Tilting at homosexual agendas
April 4th, 2012
At this point they came in sight of thirty forty windmills that there are on plain, and as soon as Don Quixote saw them he said to his squire, “Fortune is arranging matters for us better than we could have shaped our desires ourselves, for look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or more monstrous giants present themselves, all of whom I mean to engage in battle and slay, and with whose spoils we shall begin to make our fortunes; for this is righteous warfare, and it is God’s good service to sweep so evil a breed from off the face of the earth.”
“What giants?” said Sancho Panza.
“Those thou seest there,” answered his master, “with the long arms, and some have them nearly two leagues long.”
“Look, your worship,” said Sancho; “what we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the sails that turned by the wind make the millstone go.”
“It is easy to see,” replied Don Quixote, “that thou art not used to this business of adventures; those are giants; and if thou art afraid, away with thee out of this and betake thyself to prayer while I engage them in fierce and unequal combat.”
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, Miguel de Cervantes, 1605
Quixote’s impetus was the revival of a better age, a desire to resurrect chivalry and bring about decency and goodness. It was this aspiration that addled his thinking and blinded him, leaving him a fool that left chaos and harm in his wake.
But reclaiming the time past is a motivation that pales to that of fearing the time to come.
Fear is a awesome thing. It can impel feats of heroism to crush a threat or leave one frozen and whimpering. But it’s greatest power is in its ability to project itself atop reality and actualize what is at heart only a threatening possibility. If unchecked, a fear of rejection can block out any voices of acceptance, amidst the fear of failure even the greatest of accomplishments can’t be appreciated due to imperfections real or imagined.
Add hatred to the mix and you have a monstrous self-perpetuating recipe for delusion: inventing and actualizing all that you dread as the intentions and achievements of those whom you see as your enemy.
And SPLC Hate Group Mission America’s president, Linda Harvey, illustrates this beautifully in her latest article, 10 reasons to walk out on ‘Day of Silence’. There is little question that hatred is an emotion that drives Harvey and feeds her emotions. But it also provides an easy target for her fear.
Linda worries about a world in which what she holds dear is no longer valued or respected. She fears that her children, or theirs, may no longer find the structure of family (as Linda knows it), community, church, and society to be worth working for and that civilization will dissolve into chaos and cruelty. And Linda is downright scared about what it means that her deity who is all powerful and about whom she is absolutely certain suddenly seems either incapable or unwilling to unleash his power and illustrate that Linda is right, leaving her to make claims on his behalf without knowing whether he will back them up for her.
And so, needing some source for all this catastrophe, Linda turns to hate which provide The Homosexual Agenda. And in Linda’s fevered quaking brain, The Homosexuals Agenda is defined to be whatever she fears. Any relationship to reality is inconsequential and any who suggest that she may be seeing windmills instead of giants are clearly ignorant about what homosexuals are really like, or afraid to go up against their powerful lobby.
We can learn a lot about what Linda fears from what she attributes to our community. For example, Linda fears that her views may not hold up well if they are inspected for kindness and consideration. She knows that the founder of her faith demands that she love her neighbor and she is terrified at taking an honest assessment of her character and lashes out against anything that might encourage her to do so.
7. There are legitimate lessons students should learn about prejudice and bias. But Day of Silence promoters deceptively link moral objections about homosexuality to racial discrimination or anti-Semitism in an attempt to legitimize the pro-homosexual agenda and portray homosexuals as perennial victims, while disguising the harmfulness and risk.
She is frightened that society has not only rejected her values as damaging – not just about homosexuality, but on a wide range of issues – but now is starting to question the motives and intent of those who espouse them. If the community sees her as lacking credibility or authority, then her ability to pass her values on to the next generation is much more difficult.
4. The Day of Silence encourages students to nurture prejudiced, hostile and bigoted attitudes against Christians and others with traditional moral beliefs, and to spread inaccurate and harmful information.
And she is scared that this diminishing respect will reach the place where she – and those who share her views – are seen not only as lacking authority but as an immoral and detrimental influence to perhaps be tolerated but to be watched and warned about. She fears that her views may put her in the same camp as neo-nazis, the Phelps Family, and the KKK.
And if this happens, she will have no ability to preach and evangelize her faith. If her faith is seen as a force for evil, then all of the work for the past 2,000 years has been undone.
10. The DOS message inhibits Christians from witnessing to their peers caught up in homosexuality or gender confusion. There is salvation through Jesus Christ and the hope of leaving this sin behind. Calling homosexuality a sin on the Day of Silence would be considered “hateful,” when it is actually God-honoring and respectful to the hearer.
I pity Linda. Her fears are going to come to pass. No, society will not crumble, values and morality will not be toss in the trash heap, and Christianity will not come to an end (though it’s going to go through a painful reevaluation). But the actual things she lists above are going to happen and Linda is going to be very very unhappy.
Before the end of her life, those who bitterly rail against The Homosexual Agenda are going to be mocked and reviled and preached against in pulpits across the nation by many of the same people who listen to her today and fear what she fears. Society will call her “bigot”, people will use her as an example for their children of what not to be, and her treasured Christianity – even many of those who are very conservative – will eventually find anti-gay animus untenable and abandon it, and Linda.
But she does provide a service – because by knowing what Linda fears, we can approach those who share her worry with words of comfort and assurance. We can let them know that we will not silence them, that we value family and don’t want to destroy it, that we don’t wish to silence or punish those whose theology does not support us, that we are good citizens, and that as they get to know us they’ll see that we are not a threat.
And many – those who are not motivated by hate – will happily find assurance and comfort. And though some may never fully include us, they will find peaceful coexistence to be painless.
It may be annoying to repeat for the umteen millionth time that we support free speech or that we aren’t trying to make any churches conduct any sacraments that they don’t want to do. Say it anyway. Because fear can block our voices and amplify hers and it will take patience to break through.
And it may be tempting to write those who fear off as “hateful bigots” and not make the effort. Make it anyway. Allaying fears is the decent thing to do – even to those who are lashing out in confusion and hurting us in the process.
Yes a few really are, like Linda, motivated by hatred and a heart filled with darkness, and incapable of listening. But most just need to hear the truth long enough until they are ready to accept it. Remember, in the 80′s Jerry Falwell was the nation’s foremost opponent of gay rights. But enough debates with enough people finally caused Jerry to rethink some positions and before he died he had reached the point where he accepted and supported pro-gay non-discrimination policies for work and housing.
Maybe… just maybe even Linda can be reached. No. That’s not likely. As her world crumbles and her image lies in disrepute, I predict she’ll take the Anita Bryant route and devolve into a pool of bitterness.
