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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. d

    sounds like they are just running away when the going gets tough...if they are really interested in protecting our kids and our families, they would continue to sponser the event. stand tough against the gay agenda!

    October 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  2. sedreck fields

    Hey rasion not I but the Lord Jesus Christ tell all too repent and come too him!!! P.S DON'T WORRY ABOUT ME BECAUSE THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ALL OVER ME AND IF YOU REALY LIVING FOR JESUS CHRIST THEN YOU WILL SEE ME ON THAT DAY!!! I HOPE YOU BE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE LINE!!! BECAUSE IF YOU ARE NOT ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF JESUS CHRIST I WILL HAVE TOO BURN YOU AND I KNOW YOU DONOT WON'T ME TOO DO THAT BUT I WILL!!!! BECAUSE YOU WILL SEE ME SITTING ON MY THRONE!! WITH THE KING OF KINGS AND HIS NAME IS JESUS CHRIST!!!! P.S HE'S MY BEST FRIEND!!!! THANK YOU RAISON!!! P.S YOU SAID YOU REBUKE ME THAT'S NOT GOOD FOR YOU BECAUSE I'AM FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT!!! AND IF YOU TALK ABOUT ME THEN YOU TALKING ABOUT HIM!! AND IF YOU READ YOUR BIBLE THAT IS THE ONLY SIN THAT CANNOT BE FORGIVEN!! SO BE BLESS!!! I HOPE YOU DIDN'T SEAL YOUR FATE TO HELL??!!! BECAUSE YOU DID NOT KNEW HOW I WAS BUT I FORGIVE YOU I HOPE GOD DO!!!!!!

    October 13, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • Barry

      So when the Rapture does not come next year, what then? Will you have another excuse as to why your prediction does not come reality, or why it never will? Obama is a man, just as Jesus was. Not saying they are the same type of man, just that they are both Men like you. With good and bad within.

      October 14, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  3. sedreck fields

    No you are very wrong!!! Jesus Christ said you will die in ypur SINS IF YOU DON'T KNOW ME!!! YOU WILL DIE IN YOUR SINS AND GO TO HELL FOREVER AND EVER!!!! JOHN 8:24 READ IT PLEASE!!!!!

    October 12, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • Raison

      @sedreck fields / lordkid

      I rebuke thee again in the name of Jesus Christ. And I forgive you everything in his name also if that helps.
      I still like you, even though you tried to curse me.
      Please stop yelling at everybody. I ask you in Jesus' name, if that really means anything to you....

      October 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  4. Doc Vestibule

    You speak a great deal about choosing to live in the image of God – but which image? The God who smiles on throwing ones vir-gin daughters into the street to be gang ra-ped (Lot)? God's son who says to be a good slave?
    Regardless, if humans are an image of said Deity, than would it not stand to reason that naturual, instinctive proclivities are but mirror images of the same traits in the creator?
    It is MAN who paints the image of God to suit his needs at any given time. Yesterday, left handed people were tools of Satan – today, it is hom-ose-xuals. Tomorrow it might be nose pickers or nail biters.
    In the end – sin lies only in needlessly harming others. All other "sin" in invented nonsense.

    October 12, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  5. sedreck fields

    Jesus Christ is still GOD!!! And we will all see Him!!! And the RAPTURE will be next YEAR! How do I know is that obama said he will peace for the JEWS and MUSLIM IN ONE YEAR!!! Get ready because he is the ANTICHRIST!!!!!

    October 11, 2010 at 1:00 am |
  6. michael

    GOD made me gay..Not a choice of my own, I still love and worship. I'm not a pedo, physco or evil person. YOU may not like me , (your problem), but Jesus DOES !!

    October 10, 2010 at 7:14 am |
  7. Vick

    Come on people dont bother casting your pearls before swine!

    October 10, 2010 at 1:24 am |
  8. michael

    these people get no credit. did the golden rule exist BEFORE they stirred up hatred and condemnation? why do they now endorse something even third graders know? and not even an apology for the hell they have put young men and women through the years. they deserve boycott and condemnation.

