their protests, demands, and lawsuits against those who choose to hold differing religious views. And thus, the rainbow flag was born.
By using the rainbow as their trademark, the LGBT community is taking a symbol of forgiveness and hope for eternal life despite our sins, and is shoving it right back into God’s face. And like the original story of Noah, the more this story is told the more it changes the original meaning. God is very clear when he states, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22) “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13) It’s like they are taunting God with their sin, rather than asking forgiveness. It is the adulteress proud of her cheating.
Liberty, man has been rejecting God’s rainbow promise since Ham stepped off the Ark. As much as it pains my heart to see this willful repudiation, it is actually an opportunity for us to share the message of God with those celebrating their sin. They are now out in the open with it. Let us be, too. We as Christians must utilized the door that God has opened for us. It starts with the phrase, “Let me tell you what the rainbow means to a dying world.”
With the help of the Holy Spirit, you may very well make a rainbow connection with a lost soul searching for a lifesaving promise.
That’s my 2 cents.
THE RAINBOW CONNECTION