But we’ll share the truth with her anyway. It’s the right thing to do.
Focus on the Family picks up “Day of Truth”
November 11th, 2010
The Day of Truth, conservative Christianity’s response to the Day of Silence, is moving to it’s third home in two years. While the Day of Silence has always been about recognizing the way in which gay students are silenced by culture, bullying and misunderstanding, the Day of Truth has had trouble identifying its message, meaning or audience.
The Day of Truth was originally started by Alliance Defense Fund as a tool to provoke confrontation between conservative Christian kids and their public school administrators. In 2004, Tyler Chase Harper wore a t-shirt to Poway High School on the Day of Silence which expressed his disagreement with recognizing the concerns of gay students. The front read “Be Ashamed” and “Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned,” and on the back, “Homosexuality is Shameful” and “Romans 1:27.”
When Harper was required to remove his message of condemnation, the ADF picked up his case claiming that his rights to freedom of religion and expression were being violated. The following year they rolled out the Day of Truth (“the truth cannot be silenced”) to encourage more students to protest the Day of Silence, but on the following day. A handy referral number to attorneys-standing-by was included, giving a none-to-subtle hint of the purpose of the event.
The first year was not particularly successful. And litigation on the Harper case was revealing that courts were not finding that he had a right to disparage fellow student in the public schools, so ADF decided to take a different approach.
In 2006, ADF shifted focus slightly. While their efforts continued to “counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective” they also began guiding gay students towards ex-gay efforts. Softening the message of being anti-gay with a flavoring of “help for those struggling with homosexuality”, there was hope that Christian students would feel adequately justified in encouraging the culture of condemnation of homosexuality.
But “there’s hope for them” messages don’t really inspire teens. It takes stronger emotions, like compassion or contempt, to really get through. So while Day of Silence continued to spread with it’s “don’t bully” message, the Day of Truth’s vaguer “we disagree but don’t call us bigots” campaign struggled.
Contributing to DoT’s difficulties was an onslaught of competing messages from other conservative Christians. As early as 2006, those who wanted a stronger, militant, and more hostile message proposed alternative responses. That year PFOX (a sort of PFLAG for parents who refused to accept that their kids are gay) and Liberty Counsel (ADF’s wackier cousin anti-gay law firm) proposed a “Change is Possible Campaign“.
That didn’t really fly, but other alternatives were proposed. In 2008, Pastor Ken Hutchinson in Washington led a campaign to encourage students to stay home on the Day of Silence. Now “stay home from school” was a message that kids could take to heart and nearly a third of Mt Si High students played hookie. So in 2009, a number of the more extreme anti-gay activists attempted to take the stay-home protest nationwide. It failed.
But Day of Truth was hit with another challenge, one they likely did not expect. Dr. Warren Throckmorton challenged the premise that the Christian obligation was to defend bullies. He proposed that the way Christian kids should respond to the plight of anti-gay bullying is not with protest but with compassion and support. His Golden Rule Pledge allowed Christian kids to keep their religious code of sexual ethics but to pledge to treat gay kids the way they would want to be treated.
Bracketed by contrasting calls for more condemnation and more compassion, the Day of Truth was confronted by its worst enemy: a lack of interest. Secular newspapers found them slightly distasteful, but not enough to be shocking and newsworthy. And even religious news sources couldn’t find anything new or interesting to say about their efforts. So, after four years, Alliance Defense Fund had had enough.
In January 2009, ADF gifted Exodus International with the Day of Truth.
This was a bit of an awkward fit. Exodus, the umbrella ex-gay organization, was at this time going through a reevaluation of their interaction with the gay community. Although they had in the past become quite involved in anti-gay political efforts, they were recommitting their focus to those who “struggle with unwanted homosexuality” and stepping back from activism. So instead of a day dedicated to “countering the homosexual agenda”, the Day of Truth now morphed into a lukewarm ex-gay appeal. (Baptist Press)
As part of Monday’s Day of Truth students will pass out cards during non-class time with a message, which says in part, “It’s time for an honest conversation about homosexuality. There’s freedom to change if you want to.”
The 2010 Day of Truth was somewhat uneventful. Years of squabbling over the message and ownership of the opposition to the Day of Silence had worn everyone out and it may also be that by this time Exodus’ heart just wasn’t in it.
And Exodus’ continued introspection and evolution had them backing away from talk about “change”. The Jones and Yarhouse Study update had come out and it was pretty clear that “freedom to change if you want to” was no longer a viable claim. So, yet again, the message shifted – this time to mutual respect and conversation about sexual ethics.
This year’s theme for the Day of Truth is “Get the Conservation Started.” Students can wear T-shirts and pass out cards with the message: “People with differing, even opposing, viewpoints can freely exchange ideas and respectfully listen to each other. It’s time for an honest conversation about the biblical truth for sexuality. Let’s get the conversation started!”
And then came September 2010 and report after report of teens committing suicide after experiencing anti-gay bullying. It was, no doubt, extremely troubling to Exodus. Many of the leaders in Exodus have over the year expressed how they were bullied in school and I’m sure they found it easy to see themselves in these kids. And while the nation was shocked by the string of incidents, it is without doubt that Exodus found the news to be horrifyingly personal.
In October 2010, Alan Chambers, president of Exodus, jettisoned the event.
“All the recent attention to bullying helped us realize that we need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they’d like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, the group that sponsored the event this year.
With neither ADF or Exodus wanting to continue, it was uncertain whether they would be a seventh Day of Truth or, if so, who would lead it and what the message would be. But now it appears that the Day of Truth will be picked up by Focus on the Family and renamed and repackaged. (CNN)
A major Christian group will take over an annual event that challenges homosexuality, weeks after the event’s main Christian sponsor pulled support for the student-focused program, saying it had become too divisive and confrontational.
Focus on the Family, an influential evangelical organization, will begin sponsoring the event known as the Day of Truth but will change the name of the happening to the Day of Dialogue, the group is set to announce Thursday.
And it appears that yet again, the Day’s message will change. If statements by FotF’s Candi Cushman are indicative, the Day of Dialogue will readopt strident anti-gay messaging and take a more aggressive political stance.
“We’re trying to raise awareness that more than one side needs to be heard on the issue of homosexuality, and we’re helping to ensure Christian students have the chance to express their viewpoint,” said Candi Cushman, a Focus on the Family education analyst, in the release. “What is freedom of speech, after all, but a guarantee of the right to have dialogue?”
Focus on the Family in general and Candi Cushman in particular have a long history of expressing the “Christian viewpoint on homosexuality” and it has never been in terms that were sympathetic of bullied children or tolerant of others. It is highly doubtful that respect for differing viewpoints will be the theme of the Day of Dialogue – Focus doesn’t “diologue” that way.
I hope that I’m wrong. Early press releases on their sponsorship emphasize “love” as much as they do “truth”.
As these verses demonstrate, the model Christ gave us is one of sacrificial love that lays down one’s own life to rescue others. So Day of Dialogue activities should always reflect that spirit. Any verbal and written expressions used by students participating in this event should be loving and compassionate—and never be expressed in a condemning or antagonistic way to others. Even when we disagree with others, we should always demonstrate the utmost compassion and respect for them.
But far too often, Focus’ perspective of what is “loving” and that of the target of their “love” can be diametrically opposed. And if their new Day of Dialogue is an extension of their “True Tolerance” program, we can expect a rather obvious absence of truth, tolerance and love, sacrificial or otherwise, and in their place a call to reverse and remove the anti-bullying programs that are trying to provide support to LGBT youth. While Exodus found empathy for bullied kids, Focus identifies with the bullies.
In fact, we already know pretty much what Focus has in mind – confrontation and stereotypes:
It’s very politically incorrect these days to talk about male-female differences. If you want to see a good argument develop, just ask a group of students if there even are any differences. The unique and wonderful complementary qualities of masculinity and femininity have been blurred so that many see men and women as virtually interchangeable. Or the differences get exaggerated into over-the-top caricatures. But despite these distortions, we still see God’s separation of humanity into male and female, different but complementary, and equally of great value.
That, and fun things like the assertion that no one is really gay, or that “homosexual and “transgender” rights activists continue to do everything in their power to radically deconstruct the traditional and biblical understanding of sexuality, gender and marriage across all arenas of culture.”
So it seems that the Day of Truth has come full circle, back to a day of confrontation and condemnation. I doubt that it will be well received.
Laurie Higgins Endorses the Bullying of Gay Kids
April 17th, 2009
Illinois Family Institute is only one of 12 anti-gay groups assigned Hate Group status by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is a well deserved designation.
Laurie Higgins, the Director of the Division of School Advocacy for the Illinois Family Institute, gives voice to the attitudes and beliefs that have led to IFI being identified as a hate group. Laurie is also one of the organizers of the Day of Silence Walk Out.
She is not pleased that Dr. Warren Throckmorton is suggesting that Christian kids should treat gay kids as they wish to be treated. She is angry that he wants them to stay in school on the Day of Silence. And she is particularly irate that Throckmorton opposes the abuse of gay kids.
In her article, Dr. Throckmorton’s “Golden Rule” Misguided at Best, Higgins makes minimal lip service to “the worthy goal of ending bullying, but it’s quite clear that she does not at all wish that the bullying of gay kids should end at all.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets,” means that Christians should affirm to others God’s Word–the entirety of God’s Word–in a godly way.
Higgins declares that the Golden Rule means the exact opposite of what it says. Rather than do unto others as you’d have them do to you, she endorses the “affirming God’s Word” (ie public condemnation and ridicule) of others “in a godly way”. It is difficult to fathom a more perverse interpretation of Christ’s commandment.
[If] we allow schools to define discrimination so expansively as to prohibit all statements of moral conviction, character development is compromised and speech rights are trampled. And if administrators continue to define discrimination in such a way as to preclude only some statements of moral conviction, they violate pedagogical commitments to intellectual diversity and render the classroom a place of indoctrination.
Higgins supports discrimination, as long as it is based on “moral conviction”.
Dr. Throckmorton believes that “Christian students should be leading the way to make schools safe and build bridges to those who often equate ‘Christian’ with condemnation.” In this statement, Dr. Throckmorton glaringly omits the truth that Christians must condemn volitional homosexual conduct. And to those who view homosexuality as moral, this necessary Christian condemnation of homosexual behavior renders homosexual students unsafe.
Yes, Higgins actually supports making schools unsafe for gay kids.
She believes that “Christians must condemn volitional homosexual conduct.” In other words, Christian kids have a moral obligation to harangue and harass gay kids and publicly condemn them.
[As] moral beings living for a time in a fallen world suffused with brokenness of all kinds, we are all charged with the same moral task: We all must determine which of our myriad messy feelings are morally legitimate to act upon. Adults are supposed to help children navigate those murky waters.
Higgins believes that adults – teachers and administrators – should also condemn gay kids.
Let’s be clear. Higgins does not oppose the Day of Silence because it is the wrong way to go about ending the bullying of gay kids. Rather, Higgins opposes the Day of Silence because she believes it is a Christian kid’s duty to bully his gay classmates.
Alan Chambers will say ANYTHING
April 16th, 2009
The Baptist Press says this about Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International:
For Chambers, the Day of Truth is personal. He struggled with and overcame unwanted homosexual attractions as a teenager and young adult. He is now married, and he and his wife and have two children.
“Many people don’t know that change is possible or that there’s any alternative out there for people,” he said. “… There was a time when I was trying to fit that with my life, trying to marry my homosexuality and my Christianity and trying to see if I could be a good gay Christian. It didn’t work.”
Really? Alan overcame unwanted homosexual attractions as a teenager and young adult? And his wife and children are evidence of this?
Now that’s a fascinating retelling.
Because I also happen to know that Alan has said that while his attraction has greatly diminished over the course of 16 years, he still struggles with homosexual temptation and lives a life of denial of what comes naturally to him. And it seems that in their effort to paint Alan as an ideal family man they forgot to mention that Alan took nine months to consummate his marriage or that his two children are adopted.
If Alan’s going to tell kids about the “alternative out there for people”, he should tell them what that alternative really is. But I guess telling the truth wouldn’t serve his goal of vilifying and hindering those good-hearted students who are trying to stem the flood of abuse against their gay classmates in public schools.
Day of Silence and Various Responses
April 13th, 2009
In an effort to reduce bullying and to encourage tolerance, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network created a program called The Day of Silence in which students show their sympathy for harassed gay students by pledging to be silent for a day. Those who “oppose the homosexual agenda” have responded in a number of ways.
I will briefly compare the various responses:
Sponsor: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network
Participants: Hundreds of thousands of students in over 8,000 schools
Purpose: The Day of Silence’s purpose is to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment and effective responses.
Date: Friday, April 17, 2009
Length of Program: Thirteenth year
Process: Participants take a day long vow of silence and distribute or wear speaking cards with information about anti-LGBT bias and ways for students and others to “end the silence.” Through Breaking the Silence events, which are typically held at the end of the school day, students can speak out against harassment and demand change for their schools and communities. Students do speak when required by class participation.
