“Why is pride month celebrated in June yearly, but practicing Christians don't have their own month to celebrate their faith?”
That was the question Penny Nance, president and CEO of the advocacy group Concerned Women for America, and a practicing Christian, has pondered for many years.
As a nondenominational Christian, Nance, who is a national voice promoting biblical values and constitutional principles through prayer, education and advocacy for CWA, said she began pushing for lawmakers to officially recognize the month of April as “Faith Month” over three years ago.
Nance achieved a milestone in her efforts last year when federal lawmakers first entered a proclamation into the official Congressional Record recognizing April as Faith Month.
“At Concerned Women for America, we thought … ‘I think that we really need to suggest that there is a Faith Month. And the month of April would be great because there’s Easter.’ So, we went to friends on Capitol Hill. We talked to [Congresswoman] Mary Miller [in] the House and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith in the Senate,” Nance told The Christian Post.
“They went to the floor and designated the month of April ‘Faith Month,’” she explained. “And so, this is our second year we’ve been offering people the Christian flag, but recognizing not everyone’s Christian and people are welcome of different faiths to put up their own symbols. But we, as Christians, should be proud and happy to fly the flag of Christianity and invite our neighbors to ask us questions.”
Although not many people in the nation know about Faith Month, Nance said those who now know about it (especially after reading this article) should take part in celebrating by making an effort to share their faith with others in intentional ways during the 30 days of April every year. She is also urging participants to take a Christian flag and hang it somewhere that is visible to the public, such as outside a person’s house or on their desk at work for their coworkers to see.
The Christian flag, which typically contains the image of a red cross over a blue and white background, was originally created by Charles C. Overton, a New York Sunday school superintendent, in 1887. Overton selected the color white to signify purity, blue to represent courage and the red cross to stand for sacrifice.
Nance said she got the idea for Faith Month over two years ago when she was sitting on her Peloton exercise bike one day and suddenly, the bike offered her the option to participate in a pride ride in solidarity with LGBT pride. The offer came during the month of June, recognized by LGBT activists as “Pride Month.”
Peloton’s offer to Nance reflects the fact that several major corporations and celebrities choose to recognize so-called Pride Month by changing their profile pictures on social media to include the LGBT rainbow colors or creating special edition LGBT-themed versions of their products. Upon seeing the offer on her bike, Nance experienced a feeling of irritation because she wondered why Christians didn’t have a month that could be dedicated to their faith.
“I was kind of irritated by it and it made me think, retrospectively, … ‘Why am I upset? Why don’t I, instead of being upset about what other people are lobbying for [and] the ideas they’re contending for, why don’t we just continue the things we believe in? Why are Christians so lackadaisical about standing up and evangelizing and speaking up for our faith?’” Nance recalled.
With 2023 being the second year members of Congress recognized Faith Month, Nance described the response from the public, as more people have become aware of it, as overwhelmingly positive.
“I think every year builds. Every year we have hundreds of people ... thousands, who reach out to us for Christian flags or buy them elsewhere. And so, it’s not as if people use these one year and throw them away,” Nance asserted.
“They will come out year after year in the month of April, and more and more members of Congress are starting to understand and acknowledge the idea and putting the Christian flags outside of their offices year round. And so, I think it’s an issue that has been encouraging for members of Congress.”
Nance said she's looking forward to more people buying Christian flags during Faith Month in the years to come: “I think it takes time for it to catch on. And I truly believe that as we go about this each year that the idea will grow.”
“I can’t wait for the day that Christian employees go to their boss and say, ‘Hey, I know we’re going to do something for Pride Month in June, I’d really love to do something for Faith Month.’ And you know, it’s going to take time for people to build up the courage and understand that they can’t be fired for that.”
Although the month of April has officially been named Faith Month by lawmakers, Nance said she's still pushing for the month to be recognized more widely among the American public because many people are still unaware that it exists.
Nance insisted that now more than ever it's a crucial time for Faith Month to be implemented everywhere, especially as atheists and agnostics are seeing growth in numbers.
“We’re becoming a less religious nation,” she lamented. “I know we have even larger numbers than ever before of people that are non-affiliated, either consider themselves atheist or agnostic. And the majority of that number comes from Gen Z and millennials.”
Nance characterized Faith Month as “an opportunity and a tool for people to fly the flag for their faith and … speak up to their neighbors that they’re Christians.” She also highlighted that April is a logical time for Faith Month since it coincides with the major Christian celebrations of Holy Week and Easter.
“I would hope that along with putting a flag up that people would invite their neighbors and unbelieving neighbors to church with them,” she added. “Or if they don’t want to come to church, invite them to come sit around their table, and be open with their friends and neighbors about Christianity, about Christ.”
Nance views these actions as consistent with the mandates of Christianity: “Jesus told us to ‘go ye therefore and teach all nations in the name of the Father, Son, the Holy Spirit.’ Part of that is just identifying yourself as a Christian, as a follower of Jesus.”
Nance cautioned, however, that celebrating or acknowledging Faith Month won't make life easier for Christians or put an end to religious discrimination in the nation. However, she said the month is helping enhance the Great Commission and helping Christians from all walks of life to understand the importance of making the decision to spread the Gospel.
“Perhaps, for somebody who’s a new believer, … I think it is a way for them to embrace the Great Commission. And understand that part of our faith [is] that Jesus requires us to be willing to share our faith with others, and to study, and to show ourselves approved in the faith and to be able to share the Gospel,” Nance maintained. “I think anybody that is willing to put up a flag also should be willing to go the next step and to share Christianity and how to become a Christian with their friend or neighbor [or] colleague.”
Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.