The annual "Day of Silence" is scheduled for tomorrow. According to the organization sponsoring the event, this is "a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools." Students from middle school to college are encouraged to take a vow of silence to illustrate "the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT."
Supporters cite surveys stating that "nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment in school and more than 30 percent report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety." The Day of Silence has been going on since 1996, and has spread to classrooms around the world.
How should those who support the biblical view on homosexuality respond? The "Day of Silence Walkout" (DOSW) is an approach endorsed by a variety of Christian organizations. It encourages parents to keep children home from schools participating in the DOS and send letters of explanation to school officials.
Another option is the "Day of Dialogue" planned for today. It encourages Christians to share "truth about God's deep love for us and what the Bible really says about his redemptive design for marriage and sexuality." The website includes articles equipping students to talk about sexual and gender issues. It also explains our rights regarding religious freedom in public schools, an issue I explored in a recent Cultural Commentary, "School allows Muslims to leave class for prayer."
Which approach do you think is best? While I understand the intent behind the DOSW, my preference is the "Day of Dialogue" or similar attempts to engage this issue by "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). Salt is not much use in the saltshaker; light doesn't illuminate when it's kept under a basket (Matthew 5:13-16). In a day when 60 percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments and 50 percent of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married, it is vital that Christians declare and defend biblical truth.
Of course, when we speak God's word to the issues of our day, we can expect some to object. For instance, the "Day of Dialogue" is being called "nothing short of a pro-bullying campaign." After a recent post on our Facebook page, someone protested: "God loves everyone — gay/straight — black/white/yellow. And with that love, comes equality."
It's no surprise that our culture equates truth-telling with intolerance and love with equality. However, if I'm driving the wrong way, you're not intolerant if you try to correct me. It is because God loves all people unconditionally, whatever their sexual orientation, that he taught heterosexual monogamy (Matthew 19:4-6) or celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:27, 32-34) as his best for us. Leighton Ford was right: "God loves us the way we are, but too much to leave us that way."
Jim Denison, Ph.D., is a subject matter expert on cultural and contemporary issues. He founded the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, a nonsectarian "think tank" designed to engage contemporary issues with biblical truth in 2009 and is the author of seven books, including Radical Islam: What You Need to Know. For more information on the Denison Forum, visit www.denisonforum.org. To connect with Dr. Denison in social media, visit www.twitter.com/jimdenison or www.facebook.com/denisonforum.
Publication date: April 18, 2013