Message: What are you doing to end the Silence?
Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the fi rst step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today.
What are you going to do to end the Silence?
Response to Objection: In high schools, approval from the principal or other appropriate staff is important when student organizers are working on any project. When approaching your school’s administration, it helps to have the backing of a student club and its advisor(s). If your administration does not approve of or support the Day of Silence, you may want to consider planning a community event outside of school, in the morning or evening.
Theme: To draw attention to the abuse or bullying of GLBT people who are often silenced by social disapproval and unable to defend themselves alone.
Sponsor: Created by the Alliance Defense Fund. Currently administered by ex-gay group Exodus International.
Participants: Up to 13,000 students
Length of Program: Fifth year
Stated Purpose: The Day of Truth was established to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective. (It is a direct response to the Day of Silence).
Date: The Day of Truth is scheduled for April 20, 2009. This is three days after GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) will sponsor the “Day of Silence.”
Process: Participating students are encouraged to wear Day of Truth T-shirts, pass out cards, tell students about the evils of homosexuality, and inform same-sex attracted students about reorientation programs.
Message: It’s time for an honest conversation about homosexuality. There’s freedom to change if you want to. The truth cannot be silenced.
I’m speaking the Truth to break the silence.
True tolerance means that people with differing — even opposing — viewpoints can freely exchange ideas and respectfully listen to each other.
It’s time for an honest conversation about homosexuality.
There’s freedom to change if you want to.
Response to Objection: If the principal or other school official asks you to stop, stop immediately. Please call 1-800-TELL-ADF so that we can help resolve the situation quickly.
Theme: Rather than encourage gay-specific anti-bullying programs, gay students should be encouraged to enter ex-gay programs.
Sponsor: A long list of anti-gay activist groups including Americans for Truth (Peter LaBarbera), Liberty Counsel (Matt Barber), Mission: America (Linda Harvey), and SPLC-listed hate groups MassResistance, Illinois Family Institute (Laurie Higgins), and Abiding Truth Ministries (Scott Lively).
Participants: unknown number of parents. In 2008, 600 students were kept home from a school in Washington
Length of Program: uncertain, perhaps second year
Stated Purpose: To actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes and no longer passively accept the political usurpation of taxpayer funded public school classrooms through student silence
Date: April 17, 2009, the same day as the Day of Silence
Process: Parents are encouraged to express their opposition to the Day of Silence by calling their children out of school on that day and sending letters of explanation to their administrators, their children’s teachers, and all school board members.
Public school teachers are encouraged to plan activities for this day that involve student speech: Schedule speeches or oral exams; ask questions; or plan discussion-based activities
that require participation from all students.
Church leadership is encouraged to follow the bold example of Pastor Ken Hutcherson who vocally opposed the “Day of Silence” in his community in Redmond, Washington. (Hutcherson is threatening to oppose school bonds if Mt. Si allows students to participate in the Day of Silence again this year).
Message: Students being silent is disruptive and ought not be tolerated.
Handout: none indicated.
Response to Objection: Explain that school districts lose money for every absence, which may help convince administrations and school boards that it is not merely unethical but fiscally irresponsible to allow the classroom to be used for political purposes.
Theme: Fighting the homosexual agenda.
Sponsor: Dr. Warren Throckmorton, with some support from Campus Crusade for Christ Regional Director, Michael Frey and Bob Stith, National Strategist for Gender Issues, Southern Baptist Convention.
Length of Program: Second year
Stated Purpose: To provide a response for Christian and conservative students who do not affirm homosexual behavior but also loathe disrespect, harassment or violence toward any one, including their GLBT peers.
Date: April 17, 2009, the same day as the Day of Silence
Process: To answer the Day of Silence’s question with a commitment the safety of GLBT students and peers as well as other who appear different based on the teachings of Christ.
A variety of options exist on the DOS, including silence. Whatever option one chooses, we do not encourage protests, divisive actions or criticism of others. One way to live out our faith is to treat others fairly and with respect.
Message: Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31).
This is what I’m doing:
I pledge to treat others the way I want to be treated.
Will you join me in this pledge?
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31).
Response to Objection: None indicated.
Theme: To draw attention to the appropriate response of Christians when they are asked for respect and protection.
UPDATE: The previous version listed Americans for Truth (Peter LaBarbera) as a hate group and did not list Illinois Family Institute (Laurie Higgins) as such. These have now been reversed.
ADF Hands “Day Of Truth” Over To Exodus
January 22nd, 2009
Those familiar with the ex-gay movement have long known Alliance Defense Fund’s (ADF) “Day Of Truth” is not only a reaction to the “Day Of Silence” but also a thinly veiled effort to push ex-gay programs in public schools. Well ADF has gone and made it official, handing over the Day Of Truth to Exodus via an email and press release dated Jan 20, 2009.
The Alliance Defense is transitioning its leadership of the Day of Truth initiative to Exodus International.
the Day of Truth has grown from a handful of students to over 13,000 participants in all 50 states standing for the Truth. As the movement has grown, the focus has continued to broaden…providing students not only with legal assistance when their free speech rights are challenged, but also providing them with information on how to minister and witness to individuals struggling with homosexual behavior.
It’s because of growth in this latter area that this transition is occurring. For more than thirty years, Exodus International has provided thoughtful care to individuals wishing to leave homosexuality and offered support for related families, friends and churches. With 230 member organizations, the Exodus network is mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality…perfectly positioning them to lead the Day of Truth into the future.
ADF will continue to serve as the legal support arm for this project and represent any student who is silenced or punished for speaking the Truth.
For a little background on the Day Of Truth, how it was founded and it’s troubling ex-gay rhetoric have a look at this video.
(Please note I created this video before Love In Action closed their teen ex-gay bootcamp. Other than that everything in the video is accurate.)
Linda Harvey’s Dishonesty about the Day of Silence
May 22nd, 2008
- She claims that “Child molestation is an everyday occurrence because of the increased access homosexuals have to our children” and advocates banning gay people from teaching (a position so radical that Ronald Reagan opposed it in 1978).
- She claims that the vast majority of gay people are only employed sporadically due to their instability.
- She believes that HIV is “almost exclusively a homosexual male and drug addict epidemic” and advocates that “gay social establishments should close until HIV rates are seriously reduced”.
- She claims that for a Pastor to believe that gay persons can be Christian “is deliberate rebellion against God’s word and His created order of male/female genders and marriage.”
