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October 6th, 2010
05:37 PM ET

Christian group pulls support for event challenging homosexuality

CNN's Dan Gilgoff filed this report:

A national Christian organization will stop sponsoring an annual event that encourages school students to "counter the promotion of homosexual behavior" because the event has become too divisive and confrontational, the group's president told CNN on Wednesday.

"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.

The Day of Truth, held on the same day as the Day of Silence, "was established to counter the promotion of homosexual behavior and to express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective," according to a manual for this year's event published by Exodus International.

On the Day of Silence, students take a "a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools," according to a web site run by the event's sponsor, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

The Day of Silence began in 1996. The Day of Truth started in 2005 and attracted the participation of 6,000 students nationwide this year, Chambers said.

"I thank Exodus for making this very important step," said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard on Wednesday after hearing of Exodus' decision. "The Day of Truth was an effort to push a very specific set of opinions about homosexuality into schools in a way that was inappropriate and divisive."

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.

An expert in evangelical responses to homosexuality says Exodus' decision is likely to be criticized by some conservatives.

"This is a very significant move, a very real break," said Warren Throckmorton, an associate professor of psychology at Grove City College. "Some will say that simply naming sexual orientation provides legitimacy for homosexuality."

At least one major Christian group, Focus on the Family, stood by the Day of Truth on Wednesday.

"Without question, Day of Truth is a loving and redemptive way students of faith can express their views positively in response to GLSEN's Day of Silence which only presents one point of view," Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family, said in a statement.

"In contrast to the whole idea of 'silence,' Day of Truth has encouraged students to exercise their free speech rights and have an open dialogue while respectfully listening to others," Cushman said.

The Day of Truth was started by the conservative group Alliance Defense Fund, Chambers said, but the group transferred primary responsibility for the event to Exodus this year.

Chambers said he contacted Alliance Defense Fund last week about his decision and that it's unclear whether that group will continue to sponsor the Day of Truth.

"As the organization leading the event, Exodus International is free to make decisions they deem best regarding the event," the Alliance Defense Fund said in a statement Wednesday.

"Contrary to comments by GLSEN falsely labeling the Day of Truth as 'inappropriate and divisive,' the event was always about the right of students to peacefully express their point of view on the subject of homosexual behavior," the statement said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars • Homosexuality • Schools

soundoff (930 Responses)
  1. Jheron

    Well it's nice that at least one Christian group has realized a better way to handle a situation that they have no business participating in. I think it is absurd how Christians label their views as the truth when its very easy to prove their beliefs are anything but the truth. Christian theology can't compare to "truth" when it comes to science.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  2. Woody

    I have a question ? Since God is not a human . What will this creature come back as ? You can not be a he or a she if you have no organs. You can also not come back if you are invisible . People have been saying Christ will return tomorrow for over one thousand years. And some of you say he will come back in your lifetime. But yet he has no organs . Therefore he can not be a he or a she. What are you all looking for to return ? An alien ? Please let me know what this alien will look like !

    October 6, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • Tony

      Woody, Funny post. Really I laughed out loud. God is not human. God came down to man as a man in the person of Jesus Christ. He ate, drank, lived, and felt all the things we felt. He asked Thomas when he rose from the dead to touch the holes in His hands so Thomas would know it was Him. The trinity is beyond our comprehension. God, Son, Holy Spirit. It has to be beyond us, if it wasn't why have faith. LOVED your post though.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
    • Frank

      That's actually a cute question. Lol. 😛
      Christ's physical Body does have a gender. He is a male, physically speaking. But God, in terms of the Essense, has no gender. An immaterial Being has no need for gender.
      And no one knows when Christ will come back so it's not really worth dwelling on, to be honest.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
    • Jon

      (1) God has revealed himself to man in a manner in which man is able to comprehend. Father is how God has revealed himself to us in scripture, again, in a manner in which we can understand. The role of a father is merely a picture of some of the attributes of God (this may trouble some people, especially if our earthly fathers were disappointments). Some want to believe in a "goddess" as they consider God having more traditionally female attributes – more of a nurturer. But scripture is clear in that God has qualities of both mother and father, and yet has opted to reveal Himself as Our Heavenly Father. (2) The Bible says that Jesus himself will wipe away our tears, in other words, we will be able to touch him. His body will be a glorified body, whatever that means (I don't know), but you will be able to touch him. It is actually an amazing thing to consider (if what the Bible says is true) that Jesus was in spirit form (one part of the triune Godhead, I know, very hard to grasp) and chose to put on this dirty decaying human flesh and go through life as a mortal man, and then having suffered at the hands of the Romans, and crucified, rose from the grave, conquering death, and has chosen to stay in physical form, so that one day you will be able to physically put your arms around him. This is the account of scripture. If you really want to know more about what he will look like, read the Book of Revelation. There is a lot of poetry and symbolism, but it may help.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  3. AQ

    Too little, too late. Sadly the damage has already been done and hate will continue to breed hate. While this group has *finally* seemed to realize that the Bible does teach us tolerance they have already spread the seed of hate and intolerance and the fringe elements, such as the Tea Party, will simply turn on this group and demonize them for becoming 'soft'. Perhaps they should have thought of what their words and actions would do BEFORE they promoted intolerance. Either that or they suddenly realized they might end up being sued in the future (which is more my guess).

