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A Celebration of Deviance

The Bible is hard on pride: It is the pathway to destruction (Prov. 16:18); the Lord simply hates it (Prov. 8:13)—and at this point, we’re merely talking about normal pride, the pride one takes in enviable capacities or laudatory achievement. But now, an astonishing new form of pride has emerged, pride in the abnormal, the defective, and the woeful.

Friederich Nietzsche is notorious for demeaning the Christian virtues of meekness, gentleness, kindness, and patience. He championed the prideful, intimidating “Superman,” the sort of fictional creature upon which Hitler could project his “Aryan” fantasies. This was pride run amok, but neither Nietzsche nor Hitler could have imagined how much further and more strangely pride could run. Who could have foreseen pride in the practice of sodomy?

Type “gay pride” into any Internet search engine, and you will find myriad sites touting this perspective. But one has only to observe a single “gay pride” parade to marvel at how anyone could find cause for satisfaction in the spectacle; it both exhibits and celebrates debauchery, and television newscasts either cannot or will not provide full coverage. The images are too revolting—or too damaging to the media’s warm relationship with the homosexual community.

Of course, there is great sadness to the movement. Men and women have felt the sting of social disapproval (and perhaps conscience), and now they strive mightily to counter the stigma, assuring themselves and the community that their lifestyle is defensible, even wonderful. It is a pitiful phenomenon, but it is not benign. For in their headlong rush to justify themselves, they trample standards of human well-being and decency.

The affirmation of mental illness is the latest absurdity in this program. “Mad Pride” was born when a number of mentally ill persons visited a “gay pride” festival and were impressed. They are now “committed to ending discrimination against psychiatric patients and glorifying madness in all its forms”;1 they announce that they are “Glad to be Mad.”

Both the gay pride and the mad pride movements insist that we treat the abnormal as if it were normal and healthy. These are stark illustrations of Western culture’s desire to discard the concepts of normality and deviancy, replacing them with a happy plurality of self-expressions.

Pride is one of the “deadly sins,” but today it enjoys such acclaim that we may announce the reign of “pride pride.” Citizens parade about in their various prides, daring anyone to utter a critical or discouraging word. Indeed, the other deadly sins are fodder for new movements. For gluttony, we already have a “fat pride” movement.2 Can “anger pride,” “greed pride,” and “sloth pride” be far behind? Quite likely, when “pagan pride” is already abroad in the land.3

In Bible terms, normal pride goes before a fall, whether it be the fall of an individual or a nation. By extension, we may say that pride in the abnormal is the very expression of that fall, the sign that the collapse is already underway.


Mad Pride Website, (accessed August 11, 2003).


Uppity Women Magazine Website, (accessed August 11, 2003).


The Pagan Pride Project Website, (accessed August 11, 2003).