In short, Linda is a woman driven by her objection to anything gay and she’ll not hesitate to say anything to advance her goal of changing America into a nation that conforms to her religious ideals. Honesty, integrity, empathy, or the Golden Rule seem not to be particularly important to this quest.
Linda through her organization Mission:America was a leader in the anti-gay opposition to the Day of Silence. Linda compiled and distributed a list of grievances which sought to portray the Day of Silence as an aggressive act against Christians. Some of these listed abuses seem almost impossible to believe.
In fact, they were so extreme that Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a conservative psychology professor with interest in sexual orientation issues, decided to check up on a few of Linda’s stories. Not surprisingly, what he found did not square with what Linda said.
For example, Linda said
Kirksville, Mo.: A parent reported that the Kirksville High School principal and superintendent laughed when she asked if her child could be excused from participating in the school’s Day of Silence. According to Mission America, she said, “They called me a narrow-minded bigot and refused to give excused absences.”
Dr. Throckmorton did not find that to be confirmed.
Curious, I called the Kirksville High School Superintendent of schools, Pat Williams about the allegation of name-calling. When I read the account to him, he said, “That’s absolutely false. I did not use that language with any parent or in response to any inquiry.”
Throckmorton also spoke with the principal of the school and found that while absences were not excused, the school also allowed the Day of Truth and did not allow either event to disrupt the teaching process.
I emailed Linda Harvey at Mission America to see if I could interview the parent involved but she declined to provide more information or contact the person who made the allegation. The Kirksville administrators were not aware of any allegations surrounding the Day of Silence until I called. In my opinion, the the information provided by Mr. Williams and Mr. Michael and the fact that the school district also allowed the Day of Truth detract from the credibility of the anonymous allegation.
Throckmorton also found out that claims Harvey made about an event in Mesa, AZ, were materially different from police reports. He concludes
And those were just the first two bulletpoints. I guess you can’t believe everything you read.
Dr. Throckmorton and I differ strongly about the appropriate theological, social, and legal responses to persons who are same-sex attracted. But we agree that dishonesty should never be a tool used in the debate over social policy about homosexuality.
Sadly, too many anti-gays (and too many pro-gays) are willing to make any claim that advances their cause. And for what? Ultimately the truth comes out and then what has one gained in exchange for their integrity?
If conservative Christians worried about their religious freedoms want to have their concerns taken seriously, they need to rid their movement of liars, extremist, and haters. Then perhaps we can find common ground where the rights of all can be respected.
“Day Of Silence” Events Staged In Russia
May 6th, 2008
From UK Gay News comes word of the first Day of Silence held last weekend in three cities across Russia. Day of Silence events were held on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Novokuznetsk and Yaroslavl. Two participants in St. Petersburg were assaulted following a rally and skinheads attacked participants in Novokuznetsk. Nevertheless, organizers counted the events a rousing success.
St. Petersburg officials had initially given permission for a public Day of Silence demonstration, but this permission was rescinded a few days before the event. In response, the organizers scaled back their plans and staged individual protests in St. Petersburg’s Chrenyshevskiy Park since individual demonstrations don’t require approval by authorities. For two hours, the participants stood silently with a banner that read, “I am silent to be heard.” Their mouths were taped shut as they handed out flyers to passersby.
According to one report, the Day of Silence participants were guarded by ten policemen during the demonstration. The rally in the park went off without incident, but two of the participants were attacked afterwards by three assailants as they made their way to a nearby café. Igor Petrov, one of the Day of Silence organizers, and Ignat Fialkovskiy, the press secretary of the International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Side by Side, suffered kicks and bruises requiring medical treatment. Formal complaints have been filed with the police.
In Novokuznetsk in central Russia, twenty volunteers responded to a “flash mob” appeal sent through social networks. Despite the bad weather, organizers were pleased with the response. However a group of skinheads attacked several participants, injuring one young man.
The organizer of the group from Yaroslavl, 160 miles northeast of Moscow reported that nine people took part in their “flash mob.” No problems were reported there.
Despite the problems encountered in Novokuznetsk and St. Petersburg, Russian Day of Silence organizers consider the actions a rousing success:
We were able to achieve the most important thing — the word about the problem of emotional harassment and violence, discrimination and intolerance based on sexual orientation and gender identity reached many people, while the attacks on the participants of the event in St. Petersburg and Novokuznetsk confirmed the relevance of the problem.
Hat tip: UK Gay News
Christianity Today Recaps Response to the Day of Silence
May 2nd, 2008
Derek Keefe wrote a recap in Christianity Today of the various responses to the Day of Silence: boycott, protest, Day of Truth, and Golden Rule initiative. His final comments offer much-needed wisdom to conservative evangelical Christians.
Evangelicals are by definition a gospel-proclaiming people. Part of our becoming a wise people is learning to match our proclamation both to the manner of the Christ we proclaim, as well as to the occasion before us. Gospel wisdom, then, means not just learning when to speak, but what part of God’s good news to speak first, and how that news should be delivered. On occasion, we may even find the best way to begin to “speak” this marvelous news is to remain silent.
Hutcherson Brags About Disrupting School
April 29th, 2008
On his church’s website today Rev. Ken Hutcherson posted the following:
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Praise for the Day of Silence outcome! Whether they blame me or credit me, the fact of the matter is over 600 students, almost half the student body at Mt. Si were kept home by their parents on the Day of Silence. The school officials must realize they have some very unhappy parents.
Last night I met with the NAACP. Please pray for wisdom for them as they discuss what their move will be in response to the Mt. Si MLK Day debacle.
Please pray for me as I travel to Southern California today and as I return home on Saturday.
Like most braggarts, Hutch assumes that his actions are larger than they are.
Though he says students were “kept home by their parents”, even the most casual observer knows that many of these students just stayed away because it was a spring Friday and they could get away with treating it like a holiday.
And assuming that those who stayed away from Rev. Hutcherson’s bullhorned abuse are actually supporters of his message is downright delusional. Only 100 people turned up for his protest and there’s no indication that any of them were students.
But I do agree that there are undoubtedly unhappy parents of Mount Si students. I’m sure quite a few wish that Rev. Ken Hutcherson had decided to take his ministry to some other part of the country and left their school alone.
Was the “Day of Truth” a Day of Silence?
April 29th, 2008
The Day of Truth, the ADF’s anti-gay response to the Day of Silence, was yesterday. If it happened.
In the days leading up to the Day of Silence, it seemed that the conservative Christian right only mentioned the DOT as an afterthought and seemed more interested in getting kids to stay home. Perhaps they believe it easier to get a teenager to play hookie on a spring Friday than it is to get them to wear a t-shirt and pass out material condemning their classmates.
