A Question re: The National Day of Silence

Posted on April 11, 2008 · Posted in Culture, Teenagers, Worldview

Do not be yoked
together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in
common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
II Corinthians
6:14

Caleb Land posted this comment with regard to a question
that he had that had not been directly addressed in the blog. Thank you, Caleb,
for posting this question! I also encourage others of you to comment about
issues that have not been directly addressed in the blog, but that you would
like to see addressed.

 

Comment:
This isn’t related to this post, but I
don’t know how else to contact you. I have come to respect your collective
opinion and look forward to your cultural analysis from a biblical perspective.
Here is my question. Are you familiar with the National Day of Silence and what
do you believe is the best response for evangelical Christians? According to
the official website: http://www.dayofsilence.org/index.htm,
The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling,
bullying and harassment in schools. This year’s event will be held in
memory of  Lawrence King, a  California  8th-grader  who  was shot and
killed Feb. 12 by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and
gender
expression. Hundreds of thousands of students will come together on
April 25 to
encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT
behavior." I am a student pastor. The issue of homosexuality is an
important one for my students. Many of them see nothing wrong with
homosexuality
because they are so relativistic and don’t really care what the Bible
says, but
others are honestly struggling through the issue. If I believed that
Day of
Silence were simply against violence, then I wouldn’t have any problem
saying
with them, we shouldn’t harass, beat up or kill gay people. What does
anger me
is that this is an official sanctioned program by many public schools.
Can you
imagine a similar Christian holiday? I’ve long been a proponent of
public
school education, but as I approach parenthood, my mind is changing. To
the
point, what advice do you have on how I might use this as a teaching
opportunity and lovingly disagree and teach the truth?

The Day of Silence is organized by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. The reason
for this day according to their website is:

The Day of Silence
(www.dayofsilence.org), a project of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education
Network (GLSEN), is a student-led day of action when concerned students, from
middle school to college, take some form of a vow of silence to bring attention
to the name-calling, bullying and harassment— in effect, the silencing—
experienced by LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students and their
allies.

Caleb asks what the best response is for evangelical
Christians. The short answer is, “The gospel.” But that answer needs a little unpacking.
The Bible teaches that mocking, bullying, harassment, and discriminatory
violence are always wrong. The Bible also teaches that homosexual and bisexual
behavior are always wrong. The Day of
Silence
decries the harsh mob mentality that results in taunting, physical
assault and, sadly, sometimes the death of students of non-heterosexual
persuasion. A Christian should agree that there is no biblical basis and thus,
no place for such actions. Indeed, Christians should seek to bring the good
news of the gospel to those who are mired in these sinful and destructive
lifestyles. But this highlights the problem. An attempt to communicate that
those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual are violating the law of
God and need salvation could be viewed as harassment. As a video clip on the Day of Silence website states, “No one
should be discriminated against for being who they are.” Actually, GLSEN has formalized a position statement
that speaks against those who would say that homosexual desires (let alone
actions) are wrong. Here is a quote from an informational fact sheet put out by
GLSEN. This fact sheet can viewed at GLESN.org.

"As
principals, educators, and school personnel, you need good information.

The
reason for publishing this fact sheet now is the recent upsurge in aggressive
promotion of ‘reparative therapy’ and ‘transformational ministry. ‘Reparative
therapy’ refers to psychotherapy to eliminate an individual’s attractions to
members of their own gender. ‘Transformational ministry’ refers to the use of
religion to eliminate those desires.”

Transformational
ministry
, among other things, would include the presentation of the gospel
message. So to join with the Day of
Silence
activities a Christian would also be joining with those who demand
that Christians not be who they are. In reality, there is no common ground here
for Christians in the Day of Silence activities.
To support the GLSEN cause, a Christian must also support the tenet that the
desires for sex outside the bounds of heterosexual marriage must be affirmed as
appropriate.

As Caleb’s comment illustrates, homosexuality has become a
difficult issue for many Christians, particularly students. Our culture has
undergone radical changes in how it views homosexuality. Homosexual behavior
has gone from being a sociopathic personality disturbance (the original
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1952) to being
an accepted lifestyle choice, even to the point of homosexual couples being
able to adopt children. In other words, there used to be strong cultural bias
against homosexual behavior. That bias is now largely gone. The church can no
longer look for support from the culture concerning issues like homosexuality. Children
growing up today don’t see homosexuality as culturally wrong. This is the
tension that Caleb speaks of.

So, how should parents respond to the Day of Silence? What should youth pastors teach regarding this event?
First, I believe that we can employ the principle of II Corinthians 6:14-18
that we not be yoked together with unbelievers. The GLSEN members have made it
clear that they stand in opposition to message of the gospel. Joining with them
is not an option for Christians. Parents and church leaders, you must know the
facts. Read the GLSEN fact sheet. Point out the anti-gospel, anti-biblical
themes of this group. These folks demand that others must change to fit their
preference. Yet they refuse to consider any other perspective than their own. Review
the Bible’s warnings about being taken captive by the world (Colossians 2:8,
etc.) You may need to do some background work to illustrate the dangers of
relativism.

Second, teach that it is wrong to be hateful, to mock and
hurt others, regardless of their sexual persuasions. Such behavior is simply
not an option for Christians, who represent Christ.  Yet, if this is the case why are we tempted to
have these wrong responses?   It is easy to be outraged at the sin of others
and to ignore our own sins. It is easy
to see sinful behavior in others and forget that we have been forgiven, not by
our merit, but by grace.  When talking
with young people, bring the balance of the gospel into the situation. Yes,
homosexual behavior is wrong before God. But so is laziness and gossip.  What Christian is not guilty of sin every day?

To be gospel centered we must be humbled and motivated by
the  grace of God shown to us. Isn’t this
the essence of mercy? People who are caught up in sexual sin have no hope but
for God to be merciful.  Showing contempt
for them will not advance the gospel; showing love will.  So, while you teach that scorn and hate are
not acceptable responses to sexual sin, be careful to teach also, positively,
that God requires gospel centered compassion from his people.

Third and most importantly, you must give your children and
students a biblical vision of the glory of God. Relativism thrives because we
have made God too much like us. This culture has attempted to remake God in its
own image. Such a God is nothing more than who I think he or she should be. Even
to write these words is fearful! The Bible speaks of a glorious, powerful,
magnificent Being who is Lord of Lord and King of Kings, who has no need for
the affirmation of man. Passages like Isaiah 40, Psalm 139, Job 38-42, Romans
11:33-36, Revelation 21 and countless other passages speak of the God who is
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This answers the notions of relativism and
tolerance that infect our lives and culture. Contrast man the creature with God
the Creator. Don’t even talk about these issues until you are thoroughly blown
away by the majesty and wonder of God as the Bible presents him.

This will allow you to be compassionate to those who walk in
darkness. (Proverbs  4:19) This will also allow you to present the Lord of Creation for  who he is. All
people stand in need of a Savior who alone can make them acceptable before a
holy God.

There is no easy or quick answer to Caleb’s question other
than to show God for who he really is. He does have the right to say how people
are to relate to each other sexually. I don’t have that right. You don’t have
that right. God does. This issue is not about your sexual preference as opposed
to the preference of someone in GLSEN. This issue is about God. Caleb, this is
where I would start. Let me know your thoughts. Perhaps others have thoughts as
well. Thanks again for your comment and question. May God bless your service
for Him.

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