Friday, April 20, is the National Day of Silence sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). On Friday, students in middle schools, high schools and colleges across the nation will take a “vow of silence” to draw attention to “the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.” Since its inception in 1996, it has become the largest single student-led action toward creating safer schools for all students – regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. As you can imagine, this kind of outpouring of support for LGBT students has set in motion the twisted, paranoid right-wing mentality so prevalent in this country. In fact, a broad coalition of whacked out right-wing Christian groups is calling for a student walk out in answer to the Day of Silence.
Never one to miss an opportunity to spread its own special brand of Christian extremism, first comes Focus on the Family and its “Day of Dialogue” (formerly called the “Day of Truth”). This event is actually scheduled for today, April 19, and it encourages its students “to express their Biblical viewpoint in a loving and Christ-centered way – especially when sensitive issues, like bullying and sexual identity, are addressed in their schools.” Following is their promo video:
I don’t know how you feel about it after watching the video, but none of these kids look too loving. In fact, these little Christian automatons appear to be very smug and judgmental. I’m pretty happy that they don’t ever really get the dialogue started.
According to Right Wing Watch, Jerry Newcombe, of Truth in Action Ministries, has weighed in on the Day of Silence, saying:
“It’s something where they are basically taking a legitimate concern, which is that of bullying, and they are using that serious problem that does happen as an opportunity by which they will then promote and essentially indoctrinate children and expose children to the acceptability of the homosexual lifestyle. Now bullying is wrong but so also is indoctrination into a deadly lifestyle and frankly homosexuality is a deadly lifestyle and that fact is withheld from the children.”
Deadly lifestyle? Interesting concept. I’ve been gay for 58 years and I’m still here, with a partner and four children. It’s only deadly if the Christians have their way. Later on in the same conversation, Newcombe goes on to point out that it’s ironic that April 20 was chosen for the Day of Silence since it’s also Adolf Hitler’s birthday. Of course, he’s quick to say that he doesn’t believe there’s a link there, but it is ironic. Really? If there isn’t a link, then why bring it up? As always, the misguided Christians manage to make a connection that doesn’t really exist. The more sinister they can make a situation, the more gratifying it is for them.
Linda Harvey of Mission American can give you ten good reasons to walk out on the Day of Silence, and each one of them is just a little more whacked out than the one before it. Number 3 is my personal favorite:
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.
The only people spreading prejudiced and bigoted attitudes in this equation are those in the Christian right. The word “indoctrination” is another favorite used by right wingers when it comes to describing what the Day of Silence is all about. I’m trying to figure out how a Day of Silence can result in indoctrination since the whole idea is to NOT TALK ABOUT ANYTHING let alone recruit heterosexual children into the deadly homosexual lifestyle. It is simply a day to help others to understand how unhealthy and deadly bullying is to LGBT students. It is also an attempt to make other students understand that schools need to be safe for everybody, even those whose lives may be different from their own. Regardless of what the Christian right says, they are not on this earth to carry God’s mantle and anoint themselves as judge and jury. They still haven’t gotten it through their heads that America is not a Christian nation.
Finally, I’m including an email that a Tea Party member sent to his local school superintendent. He also sent this to a group of email friends, something that he usually does in order to spread his Tea Party ideology. As usual, it is fraught with inaccurate information about many things:
Please tell me that [LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT] WON’T be participating this coming Friday? Say it isn’t so…but if it is, let me know – I can stand truth, even when it’s related to a lie.
Bibles aren’t allowed in schools, the Ten Commandments may not be displayed, and the Pledge of Allegiance no longer starts off each day, but we’re going to dedicate a day to educate our youth about “the nature and morality of homosexuality”?…. Uh, in case anyone’s checked recently, the Bible calls it an “abomination”; as I understand it, that’s “immoral”.
The Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), fast approaches. This year it will take place in most public schools this Friday, April 20, 2012. On that day, thousands of public high schools and increasing numbers of middle schools will allow students to remain silent throughout an entire day – even during instructional time – to promote GLSEN’s socio-political goals and its controversial, unproven, and destructive theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality.
I’m too old to have kids in school, but my grandkids are there, and I’m going to do everything I can to oppose this hijacking of the classroom by the narcissist-in-chief’s homosexual friends. I hope that parents not only pull their sons and daughters from class on Friday but that they write strong letters of complaint to their teachers, schools, school districts, and congressional representatives!
One of the recipients of this email says what usually happens is that this person’s ramblings are simply deleted by the members of the group. However, this particular email struck a chord with one of the recipients who felt he had to reply:
While reading your rant below, I found a couple things that are not true.
You say that the Pledge Of Allegiance is not read at the beginning of class anymore? All three of our kids still say it every morning at their schools. What [LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT] schools are not participating in the pledge of allegiance?
And you say that the kids can remain silent – even during instructional time. Not true. Here is the verbiage from their actual website.
Your Rights during the Day of Silence
While you DO have a right to participate in the Day of Silence between classes and before and after school, you may NOT have the right to stay silent during instructional time if a teacher requests for you to speak. According to Lambda Legal, “Under the Constitution, public schools must respect students’ right to free speech. The right to speak includes the right not to speak, as well as the right to wear buttons or T-shirts expressing support for a cause.”
However, this right to free speech doesn’t extend to classroom time. “If a teacher tells a student to answer a question during class, the student generally doesn’t have a constitutional right to refuse to answer.” We remind participants that students who talk with their teachers ahead of time are more likely to be able to remain silent during class.
I have several friends in my life that are gay and believe that they were that way since birth. It is a difference in their genes. It is NOT their choice.
I know we disagree on this topic and I most certainly do not wish to debate the topic any further. But please do not spread mis-truths to further your agenda.
With all due respect, there should be no question about why groups like GLSEN exist. There is only one group spreading fear and misinformation. There is only one group trying to ‘indoctrinate’ America’s youth. And that one group is the Christian right. Instead of spreading true Christian values, they spend their time spreading lies about LGBT Americans and creating an ‘anti-gay phobia’ within their circle of true believers. Just about everybody on the planet understands that children aren’t born bigoted. It is an environmental phenomenon. The Christian right’s message is loud and clear, and it foments bullying in schools across the nation.
Likewise, there should be no question why GLSEN has called for a Day of Silence on April 20. Bullying is at epidemic levels. All one needs to do is look at the sad stories and statistics on bullying across the nation and on all educational levels.
GLSEN asked students to submit videos about the Day of Silence. I leave you with this moving entry which more than explains the reason behind this effort: