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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. sedreck fields

    Why Living a GAY LIFE is BAD FOR YOUR LIfE!!! Because the Bible said it will end up very VERY BAD FOR YOU!!! SO GAYS TAKE YOUR MARK AND SET AND GO TOO HELL!!!!!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 1:00 am |
    • dalis

      @ sedreck fields ... Why? Why is gay a sin?

      October 7, 2010 at 1:27 am |
  2. David

    "Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)"

    Odd name. Seems to me they could just call it the "Education Network", since "Gay, Lesbian and Straight" sort of covers everyone (that or some pc lefty could construe it as biased against biseuxals).

    October 7, 2010 at 12:55 am |
  3. Illiterati

    I'm pleased to see Exodus take this step to behave in a more Christlike manner.

    Bless 'em all!

    October 7, 2010 at 12:50 am |
  4. Proud to be the way I was created.

    you know something, i think it might be really interesting to get everyone who comments on religious blogs such as this and have them actually talk face to face. Has anyone really thought about that, we sit on here, scream and shout in capital letters and yet probably never think about what our arguments would sound like out loud or played back to ourselves.

    October 7, 2010 at 12:49 am |
  5. Kay Smith

    It is sad it takes the deaths of tortured young people to help Organized Religion see they may be culpable. There is much to be said for accepting folks as you find them. God does not make mistakes, and new persons may be in our paths to teach us something or to smooth our travels. I don't go to church anymore. Found the building full of political, judgemental harshness, rather than teaching live, acceptance, and hope for our journeys.

    October 7, 2010 at 12:48 am |
    • David

      You can always find another church. Do you drop out of school altogether if the politics/people at a particular one aren't working out for you?...I'd hope not. Just sayin.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:59 am |
  6. unretired05

    Hallelujah

    October 7, 2010 at 12:41 am |
  7. Scott A

    Gee, an event promiting action AGAINST other people's civil rights has gotten out-of-hand? Who would have guessed that would happen? Besides everyone with a conscious and an IQ over 100 I mean...

    October 7, 2010 at 12:37 am |
  8. meb

    Truth will always prevail,slowly but Shirley lol..

    October 7, 2010 at 12:35 am |
  9. chris

    Sedreck, USS Pinto and Watch Therefore sound like immature children who got a hold of a keyboard.

    October 7, 2010 at 12:31 am |
  10. watch therefore,

    WILL THE LIFE YOUR NOW LIVING BE WORTH SPENDING ETERNITY IN LAKE OF FIRE?

    October 7, 2010 at 12:31 am |
    • dalis

      @ Watch therefore ... Why is being gay a sin? What exactly is the objection?

      October 7, 2010 at 12:37 am |
    • jezebel

      I know enough about Christianity to know how inconsistent it can be. There are just too many questions that don't have good enough answers for me. The real question is, what if there is no lake of fire, and you built your entire life on the fear of it?

      October 7, 2010 at 1:08 am |
  11. Proud to be the way I was created.

    While I may not agree with all of the Exodus beliefs and opinions, I commend them on embracing the lessons of their savior, and practicing a peaceful grace with which to co-exist with people with whom they may not agree. I am glad to find some among the faith who are not so zealous they forget the message of peace Jesus preached. I can only hope more will follow their example and stop with the blinding hatred which gives Christianity a bad name.

    October 7, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  12. watch therefore,

    its so amazing there people is this world are so caught up in living for themselves, what if the rapture happened while reading my text, what then, will you stil care what clothes you are wearing or what what car you are driving , , while GOD is removed from this earth, and now society will have to make a real decision if they want to contine to live in sin or realize they now understand the truth and the warnings given before, but now bc of the anti christ have to denounce GOD ( take the mark of the beast) or be killed, and if you dont believe in christ now, will you be willing to die for christ then, i would rather be ridiculed by the world for being a true christian then be gay, seperated from GOD, and then cast in the lake of fire for all eternity tormented bc i refused to repent bc i wanted to live for myself, ready the story about the man in hades who to this day, still has not had a drop of water on his tongue to quench is thirst, THE BIBLE WAS WRITEN BC HELL IS REAL AND GOD IS REAL, DO NOT BE DECEIVED, YOU HAVE TO MAKE A CHOICE WHO YOU WILL SERVE, THE NARROW ROAD WHICH LEADS TO LIFE OR THE WIDE, AND IF GOD CALLS YOU AND YOUR STILL ON THE FENCE, IN GODS EYES YOU HAVE ALREADY MADE A CHOICE, THE BIG QUESTION IS: WILL THE LIFE YOUR NOW LIVING BE WORTH SPENDING ETERNITY IN LAKE OF FIRE?

    October 7, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • dalis

      @ watch therefore ... Why is being gay a sin? What about being gay makes one "seperated from GOD, and then cast in the lake of fire for all eternity tormented"?

