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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. John

    Has anyone else noticed the brilliance of the date? The date for the "open discussion" happens on the same day that gay and gay-friendly people AREN'T SUPPOSED TO TALK! Say what you want about their message, but those christians are awesome planners.

    October 7, 2010 at 7:28 am |
  2. Phil

    There are a lot of silly opinions on this page that show no tolerence for others opinions but I will not call you names because it serves no purpose but to vent , Jesus Christ is God and he died for us so we could know him , history dose prove he existed , of all the people I know on this earth he is the only one I truly trust .

    October 7, 2010 at 7:25 am |
    • .

      Phil you are silly, very silly.

      October 7, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  3. ADMINISTRATOR

    THANKS FOR EVERYONE'S OPINION πŸ™‚

    THE GENERAL CONSENSUS IS > THERE IS NO GOD, AND ALL WHO BELIEVE THERE IS > ARE IDIOTS.

    ON THE SUBJECT OF GAYS, OBVIOUSLY THEY ARE NOT GOING TO HELL SINCE NO FAIRYTALE PLACE EXISTS.

    PLEASE CLOSE THIS BLOG NOW SO WE CAN CONTINUE TO LAUGH AT RELIGIOUS NUTS AND THEIR SICK BELIEFS

    AND NO I'M NOT GOING TO HELL EITHER πŸ˜€

    --------------------------------

    October 7, 2010 at 7:23 am |
    • TM

      Psalm 14:1 "The FOOL says in his heart,'There is no God.'"

      October 7, 2010 at 7:56 am |
    • Mike

      All capital letters? (shouting) Why is it necessary to shout at the rest of us? We can hear your views just find without yelling. It just shows your insecurity.

      October 7, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  4. Mike

    Jesus said "turn the other cheek", not the other butt cheek.

    October 7, 2010 at 7:19 am |
    • Barry

      When someone does you wrong, no one is doing you wrong here. See that is whats wrong here, selective scripture interpretation. Poor joke mike, real poor

      October 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  5. MEHALKO

    People are always talking about how "More murders have been committed in the name of one religion or another than any other cause", but they fail to talk about all the pointless ones that happen ALL the time for reasons that have NOTHING to do at all with religion. It's a fallen world and people just have to understand that. JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD AND WILL RETURN VERY SOON!!! REPENT!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 7:10 am |
  6. Brian

    This is a good first step and I am glad that they took it, but let's see what else they do to counter the years of using their faith to demonize a group of people who are different and don't subscribe to their view of the world and what they think is "moral".

    October 7, 2010 at 6:52 am |
  7. Scott

    Luke 13:4-5 "Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on themβ€”do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you REPENT, you too will all perish."

    Luke 5:32 "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to REPENTANCE."

    Luke 24:47 ...[Jesus said to them] that REPENTANCE and remission of sins SHOULD BE PREACHED in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    October 7, 2010 at 6:05 am |
  8. Nogods

    there are no gods

    October 7, 2010 at 5:37 am |
    • Mike

      Your are correct in your presentation of gods. However, there is a God. All you have to do is look at the stars in the sky to see His handy work. You can't tell me that all of this happened by accident. If that was the case, then we would live in a world with no order. However, our world has very predictable order. The sun appears in the sky at a very predicatable time every day and the stars follow a very predicatable path. This much design does not happen by chance.

      October 7, 2010 at 9:58 am |
    • Barry

      We got Mike the physicist here. First of all with live in a world of disorder. Secondly, the sun rises at a predictable time every morning because MAN CREATED A SYSTEM TO PREDICT WHEN THINGS HAPPEN. Its called TIME. What allows you to see it every morning and what allows matter to revolve around larger pieces of matter is called GRAVITY. And the reason that we can predict these events is because scientists have spent their lives seeking truth. And proving why we see what we see.

      Which is the problem we have with religion, because you look at the sky and say 'Oh God did that'. Scientists look at the sky and ASK, what is that and how does it work?

      Stick to what you know best...