    October 6, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
  4. sedreck fields

    No Jesus Christ do EXIST and He IS GOD!!! And p.s God is a MAN!!! THANK YOU!!!! JESUS CHRIST IS THE MAN!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  5. USS PINTO

    LOVE UP THE LIFE YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO LEAD, GAYS, LESBIANS, AND ALL PEOPLE REFUSING TO REPENT AND SEEK GODS LOVE, AND FORGIVENESS, FOR TOMRW YOU WILL DIE, AND THEN THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT, WHERE YOU WILL BE JUDGED ACCORDING TO YOUR DEEDS, AND HE IS FOUND NOT WRITING IN THE BOOK OF LIFE WAS CAST IN THE LAKE OF FIRE FOR ALL ETERNITY.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • Damien

      What part of my comment don't you understand? God loves His creation ... He made us gay AND straight, in his image. I'm not saying God is gay. But why would he condemn his God-fearing creation to hell? I don't suppose you have an answer for that. It's seems a little hypocritical, eh?

      October 6, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • dalis

      @ USS PINTO Perhaps you can answer my previous question: why is being gay a sin? what exactly is the objection?

      October 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  6. Rob

    It is written: Romans 14:11-12
    " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord,
    'every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will confess to God.' "So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
    • Damien

      Great post. Of course, everyone will bash it ... but why should we react? Their day is coming.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  7. anancain

    So many hateful comments towards a religion from a group of people who are judging others on the mis-conceptions of the religion that they failed to understand or inbrace. I truly enjoy when a non-christian or atheist attempts to tell me what I believe and blaming me for the ills of the world. Most people fear what they can't understand. Have you ever read the Bible or are you forming your opinion based on what others have told you to believe. (This is what terrorists practice.) Read the Bible from cover to cover 3 times...
    the first time to say that you have read the Bible, the second time to form some intelligent conclusions and the 3rd time to get some understanding. The New King James starts with "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. If you have studied the Bible at all, you will know that the word "was" is a mistranslation from the Hebrew Torah. "Became" is a better translation. You can't create the earth and have the earth without form and void. So where am I going with this.... every hear of the 3 earth ages? Or are you afraid to read the Bible.... fearing believing if you do really read the Bible from cover to cover. God bless all who ask for mercy and forgiveness!

    October 6, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • AQ

      Based on your post you are, in fact, stating that all those who blindly follow Fox News and/or the Tea Party and/or all the fake emails are terrorists. While I do think that I'm a bit surprised that someone who sounds like they worship Fox would admit to it. That said, I am a Christian, raised fundamental Baptist, and guess what? I have always lived by the belief that we are all God's children, whether gay or straight, Muslim or Christian (though I have some doubts about racist Tea Partiers). One can only wish that God would let us sit in on the judgement of the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, Graham, Falwell and so on. I'd bring the popcorn!

      October 6, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
    • Brett Favre's fan (a.k.a. ybs)

      fakk your god, bible, heaven, hell, bs!

      go beat off, fakk yourself, and all the world's immorality will vanish! 🙂

      http://bit.ly/twitterybs

      October 6, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
  8. Damien

    Neal ... a "pro straight" comment? That's like a "blue-eyed Anglo-Saxon" comment. Or a "black female under 40" comment. I assume it was more hurtful rhetoric. Some things are what they are. People are what they are. You don't have to like it, but when you champion the characteristics of one category of people over another ... you know what can happen. And it's not good.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
  9. USS PINTO

    THE GOD OF ABRAM HAS SET FORTH A DAY WHICH NO ONE KNOWS, IN WHICH THE SEVEN SEALS WILL BE OPENED AND THOSE LEFT ON EARTH AFTER THE RAPTURE WILL SEE THE LAST 7 YEARS TAKE PLACE, ( READ BOOK OF REVELATIONS). I SAY THIS TO ALL GAYS, MURDERS, LIARS, REAPERS OF SELF LOVE, HATERS OF CHRIST, DENOUNCERS OF CHRIST, YOUR DAY IS COMING, A DAY IN WHICH YOU WILL REGRET, AND EVEN MORE SO WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED BY GOD, AND SENT TO HELL FOR YOUR ACTIONS!!

    October 6, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
    • Frank

      Wow. That right there is the reason why so many hate Christianity. That's part of the reason why I used to hate Christianity, as well. May God have mercy on YOU, if you are being serious.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • Tony

      USS please tell me you have never told a lie. We all have. That is the saving grace of Christ. If we believe and do his work and believe that he will save us we will be saved. He died for all sin not just a few. Those don't don't believe in him will have their place on that that day. You can't just say all liars and self lovers. I love myself and yes have told a lie or two but I believe that Christ is the risen son of God and has forgiven me and will continue to forgive me as long as I trust in Him.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • Tony

      Oh and by the way USS you should not judge or you will be judged against by God. It is written.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • asrael

      Zounds! It's the Second Coming of Sedreck...!!!

