While I was out driving yesterday, I noticed a rainbow icthys fish on the back window of someone's SUV. Since the icthys fish is normally used as a symbol for Christianity, I was somewhat surprised to see it combined with a symbol of homosexual acceptance--the rainbow.
Then I began to wonder, why do we associate the rainbow with homosexual activism and gay pride? According to Wikipedia:
The rainbow flag, sometimes called 'the freedom flag', has been used as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride since the 1980s. The different colors symbolize diversity in the gay community, and the flag is often used as a symbol of gay pride in gay rights marches. It originated in the United States, but is now used around the world.
The rainbow flag was first used to symbolize gay pride and diversity by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker; as of 2003, it currently consists of six colored stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. It is most commonly flown with the red stripe on top, as the colors appear in a natural rainbow.
What makes all of this interesting is the biblical symbolism of the rainbow. While God saved those on the ark, he destroyed all other life through the flood as judgment for humanity's wickedness and rebellion against God. After this purification, God makes a covenant with Noah:
And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between meant you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh" (Genesis 9:12-15).
Today the meaning is inverted. Instead of recognizing God's gracious covenant, people display the rainbow as a symbol of disobedience to God. But there is hope, and it is by recognizing that an ark continues to be available today:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him (1 Peter 3:18-22).
By being in Christ--by joining in his death, burial, and resurrection--we will no longer face the wrath of God due to our sinfulness. This is true of homosexuals as well: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, emphasis added).
Let us reclaim the meaning of the rainbow, recognizing that it points to the One symbolized in the icthys fish, Jesus Christ. Maybe the two symbols do belong together after all.