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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. mrgmorgan56

    jb2
    ...You're an idiot.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • jb2

      Thanks for added substance to your argument! 😉

      October 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  2. Jason

    HEY, what do you know, a religious group centered around hate. No way. Why don't they just join Westboro, the worthless pieces of flesh.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  3. mrgmorgan56

    Religion is for weak minded sheep...

    October 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  4. jb2

    All gays will burn in Hell, sayeth the Lord. We don't need a group to protest that, the gays already know the choice they are making.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
    • dalis

      Why would they burn in hell? What exactly is the sin? (Please don't just say being gay.)

      October 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • jb2

      ...knowing u are sinning, and continuing to do so...gayness is a cardinal sin

      October 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • Frank

      I see Repent America has their very own troll on here. This convo fell apart fast!

      October 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • jb2

      This is for every post from a gay that said all christians should burn in hell... people like u are idiots...look at sodom

      October 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
    • dalis

      Ok, why is gayness a cardinal sin?

      Do you see what I'm getting at – the root of the problem? If you say stealing is a sin, well it's not just a sin because of the 8th commandment. There is an actual reason – a problem of intent and a problem of effect. What is problematic about being gay?

      October 6, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
    • Frank

      You do not have the love of Christ in you. You should repent of your callousness.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
    • Dave

      Did God tell you that himself?

      October 6, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • jb2

      @ dalis –

      I'm guessing you have never read the bible prior to the new testament? You can go google why being gay is a sin...I don't have the time to tell u.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
    • Frank

      "I'm guessing you have never read the bible prior to the new testament?"

      Ah, you're one of those Judaizing 'Christians' – obsessed with the OT but completely skip over the teachings of Christ. Convert to Judaism and get it over with.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • dalis

      @jb2 I thought as much. So much time spent condemning gay people leaves so little time to understand why.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
    • Craig

      jb2...maybe you should try reading another book. Any book.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • dalis

      @ jb2 I know the clobber passages. I was looking for rationale.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • jb2

      Frank...I love Jesus as my savior and love his teachings....but u do not just disregard the ot...that's why it remains part of the bible...jesus learned from the ot himself

      October 6, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • Stephanie

      jb2, could you please point out the scripture that says "All gays will burn in Hell, sayeth the Lord." And when did you decide to be straight? How old were you?

      October 6, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
    • jb2

      Everyone is born straight u idiot

      October 6, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
    • Frank

      "I love Jesus as my savior and love his teachings....but u do not just disregard the ot...that's why it remains part of the bible...jesus learned from the ot himself"

      You obviously don't love Christ. If so, you wouldn't be trolling here with hateful, honestly shameful comments.

      What could Jesus 'learn' from the OT? He's God. He came to fulfill it. We are not to live under the Law anymore.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Stephanie

      Really, born straight huh, you said it's a choice. So how did you choose?

      October 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  5. Bob

    Amazingly, it seems it is actually possible to come to God through the religion of Christianity. Bernadette Roberts, a former Carmelite nun and living master, became self-realized following the paths of great Christian mystics such as St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. She thought this path unique until she became aware of the teachings of the Buddha and realized how profoundly similar they were at their core. Many claim, however, she awakened in spite of Christianity not because of it.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
    • Frank

      "living master"

      Sounds like some New Age crap. Ascended Masters? Have you been reading too much of Elizabeth Clare Prophet's cult crap?

      October 6, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
    • Bob

      I No, don't know who that is. I came across Ms Robert's works by accident and turns out , she's one of the most respected Christian authors today, one of the very few who actually understand the teachings of Jesus. Check it out and like me, you might learn something for a change

      October 6, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • Frank

      I'll look it up, Bob. I'm just weary of this 'masters' talk.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  6. Frank

    I'm seeing more hatred coming from non-believers than Christians in the comments here! Take a chill pill, seriously.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  7. fakegod

    I hope the poor college kid's death can cause those gullible christians to use their brains and hearts more.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • dalis

      Suicide is a selfish senseless waste. I hope Tyler Clementi is never emulated.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • Frogist

      @dalis: Yes, I suppose suicide is that. But what a way to show some compassion.

      October 7, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • peace2all

      @dalis

      You said.."I hope that Tyler Clementi is never emulated."

      What is your *meaning* exactly from that statement......? Is it that you hope that no-one else should suffer as he did, that he perceived no other option but to take his own life...? I would agree with that, I hope no-one else suffers like he did as well.

      Or, are you saying that you hope that no-one else be gay...?

      Please elaborate, as I am a bit concerned about your post as is Frogist above mine. But, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt, by choosing option #1 that asserted as to your meaning, until I hear differently from you.

