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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

    My GOD IS ALL OF Y'ALLS GOD AND HIS NAME IS JESUS CHRIST THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS SO YOU MUST ALL KNEEL TOO HIM VERY VERY SOON AND I CAN'T WAIT!!! PEACE TOO ALL THE REAL CHRISTIANS!!!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  2. Muneef

    There was a story of a Prophet that was sent to nation or society of Gays & Lesbians to preach and remind them to take penitence. The prophet of God was Lott which you call Luka and the place was in Jordan, Dead Sea Area.
    The Quran has their story and how God saved the prophet and his believers,followers out of the city before having them in catastrophe that wiped them from the face of earth!?
    So now since no religion accepts these acts which are forbidden by God as a one of the biggest sins then would that mean establishing them a new party,religion or would be joined as to under the umbrella of Druids?!

    October 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  3. Nonimus

    @Rico53,
    Not sure what an olive tree has to do with Israel, the plant being from Turkey geographically and oil production for Minoan culture, but wouldn't that mean that the "day of the Lord" was "at hand" in 1948? Did we miss it?

    As to the descriptions of the crucifixion, I'm not really impressed when a prediction is stated and confirmed in the same book. It just indicates that the authors read other parts of the book.

    Recordings of historical events is not evidence of divine knowledge.

    Many areas experience floods and cultures that experience large-scale floods tend to remember them, so it's not surprising that there are many accounts in many cultures describing "great floods." However, there is no evidence that a world-wide Noah-type flood as described in Genesis ever occurred, and something that massive and wide spread would have left plenty of evidence.

    I don't think the Exodus has solid archaeological evidence either.

    October 7, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  4. sedreck fields

    So that's it Jesus Christ Is The KING OF KINGS!!!!!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  5. sedreck fields

    GOT JESUS CHRIST!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  6. sedreck fields

    This is GOD'S WORLD SO WHAT IS THIS THAT PEOPLE CAN LIVE LIKE THEY WON'T?!!?! AND NOT ANSWER TOO JESUS CHRIST!!! YOU MUST LIVE BY THE LAW OR DIE BY THE LAW!!!!!!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • Barry

      And how do you think you will be received by Jesus with all this hate in your heart? I am sure Satan will take you but I doubt it if Jesus is just going to open the door for you bringing hate into his heaven.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • Barry, you to need grow-up

      Also your opinion on civilization stinks. If the two men was on the Noah's boat with two animals of every kind...civilization wouldn't be here. You go to the back of the class

      October 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • Barry

      You have got to be kidding me? Noah's Ark? This is what you are bringing up? NOAH'S ARK NEVER HAPPENED. YOU NEED TO GROW UP AND READ A BOOK OTHER THAN THE BIBLE.

      I am beside myself someone telling me I need to grow up because i do not believe that civilization still exists today because some super-hero with a long beard made a boat and saved the world from god's wrath.

      Obviously we have gotten away from truth and so we cannot discuss what happens in the real world.

      I just hope that was a joke but something tells me its not...

      October 7, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Barry

      Do not feed the 'trolls'....! Relax my friend and go to other articles or threads where you will find intelligent discourse and debate.

      Don't get stuck in the mud with the trolls..

      Just some friendly advice...

      Peace to you...

      October 7, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
    • Barry

      Thank you peace2all, i was having some decent back and forth all day . I was just blindsided by this but you are right I forgot for a moment that most is said to get us rational thinking people going. It was temporary insanity, at least its not permanent.

      October 7, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  7. Ho mos exua li Ty

    Christainity does not have a monopoly on con dem n ation!

    Jewish Faith also condemns this behavior.

    Islam Faith also condems this be hav ior.

