home
RSS
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. dwayne

    christians are afraid of the truth; which they never use..

    October 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  2. Sagebrush Shorty

    If they were truly a Christian Group they would not have sponsored the event in the first place.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  3. realist

    Athiest are such liars. Most athiest were probably molested by one of the false religions members (catholics) so they strike out and rebel against something they have lost faith in.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • dalis

      You've just got a box for everyone, don'tcha?

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

      Yep...you've got it all figured out.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • asrael

      And realists are such terrible spellers...

      October 6, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
    • mark

      we were not molested, however, many of us have been rubbed the right way by science, reason, and logic.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
    • Ms Galaxy

      I was neither molested nor have I lost anything. Rather, I have found rationality and common sense.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Science love you long time.

      October 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  4. Flush1

    All these stories about gays on CNN has just shredded my butth0le!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • Cindy

      I guess daddy forgot to lock his computer.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  5. rogerandover

    The group has suddenly decided to abide by something resembling the GOLDEN RULE. This is a radical step for a Christian
    group!

    October 6, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  6. Mike T.

    For all the finger pointing at the church one reads on this thread, it just goes to show how much real hate there is OUTSIDE the church walls. And yet the hate-spouters blame all Christians, call them all these awful names, and yet somehow feel justified in their own hatred and bigotry. Just goes to show you how little it takes to blame others and refuse to forgive.

    Come on, people... Grow up and actually engage someone in a meaningful way. You can do it!

    October 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
    • Frank

      Those are all trolls. I actually think they're the same person.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • Justin

      To be honest Mike, I think it's because people become impatient with hypocracy. It's one thing to have an opinion, but it's another to be cruel and hateful to others and claim that it is in the name of God. Anyone who has studied Christianity (I'm a 60+ year Catholic) knows that Christ was all about love, forgiveness, and tolerance, and it seems to me that modern day fundamentalist Christians (including some in my own church) use a selective interpretation of the bible to justify their own negative thinking. Just my opinion, and I don't say this to be unkind.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • fakegod

      The real hate was spread from the church, not from outside.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • Dave

      Mike, there is hatred because you can not keep your faith to yourself. It's not enough that you believe...but you think everyone else should believe too. No atheist ever knocked on my door and try to convert me. Stop judging others, and stop destroying indigenous cultures and stop knocking on my door. Faith is a personal thing...and God does not need a sales and marketing team.

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

      Dave, name ONE person who keeps their opinions to themself? Can you? I don't think so. People are much the same no matter what they believe. No wonder I stay away from them!

      October 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
    • BarryW

      Dave: "stop destroying indigenous cultures". Thank you so much for saying that. One of my absolutely biggest gripes in life is against Christian missionaries. Over the centuries they have done incalculable damage, all in the name of God.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
    • Dave

      Frank, there is a difference between having a personal opinion, and using a strategy of global domination to force your opinion on others. Throughout history, the Christian church is clearly guilty of the latter.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
    • Dave

      BarryW ... I could not agree more.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
    • Frank

      "Frank, there is a difference between having a personal opinion, and using a strategy of global domination to force your opinion on others. Throughout history, the Christian church is clearly guilty of the latter."

      There have been many empires that have done so. Where people in the Church have done those things, it was not the first time nor the last. Where people are being mistreated, God notices and will not let those misdeeds go unpunished.
      People have been fighting with each other and trampling each other for many millenia.

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

      when a group goes around condemning everyone and everything that does not agree with THEIR view, especially–and ironically–when they call themselves "peaceful and loving" christians, its not hard to understand why rational people have such disdain toward them. if they did three things: 1 mind their own business, 2 practice the golden rule, and 3 be tolerant of those who do not share thier view, the animus toward Christians would tern from loathsome to sympathetic. why sympathy? because they still believe in a fairytale. but as long as they dont try to legislate or impose their fairytale, no one would have cause to fault them. so yes, there is plenty of animus toward christians for not being "christian like", and plenty of surprise when they behave in peaceful and tolerant manner.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
    • Brita

      Athiests are all putting us Christians in one group, but they think they are better better then us. Supposedly we all think alike and hate all gays, because some of us do so must we all. The thing they accuse us of they are doing to us.

