It’s Pride month, most companies have adorned their social media accounts with some version of the LGBT flag, and now Taylor Swift has written a new song and produced an entire music video for the occasion. But more than celebrating Pride, this new music video clearly reveals what Swift and many other LGBT supporters think of those with different convictions.
The title of this new anthem is: You Need to Calm Down. Just listening to its catchy tune and playful lyrics probably won’t raise any red flags, save for a few lines such as:
...control your urges to scream
About all the people you hate
‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay
But watching Swift’s accompanying video paints a striking picture.
Being an LGBT positive video you see all the images expected and every letter represented. We also see the antagonist several times throughout the video, and it becomes apparent how the Christian is featured. Spoilers, here is what we look like:
Could this representation accurately portray some Christians today? Absolutely. Does it include trite sayings and stereotypes? Of course.
But the message this video is sending goes far deeper than the outlandish characters representing the Church. Swift is saying:
Those who hold to Biblical sexuality are wrong, hateful, foolish, simpleminded “morans” that just need to “calm down” and stop speaking up.
How will a teenager or 20-something, Swift’s main demographic, interpret this message? I imagine these thoughts won’t be far off:
I’m on the wrong side.
I don’t hate LGBT people, maybe I should reconsider my beliefs.
All the Christians in this video are old and out of touch, that’s not me.
At the end of the music video, two young people on the “Christian” side, even choose to lay down their signs, representing their convictions, and join the festivities.
This portrayal of LGBT VS Christians has an even more dangerous presupposition: It is impossible to love someone AND declare their actions are wrong.
Taylor Swift, along with popular culture at large want you to believe that loving someone means to accept everything they do and never claim their actions are wrong or sinful. Culture is writing new equations that don’t adhere to truth, namely:
Love = Accepting all lifestyles
Hate = Disagreeing with any lifestyle
But this is not reality. We all have family and friends in our lives where we wholeheartedly disagree with their actions and believe they are wrong.
It is possible to disagree with a person’s choices and actions, yet still love them.
If you had a close friend whose chronic gambling put them at risk of losing their house, family, and everything else, would you not plead with them to stop? Would it not be irresponsible to ignore their behavior, or worse, affirm it?
What if your child identified as an all-F’s student? Would it be loving to allow your daughter or son to fail every test, neglect all study, and bypass all homework because that’s what felt good to them?
Or a family member choosing to drive wildly on their motorcycle and refusing to wear a helmet or any protective gear. Would it be loving to ignore these practices and even encourage they continue?
Yet in all these scenarios, addressing the issue directly and disagreeing with the person’s actions does not mean you hate, loathe, or are disgusted by the person.
You can calmly and lovingly, disagree.
Christians: Be reminded of what the Apostle Paul said about genuine, Godly love. His words seem eerily applicable to today:
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
- Romans 12:9-10, 14-16
Remember, genuine love is not laying aside the truth or laying aside your convictions for the sake of acceptance. We do not hate, slander, or insult anyone, but we must hold fast to Biblical standards lest we break the greatest commandment: Love the Lord your God.
Do not believe the lie that you must affirm someone’s lifestyle to love them. Do not think you are foolish or hateful standing for truth. You can calmly disagree, and when asked about the hope that is in you, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
For further discussion on genuine love, Pride month and the Christian response, please listen to the latest Freemind podcast episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to shows.