In any case, I’ve not yet seen any news coverage of this event, even from religious media.
Also missing is any comment as to whether Alexander Nuxoll wore his “Be Happy, Not Gay” T-Shirt either on the Day of Silence or the Day of Truth. Perhaps his ardent desire to be obnoxious is more sincere when in court with the ADF than it is when facing his classmates.
Christian Youth Group Participates in Day of Silence
April 27th, 2008
Warren Throckmorton has a letter from a student at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. She, and the Campus Crusade, participated in the Day of Silence and found it to be rewarding and illuminating.
To those of you reading, I wish I could tell you in person because this day deserves more than a short summary. Yesterday, the LGBT community saw something revolutionary- they saw Christians loving them and more than that, they saw the love of Christ. What would happen if next year, hundreds of Christian students walked around with duct tape in silence?
I have to tell you about how I felt yesterday walking around in silence with duct tape. I felt humiliated at times, and other times proud. You see, everywhere I went, people stared. I felt like a leper, completely stigmatized from people. In fact, I was experiencing what the LGBT community has experienced for decades.
As I was walking to my dorm, I realized why 30% of LGBT students report having missed one or more days of school per year out of fear. Walking by a dorm, someone opened their window and yelled a derogatory statement to me. I was scared. There was such anger in his voice that I was fearful to walk by the dorm again later that day. I was reminded of Lawrence King, a 14 year old who was murdered because of his homosexuality just two months ago.
I am appreciative of the participation of this young woman and others like her who were challenged by the Golden Rule Pledge to join in standing up against violence. I would also love to hear the experience of any gay people who had Golden Rule participants join them.
April 26th, 2008
Rev. Ken Hutcherson’s response to the disruption caused by students sitting silently.
Picture from the Seattle Times.
Hutch’s Disrupting Protest
April 25th, 2008
One of the consistent (and consistently stupid) claims of the anti-gay wacktivists is that the Day of Silence is “disrupting” of schools. Sitting there silent (unless called on in class) disrupts the education process by (silently) shoving your views down the throats of other students (the other frequent but oddly chosen catch phrase), ya see.
So Rev. Ken Hutcherson decided to protest, along with 1,000 of his prayer buddies.
Well, the Day of Silence has come and gone at the Mount Si High School. And how did Hutch do in quelling the disturbance?
Well, let’s see…
Around 7 am about 80 parents and supporters of the Gay-Straight Alliance came and silently stood to welcome those students observing the DOS.
“We want to let students in the GSA know they have support in the community,” said Lucinda Hauser, a parent of a Mount Si student.
Then at 9:30 am, Hutcherson’s bus showed up with him, his bodyguards, and about 100 supporters. Although he had placed an add in the local newspaper and was hoping for 1,000 angry anti-gays, he didn’t come close to meeting his goal. Hutcherson’s group began to pray and sing and wave signs with messages such as “Silence for Unnatural Behavior? Not ME”.
The parents and supporters had left around 8, not wanting to deal with Hutch and crew. But another group of about 150 counter-protestors were there to challenge the anti-gays. Some, it seems, were from Tolt UCC Congregational Church who ran an ad of support for the students in the same newspaper.
Ken Lauren, a Redmond parent whose son-in-law teaches at Mt. Si, shouted, “Are these the values you want your kids to grow up with — bigotry, intolerance, hatred.” He carried a sign that said, “I believe in separation of church and hate.”
The chaos outside was in contrast to the silence inside. About 200 of the 1,400 students took part in the effort to honor Lawrence King and to draw attention to discrimination and violence against gay kids.
But theirs was not the only message. The Mt. Si Conservative Club passed out red, white and blue ribbons to display their opposition to the silent students.
Inside the school, students and administrators said there were many T-shirts expressing opposing views and some intense discussions.
And to avoid all the conflict (or, more likely, because they could get away with it), about 500 students stayed away from school.
So how well did Rev. Hutcherson do in his quest to stop the disturbing effect of the Day of Silence at his daughter’s high school? Perhaps it would do to compare Mt. Si to other schools in the area.
Seventeen of 19 high schools in King County participated in the National Day of Silence, but none of the other schools had any of the tense moments seen in Snoqualmie.
So I guess we can say that Hutch didn’t succeed in his goal of bringing order from chaos. But some have doubts that this was his goal anyway.
Reverend Hutcherson and his supporters said they were there because they didn’t think school is the place for a demonstration about sexuality.
However, school officials think Hutcherson’s stand may be pay-back after teachers, since disciplined, heckled him at a civil rights assembly. And the school says Friday’s tolerance should be a lesson to both students and parents alike.
“The reverend is going to do what he’s going to do,” said Mt. Si High School principal Randy Taylor. “We certainly are disappointed that he’s taken this form of protest on a student-initiated, student-organized activity.”
I’ll bet Taylor is praying that Hutch decides on private schooling soon.
Hutcherson Supporters Speak Out
April 25th, 2008
Ken Schram at KOMO TV in Seattle has been critical of Ken Hutcherson’s campaign against Mt. Si High School. He’s provided a sample of some of the responses to him.
They are all worth a chuckle or a cringe, but my favorite is
Elaine Biggerstaff writes: “You are the perpetrator of hate when you refuse to tolerate the obligation Christians have to believe what God has revealed.”
I’m not sure exactly what Ms. Biggerstaff thinks that God has revealed about the murder of Lawrence King.
Hutcherson and Barber Talk About the Day of Silence and Reveal Hutch’s Paranoia
April 24th, 2008
Rev. Ken Hutcherson spoke with Matt Barber on a Concerned Women for America podcast about Hutcherson’s protest of the Day of Silence. Barber and Hutcherson both make some claims that do not seem to be fact based and, in Hutcherson’s case, appear to demonstrate paranoia:
- GLSEN is an “adult homosexual activist group” that uses children as “pawns to futher their very deceptive agenda”.
- some Christians are taking a “very soft approach” to the Day of Silence rather than “challenge it head on” because they want “the path of least resistance”. [I assume this refers to the Golden Rule pledge]
- kids who are kept out of school on the DOS may make up an excuse rather than “stand up”.
- he was invited to speak at Mt. Si because it was “a great time to ambush the Christian”.
- he’s been labeled the “number one homophobe in the United States”. He told “them” that as long as Dr. James Dobson is alive then Dobson’s number one and he’s is number two. [I can't find any reference anywhere to Hutcherson being labeled as the number one homophobe, much less that he responded in any way to "them"]
- there is a million dollar award out for information that would destroy his ministry.
