Christian Post reports on Golden Rule Pledge

Actually, the article reports on various responses from evangelicals to the Day of Silence with mention of the DOS, Day of Truth, Golden Rule Pledge and the proposed DOS walkout.

Students Encouraged to Skip School on ‘Day of Silence’
By Lawrence Jones
A national coalition of pro-family groups are urging parents to keep their students home this coming Friday in protest of the annual “Day of Silence,” when students vow silence to bring attention to the discrimination of gay students.
Over 20 Christian-based conservative groups have called for the massive walkout from middle and high schools participating the April 17 event, arguing that the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)’s sponsored event politicizes the classroom to support the belief that homosexuality is moral. They include state chapters of American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Illinois Family Institute, Liberty Council and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays.
“This day is not about ‘tolerance’ as it claims, but about forcing propaganda and acceptance of high-risk behavior into the schools with no opposing views allowed,” said Linda Harvey of Mission America, which also supports the walkout.
Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute said that while “all of civilized society must oppose bullying,” she opposes the “illegitimate means of using public education to affirm volitional homosexual behavior.”
Campaign for California Families said the demonstration will serve as financial “leverage” to get the message across, saying public schools in California lose $100 a day for each child absent.
The groups have encouraged parents and teens who are not willing to risk teacher retribution or missing school to send a letter to schools officials expressing their objections to Day of Silence.
The coalition has also called attention to a resolution sitting before Congress that would urge the federal government and public schools to officially recognize and celebrate Day of Silence. The legislation also requests that “the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe the National Day of Silence with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities.”
House Concurrent Resolution 92 was introduced on April 1 and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
GLSEN claims that over 8,000 students participated in last year’s Day of Silence. The organization says the observance is needed, pointing to its 2007 survey showing 86 percent of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation while 44 percent report being physically harassed.
The band of pro-family groups, meanwhile, says that by opposing the event they are in no way endorsing the bullying and harassment of those in the LGBT community.
One Christian professor, however, has come against the walkout, saying it’s not very productive.
“How can we get anything accomplished if we leave the field?” Dr. Warren Throckmorton, professor of Psychology at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, wrote last week on his blog on
The expert in mental health and sexuality issues contends that students taking part in Day of Silence have a point, saying he has spoken with Christian students who have admitted to bullying or harassing gay students.
Throckmorton has created an alternative response to Day of Silence, asking Christians to take The Golden Rule Pledge and show up at school to live out the teaching of Christ to treat others as they want to be treated.
When Day of Silence students hand out cards asking, “What will you do to help end the silence?” Christian students should respond: “This is what I am going to do. I pledge to treat others the way I want to be treated. ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.'”
Meanwhile, several other Christian-based conservative groups are promoting the Day of Truth on April 20, the following Monday, as a direct response to Day of Silence. According to Day of Truth’s Web site, it was established to “counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective.”
Alliance Defense Fund and Exodus International, the promoters of Day of Truth, are encouraging students to speak the “truth in love” and engage in conversation about homosexuality.
Participants are also asked to hand out cards reading: “I’m speaking the Truth to break the silence. True tolerance means that people with differing – even opposing – viewpoints can freely exchange ideas and respectfully listen to each other. It’s time for an honest conversation about homosexuality. There’s freedom to change if you want to. Let’s talk.”

For the record, I do not see the GRP as counterprogramming, but as an appropriate response to a request for respect and fair treatment. I simply cannot find any teaching in my religious tradition for walking away from people who are asking for respect.

9 thoughts on “Christian Post reports on Golden Rule Pledge”

  1. Debbie – Please read the context. I mentioned it because jayhuck seemed to think the sentence about change was a part of the GRP.
    I will add though that change means different things for the different groups. Change in context is what the DOS kids are going for (a more gay friendly environment) and the DOT kids are talking about change of orientation.
    Exodus has been in the past quite political. I would say recently, they have sent mixed messages.