      Peace...

      October 7, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  8. angela

    Did a lot of christians forget the story when Jesus saved Mary Magdalen from being stoned? HE WHO HAS NOT SIN MAY CAST THE FIRST STONE. How can some christians forget that? It's one of the popular stories in the bible, I don't believe Jesus had said except for these people. I haven't been to church in years, but I sure do remember that story from bible school when I was 10.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • cristian

      Oh sure, now get from the Bible only what we like and suits us......he also said "GO AND SIN NO MORE"...forgot about that one?

      October 7, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  9. Craig

    Wow...a small sign of tolerance from the religious right. Restores a little faith in humankind.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • debbie

      I agree it,s a small step and I must mention I have never hated anyone in my life untill now I mean I really hate and despise That God Forsaken lunatic Shirley Phelps Roper and those lunatics she has assembled(family mostly) The westboro Babtist Church as they call it is nothing but a bunch of hate mongering twisted perverted psychos! They give the real Christians a bad name I am Catholic and I have so much hatred for this vile evil woman and her equally twisted husband. I despise Those radical cristians who just take it over the edge they are nothing short of a cult. They give me nightmares I hope they all get theres when they go to hell where they belong!

      October 6, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  10. Emerel

    It is not the place of children to take this on. I also am glad to see the slight shift in thinking. Thank you for putting the children first.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  11. Student

    Christians are not tolerant of sin. However, it remains to be seen whether deviant behavior is sinful. Sickening to some, perhaps, but not necessarily sinful.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
    • dalis

      The question is an open question: what makes being gay sinful? Is it love? Is it lust? Do you even know what it is? Is it the intercourse? Is it the relationship? What's the objection exactly?

      October 6, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • cristian

      "Sickening to some, perhaps, but not necessarily sinful."...really???/ What planet are u from??? Sickening bu not sinfull? What part of the universe did u people fell from?.....black but not actually black....hot but not actually hot......gay but not actually gay???? are u listening to yourselves? No wonder this country is going down the drain so fast....because of the people who believe that everything has to be tolerated. no more mention of decency and common sense. guess in the end we WILL find out for sure who was right and who was wrong won't we?

      October 7, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  12. WhiteKong78

    Too many people in everyone's business. Too many chiefs and not enough indians wanting to invade the lives of other people. What someone does in their bedroom is their own business. Both sides of the gay/straight argument should learn not to shove their way of life down anyone's throat.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • Craig

      "gay/straight argument should learn not to shove their way of life down anyone's throat"

      No pun intended.

      October 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • Vegas Jennifer

      As soon as we have the same rights as every other tax paying citizen, and we are no longer subject to voting and legislation of our lives, we'll be happy to stop "shoving" our ideals on folks. Deal?

      October 6, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • Frogist

      @VegasJennifer: Absolutely! 🙂

      October 7, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • peace2all

      @Vegas Jennifer

      Well said...

      Peace...

      October 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  13. Shaun

    Holy $#!^! There may still be hope for us yet!

    October 6, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  14. Lee

    Finally someone actually paid attention. It's true, just because you don't have the same beliefs as someone doesn't mean you can't get along with them as human beings.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  15. Chris

    The only group of people that I've seen with more hatred than Christians is the Atheists.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
    • fakegod

      You should compare christians to muslims and terrorists. Atheists don't care about the freaking bible or quran, and they don't burn stuff.

      October 6, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
    • Craig

      Oh please. Most of us Atheists just want to be left the hell alone.

      October 6, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • dalis

      Oooh, but they can be so intolerant of those who don't agree with them or see the world as they do.

      October 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • Jim E

      you've got that backward. The religious are the first to kill in the name of their holy book, regardless of affiliation. As someone else said, atheists want to be left the hell alone!

      October 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
    • dalis

      @ Jim E That's not my observation. Many atheists want converts just as sure as if they were religious. And many on occasion make bold pronouncements about banning religion, not just from the public square, but outright.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
    • Dave

      Oh yeah, Chris. Well how come no one ever knocks on my door and tries to convert me to Atheism?

      October 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
    • TED

      how many posters have identified themselves as atheists?

      October 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • iPan Ba'al Typhon

      Protopanexperientialist here.

      The revolt you see from Atheists (or other non-monotheists) is merely do to centuries of putting up with religious crap.
      If more Christians continue to move in this direction (of tolerance) then you will see this subside.

      BUT

      I think the ball is in the religious' court, considering all the damage they've done. It's their turn to apologize, and maybe then we'll stop bashing them so much.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
    • Brandy

      Chris, when Atheists are angry with you, they can say some pretty mean things. But they don't burn down your house, bomb your medical office, or hunt you down and shoot you in church. Christians can say mean, terrible things too...but the more extreme ones also commit violence against others in the name of their "faith".

