Every April, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in collaboration with the United States Student Association (USSA) sponsors the Day of Silence to protest verbal and physical violence against LGBT+ students.
Many evangelical parents contact us the week of this event asking what they can do to remove this program from their school system or to gain information on how to respond to this event.
Day of Silence is embedded into many schools’ diversity education curricula. Thus, it is unlikely that parents will be successful getting this program booted from their local school. Instead, we offer the following advice:
Short-Term Approach: We support Dr. Warren Throckmorten’s Golden Rule Pledge. This offers Christian students a positive way to witness their faith in a manner that will attract others toward Jesus instead of pushing them away. This is the best Christian response and one we recommend. NOTE: Some school systems prohibit any form of religious expression and thus the Golden Rule Pledge may need to be adjusted to remove the Bible verse reference – in some schools.
Long-Term Approach: We recommend that Christian parents work with their local school system and the local LGBT+ Community to expand existing diversity curricula to address the needs of students who experience same-sex attraction but cannot as a matter of personal conscience act on such attractions. This kind of student is the least likely to speak up – but equally likely as LGBT+ students to be harassed. This approach offers a Christian response that expands the curricula to recognize that not all students who experience same-sex attraction are gay and even many who our society would label gay do not wish to act upon such attractions. To recognize such individuals is not to criticize the LGBT+ Community; it is simply to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves – the very goal that Day of Silence seeks to achieve.
We must remember: when we stand against programs like this that promote personal safety, the perception in the eyes of others is that we are standing against their right for personal safety.
The approaches above move our Christian witness beyond the Culture War so that we have an opportunity to share the presence of Christ with those in our local communities. These approaches best fit our evangelistic calling as followers of Jesus Christ.
We encourage Christians to take an active role in their local community to eliminate violence against gays and assist in preventing suicide among gay youth and young adults.
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