      October 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  9. s.m.bstrong

    frankly i don't care what any religious group thinks about anything. to me all religion is just a form of mass manupulation and i will have nothing to do with any of them. all religion at some point in time except buddism has persecuted other faiths in the name of someone thought up while trippin on some hallucinogen. They have molested children for thousands of years and still get away with it. Its very hypocriticle of them to have such a view when its mainly little boys they molest.

    October 7, 2010 at 5:36 am |
  10. Pull my finger Christianity!

    Go ahead, it's not what you think....

    October 7, 2010 at 5:16 am |
  11. jlb554344

    sedreck.......your FULL of somthing alright!

    October 7, 2010 at 5:09 am |
  12. Name*Chedar

    God is the root of all evil. God and Satan is one.

    October 7, 2010 at 4:56 am |
    • Secularius Disputandem

      I think you cut the cheese on that one, Chedar.

      October 7, 2010 at 5:01 am |
  13. sedreck fields

    Go to BED AllReady!!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 4:37 am |
    • :D

      said the grumpy little troll

      October 7, 2010 at 4:44 am |
    • Jeshua Christos

      go to the helgewraith.

      October 7, 2010 at 4:45 am |
    • :D

      Helge? Isn't she the one who started the whole pointy-metal-bra thing?

      October 7, 2010 at 4:51 am |
    • Jeshua Christos

      sedrick, please understand that no means NO.

      October 7, 2010 at 4:52 am |
    • Secularius Disputandem

      @Jeshua

      What does "NO" mean?

      October 7, 2010 at 4:59 am |
    • Jeshua Christos

      no means no "Know"

      October 7, 2010 at 5:01 am |
  14. Jeshua Christos

    Hel is the bottom station of the Celtic cross. The Celtic cross predates christ by untold years. the Celtic cross depicts the tree of life or "Yegdrassil" also known as the tree of knowledge. In the Celtic culture, the apple was symbolic of the womb. the snake was symbolic of the mans penis. The roman satyrs co-opted the symbol of "Yegdrassil" to form the perverse torture devise called the "cross" and used it as a cynical way to kill muses of the old ways. The sun worshiping romans villified the earth worshiping Celts. Jeshua's crucifiction was a mistake. the romans thought he was a muse. they were crucifying thousands of people at the time, and government workers being what they are, they just werent that carefull to get the right folks. Hey "a quota is a quota". 600 years later, at the nicean convention, the gentlemen in attendance decided that Jeshua Christos should be called Jesus Christ and instead of this being the story of dozens of individuals, should be depicted as one man, and of the inumerable stories written of such men only a select few should be included. and this should be called the "bible". Also jesus christ should now be known as the son of god. This Is Truth.

    I am the way, the truth and the light. Do NOT live in darkness, lest ye be damned.

    Jeshua Christos

    October 7, 2010 at 4:33 am |
  15. Cdavidc

    I love how christians can construe hate as love:

    "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.

    October 7, 2010 at 4:32 am |
  16. sedreck fields

    The Last BLOG JESUS CHRIST IS GOD!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 4:31 am |
  17. sedreck fields

    I mean what crazy person will call JESUS CHRIST GAY!!!!! SO I THINK YOU LOVE A LOT OF fIRE!!! HELL FIRE!!!!!! I WILL SEE YOU OF THAT DAY AND I CANNOT WAIT!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 4:27 am |
  18. sedreck fields

    Well you see my JOB IS THIS PEOPLE LIVE LAW OR BURN!!! IT IS VERY EASY TO DO WHEN YOU LIVE FOR JESUS CHRIST!!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 4:18 am |
  19. ed

    rather I mean "Jeshua" who posted about Horus. Read more at http://www.carm.org get the facts and the truth

    October 7, 2010 at 4:04 am |
    • Xamin

      Ed, you may want to try an unbiased source.
      http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa5.htm

      October 7, 2010 at 4:10 am |
  20. ed

    Horus all your facts are wrong. http://www.carm.org

    October 7, 2010 at 4:01 am |
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About this blog

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.