  2. Warren, the DOT also is not the GRP, yet you mentioned your dislike of their use of the word change. The word’s fair game in both contexts, is it not? You singled it out in the one but not the other. I merely wanted to know why. Is Exodus a political entity in you view?

  3. The GRP is not the DOS so why are asking me about the materials? I would not agree with all of the changes asked for by the GLSEN materials.
    In contrast to what you quoted and what the DOT is about, the GRP is non-political. The differences of perspective will continue and not be changed by either day. The GRP will not fix that but hopefully where applied, it will help tone down the rhetoric which reaches levels that cannot sustain relationships.

  4. Warren, if the unspecified “change” mentioned on the Day of Truth cards bothers you, are you also bothered by GLSEN’s reference to “change” in the context of their DOS materials? GLSEN’s “How To Get What You Want with an ‘Ask'” says, “The Day of Silence can be a great tool to catapult change at your school. Do you want a more LGBT inclusive library, teacher training, LGBT inclusive nondiscrimination policies or something else? If you want something to change — you can use the Day of Silence to help with your ‘ask!'” Also on that flier is this example of what “LGBT inclusive nondiscrimination policies” means: “We wanted a queer-friendly prom, and after showing that many students and staff care, we got a queer-friendly prom. We said we wouldn’t be silenced, and we won’t.”
    So, tell me again about how GLBT students are silenced? They are the most vocal and catered-to minority of students on campuses. And how is GLSEN’s DOS not a political tool for change? It is blatantly political. They must love you and your GRP. You’re playing patsy with them.
    How am I wrong?

  5. Debbie – The change is possible mantra does not specify what kind of change is possible. And it does not qualify how frequent or to what degree it might be possible. Nor does it indicate why someone would want to change.
    It still has people talking past each other.
    The glb and progressive kids want to talk about fair and respectful treatment and the DOT kids want to talk about change and homosexuality being wrong.
    In my work with college students, I hear all the time about how infrequently this works. This is why most Christian college students are so turned off to the business as usual ex-gay world (read unChristian).

  6. Warren, I totally agree that walking out of schools in protest of the DOS is wrong and only stirs emotions and broadens the divide. However, I am wondering why you find the DOT cards and statement about the freedom to change objectionable. The Golden Rule Pledge is fine, but does it really lead to useful dialogue? Isn’t it possible for people to interpret it as tacit support for homosexuality? I see nothing in the DOT plan that is disrespectful. So, what’s your beef with it?
    Also, given the widening acceptance of homosexuality, how much gay bullying is really going on in schools these days? I believe GLSEN overstates it, which does give them a political motive. GLSEN’s 2003 survey found “a significant decline” since 2001 in the bullying speech toward gays among students. Ritch Savin-Willians did a survey at Berkeley in 2002 that showed only 5 percent of GLBT students got a negative response from peers when they came out. I know Berkeley isn’t Middle America, but given California’s passage of Prop. 8, there is still plenty of anti-gay angst, or at least traditionalism, in the state.
    Kevin Jennings has been as guilty of anti-Christian hate speech as any gay activist on the planet. That alone makes GLSEN suspect in my book. Why give him a pass
    What of the discrimination against ex-gays? Students deserve to know the whole truth. That includes knowing where the Golden Rule comes from (Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount), and its context in scripture. Jesus gives it just before he contrasts the two ways of the narrow and the wide gates and warns against false teachers. Matthew 7:12-20. Isn’t your Golden Rule lacking a bit of clarity?

  7. Jayhuck – That sentence is on the Day of Truth card, not the GRP. That sentence is one of the reasons I do not support the DOT.

  8. I’m a full supporter of the GRP, and I thank Warren for spurring Evangelicals to do something like this.
    In the card that is handed out though, there is a phrase that reads:

    There’s freedom to change if you want to

    What exactly does that mean? It seems to border on patronizing. Real respect rarely involves direct attempts at conversion. I would assume there is room for the Evangelicals to change as well? I’d just like some clarification on this

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