Right-Wing Outcry Over the Day of Silence

Next month, GLSEN’s annual “Day of Silence” will be held with students from around the country pledging to “be quiet all day to protest the discrimination, harassment and abuse—in effect, the silencing—faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their allies in schools.”

Unsurprisingly, the anti-gay Right is not about to let this silent protest go by without comment.  

The Alliance Defense Fund is promoting its own trademarked “Day of Truth” to counter the “Day of Silence,” which it claims is “part of their overall strategy to change how our society perceives homosexual behavior … the Day of Silence is a misnomer, because what is truly being silenced is the Truth.” 

Scheduled for the day after the GLSEN event, the “Day of Truth” is designed to give anti-gay students an opportunity to “stand up for their First Amendment right to hear and speak the Truth about human sexuality in order to protect that freedom for future generations.”

As ADF’s 14-page instruction manual [PDF] states:

It is our responsibility to point the hurting person tempted by or even trapped in homosexual behavior to this healing love and merciful grace. Love does not mean condoning or ignoring things that are wrong or that cause harm. When Christ loved someone, like the woman caught in adultery (John 8:11), he expressed compassion for her. He also gave her the loving direction to “go now and leave your life of sin.” As followers of Christ, we must take action when someone is trapped in sinful behavior that separates them from God (John 8:24). We must be able to speak the Truth and direct people to their need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to find the all forgiving love of God.    

In order to accomplish this, ADF recommends that students wear T-shirts and pass out cards with the following message:

I am speaking the Truth to break the silence.

Silence isn’t freedom. It’s a constraint.

Truth tolerates open discussion, because the Truth emerges when healthy discourse is allowed.

By proclaiming the Truth in love, hurts will be halted, hearts will be healed, and lives will be saved.

But for a coalition of right-wing groups - including Concerned Women for America, Peter LaBarbera’s Americans For Truth, Massachusetts Resistance, and the ex-gay Stephen Bennett Ministries - counter-protesting just isn’t enough. Apparently, the idea of having students even witnessing the “Day of Silence” is far too dangerous and it is better if parents just keep their children home from school altogether:   

A national pro-family coalition, www.NotOurKids.com, is calling upon parents to keep their children home from school on April 18 -- to avoid GLSEN's homosexual "Day of Silence," in which students and some supportive faculty intentionally remain silent throughout the school day to protest alleged oppression of homosexuals.

"Teenagers deserve an opportunity to study English, history, math, and science -- without being subjected to pro-homosexual proselytizing sanctioned by school authorities. Students shouldn't be forced to self-censor or adopt beliefs contrary to those of their parents and places of worship," said Linda Harvey of Mission America, a coalition member.  "Even the strongest of our junior high and high school children are not equipped to serve as frontline soldiers in this culture war."