Newsmax Anchor Greg Kelly: Churches' Pride Flags 'Exclusionary,' 'Disrespectful'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday May 1, 2022
Originally published on May 1, 2022

Greg Kelly
Greg Kelly  (Source:Screencap/YouTube/Newsmax)

Pride flags flown from churches: Open and affirming? More like "exclusionary" and "disrespectful," according to Newsmax's Greg Kelly, Mediaite reported.

Kelly addressed the issue on the April 27 edition of his show, saying, "Have you seen this new trend — putting the gay pride flag in front of, on churches?"

Churches signaling that they are affirming to the LGBTQ+ community — a minority that is literally demonized by a number of denominations, some of which conduct "exorcisms" to "cast out" gay evil spirits — have been displaying the Pride flag for years, but the "new trend" seemingly left Kelly puzzled as he wondered about the significance of such banners.

"What does that have to do with anything? Huh?" Kelly demanded. "Gay pride — I feel as somebody who's quite frankly, not gay — I feel like that's a little bit exclusionary, actually. You could say, also disrespectful on a lot of levels."

"Being a right-winger, his complaint was personal," relayed the Daily Kos, quoting his subsequent words: "But how am I supposed to feel?"

For LGBTQ+ people of faith, Pride flags displayed by churches serve as a beacon of fellowship and welcome — a stark contrast to churches where their commitments, authentic selves, and even their lives are decried from the pulpit.

In a time when even the Methodist church has split into two factions over equality issues such as marriage and out LGBTQ+ pastors, the flags can act to clarify a given church's attitudes toward ministering to the LGTBQ+ faithful.

Kelly evinced no understanding of those issues, veering into a bizarre non sequitur in which he told his viewers that people "in their twenties" might at some point have patronized strip clubs.

"Should we have strippers, uh Hustler, all those things on the outside of the church because some people — to have a good time — wanna go to a strip club?" Kelly asked. "I don't think that's right."

Others might not have thought bringing up entertainment of a sexual nature was relevant to questions of spiritual guidance and accepting community. But Kelly's excoriations continued on an erratic and incoherent path, taking a left turn into a critique of the Black Lives Matter Flag, which Kelly called "a big problem," Mediaite relayed.

From there, Kelly went on to show footage of one-term president Donald Trump at a rally, saying, "The tyrants we are fighting do not stand a chance of victory because we are Americans and Americans kneel to God and to God alone."

"And when you go to a church with a gay pride flag, what's that all about?" Kelly asked after playing the clip. "Are we kneeling for that? Is that how some will interpret it?

"And again, it's exclusionary, and it's wrong," Kelly insisted, before asserting: "They're having fun with it for some reason."

While people of affirming and compassionate faith are evidently, in Kelly's view, partying hard with Pride flags, the Newsmax anchor continues to rack up oddball homophobic claims. Late last year Kelly wondered what qualifications Transportation Secretary and former mayor Pete Buttigieg has for his cabinet post, before claiming that Buttigieg's "full time job" was being gay.

More recently, Kelly has attacked Oreo cookies for advertising its snack foods to the LGBTQ+ market ("I do not like gay cookies!" the news anchor reported) and slammed out singer Harry Styles' fashion sense, declaring that "Styles would benefit from 3 years in the Marine Corps" — a comment that led to some real fun, not in churches, but on social media, where users clapped back with multiple stills of Styles in WWII-era British uniform, from his role in the Christopher Nolan epic "Dunkirk."

Kelly also went into paroxysms over Lil Nas X's Grammy Awards performance.

Lil Nas X, gifted with a sharp sense of humor as well as chart-rocking musical creativity, didn't need hordes of followers to come to his defense. He took the anchor down with one well-worded tweet.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.