      Until you see Atheists bombing churches, temples, and mosques, I think your assertion that Atheists have more "hate" than Christians is completely wrong. Mean words on the internet are pretty mild compared to the bombings, beatings, and execution-style murders in America that have been committed by Christian fanatics.

      October 7, 2010 at 9:54 am |
    • Frogist

      @dalis: While I do know some atheists who do the things you say, I know some who just want to live their lives without something like religion blocking the way. That can also be said of christians. But when we are talking about the overwhelming anti-gay sentiment being foisted upon american society, christians have to own up to a lot of that blame. Sure there are progressives who see being gay as nothing more than being different. But they have been in the minority. And incidents like the recent suicides, are waking some people up to the consequences of that kind of intolerance. However I think atheist or christian we can both agree that violence and verbal assault of another person, for whatever hateful reason, is unwelcomed behaviour.

      October 7, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  16. fakegod

    Politicians attack gay people to gain more votes. Gullible christians do the same thing to poor gay kids for nothing but blood on their hands. I hope they all BURN IN HELL!

    October 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  17. dalis

    Why does ever rally have to be met with another rally? Why does every day have to be met with another day? Have an original idea for once instead of constantly reacting.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  18. LBUCK

    Wow! For a bunch of people so concerned with a group taking a stand and having their own set of beliefs, I sure do read A LOT of hate and bigotry toward Christians in the responses here. That's ok, as a Christian, I will continue to love my neoghbor regardless of their lifestyle choice even if in my view it isn't ok for me due to my personal relationship with Jesus.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • fakegod

      You believe what you believe. Please don't protest at others' funeral and don't hurt those poor gay kids. Thanks!

      October 6, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • Vegas Jennifer

      Lifestyle choice..? Newsflash.. it's neither a "lifestyle" nor a "choice."

      October 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • TED

      you reap what you sow

      October 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • Zoe Brain

      "You reap what you sew"... guess they didn't like the crop of 9 kids dying by bullycide in 2 months, some for only "appearing" gay.
      Exodus is woolly-headed and wrong – but they're not evil.

      Note the Focus in the Family are fine with that crop though. Maybe now people will understand just how malevolent some of these groups are – and how un-Christian.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
    • Amazed

      I am amazed that all of these people who dislike hatered, actually use such hateful language toward christians. I get it you don't believe in God, so be it, but don't put down others who do.Christians, like others, know about persecution. What if a christian were to commit suicide based on your hateful comments, would their blood be on your hands. Because others in society have harrassed and/or assaulted these "so called" gay teens, does not make them christians or believers in God or Jesus. These are assumption and baseless accusations.

      Basic Phsychology will tell you that we fall prey to society. If everybody else is doing it, it is ok. Our society has become tolerent today on many issues. Where do you take a stand and decide enough is enough? Do we just let everything go on? Right or wrong, you need to make a choice, and YOU have to live that choice and the consequences involved.

      As for abortion that was dicussed earlier, There are other forms of birth control other than abortion. That would be a good place to start.

      October 7, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  19. fakegod

    If you are christian, then you are either a rich pedo leader, or a gullible worshiper. All christians have blood of poor gay kids on their bloody hands. Amen.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • dalis

      Apparently blanket condemnation is not just the purview of (some) Christians.

      October 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • Frank

      Fakegod:
      I'm not even going to bother to be nice. Remove your head from your rectum and stop trolling.

      October 6, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • Ruhlmann

      Frank, stop looking up fakegod's rectum.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • Frank

      "Frank, stop looking up fakegod's rectum."

      Not possible. His head takes up all the space.

      October 6, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
    • peace2all

      @fakegod

      While you and others may not agree with christians and their doctrine, to make such a ludicrous and overwheliming generalization about 'all' christians have the blood, etc...etc... Is just truly non-sense.

      Please stop with the unfounded bigotry.

      Peace...

      October 7, 2010 at 1:15 am |
  20. dwayne

    I'm surprised. Most christians are such haters.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • JessIAm

      Howdy dwayne,
      As a Christian who doesn't hate people, I feel I should apologize for not speaking up more. I think every human group includes overzealous people who don't get what the group is about. Since overzealousness and drama are more dramatic and controversial, the overzealous get more air time (which makes just about every group seem crazy).
      Some of us who follow Jesus do get what this Bible verse says: "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18. It comes from a passage that explains the ways a believer in Jesus should go about everyday life.

      October 7, 2010 at 3:26 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.