    October 7, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • Barry

      How many Hasidic Jews do you see protesting military funerals? There is a difference between condemning it within your own religion, your own community. Its another to bring it out to everyone an impose your private beliefs upon those that do not share these same beliefs. And to spread Hate in the name of 'God'

      October 7, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • Barry please

      stop misquoting the Jews, the Jewish Faith or its teachings. Ho mose xual ity is considered an abomination. No Jewish man or women faithful to its culture and faith would live this style of life. This teaching is proclaimed and taught and found in its written texts. The Jews were persecuted for their hatredness for this sin, for it is well known, n az is prevalent ho mos exua lity among its rank!

      October 7, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Barry

      You missed the point pal, which I expect. I am not commenting on whether it is condemned within their religion or not. What I am saying is they don't put on parades across the nation letting everyone know what their stand on the matter is. Christians feel they need to spread their beliefs like a disease and think its God's will to let everyone know about the 'sins' they commit.

      I am glad you responded because i would also like to add to your list, groups that share these opinions.

      Nazis
      KKK
      Al-Queda

      So its bad for groups like these, but for the religions it is ok?

      October 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  8. sedreck fields

    No GOD REALLY!!! JESUS CHRIST IS GOD!!! AND WE WILL ALL SEE HIM!!!! SOME WILL GO TOO HEAVEN BUT MOST OF Y'ALL BLOGERS IS GOING TOO HELL!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • Barry

      Oh how wrong you are. The unfortunate thing about it is you will never know. Because when you die there will be nothing, nothing to feel nothing to see. I know it is a sad reality but that doesn't make it not true.

      But it is good for while you are alive because you don't have to think of how sad the thought of nothing is. But stop going around like its a certainty that there is a God, you do not know that. So if it is your person belief that there is , then keep it to yourself and stop trying to mold the world in your eyes.

      At some time we have to, as a civilization, understand we create the world we live in. We can choose to introduce fear like some power above us is watching every thing we do. Which is my definition of Hell. Or we can choose to live a life without fear and hate , which is what i would call Heaven.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  9. Shame shame shame

    CNN a rainbow coalition not an objective news agency

    October 7, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • I agree

      Yeah, CNN g-ay slant is so deep it out does FoxNews' leaning tower of Pisa towards the Republicans!

      October 7, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  10. sinner

    all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.

    October 7, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • Go mer Py le

      All sinners are called to repent!

      October 7, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • Kochumn

      Baron,Obviously, CNN doesn't know the difference beewetn terrorists and guerrillas. Terrorist primarily attack civlian targets, while guerrillas use hit and run attacks against military forces. Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organization by tthe United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. Hezbollah primarily attacks civilian targets with suicide bombers and rockets. Much of the time, their Isaeli victims are targeted not because they are threats, but because they are viewed as "animals , specifically pigs and monkeys. Israeli civilian suffering accomplishes Hezbollah's goal of instilling fear to accomplish their goal of eliminating Israel. Hezbollah makes no attempt to reduce civilian casualties.Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. CNN is spreading Hezbollah propaganda.

      November 10, 2012 at 2:23 am |
  11. Go mer Py le

    CNN censoring! says:
    Yo ur comment is a wait ing mo der ation.
    October 7, 2010 at 9:11 am
    CNN Censoring says:
    Y our comment is awaiti ng mode ration.
    October 7, 2010 at 9:00 am
    CNN censoring! says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    October 7, 2010 at 9:11 am
    CNN censoring! says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    October 7, 2010 at 9:11 am
    CNN Censoring says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    October 7, 2010 at 9:00 am
    CNN it appears the only satanist, atheists, agnostic, those condoning and promoting the hom ose xual lifestyle, and those who baffoons the beliefs of Christianity are PERMITTED TO POST. The lack of objectivity and dishonesty here is so exaggerated, that you-CNN have no credibility here or on the air. Rather than using the red logo…you should go rainbow with CNN in bold black letter.

    October 7, 2010 at 11:08 am |
    • Know What

      Gomer:

      Looks like your other dim comments made it through though... hmmm.

      There is a secret... but I'll be danged if I'll reveal it to the likes of you.

