My Mind Made Public -

I held off as long as I could ...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day of Silence

Today is the National Day of Silence, where GLBT youth and their allies vow to not talk today at school to bring awareness to the name-calling, bullying and harassment of them in schools. In response to this day there are many Christians out there who decide to pull their kids out of school in protest.

I think that is the biggest mistake a Christian parent could possibly make.


1. It breeds in our Christian youth the idea that if we don’t agree with something we protest and walk in the other direction. And in my opinion, there is no worse way to represent our Christian faith on such a day.

2. From my perspective, what a better way to bring the GLBT topic to the forefront in our Christian homes then to use this day as a springboard in how to peacefully and productively engage what has always been nothing more than a very divisive topic. And in doing such a thing with middle and high schoolers, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to start our youth down the right path in how to bridge within the GLBT community. It's our chance to do something different in showing our faith rather than just talking about it in regards to homosexuality, which is what most of us tend to do.

I was on a Christian radio program recently and off the air the host told me about how his daughter wanted to go to school that day because she knew all of her other Christian friends were going to protest and not be in school. The host went on to tell me that she was the only Christian kid left in many of her classes, and at the end of the day everyone in one of her classes was being silent. Since she was the only one not being silent, and since she was the only Christian, for 20 minutes the teacher allowed her to talk about her faith and her love, and all of the reasons why she decided to come to school that day in opposition to all of the other Christian who didn’t!

Just think what would happen around the country if our Christian kids did as she did…

I could only imagine.

A colleague of mine, Dr. Warren Throckmorton, has started what he calls the Golden Rule Pledge to be done on the Day of Silence. Take a look, and next year feel free to join in—keeping our kids in school and using this day as the Kingdom opportunity it should be.

What do you think...right or wrong?

Much love.


Mandy said...

When I was in high school, less than 10 years ago, I was a Christian kid with several gay friends and I believed that being gay was a sin. I am still a Christian, but my views on the issue have changed completely.
I participated in every Day of Silence, which was very unpopular in my rural, conservative town and in my high school, where I would say less than 10% of the student body participated. I chose to stand in solidarity with my gay and lesbian friends, not because I agreed with their political/theological position but because I completely supported any effort to end gay-bashing, violence against LGBT and words or actions of hate in any form. Might it be better to find common ground and show our love through silence instead of using this day to promote our faith and viewpoint, regardless of how lovingly we do so? Perhaps this is an example of loving validation even when you don't desire to affirm.
I participated each year but never told my parents because of their extreme uncomfortableness with my gay friends and their very strong convictions against anything even resembling support of LGBT. I wish it was an open dialogue I could have had with them and I hope Christian parents today are open to these conversations.

D.J. Free! said...

Andy, I guess I'm a little confused about this. Granted, I applaud Throckmorton for finding a more Christ-like way to approach this issue than just protesting and walking out. But for a group of people who follow a deity who demonstrated coming to people where they were . . . I'm confused why Christians would want to do anything DIFFERENT on the DOS.

Jesus - being all-powerful, humbled himself and came to earth with sinful man. And then, instead of hob-knobbing with religious elites, he spent his time with sinner, prostitutes, and tax collecter. He got in the middle of their stuff.

He didn't need to make a name for himself by being different. He was already called out for being different just by entering into the mess of lowly people.

Wouldn't the MOST Christ-like thing be for Christians to proudly participate in DOS like everyone else? Wouldn't that alone draw some attention, and then they could share why it was they've decided to join in solidarity? (And solidarity for a cause which is expressly Jesus-like in every facet, I might mention.)

In other words, if Christ were here today, do you really think he'd be passing out Pledge cards when other people were speaking up (or staying silent, as it were) for the oppressed? Wouldn't Jesus be leading the charge in his own silence and contemplation?

Andrew Marin said...

DJ, I totally see where you're coming from. And I also do agree that Jesus would respect the DOS. But I don't know if there are a ton of Christian kids who are like the first comment from Mandy.

With that being said the Golden Rule Pledge (GRP), at the very least, has Christian kids not leaving school. I think this is a way better option than kids protesting and not showing up to school that day. For many out there, the GRP is a great initiation to start doing things differently as many are not ready to fully dive in head first.

All in all, I look at the GRP as a great option for those kids (and their parents) that don't feel comfortable with silence or protesting.

Anonymous said...

I also think that bullying is soooo awful that it doesn't matter why the kids are being bullied. Sure, there is a 'gay agenda,' but it doesn't mean we should ignore all the activities. There are times to support gay friends.
This is a good time for parents to discuss the issue & say that while we don't agree with being gay(rather acting upon it), we are to respect otehr people & not make fun of them, no matter what reason!
If parents hide this from thier kids, it will make things worse in the future. However, I don't think the schools should have this 'DOS' for tiny kids. The info is beyond their grasp. Even heterosexual sex is too difficult a topic for tiny kids & the schools push all sexuality. Well, that's another issue...
But, for older kids, this "DOS" presents a great opportunity to teach kids how Christians should act.
It was tragic about that 11-yr. old committing suicide. He was such a cute kid & I bet the other kids & he didn't even know what gay meant! Check Kathy Belge's site & gay papers for the story. This bullying has to stop!

D.J. Free! said...

hey andy,

i get you, completely. like i said, i applaud throckmorton and the pledge. i just hope that it's a bridge, and not the final destination. in all honesty, i feel like Christians should have been the CREATORS of DOS. we should be the proponents of ending injustice, not figuring out how we'll be responding to others who fight to end injustice. it's absolutely shameful that the people who should be known for their love are protesting and walking out when people insist on love.

Anonymous said...

Super dittos to D.J.Free!!! How obvious what we should do!
Thank you!

David said...

I always appreciate your comments, DJ Free! Spot on.

The Common Loon said...

Thanks Andrew for your excellent work. I'm deeply encouraged by your foundation's efforts to bring about a refreshingly thoughtful forum for dialogue and civility.

The vicious cycle of backlash and nastiness will never stop until we are able to actually sit down and have a sober conversation about the touchy stuff: sex, religion, fear and anger. Slogans and sound bites won't work in a thicket this tangled.

If you're interested, some of my ideas on moving the discussion forward can be found here: