Local students participate in the Day of Silence and the Day of Truth to share views on homosexuality
Expect school campuses across the country to be a bit quieter on April 17, when some students plan to take part in the 13th annual Day of Silence.
An undertaking of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network (GLSEN), The Day of Silence is a nationwide, student-led protest against the abuse of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. Originally started by University of Virginia students in 1996, now students across the nation participate in the Day of Silence to get schools to include sexual orientation and gender expression in their anti-harassment and non-discriminatory policies, and to silence name-calling and bullying.
So, how will Christians across the nation respond to The Day of Silence?
Students from many school campuses will join together on April 20 for the fifth annual student-led Day of Truth. The Day of Truth represents an opportunity for students to peacefully and openly express their Christian perspectives on homosexuality to their peers through loving conversation. The event also gives students a public forum to utilize their First Amendment right to share their beliefs on homosexuality, whereas students were once punished or censored for doing so.
Chris Lane, executive director of First Priority of South Florida, an organization that sets up student-led Bible clubs in local schools, feels that The Day of Truth should not be centered on demonstrations and protests.
“I hope that Christian students will match love and kindness behind the truth of the message,” shares Lane. “ We should not be argumentative or rude when we share the truth in love.”
Lane also advises Christians to pray for those who plan to take part in The Day of Silence, saying, “I see hurting students all the time. I see students that get involved with lifestyles [that are alternative to the Bible] as those who are crying out for acceptance. Jesus said that He saw the crowds, and He had compassion on them, because they were helpless and harassed. I try to see this generation like Jesus sees them.”
The truth after the silence
While some claim that Christians use the Day of Truth to be judgmental and force their religious views on others, The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) says this isn’t the purpose behind the event at all.
ADF started the Day of Truth in 2005 to give students an opportunity to openly express their views about homosexuality without the threat of punishment. Focus on the Family and Exodus International joined in on the project in 2007 to help provide support and information regarding religious, theological and social issues that surround the Day of Truth.
Although students have the right to freely speak their mind on homosexuality during the Day of Truth, Lane cautions students not to use the event as an excuse to debate the topic.
“The Christian student needs to realize that arguing this point and debating will not get you anywhere,” he says. “Simply stated – share the truth in love, pray for the person and let them see Christ in your life.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”