      October 7, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
    • David Greer

      fail. i currently have a comment "pending moderation" and i definitely am on the opposite end of this issue from you. it's not "censorship", they're merely making sure that our comments aren't against their terms of service before allowing them to post.

      October 7, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
  12. sinner

    denying Christ will not make you sins anyless sinful ,,, nor will any amount of legislation take your sins away.

    October 7, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  13. Why CNN???

    You would think after 777comments those who are in oppostion to this topic would be permitted to post. Why are you deleting comments that ARE NOT abusive or using profanities? Why the bias CNN???

    October 7, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  14. Shame on you CNN

    The lack of objectivity and dishonesty here is so exaggerated, that you-CNN have no credibility here or on the air. Rather than using the red logo…you should go rainbow with CNN in bold black letters.

    October 7, 2010 at 10:04 am |
    • Neal

      There's no legitimate defense of bigotry or invasion of privacy. CNN is just exposing the lies and hypocrisy of the religious right. When religion dominates politics and politics dominate religion, you have a mess. And that's exactly what we have in this country right now–the hillbilly half of knuckledragging bigots that we ALL need protection from.

      October 7, 2010 at 10:24 am |
    • No you're wrong

      Neal, CNN is deleting all posted comments in oppostion to this topic on its belief blog...are you in on this, too?

      October 7, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • David Greer

      @ no you're wrong:

      one of the ten commandments is "though shalt not lie".

      you've either, a.) not read the comments or b.) you are lying. regardless, YOU are the one that is wrong.

      October 7, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  15. Steve

    Who are these arrogant ass-holes to presume what God would think or do about anything!!?? Spreading hate in the name of God is a free express ticket to hell!!!

    October 7, 2010 at 9:49 am |
    • Neal

      You're right, Steve.

      October 7, 2010 at 9:53 am |
    • Barry

      Spreading hate in the name of God or acting upon it is exactly what the murderers of 9/11 did.

      October 7, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  16. Interesting

    Interesting the double standard that most of you cannot see or shut your eyes and say "na na na." The pro-gay agenda has been aggressively pushed for many years now and when a group peacefully attempts to dialog then they're "pushing" their ideas?? Are you really serious?? Name one hateful act that the "Day Of Truth" produced. Please. Just one. And then compare it to the horrid Matthew Shephard murder, hazing, name calling, etc. which is true intolerance. If you don't want to debate then just say so.

    October 7, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  17. Neal

    Exodus is back-peddling because their schoolyard bullying is being exposed, but their message of intolerance remains unchanged, and they are still a hate group, or more accurately, a self-hate group. As long as they promote the idea that being gay is not acceptable, which is their central message, they are harming gay and lesbian kids.

    October 7, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  18. Andy

    To all Christians on here.

    Read the story, appreciate what Exodus is doing, but don't feed the flames. You know the truth of what we believe and leave it at that.

    Reading the flames and trying to "debate" will wear you out. Then you get tried and lose a bit of self-control and start posting like sedreck fields or somone else that is misconstruing the teaching of Christ.

    October 7, 2010 at 9:28 am |
    • WhichWouldYouRather?

      Good advice Andy. Thanks. BTW, I'm curious; how many comments do you see from me? Three of my comments that I posted late last night/early this morning (that read straight from the bible, answering one person's question and another's concerns) show a note from CNN's moderator: 'Your comment is awaiting moderation.' Not sure what that means, and if you are able to see my posts with that note on it. If not, clearly, CNN is not allowing straight biblical references on this blog. Sad.

      October 7, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  19. Name*Daniel

    Imagine how much more peaceful the world would be without religion.

    October 7, 2010 at 9:26 am |
    • Barry

      Thomas Jefferson, for you Tea-Partyers, said the same exact thing.

      October 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  20. boydanb203

    I do not agree with this Christian Group but I do give them a CREDIT for being honest and realizing that to judge someone for their way of life can push them to suicide...Hope more Christian groups follow this one..Being a Christian is to help and understand everyone and not judge anyone

    October 7, 2010 at 9:24 am |
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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.