- the minute his daughter introduced him on MLK day, white teachers booed [although news reports indicate that one teacher booed, Hutcherson repeated referred to "white teachers", plural]
- the school promised him that there would be nothing controversially done about his appearance
- four or five teachers run the whole school, along with the principal and assistant principal and they are all afraid of the homosexual agenda
- if you look through the Bible you cannot find one word in the Bible that relates to tolerance
- the reason Jesus didn’t condemn the woman at the well was because was “set up to sin” and the man she committed adultery with wasn’t also brought. He implied that otherwise Jesus would have condemned both of them.
Barber also seems to imply that Hutcherson should engage in violence against the school authorities. Hutcherson said, “now you’ve got an angry dad”, to which Barber replies, “I don’t blame you and I seem to recall that you played a little football”. [Hutcherson played in the NFL in the 70's].
All in all, I have to conclude that Hutcherson is either paranoid or not particularly concerned about the accuracy of his statements.
(hat tip to Good-As-You)
T-Shirt Wars: A Temporary Victory for the Mean Spirited
April 24th, 2008
Alexander Nuxoll sued his school district in order to be allowed to wear the slogan “Be Happy, Not Gay” on a t-shirt on the Day of Silence. Twice now courts have upheld the school’s right to ban insulting and discriminatory messages.
But now the Naperville Sun is reporting that appeals Judge Richard Posner has validated Nuxoll’s right to wear his message of condemnation – at least until he has his day in court.
But on Wednesday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit reversed the lower courts’ rulings against Nuxoll, saying the district court must order Neuqua to suspend its ban on the shirt while the civil rights lawsuit filed by Nuxoll and Neuqua grad Heidi Zamecnik proceeds.
“We cannot accept the defendants’ argument that the rule is valid because all it does is protect the ‘rights’ of the students against whom derogatory comments are directed,” states the court’s opinion, authored by Judge Richard Posner. “Of course a school can – often it must – protect students from the invasion of their legal rights by other students. But people do not have a legal right to prevent criticism of their beliefs or for that matter their way of life.”
Now that everyone can wear “criticism of beliefs” on their t-shirts, I wonder how Nuxoll would feel if he showed up to his class on the “Day of Truth” and found that all of his other classmates were wearing t-shirts that criticized his beliefs. But I don’t recommend that… it wouldn’t be the way I’d want to be treated.
The Golden Rule Day: Just What We Need — Another Platitude
This commentary is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the opinion of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.
April 24th, 2008
The authors at Box Turtle Bulletin do not share consensus on this issue. For another perspective, please see Timothy Kincaid’s commentary.
Tomorrow is the much-talked-about Day of Silence, a commemoration organized by students across the country to illustrate the pressure that many LGBT kids feel to remain silent in the face of violence, torment and general hostility. This year’s Day of Silence is dedicated to the memory of Lawrence King, the 15-year-old Oxnard, California student who was fatally shot twice in the head by a classmate because he was gay.
Anti-gay activists are clamoring for a strong response to the Day of Silence, but all of their suggestions ignore the very real problem of violence against LGBT students. Instead, they’ve turned their outrage over merely bringing up the subject into a political attack against all things gay, threatening to pull their kids from classroom, stage walkouts, and organize noisy protests in front of schools. They say that calling attention to the fact that kids can actually be murdered is “disruptive,” presumably more disruptive than their own disruptions. But I wonder: how disruptive was Lawrence King’s murder to his classmates and family?
There is one response to the Day of Silence which is unique and notworthy. It is Dr. Warren Throckmorton’s call for a simultaneous Golden Rule Day. The idea behind the Golden Rule Day is that “Christian students” should grab the spotlight by handing out cards printed with the Golden Rule. The cards read simply:
This is what I’m doing:
I pledge to treat others the way I want to be treated.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31).
The Golden Rule is one of Christendom’s highest tenets. It’s how we all should seek to live. And the Golden Rule represents everything that all of us have ever asked for in our lives, gay and straight alike.
And I am happy to see that one of the expressed statements offered by Dr. Throckmorton in promoting his Golden Rule idea is that
GLBT students and peers as well as other who appear different have been the target of harassment, violence and scorn. We believe this is wrong. The church should lead the way in combating violence and harassment in schools. [Emphasis his]
I’m glad to see that that Dr. Throckmorton has gone straight to the heart of the problem. I believe that he is sincere in his motivation for proposing the Golden Rule Day. I agree that the church should lead the way in combating violence and harassment. And I am happy to see that a few groups are truly taking his suggestions to heart by reaching out to LGBT groups on campus to address this very issue.
I’m glad that Dr. Throckmorton and a few very specific groups have taken on the challenge of discussing anti-gay intimidation and violence. But if people of good faith are willing to talk about anti-gay violence, the Day of Silence was already there as an invitation.
But I am concerned that the Golden Rule Day will go forward without those direct conversations far more often. And under this more likely scenario, I believe there are four critical problems with the Golden Rule Day as it is conceived right now.
A Tool of Division
First, the proposed Golden Rule Day is to be held on the very same conflicting day that LGBT kids are trying to raise awareness to the problems they face, including violence, ridicule, and even death threats. By doing this, the Golden Rule Day too easily becomes a competing counter-event which draws attention away from the very problem that LGBT kids are trying to highlight. At least the organizers of the horribly misnamed “Day of Truth” have the courtesy of holding their event on a different day so as not to appear to infringe upon the Day of Silence. With the Golden Rule Day, LGBT kids don’t even get that.
Second, because the Golden Rule Day is a competing counter event as a response motivated by opposition to homosexuality, it places the Golden Rule itself — one of Western Civilizations most cherished precepts — in opposition to homosexuality. If the Christians are “for” the Golden Rule, then it follows that those who are participating in the Day of Silence aren’t following it. It’s appalling see the Golden Rule become a tool of division, but this is precisely the implications of using the Golden Rule this way.
And this leads directly to my third objection. By framing the Golden Rule Day as a “Christian response” to the Day of Silence, it perpetuates the false Christian vs. Gay dichotomy. I know that it galls a lot of people to suggest that it’s possible to be gay and Christian, but thousands of gay Christians are doing it anyway. But in several parts of the country where Christian identity is paramount and everyone else is worse than terrorists, this can set up a very dangerous dynamic with gay kids caught in the middle — the very dynamic that Dr. Throckmorton seeks to prevent.
And finally — and this, I think, is the biggest problem — the Golden Rule card doesn’t address violence at all. It’s very open ended, allowing it to be exploited in any number of ways. And I do believe it will be exploited because there is a long history of positive sounding messages being turned against us. There is no mention of violence and harassment anywhere on the card, and there is no expectation that such a specific conversation will actually take place.