    October 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  9. sedreck fields

    We will ALL see GOD ONE DAY AND HIS NAME IS JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!!

    October 9, 2010 at 12:18 am |
  10. sedreck fields

    Anybody that thinks you can be GAY!!! IS GOING TOO HELL!!! BECAUSE IF A DEAD GAY PERSON HAD ONE WISH IT WILL GO LIKE THIS I NEVER NEVER NEVER CHOSE TO BE GAY!!!! BECAUSE THIS GOD DON'T LIE THE BIBLE DIDN'T LIE THIS HELL IS VERY REAL BECAUSE I'AM IN THIS FIRE BY MY SELF!!!!!!!! NOBODY HEARS ME I YELL AND I SCREEM!!! BUT NOBODY HEARS ME OR CARE IT'S TOO HOT DOWN HEAR I WISH I GAVE MY LIFE TOO JESUS CHRIST!!!!! P.S I WISH I CAN TELL MY GAY FRIENDS ABOUT THIS PLACE CALL HELL!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 8, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  11. confused

    it seems like every kind of group out there can get together and spew their beliefs except Christians. Ok why are the gays and lesbians allowed to have their get together, day of silence at school and the Christians are not? I have read on here for Christians just to ignore the gays and their get togethers, shouldn't that go both ways? When they have the big Gay Pride parades for all to see, publically shoving their life style down others throats who do not believe in it the only ones called out are the Christians protesting it. If we should keep Christiany and our beliefs to our self keep your gay life and bliefs to yours.

    October 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Nobody is trying to stop anyone from having a "get together". Do you read the articles?

      October 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  12. David in Cincinnati

    This must have been written by a computer bot gone amuck.

    October 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  13. The Problem is You

    You need to stop trying to logic what God would do, and pay attention to what he WILL do. Some people have a problem with his authority, after all he created you. Who are you to question him? He gives you a way out, if you love him. Take it or take the consequences. If you take the consequences, then stop squawking!

    October 8, 2010 at 9:24 am |
    • Barry

      I question 'him' (guess God can't be a she or an It) because I question whether he/she/it exists in the first place. There is no proof there is a God, the only proof we have is that my parents created me.

      Sperm fertilized and egg , that is fact , that is proof.

      So i don't want to hear either that i do not have proof that he doesn't exists. Because there is exhibit A

      You miss the point, we cannot make law in America based upon an assumption. We certainly cannot spread more hatred in the world off of this assumption.

      Al-queda hates Americans because we are infidels according to their 'good book'. Do i need to remind you what happened there or what continues to happen every day. Will you ever truly get it?

      October 8, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  14. sedreck fields

    Good buy my friends Jesus Christ is comeing back!!!!!!!

    October 8, 2010 at 7:10 am |
  15. Ed

    All the 879 comments on this page have missed the point. You do not understand nor can you discern the meaning of the scriptures and thus have no idea of spirituality.

    October 8, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  16. Jimmy Blank

    This is very easy. God Almighty didn't need anyone's approval or disapproval in how He chose to handle Sodom and Gomorrah, or the Greco-Roman empires, and He is totally capable of enforcing His law and punishing those who disregard it.
    The good news is that He sent His Son Jesus to save the world from sin, for it is not His will that any, and that means ANY, should perish (be indicted with the judgment of eternal torment), but His will is that ALL should be saved, AND come to the full knowledge (by relationship) of the TRUTH. In this regard, GOD IS "PRO-CHOICE". We can choose eternal life in Christ or choose eternal emptiness and misery. The decision rests with each individual.

    October 8, 2010 at 1:31 am |
    • peace2all

      @Jimmy Blank

      I am sincerely curious... Why would an all-Loving God (Love beyond our comprehension), even consider allowing one of his beloved children to roast in the eternal fiery hot place..... forever....? Or the fact that he would even allow such a place to exist...?

