Criticism and demands for an apology have followed in the wake of a Canadian Catholic priest's claims that the rainbow flag
- hoisted by LGBTQ-friendly businesses, carried by celebrants at Pride events, and worn as emblems of pride by LGBTQs the world over — is the diabolical work of none other than the Prince of Darkness, reports Canadian newspaper The Star Calgary.
The Rev. Jerome Lavigne — an anti-LGBTQ cleric who works with children in publicly funded schools and has ties to white nationalists — made the startling claim, opining that the flag is simply "too ingenious" for any human being to have conceived. Lavigne is the vicar of education for the Catholic Diocese of Calgary, and he works with young children and middle schoolers in public schools to prepare them for confirmation into the Catholic faith. However, the newspaper noted, Lavigne also has ties to white nationalists.
The newspaper reported on a pair of controversial sermons delivered by Lavigne. Both sermons have since been deleted from diocesan online accounts, but the first — delivered in February of this year — was titled "The Rainbow" and, media sources report, included claims that Satan himself had created the Pride flag. The sermon also asserted that the flag was a "sacrilege" that constituted "spitting and laughing in God's face."
In another sermon, "Origins of Evil," delivered in September, Lavigne slammed the argument by LGBTQs and their supporter that "God made me this way," The Star Calgary reported.
"These kinds of comments make it open season on LGBTQ youth, saying it's OK to openly discriminate against them," noted MacEwan University's Kristopher Wells, whose area of expertise is "sexual and gender minority youth."
Added Wells, "It's not fine to bring those beliefs into a public school environment."
Critics have demanded that Lavigne be replaced as vicar of education and that the diocese issue an apology. However, while the Bishop of Calgary did issue a statement, any trace of contrition over Lavigne's comments was conspicuously absent, noted the newspaper.
Those who know their LGBTQ history or bother to look up the flag's origins at Wikipedia will find the idea that Satan conjured up the Pride flag an extraordinary one. San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker, along with Lynn Segerblom and James McNamara, devised the rainbow-themed Pride flag in 1978, selecting a palette of colors that represent an array of affirming and positive qualities such as Healing, Nature, and Serenity. Those with an appreciation of historical facts may also recall that the original Pride flag featured eight colors, rather than the current six-color version; the pink stripe was dropped from the original design due to a lack of availability, and the indigo and turquoise bands were replaced with a single royal blue stripe.
Moreover, for a diabolical notion hatched by a nearly-omnipotent supernatural being, the Pride flag seems curiously incomplete. Only recently have efforts to address dissatisfaction with the traditional flag's supposed lack of diversity gained much traction, resulting in at least two proposed redesigns.
A deep dive into the flag's history also reveals a probable inspiration for the flag in the five-striped multicolor "Flag of the Races," which activists unfurled in the 1960s in support of full racial parity.
Of course, those with an anti-LGBTQ or white nationalist point of view might well condemn a flag promoting racial harmony right along with the rainbow-themed Pride flag.
This is hardly the first time a Catholic cleric has reacted in an extreme manner to the Pride flag. Earlier this year, an anti-LGBTQ Chicago priest torched a rainbow flag in a bizarre "exorcism rite," as reported at the time here at EDGE.