      Personally I vote against anyone who tries to take rights away from any American. Gays, Hispanics, Blacks, Women, Men Children, etc.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:39 am |
    • Frogist

      @Brita: I don't think that all Christians are the same. But I do think they all have to own up to the contributions that christianity has made to an overwhelming anti-gay sentiment in this country. I'm glad that you are standing up to vote against people who spout an anti-human rights agenda. But I have to ask this. In a time where the anti-gay, anti-women, anti-black, anti-any other religion but christianity, message is loud and proud, where are the christian leaders who are standing up and saying, "we do not support this" ? This is not Baghdad. This is not Tehran. No one is going to kill you if you stand up and say, "Jesus would not have voted for these people." Yet there is a frightening silence from christian leaders at a time when the religious right are aiming to "take back our country". So you cannot really be surprised when people are angry, when all they hear are the voices of the most arrogant kind of people who use the name "christian" to laud their false superiority over the rest of us including christians like you.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  7. fakegod

    I don't understand why those so-called peaceful christians can protest at funeral, support their pedo pastors, and attack those poor gay kids. If they still have little bit of intelligence, they should have burned the bible and ask for their money back. 🙂

    October 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  8. Stephanie

    Will wonders never cease. There is hope! Good for them!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  9. jb2

    Just kidding guys. I'm actually a proud gay man.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
    • Frank

      Sure you are.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • jb2

      That was not me. Good try hater.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
    • jb2

      Just kidding again. That WAS me. I love the sausage and beans!

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

      @Frank: Whoa! I think we might be in a 3some right now? LOL!

      October 7, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • Frank

      Frogist:
      If this is a 3some, it's not very pleasurable. Lol.

      October 10, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  10. mark

    amazing! christians acting "christ" like... its something you dont see very often, but perhaps something we can look forward to seeing more of. promoting tolerance and respect; what a novel idea.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  11. dwayne

    They bleed this dude out an he has a heaven. Don't make any sense.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  12. sgreco

    Well, I for one have had it. I've supped full with christian groups not being able to mind their own business. They want to peddle their twisted ideals that other people should not have the same freedoms they do? They want to keep showing up uninvited to funerals, parades, and rallies? They want to try to and pull down legislation that allows gay people to marry (which affects their own marriages not one whit) and try to instate anti-gay legislation just to get their jollies? Its time, my friends, to treat them to a taste of their own medicine. From now on, every christmas, easter and other holiday, i will get as many gay people to go to their churches and spread the word! I will push as hard as humanly possible to rip the word god out of every classroom and courthouse in the land. They want an enemy? They have got one. DOWN WITH CHRISTIANITY. REMOVE THIS REPULSIVE CANCER FROM SOCIETY. If they cannot keep to themselves as we do, then they will enjoy a lifetime of the same bigotry and hatred they ahve heaped upon us. Does it make me as bad as them? yup. I no longer care. CHILDREN ON CHRISTIANS ARE NOT WELCOME IN OUR SCHOOLS. I will spread as much filth and hate on THEIR websites as they have on ours. Enjoy, It will be my full time job.

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

      Finally someone with some common sense on here!!!

      October 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
    • James Ison

      A month ago I would have whole heartedly agreed with you. I am gay and an athiest for the most part. I felt wounded betrayed and hated by family and church. I have been known to spew some pretty hateful anti-church sentiment...and where does that get us? more of the same. Maybe if we as gay and/or non believers open our hands and hearts and try to show them that we are just people, and no different than them, we can bridge a divide of misunderstanding and misinformation. Politicians and religious leaders have duped them into believing that somehow being gay is some great evil. Everyone needs to stop hating and respect each other. Instead of throwing the first stone why not be the first one to say "I respect you and your right to believe and live any way you choose" The creedo here is personal freedom. Someone has to take the first step. Let it be us. it will take all of us to stop our youth from feeling marginalized. It will take parents and religious leaders and us as the older generation of gay americans working together to let them know that they are loved and wanted no matter who they are or who they love.

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

      sgreco, I approve! Send some back their way for a change!

      October 6, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
    • TED

      YES! tell it like it is!

      October 6, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
    • Frogist

      @sgreco: That is exactly what I feel sometimes. But James Ison is right. We cannot stop the hate with more hate. Then they will just feel justified in hating us. And it only isolates those christians who want to be part of the cause of personal freedom. And there are some christians who want gay rights as much as we do. And we need them on our side which can't be accomplished by directing hate at their religion too. I share your frustration. I really do. But I don't think it will get us closer to coexisting peacefully.
      @James Ison: Very well said!

      October 7, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  13. Edward Nashville, TN

    First of all the last time I checked people don't wake up one day and decided to be gay or straight. I believe it is genetic and not a choice. So saying all Gay people will go to hell to me is saying to all people of a certain race will go to hell because they are the wrong color. So called Christians are ignorant about the bible much more so than athiests in a recent study. I think that is very telling. I believe in God and Jesus said the two most important things were to love God with all your heart and the second was to love your fellow human beings as yourself.