      October 7, 2010 at 12:45 am |
  13. Chris Collino

    Interesting to note how much Christianity gets demonized for all this death when dyed-in-the-wool non-Christians such as Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jong Il etc, have facilitated the death of millions. You can say it's the religion or belief system, but I think the common denominator is....people.

    October 7, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • Proud to be the way I was created.

      yes, it appears the common flaw in every religion and political system is the human factor.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:42 am |
  14. sedreck fields

    My GOD IS JESUS CHRIST!!!! THANK YOU!!! AND GOOD NIGHT!!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 12:24 am |
    • dalis

      @ sedreck fields ... Why is being gay a sin? If you can't answer simple questions like this about your faith, it makes me think you're not actually a Christian but a troll who's trying to make Christians look like ranting lunatics.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:48 am |
    • WhichWouldYouRather?

      @dalis. I posted two very thorough responses to your question but CNN won't post them. Instead CNN gives me a message, 'your comment is awaiting moderation.' Not sure why the moderator of this blog isn't posting my responses to you. Frustrating because you have a valid questions that deserves a response. Don't know how to contact the moderator.

      October 7, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  15. sedreck fields

    JESUS CHRIST IS COMING BACK VERY FAST!!!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 12:12 am |
    • Brett Favre's fan (a.k.a. ybs)

      which horoscope you are reading?

      http://bit.ly/twitterybs

      October 7, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  16. Brett Favre's fan (a.k.a. ybs)

    jesus beats off. Wanna bet? 🙂

    http://bit.ly/twitterybs

    October 7, 2010 at 12:08 am |
  17. sedreck fields

    2011 The year Jesus Christ will return!! Why do I say this is BECAUSE OBAMA IS MAKING THE JEWS AND MUSLIM A PEACE PACK!!! He SAID IT WILL BE DONE SO WE WILL SEE IF THE BIBLE IS REAL OR NOT!! BECAUSE I KNOW THE WORD OF GOD IS TRUE!!!! SO GOOD LUCK GAYS!! SEE YOU ON JUGEMENT DAY!!! PEACE TOO ALL REAL CHRISTIANS!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
    • CB

      Please give me your 2012 prediction on 1/1 so I can plan accordingly. And your 2013 prediction on 1/1 of that year. Thats assuming you can still type while in a straightjacket.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
    • Brett Favre's fan (a.k.a. ybs)

      "Real christians!!!"

      Yeah, go fakk yourself! Now, that's a real christian!

      http://bit.ly/twitterybs

      October 7, 2010 at 12:08 am |
    • peace2all

      @sedreck fields

      Ahhhh the beauty of our wonderful country...."free speech." This freedom allows people such as yourself to post and allows me to write back to you, that I believe your comments to be pure ramblings, without any shred of proof to your assertions.

      Peace...

      October 7, 2010 at 1:34 am |
  18. jack e. jett

    Religion, the root of ALL evil. I mean, really.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  19. christian from HELL

    Thank god for dead christians. They should all go back to the HELL HELL HELL.
    All gullible christians have blood of poor gay kids on their bloody hands

    October 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
    • Rocket Ship X-70

      Well you are prolly the first one to call Christians bigots, and now look what your doing. Shame on you.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
    • christian from HELL

      No, I didn't. I call them christians from HELL instead!

      October 7, 2010 at 12:07 am |
    • Rocket Ship X-70

      Buddy if you knew what was what you'd be a Christain yourself because Jesus died to set you free and if you don't have an invitation to Heaven signed in His blood then you don't get in.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:22 am |
  20. watch therefore,

    I really dont care where christ was born, the most important thing is that he loved me enough to leave his holy throne and come to this little earth and die on a cross for me and you, people who dont deserve his love, and forgiveness. FOLKS ITS NOT ABOUT ACCEPTING GAYS, ITS ABOUT MANKIND AND HOW SOCIETY/WORLD HAS TURNED AWAY FOR A LOVING GOD, WE ARE ALL SINNERS IN THE EYES OF GOD, AND I AM SO GLAD HE IS WILLING TO FORGIVE US IF WE ARE WILLING TO TURN FROM OUR WAYS, A SIMPLE PRAYER OF ASKING FOR HIS FORGIVENSS, THATS IT, WOW NO ONE IS GUARANTEED TMRW, WE ARE HERE BY THE GRACE OF GOD EACH DAY, AND EACH DAY IS AN OPPORTINITY TO REPENT, MAY GOD HELP US, MAY OUR EYES BE OPEN TO THE TRUTH, AND MAY HE HEAR OUR PRAYER BEFORE ITS TOO LATE,

    October 6, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
    • CB

      I find this argument stupid. You really think its a big deal to die on a cross? Who here wouldn't die on the cross if you would be forever remembered? Ever heard of a martyr? People die for far less reason then that.

      But maybe he is looking down from his holy throne now writing up the paper work for me to go to he!!. Not.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:57 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.