We’ve heard the “love the sinner, hate the sin” being used to justify the notion that because I really love you, I must condemn your sinful ways, tell everyone you’re caught up in an evil agenda, repeat all sorts of slanders about people like you, and even make harassing phone calls while uttering the most vile accusations.
Too many people believe this is how the Golden Rule works. Incredibly, I’ve even heard non-gay people say that if they were gay, they’d want someone to do everything possible to force them to “stop being gay.” I’m sure Sally Kern believes that pleas to follow the Golden Rule needn’t be directed toward her.
The Golden Rule is one of those wonderful aphorisms which serve more as a Rorschach test than a standard. It can mean whatever anybody wants it to means, allowing it to a provide a “nice” cover for those who have no intention of changing their attitudes or behavior. It’s too easy for the Golden Rule Card to become a sanctimonious, self-righteous and passive-aggressive reaction to the Day of Silence. It allows them to claim the moral high ground — a high ground which by their definition is not a level playing field.
Days and Days of Silence
More than a year ago, I attended a Love Won Out conference in Phoenix put on jointly by Exodus International and Focus On the Family. That’s where I heard Focus’s Mike Haley address anti-LGBT violence in a Q&A session:
I think, too, we also have to be just as quick to also stand up when we do see the gay and lesbian community being come against as the Body of Christ. We need to be the first to speak out to say that what happened to Matthew Shepard was a terrible incident and should never happen again. And that we within the Body of Christ are wanting to protect that community and put our money where our mouth is…
That was a real “Wow!” moment for me. I thought finally, someone gets it. I can’t tell you how encouraged I was to hear Mike Haley say that. It was an ultimate Golden Rule moment. And I can’t begin to describe how disappointed I’ve been since then.
One year later, Lawrence King was killed in cold blood on February 12 in front of his teachers and classmates. Since then, conservative Christians leaders have celebrated seventy-three consecutive Days of Silence.
I’ve searched for Lawrence King’s name on Focus On the Family’s web site and CitizenLink. Guess what? There’s nothing but silence. I’ve searched the Family Research Council’s web site. More silence. Same with American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, the Christian Post, Christianity Today, the Christian Newswire and the Baptist Press. Nobody has raised their voice. Instead, we’ve had days and days of silence all around.
Exodus International, one of the principal sponsors of the so-called “Day of Truth,” has joined this perverse Days of Silence observation as well. I haven’t been able to find any statements of concern or condemnation from Exodus president Alan Chambers, vice-president Randy Thomas, or youth assistant Mike Ensley.
Believe me, I’ve been looking for it because I’d love nothing better than to be able to write a post and say, See? They really are concerned. But none of them could be bothered to put down their instruments of cultural warfare to say, “This was a terrible incident and should never happen again.”
But we do we hear from those who profess to follow the Golden Rule that we are part of an evil agenda, that there is a war between us and them, and that protecting LGBT youth is “worse than the holocaust.” We even hear preachers make light of anti-LGBT violence from their pulpits and threaten teachers who provide a safe place for gay kids to meet.
Oh yes, these people we hear loud and clear. No silence from them at all. And you can bet that each one of them thinks they’re following the Golden Rule.
So forgive me if I see this whole Golden Rule Day in a cynical light. A whole trainload of well-designed cards with yet another scripture quote won’t paper over the problem of anti-LGBT harassment and violence. And using Christianity’s highest ideal as a salve for Golden Rulers’ consciences won’t cut it either. Based on my past experiences with others passing out similar messages, if someone handed me a card like this today I would just throw it in the trash and roll my eyes. I’ve seen too many wonderful statements like this that have turned out to be empty platitudes, and I now find myself suffering from yet another case of déjà vu.
My question is this: what happens the day after everyone has handed out their Golden Rule cards and gone home? Will a conservative Christian leader somewhere suddenly decide to remember Lawrence King? Because I’m still waiting.
If you really want to know how I would have you do unto me, there’s my answer.
Hutcherson to Annoy Mt. Si High School Again
April 23rd, 2008
Rev. Ken Hutcherson is determined to be a general nuisance and all around pain in the ass.
He has opposed Washington’s non-discrimination laws. He’s threatened Microsoft with a hostile take-over because they support their gay employees. But now he’s set his sights a bit lower – Mt. Si High School where his daughter attends.
He has tried to get two teachers fired. He’s tried to get the Gay-Straight Alliance banned. He harassed and threatened the librarian. And now he’s going to be protesting the schoolkids who observe the Day of Silence.
Oh yeah, while kids on the inside are silently bringing attention to bullying, Hutcherson will be outside presenting himself as a screaming ranting example of the type of threat that gay kids face.
On his church’s website he says
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Prayer Warriors, it’s time to put on your knee pads and start praying! I am organizing a protest of Mt. Si High School and the Snoqualmie Valley School District. We will be protesting at Mt. Si High School on the Day of Silence, April 25 at 10:00 am. We have taken out a huge ad in the Snoqualmie Valley newspaper which will run next Wednesday. Please pray that over 1,000 people will participate.
Enough is enough. We have tried to work with the School District and they will not hear us. They will hear this protest. Pray it up! It’s time to make a moral stand in our public schools.
Please, no one tell Pastor Hutch that by next Wednesday the event will be over.
The Monday radio program that featured Hutcherson claimed that several high schools in and around Seattle are trying to stop the event from happening. All of the schools contacted by The Stranger, however, including some of those mentioned on the program, said the activity is going forward—sponsored by students and without interference from school administrators. “Of course we would hope that there’s tolerance of other people and other lifestyles, on any day of the year and not just one day,” said David Tucker, a Seattle Public Schools spokesperson.
Fortunately, the Reverend Ken Hutcherson will not be the sole voice of Christianity or community to be heard by gay kids at Mt. Si
A group at Tolt Congregational Church in Carnation plans to run an ad beside Hutcherson’s in Wednesday’s edition of the Snoqualmie Valley Record reading, “We are One in The Spirit,” and pledging to support the GSA. Another group, called “Friends of GSA,” is encouraging Snoqualmie residents to confront Hutcherson’s group outside of Mount Si on Friday morning, although McCormick isn’t thrilled about that. “A school is not the right place for this,” she said.
Poor Hutch. His efforts to stop the Day of Silence are not going to be any more effective than his bid to remove domestic partners insurance from Microsoft. But at this point I doubt that he has any illusions about his effectivity; he just likes to see his name in print.
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.