Patricia Nell Warren

The Rainbow Belongs to Everybody

Filed By Patricia Nell Warren | December 22, 2010 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: NOM, rainbow coalitions, rainbow symbol, symbol of hope

There is just no end to the arrogance, stupidity and pettiness of extremists on the religious right. image001.gifNow NOM is insisting that the LGBT movement has "wrongfully appropriated" the symbol of the rainbow. No doubt they're outraged by the latest rainbow thing going viral on the Web -- that one that celebrates the end of DADT. According to NOM, the rainbow should rightfully be belong to Prop 8 supporters and Religious Right activists because "the rainbow is a sign of God's covenant with man." According to NOM, "a rainbow coalition of people of every creed and color" is moving to stop the "gathering storm" of gay-rights advocates.

Well, good luck to ya, all you Xrighters, in your war to "take back the rainbow."

The rainbow belonged to the Jews, and their own concept of a covenant, for thousands of years before Christians came along. And the world over, many Jews support human rights for LGBT people because they know what it means to be persecuted.

Digging deeper into our Western cultural roots, I find rainbows in the myths of pre-Christian Greeks and Romans. Looking further, across the Americas, I see the rainbow in Navajo sand paintings and Hopi kachinas. I see it in ledger art of the Plains Tribes. Indeed, indigenous peoples of our own continents have been celebrating the rainbow for countless thousands of years -- on their pottery, in their ancient rock art. And they continue to do it today, with rainbows on their tribal flags, their jewelry, their own political symbols.

Further still -- the rainbow has been alive and well in Asia. China, for instance, where they had a ceremonial Rainbow Dance and their ancient "rainbow callibraphy." In Australia and West Africa, the great "rainbow serpent" is something like a universal dragon to be celebrated by indigenous peoples.

I could go on and on with examples. In fact, scholars have written weighty tomes about the rainbow as a spiritual and cultural force around the world.

As to Rainbow Coalitions today, that political idea has proliferated too -- far beyond the X right's petty notion that they have a right to control it. Whether it's the Rainbow Warrior ship operated by Greenpeace, or the Rainbow Push Coalition run by the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.

So good luck, you NOMers, in your efforts to pry our fingers loose from the rainbow. You'll have to pry loose a lot of other fingers too -- billions of them, in fact. Rainbows are found all over the world. They've have been coming and going with the stormclouds ever since there were human eyes and human spirits around to look at them. Rainbows belong to everybody. They're needed by everybody.

If humans have a right to any one thing, they have a right to rainbows, no matter what their ideology or philosophy is. When everything else can be taken from us, and often is, we humans need a rainbow. We always have...and we always will.


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Rev. Jesse Jackson's 1984 Presidential run popularized the "Rainbow Coalition" phrase. A San Francisco gay activist took that rainbow flag and added a hot pink stripe to make the modern LBGTQ flag.

With all due respect, this is a silly and irrelevant discussion. The "Wizard of Oz" settled the whole rainbow ownership issue some 75 or so years ago!

Yes, indeed. We friends of Dorothy have known this for a long time.

Yes, this is a silly discussion -- unless someone is trying to copyright or trademark/servicemark the rainbow. I doubt that it can be legally claimed at this point because it is so commonly in the public domain, but a specific logo using the rainbow might be copyright-able.

This debate is too similar to the notion that African-Americans "own" the phrase "civil rights" because of the 1960's movement in America -- an idea that is contradictory in itself, because "civil rights" are ideally rights that every citizen has, including blacks, just as "human rights" are rights that every human should have.

By the way, how many readers have noticed that the current NBC peacock logo uses the same colors as the gay rights rainbow flag, except in a different order -- if you slide each peacock wing to the oppposite side, the colors will be in gay rainbow flag order. And I am confident that the NBC peacock has been trademarked.

So that settles this stupid bruhaha -- the rainbow is owned by the NBC peacock!

I loved that! Thanks, Patricia- I'm linking it from my page....

I'll admit. I was confused when I was coming out about the whole rainbow thing. My first thought was, "We have a religious image as our standard?" and my second was "Has anyone told Jesse Jackson?" LOL

Maybe it's my upbringing, but I always associate rainbow flags with the gays but real rainbows with Noah's ark.

I remember the rainbow being a gay symbol way back before I even knew it was a religious symbol. Shows you what kind of upbringing I had... actually, it doesn't.

What about the unicorns? Can we at least keep those in open domain? (crosses fingers)

Sure, the rainbow is a symbol of God's covenant with man. But it has nothing to do with the mythic delusion about destroying the world by flood as propounded by these spiritually dead pieces of yammering soulless meat.

Know this. God's covenant with humanity is to bring this entire planet to a magnificent destiny of total interpersonal love cemented by total erotic freedom.

We are God's chosen people to lead the world into this new age. The religious, government, military, political, economic, and like oppressors and bigots know that we have seen the falsehood in all they think and do and henceforward deny to them a role in advancing human society.

It is our task to build a new social structure based on Love, Truth, and Trust, because the old is no longer worthy of our effort to maintain its delusions and tolerate its frauds. To do this, we must show all that we truly are the "Sure Fire Winners".

This Christmas remember that this is originally a pagan holiday, dedicated to "sex, drugs, and rock & roll". But also remember that pleasure, especially sexual and erotic pleasure, is a great gift to humanity, for here we experience the true reality of divine love free from the sophistries and guilts of false theologies and asinine moralities.

And remind your self-identified "christian" friends that the incarnate god was a party animal who hung out with prostitutes and publicans and wished nothing to do with "straight society" because they just didn't "get it" and never would.

And this is the REAL GOOD NEWS:

Party on, dudes!
Be excellent to each other!

I'm reading this and being forced to listen to week five of the Christmas radio carol onslaught, and wondering how long it will be before someone in the religious right decides to "reclaim Christmas" by sanitizing carols ("Don we now our gay apparel," "make the yuletide gay," etc.).

It feels weird knowing that at one time, I would have laughed at the notion.

The International Co-operative Alliance, which has consultative status at the United Nations, has been using the rainbow as its emblem for almost a century. Until recently, their emblem was a seven striped rainbow flag which they adopted as official in 1925. Now, however, their logo is of a rainbow, one end of which dissolves into multicolored doves.
http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/int-ica.html#1925

Yeah, my mother thinks the rainbow is all about god's promise to Noah.

Let them grasp at their straws. They need something to be outraged and to blame the gays for all the time.

Another fruitless endeavor for NOM? Good Grief. Maybe we should rally the troops and take back the fish symbol the religious righters sacredly plant on the back windows and bumpers of their cars. I'm sure Long John Silver's would like it back.

The rainbow always make me think of our community.

This year it also made me think of the double rainbow guy "Bear" Vasquez. And the song Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows. Maybe this is a sign that I'm a tad overwrought about the upcoming holiday.


Thanks Patricia, always love your posts.

Science fiction fans did that a long time ago. Take a good look at them when you see them - occasionally you'll see one with feet (Darwin fish).

Paul Neuwirth | December 24, 2010 12:30 AM

Great article, Patricia....and, I'm STILL waiting for Hollywood to make The Front Runner into a movie!