The Catholic holy day of Ash Wednesday was hijacked today by over 150 religious leaders, primarily Episcopalian, who wiped purple glitter-infused ashes on their congregants' foreheads to show solidarity with LGBTQ members.
According to the L.A. Times, religious leaders across the country joined in the glitter fest, essentially reducing a day intended as a reflection on mortality to a tacky promotion of social justice.
“I love the concept of not just ashes but glitter for new hope and new life, and just standing up for minorities, for those who are incredibly in distress at these times,” said Iowa pastor Peter Sickels.
Jacob Lupfer of Religion News Service denounced the practice as a cheap sideshow.
“However well-intentioned, Glitter Ash Wednesday is a distraction at best and a sideshow at worst,” wrote Jacob Lupfer. “I find it hard to believe pastors and churches that have already evolved on sexual ethics will tamper with the tradition, solemnity and dignity of Ash Wednesday.”
The sparkly idea apparently began last year in New Jersey with lesbian Episcopal priest Liz Edman, whose girlfriend urged her to use glitter as a way to come out queer and Christian simultaneously.
“It matters very much to me that people understand we’re not doing this in order to be frivolous or disrespectful,” she said. “Glitter is serious business for queer people. Glitter is how we have long made ourselves visible, even though becoming visible puts us at risk.”
The idea came to her after reading St. Augustine's warnings about despair. “I just thought, ‘Bingo, that’s it,’” she said. “The glitter can represent a refusal to bow down to the forces of despair, particularly in this political moment we find ourselves in.”
Augustine also warned about heresy and cheapening Christ, but don't let that get in the way of your politics.