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

      I agree with you completely. If people like you were running for office as Christians there wouldn't be such a backlash against the GOP. It's time for Christians to show love and respect for others, rather than trying to ram their own beliefs down other people's throats. Christ was all about love.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  14. JessIAm

    I've followed Jesus since I was 6, and I try to live for him every day. The people I meet in this world are not "sinners", they are people whom Jesus died for to me. Whether they agree with that or not doesn't change how I should view them – as people who are so precious God would die for them.

    I put this on my blog on myspace in 2007:

    Wouldn't it be amazing if the Christian community said:
    "We understand people feel differently about God than we do. We're finally mature enough that it doesn't phase us. We just want to remind people that God loves you, Jesus died for you, and, as much as we flawed Christians can be, we are here for you."

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

      that's a nice post. This is the way Hindus and Buddhists are–they respect others' beliefs and are happy if someone is seeking God, regardless of their religion. Thanks for the positivity.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
    • Jeffrey Moorman

      ALL people ARE sinners. This is a fact and if you don't believe you are anyone else is a sinner than you are most definitely not a true Christian and are deceived. Admitting you're a sinner and calling out to God for your forgiveness because the fact that you are a sinner in need of a savior to save you is the cornerstone of being Christian. I know you will not listen to these words but I tell you the truth.. you need to read the Bible, you are deceived.

      October 6, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • TED

      speak for yourself, you may be flawed, but we're not flawed, we're gay

      October 6, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
    • JT

      You're so delusional that you don't even realize how arrogant that statement is. I'm so glad I'm free of this christian virus.

      October 7, 2010 at 2:46 am |
    • Frogist

      @JessIam: That's a very kind and tolerant way to behave. I salute you. And to add to what GOP_ron said: All people who understand that we are humans first, christian or otherwise, will respect another person's place in the world. Live and let live. I like it.

      October 7, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • JessIAm

      @Jeffrey Moorman
      Thanks for replying Jeffrey. My point is this, if I view myself as "Sinner", I'm only viewing myself as a behavior, not a person. If I view myself as "a Person who sins", I'm seeing myself as the Bible says God sees me in Isaiah "All we like sheep have gone astray." The sheep are precious to the Shephard. The Shephard doesn't see them as "wayward things which happen to be sheep."

      October 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
    • JessIAm

      @TED
      Thanks for replying TED. I'm sorry if I seemed critical – that wasn't my intention. My intention is to say I've realized the Jesus didn't teach His followers to oppress people who disagree with Him. I didn't intend to say anything judgemental. Re-reading what I wrote, I can see how it could be taken that way. Sorry about that.

      October 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • JessIAm

      @GOP_Ron & Frogist
      Thanks 🙂

      October 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
    • JessIAm

      @JT
      I'm grateful you shared that. I'm doing my best to follow Jesus. I'm not even sure what the term "Christian" refers to.
      I wish you well on your journey to truth (I hope that comes across as I intend it – genuinely wishing you well).

      October 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  15. dwayne

    I wish that there was a real hell for all these christians to be able to go to; but since there is no heaven or hell; I guess we are stuck with them. Damn.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  16. Tam

    It's about time a reasonable group came out and did the right thing. I know there are reasonable Christians out there and it's just a relief to see that this particular group is able to see how it is segregating the youth and is now taking the first steps to put a stop to it.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  17. fakegod

    Some eat muffins, others like bananas. It's none of those evil christians' businesses.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
    • beth

      if it is nobody's business what people do in their bedrooms, then the gay agenda in America should cease.

      October 6, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
    • peace2all

      @beth

      You said:...."If it's nobody's business what people do in their bedrooms, then the gay agenda in America should cease."

      If the hate-mongering christian biblical literal interpreters would STOP with promoting their hate, bigotrous, and intolerant agenda, and STOP voting against LGBT people from having equal rights.. and.. STOP treating them as 'less than' human beings, I think you would find that we would have more peace, love and acceptance by all in our society.

      So, attempting to make an assertion that somehow.."gay have an agenda".... Is akin to saying "women' had an agenda, and blacks had an agenda .... for equality. Because, yes, if you look at your bible, there are many places where women and blacks were not equal.. now they are.

      And... eventually gays will be considered equal too... Why, because it is already starting to happen, just read this article, and look at the acceptance of other christians and their churches.

      It may take some time..... But, It *is* the right, kind, accepting and just down-right good thing... yes...?

      I mean to coin a phrase, from the christians... WWJD.....?

      Peace...

