This year’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) concluded earlier this morning and the biggest prize of the night – Video of the Year – went to Taylor Swift for her Pride-themed video “You Need To Calm Down”.
In case you haven’t watched the rainbow-hued, kitschy music video, Swift takes a dig at those who speak up against homosexuality.
“You need to calm down, you’re being too loud, ” she sings.
There’s a wedding ceremony between two men, and the video ends off with a call for her followers to sign a petition in support of the Equality Act.
Reviewing Swift’s video which dropped on June 17 during Pride month, Craig Jenkins of Vulture wondered “Where Is Taylor Swift Going With This?”:
“People want to know if she’s glomming onto these issues to kill the complaint that she was calculatedly apolitical at a junction in world affairs where her voice was needed, if she’s just another business seeking woke points for adopting a rainbow filter in the month of June…”
However unclear her intentions are, it’s clear that there are points to be earned for standing on the popular side of culture. And Swift’s video and its latest win at the VMAs is a reminder which is the popular side.
To be pro-LGBTQ+ is quickly becoming the only appropriate response because anything else means intolerance and is simply uncool.
NO WOKE POINTS FOR YOU
In a widely publicised case a few years ago, a bakery in Belfast, Northern Ireland, lost a ton of woke points over a decision that was made.
A Christian-run business, the bakers refused a customer’s request for a cake with the words “support gay marriage” on it because it was a message they “profoundly disagreed” with.
That earned them a lawsuit.
The Gospel divides those who desire to obey God and those who don’t because it demands a certain way of living.
A judge in the Belfast high court originally ruled that the family-owned baking company was guilty of discriminating against Gareth Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation. However, this ruling was reversed by the UK supreme court last year.
“The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage, but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed,” The Guardian reported Lady Hale, one of the five justices on the UK supreme court, as saying.
“This court has held that nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe…” Hale said, citing Article 10 of the European convention on human rights which includes the right “not to express an opinion which one does not hold”.
The decision by the bakers doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to respond. Or that it’s the best way to do it.
THE GOSPEL WILL DIVIDE
But let’s face the facts: When it comes to the cultural front, sometimes we simply aren’t going to be able to score woke points if we want to hold to our beliefs.
Are we okay with that?
The Gospel divides those who desire to obey God and those who don’t because it demands a certain way of living. God has designs for our human living, and He gives instructions on it for our flourishing.
The person who decides to become a disciple of Jesus Christ accepts the invitation to go on a journey of transformation. It’s neither linear nor easy.
The standards of God are such that a person who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery in his heart. And that we should love even those who don’t love us (Matthew 5).
And we’ll hear this refrain a lot: Obey God.
In things big and small, issues contentious and straightforward, seen and unseen: Obey God.
WE’LL HAVE TO CHOOSE
How we respond to God’s moral law is our choosing. Becoming a Christian is a process, an everyday choice.
We’ll need the Holy Spirit’s help because on our own, there’s no way we have enough strength to choose God’s ways over ours.
Peter made the bold promise before Jesus asked him in return: “Will you really lay your life down for me?” (John 13:37-38)
Jesus knew that Peter was going to stumble, and He broke the news to Peter that he was going to deny Jesus three times before daybreak.
Later when asked if he was a disciple of Jesus, Peter denied his master, three times.
How will we fare?
Have you ever tried to imagine worst-case scenarios where you may be asked to renounce your faith or deny God?
“God doesn’t give hypothetical grace for our hypothetical nightmare situation. He only gives us grace for our actual situation.” – Kathy Keller
Author Sam Allberry adds on to Keller’s point in his book 7 Myths About Singleness: “The point is that when we imagine all those worst-case scenarios, we are imagining them without factoring in the presence and grace of God that would be there if they actually happened.”
If the future feels all too scary and uncertain, lean then on the presence and grace of God (Hebrews 4:16).
The hand of God is available for us to hold, for each next step, until we see Him face to face.
“I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The author’s name has been changed for confidentiality.
- What are your beliefs on same-sex attraction and same-sex marriage?
- How can you show love to others who may not hold the same beliefs?
- Is there any area of your life where you’re struggling with obedience to God?