Alex Blaze

Day of Silence counter-protest canceled

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 07, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

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Ya think? A day devoted to telling students to make LGBT teens feel ashamed, out of place, and hopeless might not be a good idea right now?

day-of-truth-tshirt.png"All the recent attention to bullying helped us realize that we need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they'd like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not," said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, the group that sponsored the event this year.

Called the Day of Truth, the annual April event has been pushed by influential conservative Christian groups as a way to counter to the annual Day of Silence, an event promoted by gay rights advocates to highlight threats against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

If taken at face value, this shows that even the hardest heads can get the message. But their explanation of why they stopped doesn't make much sense:

On the Day of Truth, middle and high school students are encouraged to wear Day of Truth T-shirts and to distribute cards that say "It's time for an honest conversation about the biblical truth for sexuality," according to Exodus' manual for this year's event.

"I don't think it's necessary anymore," Chambers said of the event on Wednesday. "We want to help the church to be respectful of all its neighbors, to help those who want help and to be compassionate toward people who may hold a different worldview from us."

Chambers said that Exodus International - which promotes "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ," according to its website - has not changed its position on homosexuality but has reevaluated how best to communicate its message.

They started in 2005, how could it not be "necessary" anymore if it was "necessary" just five years ago?

Day of Silence's message was about the nasty effects of the closet in schools and that the violence used to maintain the closet should stop, and Day of Truth was a ridiculous, but small, counterprotest that said that the closet is great and practically begged for the violence to continue.

Either they've been personally moved by recent events or they realized it's not all that media-savvy right now to go around shouting "Anti-gay bullying is great!" I'm choosing not to be cynical and favor the former explanation since Exodus hasn't shown much media-savvy in the past anyway.

No word on other Day of Silence counterprotests, like Religious Right groups telling kids to stay home, walk out, or Warren Throckmorton's "Golden Rule Day," but I'm guessing the response may be mellower this year.

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Brad Bailey | October 7, 2010 6:28 PM

Make no mistake-- the Religious Right is our number one enemy. It has created an entire belief system based upon male domination, traditional gender roles and the elevation of procreation to a religious sacrament. It would turn the U.S. into another Uganda if it could.

Maybe they finally realized that THEY are in fact sacrificing innocent lambs to an empty alter of self aggrandized flase martyrdom?
Maybe they’ve lost little one‘s themsleves?
Or, maybe they finally got the message?

Good. Even the hardest heart can soften.

And you continue to doubt that "religion" is the primary source of our discrimination? Do you read your own words?

Of course I do! It may not seem obvious because a couple type-os will slip through all the time, but I do re-read my posts.

This isn't proof, Andrew, that Christianity is the source of all homophobia. It shows that Christianity spreads homophobia, but since you've already said that most other institutions that spread homophobia (medicine, education, the law, the media, etc.) aren't the sources of homophobia for really no reason, mere spreading doesn't mean that something is the source.

Get some historical evidence. Because at this point the only two historical explanations I've read about the origins of homophobia are from Michel Foucault and a queer Marxist book I read a long time ago (forgot the author and I can't look it up, sorry, but I'm certain I had to read it in college), neither of which put the blame entirely on religion, although Foucault does put a lot of fault there for spreading homophobia. In that really post-modern non-guilt way, of course. The Marxists blame capitalism with religion being a tool to advance its goals, but that's not really saying that homophobia comes from religion.

Anyway, a few questions that this all raises:

1. If Christianity is the source of homophobia, why are there plenty of non-Christian and even non-religious homophobes?

2. Does transphobia exist all because of Christianity? If so, why are some people who reject religious homophobia, like some gay people themselves, really, really transphobic?

3. What's the solution? Banning religion like in China (which was never Christian and was still plenty homophobic after religion was banned after the revolution)? Engaging in theological debates with Christians instead of policy debates with citizens? Becoming bitter at the power of religion?

First of all the solution is that religion needs to evolve and it is doing that. It needs to let go of the "lie" that homosexuals are "wrong." It needs to hurry up because kids are dying. That has to come from within religion, a job belonging to gay Christians and their allies.

There is plenty of evidence that religion is at the heart of the problem. Many have recognized certain Christian beliefs as "bigoted beliefs." These beliefs are taught to very young people and under the authority of God or punishment (brilliant business plan). This idea that we are "lesser" human beings is born at that moment and it makes an indelible impression. It is then reinforced throughout the early years of life.

I have not found any evidence that there are many non-Christian homophobes - in fact it is just the opposite. Polling data done by Pew, Gallup and Aris confirm the highest levels of anti-gay sentiment in the very same States that have high religiosity. SSM exists in Connecticut and Massachusetts the two US States with the lowest religiosity. That isn't a coincidence.

Look at LGBT-related votes in the US Senate - the votes against us are almost entirely from the States with the highest religiosity.

It is true homophobia show ups in other areas, but you have to trace it back to its origins. When was it taught? I was raised in a nearly fundamentalist home and it was suggested to me - it was hammered into my young head. That lead to my denial of who I was until my mid-thirties. Nothing else gave me those damaging beliefs.

Dan Savage nailed it when he pointed at "religion" and Olsen Boies did the same in court and Judge Walker agreed - citing numerous times that the basis for the bigoted beliefs was "religious beliefs." It is very clear.

I cannot speak to the issue of transphobia, but it is clearly lumped into the negative branding of homosexuals by religion, if at least by extension. I agree with you that many of us in our own community can do a lot more to be supportive to our tarns brothers and sisters. Even I am evolving in that regard and Bilerico and some very fine people that participate in this conversation have educated and enlightened me.

Religion is the only institution that teaches we are lesser. That is the source.