LGBTQ Advocates Offer Glitter Ash For Lent

By Jeff Walton Published on February 16, 2017

For those that didn’t think anything could subvert the solemnity of Ash Wednesday more than “Ashes to Go,” think again.

Proclaiming “the need for progressive Christian witness has never been more urgent,” a New York-based LGBTQ advocacy group with roots in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has launched “Glitter+Ash”. Parity characterizes glitter ash as a way for churches observing Ash Wednesday to incorporate pro-LGBTQ advocacy into the beginning of the 40-day Lenten season.

Formerly known as Presbyterian Welcome, Parity aims to “support emerging LGBTQ pastors (the forerunners of historical policy change) as they live into their callings” and to “empower LGBTQ and allied young people to integrate their spiritual, gender and sexual identities.”

But while the Christian church has historically understood the imposition of ashes as a sign of penance, an LGBTQ group sees it as an opportunity for advocacy.

The group explains that it seeks to “create a world where gender or sexual identity are not barriers to living the whole, full lives that we are called to by God.”

Christians in liturgical traditions apply ashes made from palm branches blessed on Palm Sunday, placing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

But while the Christian church has historically understood the imposition of ashes as a sign of penance, Parity sees it as an opportunity for advocacy.

“We will be seen,” the Glitter Ash web site announces. “Glitter is like love. It’s irresistible and irrepressible. “

Parity offers a web site for Glitter Ash, planning to list participating churches, an explanation of the newly-updated practice and instructions on how to impose ashes, along with  a handout to distribute to those who receive Glitter+Ash on Ash Wednesday. The site also promises suggestions for liturgy and prayers, soliciting input from those authoring their own liturgy.

“Offering glitter ashes will present an opportunity to breathe fresh life into your liturgy, recapture the surprise in the Christian message, and draw new people into your worship,” Parity promises.

What About Repentance from Sin?

Repentance from sin is not mentioned, but participants can order ashes mixed with glitter for a suggested donation of $10.

“Ashes are a statement that death and suffering are real,” the site explains. “Glitter is a sign of our hope, which does not despair. Glitter signals our promise to repent, to show up, to witness, to work. Glitter never gives up — and neither do we.”

The group urges participants to get the ashes early, wear them all day, and make a short video to distribute on social media about glitter ash using the hashtag #GlitterAshWednesday.

Reporting that glitter “is an inextricable element of queer history” Parity says it is a display of “gritty, scandalous hope.”

“We make ourselves fabulously conspicuous, giving offense to the arbiters of respectability that allow coercive power to flourish,” the site explains, categorizing the combination of glitter and ashes as “an inherently queer sign of Christian belief.”

While Parity celebrates its glitter innovation for Ash Wednesday, the group also asserts that early church fathers would approve as participants “stand witness to the gritty, glittery, scandalous hope that exists in the very marrow of our tradition”:

“During Lent, Christians look inward and take account in order to move forward with greater health. At this moment in history, glitter ashes will be a powerful reminder of St. Augustine’s teaching that we cannot despair because despair paralyzes, thwarting repentance and impeding the change that we are called to make.”


Originally published on Juicy Ecumenism, February 15, 2016 and is reprinted with permission.

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  • Christian Cowboy

    They can explain it all before God someday. I will let Him handle it.

  • Dean Bruckner

    “But while the Christian church has historically understood the imposition of ashes as a sign of penance, Parity sees it as an opportunity for advocacy.”

    No doubt. But purity, not parity, is what is needed.

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” — Jesus, Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5

  • Dean Bruckner

    There is nothing that LGBTQ* activists will not corrupt. Why not start their own religious movement, with their own liturgies, instead of twisting to evil the ones that already exist and are treasured by people? Why not respect the virtues and lives of others?

    The answer is that this mindset is parasitic. It has no power to create; it is equipped only to subvert. This is moral and spiritual sickness, not health.

  • Gary

    Sigh. I do wish these perverts would stop trying to attach themselves to Christianity.

  • Autrey Windle

    Could this be another ‘mark of the beast’? Just wonderin’…

  • Triple T

    This could not possibly be more blasphemous

  • LYoung

    Of course, I just had to say it, ‘All that glitters is not gold’. This foolishness will pass away and I pray repentance comes swiftly for so many deluded by Satan.

  • Deplorable Rican ☨ʳᵉᵈᵉᵉᵐᵉᵈ

    So the degenerate alphabets have had our Lord’s sacrifice all about their perversion…why aren’t I surprised?

  • Braden_Campbell

    This is so Hell-bound, it’s laughable.

  • eddiestardust

    More Anti-Catholic Crap:( I don’t always go but maybe this year I will now!

  • shawnbm

    Very creative, but more subversive to the call of the Lord on Ash Wednesday.

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