      October 6, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
    • Brett Favre's fan (a.k.a. ybs)

      Hey Pinto,

      Fakk your god of abram and christ! 🙂

      People like you beg the practice of peeing on religious materials left in hotels!

      While you are at it, go beat off & enjoy yourself! 🙂

      Of course, with all the love and compassion of your fakking god/christ! 🙂

      http://bit.ly/twitterybs

      October 6, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
    • Maryle

      "A day in which no one knows" Blind obedient fool.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
    • Truth Seeker

      LMAO.

      October 7, 2010 at 1:41 am |
  10. GOD

    1. There are no good reasons to believe that "God" exists.
    2. If "God" did exist, he/she/it is a disgusting, pernicious, sadistic dictator worse than Hitler + Saddam + Stalin, etc.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
    • chelseykia

      "2. If "God" did exist, he/she/it is a disgusting, pernicious, sadistic dictator worse than Hitler + Saddam + Stalin, etc."

      I don't mind reason #1, but it's reason #2 that I continuously ask myself, why bother preaching Jesus to them, why do I even bother showering the love of Jesus to those that continuously spits out rubbish and vile to the Man who never fails to soothe my pain and wipe my tears dry every night – who has NO IDEA of the beauty and heavenly love of God, NO IDEA of the anger and pain the Almighty went through in the Old Testament, NO IDEA of His heart and the love that He is capable of, NO IDEA of the meaning of the Cross and the things that were nailed to it, NO IDEA of what they're saying at all.

      And then Jesus told me," It is because they had no idea that all the more reason to shower them with love" and I gave up fighting Jesus and let Him do what He wants in me – because I still am not able to comprehend the magnitude of Jesus's love for you. Yes, He loves you – He loves you so much, He loves you like this:

      JESUS HANDS JESUS HANDS

      Yes, He loves you, I can't understand it, and He tells me I won't be able to handle it if I can, but yes, He loves you.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
    • chelseykia

      Btw the Jesus Hand bit, there was supposed to be a line from one end to another, but I'll let you to visualize it, darn html tags. 😥

      October 6, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  11. Elliot Carlin

    Meanwhile, CAIR encourages terrorists to take a break from plying their trade, because its too divisive.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  12. sedreck fields

    Yes this world is DONE Because people think they can live like they won't!!! So they say FORGET JESUS CHRIST AND HIS LAWS!! And that's WHY JESUS CHRIST IS COMEING BACK NEXT YEAR!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  13. Baldy

    I really like these arguements over who has the best imaginary friend. Remember folks, all the gods in the history of the world have been, are and will be man-made.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
    • Elliot Carlin

      correct baldie, small g for gods.
      But not the God.

      October 6, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • CB

      Elliot – what makes you not believe in all the other gods but believe in your God? Is there any more proof for your God then any other? Please show us, we would all love to see that evidence.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  14. sheila kind

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.....

    October 6, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  15. Woody

    The very reason so many people leave religion today is because the bible is a man written book and the stories are only stories of the human mammal that we call man and woman. These stories were written in a time when most people could not read or write. These stories were also written at a time when people thought the world was flat and man still did not understand a shooting star in the sky. Many people thought when the car was invented that it was of the devil. Some people still refuse to drive a car and still use a horse and buggy. If you truely believe in religion than Jets, computers, tv's and cars are all the work of the devil. Therefore you need to give them up . Sell them . And give your money to the church so that your minister can have at least . Five of each.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
  16. Damien

    I am Christian. And I am appalled at the comments in here. God made us who we are. Gay or straight, it doesn't matter. That's what I think. We're all His creation. What is the arguing about? Why the hatred? And Sedreck Fields ... we'll all be there on Judgment Day, and at the rate things are going in this world, probably sooner than later.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
  17. Neal Sheppard

    I posted a pro-straight comment on 10/6 @ 10:26pm that still states "Your comment is awaiting moderation" on the header. The posted comment is not hateful toward anyone. Is CNN filtering out certain points of view?

    October 6, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tell_Me

      Neal,

      Your post probably has been flagged by the stu-pid auto-filter. Certain words, not necessarily bad ones, trigger it. Look for words with t-it in them, or c-um, or r-ape – some others too, I can't remember. Good Luck.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
    • Name*Pedro A Delgado

      That it is exactly what happened to me when I posted at 21:06 hrs on Oct 6

      October 7, 2010 at 6:46 am |
  18. JennyTX

    Finally! Someone does something good and calls it religion! Usually people do bad stuff and defend it by calling it religion.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  19. sedreck fields

    No Gary you must Live for Jesus Christ!!!! And read the BIBLE and BELIVE IT!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
  20. sedreck fields

    So I see that some Christians HAVE NO HEART ON THIS BLOG!!! And I will see ALL of YOU on JUGEMENT DAY TOO!!!!!! GOOD LUCK YOU GOING TOO NEED IT!!!!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.