      October 7, 2010 at 2:11 am |
  18. Ryan

    It was reprehensible that conservative groups decided to sell their "gay is a choice" snake oil in the first place. Now some of them have figured out their intolerance is literally killing people.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
    • TED

      slow learners

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

      Ryan – it is a FACT that there has never been one shred of evidence that people are born gay. The one study from several years ago was condemned by the scientific community because out of the group of scietist who perfomed the study only one of them came up with THEORY that people were born gay. Guess what? He was the only gay scietist in the group. Learn to do your research. Zero evidence.

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

      realist moron: Why do you need evidence? Ask anyone who is gay. Did they chose to be that way, to be ridiculed, and bullied? Hell no. It must suck to be so insecure with yourself.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
    • Stephanie

      Realist, when did you choose to be straight? How old were you?

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

      Realist: (or not so realist): if you spend much time around gay people it will become abundantly clear that most of them are gay to the core, born that way and will die that way. Probably some become gay because of choice, but most are just as gay as others aren't. And they deserve the same rights as you, to pursue life liberty and happiness, without someone getting in their face and telling them they are going to burn in hell. It's a childish thing that these "so-called christians" do, and they give conservatism a bad name. Who cares what the scientific community says or doesn't say–they will say something different next year anyway.

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

      To..realist""""""

      Funny that.....

      from NYT

      Some Politics May Be Etched in the Genes

      By BENEDICT CAREY
      Published: June 21, 2005

      But on the basis of a new study, a team of political scientists is arguing that people's gut-level reaction to issues like the death penalty, taxes and abortion is strongly influenced by genetic inheritance. The new research builds on a series of studies that indicate that people's general approach to social issues – more conservative or more progressive – is influenced by genes.

      Genes contribute to religious inclination

      16 March 2005

      New Scientist news service
      Maggie McKee

      Genes may help determine how religious a person is, suggests a new study of US twins. And the effects of a religious upbringing may fade with time.

      Until about 25 years ago, scientists assumed that religious behaviour was simply the product of a person's socialisation – or "nurture". But more recent studies, including those on adult twins who were raised apart, suggest genes contribute about 40% of the variability in a person's religiousness.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
    • Lisa Hunter

      Couldn't agree more, Ryan. My son is gay and it is clear from his friends that being gay is definitely not a choice. Some people are absolutely tormented by their feelings especially if they grew up in a household that preached the wrongness of it all or attended church and were told every Sunday that it's wrong. Just waiting for some of these Exodus people to find out that one of their kids is gay. Ha Ha.

      October 6, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
    • beth

      what about pedophiles? are they "born that way"? Also, I think it takes more love to tell some one the truth then it does to pat them on the back and say "whatever makes you happy".
      Being gay isn't the only sin. Sin is living your life on your own terms, ignoring God who created all things for Him. And His ways aren't tyranny they are truly best.
      Jesus died to take away our sin and lead us into a relationship with the Father where we cease hating Him and fighting against Him and enjoy a relationship with Him. Where He loves us and we respond by living our lives in love to Him, pleasing Him because we want to. And we ALL need a new heart and to have our hearts cleansed by His blood to really know and enjoy Him....gay or not...otherwise what we see is a distortion of God.

      October 6, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
    • Frogist

      @beth: There is a flaw in your logic. Pedophilia harms another person. Being gay does not.

      October 7, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • peace2all

      @realist

      Actually, there are research studies pointing towards the overwhelming majority of gay people, being born gay. Yes, it is genetic in virtually all cases.

      And virtually all in the medical and psychological professions no longer consider being gay a 'disease.' Just a few: The AMA(American Medical Association), APA (American Psychological Association) APA (American Psychiatry Association) (I may have the spelling wrong on that one.).

      Anyways, I hope that you are getting the point.

      Peace...

      Peace...

      October 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  19. WhiteKong78

    @Vegas Jennifer. I've known quite a few girls who flip flopped between lesbian and sausage eater. I believe there are some people who choose and some who just are gay. Lots of girls make out for attention at a bar.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • Frank

      You do realize that there is such a thing as being in between? Bis#xuality is a reality. You don't 'chose'.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
    • Stephanie

      Sausage eater????? Is this Rev Fred?

      October 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
    • Craig

      "sausage eater"? Nothin' but class.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • dalis

      At Oktoberfest this year I ate weisswurst with my girlfriend. By WhiteKong's definition, I was having a menage a' trois.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
    • Frank

      "At Oktoberfest this year I ate weisswurst with my girlfriend. By WhiteKong's definition, I was having a menage a' trois"

      Lol!

      October 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  20. Sunshine

    Wow. What courage. Thank you.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Advertisement
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.