      Does that REALLY make sense to you. If there is a God... then the true meaning of God would be one of such compassion, forgiveness, Love, understanding and Peace.... At least that is how I see God. No hell for people just because they don't believe. No true God would demand that someone has to worship him/her/it... or if you don't believe, eventhough I love you, I will send you to a place so full of pain and suffering, it is unimaginable... forever..

      No.. sorry Jimmy Blank, just don't believe your version.

      But, I would love to hear your response to my questions...

      Thanks...

      Peace...

      October 8, 2010 at 1:51 am |
    • chelseykia

      @ Peace2all

      God did not create hell because he loves to toss those "vile, disobedient sinners" into the pitholes of fire and hope they burn forever.

      Hell is hell because God is ABSENT from the place. It is the one place, the ONLY place, where you will never ever find God residing.

      Please don't be so quick to jump into the conclusion that a) because this happens, God doesn't exist. It is an ignorant angle of argument, one that God is not interested in debating because He prefers to what He does best than senselessly argue : heal the sick, cast out demons, let the blind see and raise the dead. 🙂 Look beyond America's "Superstar Christianity" – the churches in China, Europe, Indonesia, Africa are rising up and seeing these very miracles that are depicted in the Bible. There is so much you didn't know, SO MUCH you didn't see, so much that have not yet been touched.

      But do not be entirely dependent on these miracles – these miracles should point to God's presence.

      He does. The sweet and beautiful Lord does exist. Look to where the signs are pointing, look further than the so-called "clever theses and arguments" made by scholars and taunting people who have not yet tasted the fruit of the Lord's presence and yet dares to say they know all there is to know about God. I'll tell you, they know nothing. Nobody knows anything until they come face to face with Him and they realize they are entirely in God's loving hands, as He loves and loves and loves them.

      October 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • chelseykia

      @peace2 all :

      Sorry, the part where I start off the comment with "Please do not..." is directed to other people in general, there was a line separating my response to you.

      From my walk with God, I have found out perhaps 0.0000001% of his character – He is passionate, loving, fiery, wonderful, beautiful, madly and wildly loving. He is also fair, righteous, merciful, slow to anger and quick to love.

      Yes, God does get angry – He would not be passionate if he were not. He delivers sentences fairly and perfectly – do you trust God? When people get their just sentences, do you believe that God does it perfectly? He, who made the heavens and calculated the dimensions of the stars in which they were to be laid in the sky, who could see events a hundred, thousand, million years from now, who repeatedly told nine people in church to tell the pastors that their daughter will be married to a man 12 months from now (because the pastors are fiercely protective of their child and they won't accept no less than a word from God!) – do you trust Him to deliver a perfect judgment to every single person?

      October 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  17. kay ojen

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNl-joC2MAY&w=640&h=390]

    courageous

    October 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  18. NL

    Mark you are misunderstanding-

    You said "...you are the image of God and you CHOOSE to act differently from that Image!"

    How can our human se xu ality come in any way from the image of God? What does God know about se xu ality, romantic love, and relationships? God is supposedly unique and the only one of his kind. He never had an equal to love, marry, or have any kind of relationship with. If we're created in His image we must have developed our 'relationship' side by ourselves, right?

    October 7, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  19. Anne Olivier

    Good for you...just and true as to our Christan Values...tell the right they are hypocrites and do not follow our Jesus's teachings.

    October 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  20. nelco

    It's not because there's a bunch of pedophiles in the church that being a pederast (gay?! he he nice try.) is fine. Both are
    psychiatric conditions. YES, like it or not that's the way it is. Besides, those damn "priests" what they like is BOYS!!! I'm
    sorry I know that the psychiatric hospitals are empty for the simple reason that some weirdos decided the everything is
    normal, so as a consequence we have all these "cases" outside rasing hell. Simple and sad.

    October 7, 2010 at 3:36 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.