Golden Rule Day Gathers Steam
This commentary is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the opinion of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.
April 22nd, 2008
NOTE: The authors at Box Turtle Bulletin do not share consensus on this issue. Watch for further commentary.
Friday will be the Day of Silence, observed by schoolkids across the nation to remind their peers that LGBT kids are often silenced by homophobia and acts of violence against them. This year, the DOS will be in honor of Lawrence King, a 15 year old kid shot in the head by a classmate for being gay.
At the initiation of the Day of Silence, anti-gays became furious. They saw this as an effort to encourage students to think favorably of homosexuality. And rather than risk a reduction in the cultural rejection of homosexaulity, they harshly objected to any effort to draw attention to the verbal and physical violence that gay students experience every day.
So they started a rebuttal, the Day of Truth. As Daniel illustrated, there’s little truth expressed by DOT, but that’s not important to them. Their primary purpose is to make certain that gay students know that they reject the DOS’ efforts to reduce violence and discrimination against them.
Further efforts to counter the Day of Silence include a call to parents to remove their children from school that day lest they find merit in the anti-violence message.
Often this response leaves gay people and their friends confused. “Shouldn’t Christians be the first to oppose violence and cruelty?”, they ask.
Well that message is finally finding a home. A joint effort by Warren Throckmorton, psychology professor at Grove City College, and Michael Frey, a director with Campus Crusade, seeks to support the message of non-violence.
Throckmorton and Frey are encouraging conservative Christian students to join the silent protest, but to also let their classmates know that it is because of their Scriptural belief in the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
It now appears that they are finding support from some Christian kids who were a bit uncomfortable with the message of rejection and condemnation.
Some bridges are being built. For instance, a Campus Crusade for Christ group at Slippery Rock recently entered a dialogue with a gay support group on campus and will help lead the call for respectful treatment of all students on campus. Randy Veccia, student leader, says the efforts of both groups will serve “to raise awareness that everyone deserves to be loved.” Christian students in high schools in Greensboro, NC are going to reach out in ways not contemplated before.
And the effort now has the support of Rev. Bob Stith, Gender Issues Strategist for the Southern Baptist convention.
I have long thought Christians were missing a great opportunity by not being more vocal in helping to make our schools safe places for all kids. It doesn’t require that we compromise our beliefs. Indeed it can give us a great opportunity that we might not otherwise have.
What a wonderful opportunity to express our convictions in a way that is positive, loving and redemptive. What a wonderful opportunity to train our children to care about all people, to model the example of Jesus and the woman at the well.
Who knows but what this could even be the beginning of a movement that will turn the tide of school shootings and violence in the hallways?
I have no expectation that any of those involved in this effort will change their theological objection to sexual activity between individuals of the same sex any time soon. Nor do I think that is a reasonable demand to make of them.
Further, I hope that we are all careful that efforts are not made to dis-identify those individuals who are currently being targeted for bullying and violence, thus diminishing the message that these specific people - gay kids – are worthy of decency and love.
But I welcome those conservative Christians kids who are willing to stand up against mistreatment of their gay fellow students, whether or not they are convinced of their salvation. And I believe that as conservative Christian students begin to see their gay classmates as children of God and worthy of respect, and as gay students begin to see conservative Christians as allies rather than oppressors, common ground can be reached.
We can all at some point make our theological arguments on their merits once peace is established. But in the meanwhile lets agree to join forces to fight against the common enemies of violence and brutality.