Some Churches To Offer "Glitter Ashes" On Ash Wednesday To Support LGBT Rights

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Feb 17, 2017 12:35 PM
Some Churches To Offer "Glitter Ashes" On Ash Wednesday To Support LGBT Rights

Some churches will be distributing "glitter ashes" on Ash Wednesday to show a "progressive Christian witness" in support and solidarity with LGBTQ members of the faith. Normally, the ashes distributed on Ash Wednesday are made from burning the palms distributed on Palm Sunday the year before, but the organization parity is selling ashes that have been pre-mixed with purple glitter to various faith communities.

The website for glitter ashes describes glitter as a "sign of hope" and "signals our promise to repent, to show up, to witness, to work." It says that the presence of glitter ashes will "breathe fresh life" into liturgy.

This, of course, isn't the point of Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is not about a person as an individual. It is not about making statements, or showing support, or any of that. It's a day of confronting one's own mortality, being reminded to repent, and to prepare oneself for Lent and Easter. There's hardly a more humbling phrase than "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." We are all dust, regardless of our sexual orientations. An ash cross is not supposed to be a billboard for virtue signaling--there's no requirement to even keep them on one's forehead after receiving. (And in Europe, ashes are merely sprinkled over someone, not applied to the forehead.) This "glitter ash" movement is attempting to hijack a religious observance and twist it for one's own causes. That is not appropriate.

Ash Wednesday is a beautiful observance, when treated properly and done with respect and reverence for what is being commemorated. (You're not off the hook either, ashes-to-go stations.) This is none of that. As Christians, we should be treating all LGBT people with respect for their inherent human dignity--but that doesn't mean we should be changing millennia-old tradition, either.