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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. Beware_of_God

    As stated in the first part of the article, "... because the event has become too divisive and confrontational, the group's president told CNN on Wednesday." It is just a shame that that is the main reason for their change of heart. It would have been worthy of praise if they would have just done it because it was just wrong, instead of political correctness now that it is the current news worthy thing to do. And what is with the concern with divisiveness? That is what religions do and have always done, divide, condemn, and criticize others. That is the 2000 year history of Christianity. They are worried about it now? Come on, it is just for show cause they didn't want to take the heat. I wonder how many deaths and suicides they actually caused with their yearly promotion over the years. Now that one has it the front pages via the internet, they are backing a way from what was always their "principles".

    October 6, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  2. sedreck fields

    It's VERY SAD THAT PEOPLE DONOT WANT A GOD IN THERE LIFE!!! THAT'S WHY YOU DONOT WANT THE BIBLE TOO BE REAL SO YOU CAN LIVE ANYWAY YOU WON'T TOO !!!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • ...and on the 8th day, God said:

      Go forth and be Fabulous!

      October 6, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
  3. Mary

    Good!!!! I am Christian and a movement anti-gay would embarrass me.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  4. Coherent1

    Are my brother's and sister's in Christ going through an awakening? Finally, not let's show some love! Judge not, condemn not, forgive.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  5. mom of gay son

    Hey Sedreck! My Savior forgives me everynight for loving other people as I would like to be loved. I hope you pray for forgiveness for your hatred everynight. No my dear, you will be the one who will need help on Judgement day. Not the people loving others as Jesus told us to do.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  6. BT

    In the name of Jesus I don't ever recall any reference to him holding any kind of anti-gay rally or activity.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  7. sedreck fields

    I donot care about my TEXTING SKILLS!!! I JUST WON'T TOO TELL ALL OF THE BLOGERS THAT IF YOU LIKE GAYS AND YOU DONOT CARE WHAT BIBLE SAY GOOD LUCK BECAUSE YOU GOING TOO NEED IT!!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • Dave

      Dude...you really should consider switching to decaf.

      October 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • Old Fool

      Want, not WONT. Can't you get anything right?

      October 6, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
    • Lisa Hunter

      Sorry pal, I like nice people and know many straight and gay nice people. As long as they are kind, considerate and have no plans to hurt anyone ever, then I like them. A good sense of humor is really a plus, and maybe liking animals too but nice and kind will do it. I feel sorry for you because clearly you can't spell or type but you are also missing out on a lot in your life if you live for this "I hate gays" craziness.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  8. Woody

    Why is it that religion has to pick on some group of people .

    October 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  9. mom of gay son

    Jesus, himself, said NOTHING about gays. And as far as the OT goes, are all you nut jobs, killing your doves, cows and what not? Are you eating pork? Are you eating chicken? Nut jobs only pick & choose what they want. You MUST follow EVERYTHING before you can PREACH to someone else.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • Old Fool

      I am so with you. It's a shame that there was no intelligence test for admission to the 21st century. This would not have even been an issue. Hey, mom, I expect you have read many, many books in your day. How can you expect much of an opinon from someone who has only read one? Most of the Bible is metaphor, but this guy probably doesnt know what that is. I hope that your son gives you lots of reasons to be proud. from a proud brother of a gay man

      October 6, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  10. Frank

    Why is everybody focusing on Sedreck? He's a troll. He's probably laughing his a$$ off at all of you.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • asrael

      Frank, I doubt sedrick spends much of his obviously troubled time on earth laughing; much too busy bellowing...

      October 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
    • Frank

      Well, he's either trolling or straight up out of his mind. I don't really care. This is just the Internet. Even when people act like that on the street, I just ignore them. Why would you try to engage them in conversation?
      He's most likely just a troll, though.

      October 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  11. Don

    This group is the biggest bunch of losers that walk the face of the planet. The bible is a book of fiction and a joke (and I was raised christain). Gay people are born that way, and these half wits don't realize it. I'm a hetero through and through, and could care less if someone's gay or not. Here's my deal. I want public servants, including lawyers, to have a much harsher punishment for hatred amongst gays, blacks etc. My wife works with this great gay guy, mid 40's, masters degree. Well his partner was at a wedding in Utica NY and he was practically beat to death by.... get this....... a lawyer. They had to sew his ear back on because the guy hit him in the head with a wine bottle. Nobody wants to speak up because they all know so called lawyer, so they have to subpeona the entire wedding. Again, I'm not gay and I wish I were at that wedding so I could have taken care of that guy. I hope justice is served and he's dsibarred and put behind bars for a few years.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  12. Josh M

    How Christian of them... for once. Let's see if they can keep it up. Keep smiling!!! =D

    October 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  13. sedreck fields

    Okay somebody keep saying that being GAY is all RIGHT I'am sorry you cannot READ!!! Because THE BIBLE IS VERY VERY CLEAR ABOUT GAYS THANK YOU!!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
    • Roger

      It's also very clear about slavery and slave-beating. It says it's okay. Are you not going to comment on that?

      October 6, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
    • Roger

      Leviticus 25:44 " 'Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property."

      October 6, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
    • Roger

      Exodus 21:20 "If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, 21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property."

      October 6, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
    • asrael

      Methinks sedrick protesteth ... way ... too much...

      October 6, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  14. Burello

    This is the first time in a long time that I've actually heard a religious group do the truly right thing.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
    • Raider

      The "truly right thing" would have been to not have formed the Day of Truth to begin with. They're just worried about backlash at the moment, they'll be back with hate that's stronger than ever once the dust settles.

      October 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  15. sedreck fields

    So I see nobody cares WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS THAT'S GREAT Y'ALL HAVE TOO SEE JESUS CHRIST ONE DAY AND THAT'S REAL!!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
    • dalis

      Why is being gay a sin, sedreck?

      October 6, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
    • Dave

      The Bible is great! I love fiction!

      October 6, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
    • Roger

      I posted some of what Christ said a few comments up. Are you following those teachings?

      October 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
    • asrael

      Back to the cellar, sedreck...

      October 6, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  16. Frank

    I'm waiting for some moron to say that being transgendered is a choice.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  17. mom of gay son

    I am a Christian. I am a Republican. I am the mother of a gay son. Most Christians are fake and do not love anything but their own sin. GOP has nothing to do with religion only conservative in Government over the people. And if someone is gay, they ARE born that way. How about you straight people be gay for awhile? You can't dummy. Because you were BORN that way.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
    • Roger

      Good for you!

      October 6, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
    • beth

      but...isn't it obvious that the parts don't work that way? I mean totally obvious????

      October 6, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
    • Frogist

      @mom of gay son: "GOP has nothing to do with religion only conservative in Government over the people." Maybe the old GOP many many years ago. But not today. Not now. They are putting up religious right social conservatives who want bigger govt in our personal lives who won't be so kind to gays, including your son.

      Sharron Angle – Republican Candidate for Nevada: voted against key pieces of legislation benefiting gays – a state version of the employment non-discrimination act and a bill against harrassing and intimidation in schools. She also wants to make gay adoption illegal and punish companies who offer benefits to partners of gays.

      Jim DeMint – Republican senator from South Carolina: Gays should not be allowed to teach in public schools.

      Christine O Donnell Republican Candidate for Delaware: Gays are psychologically defective and can be cured and they have ties to pedophile-rights movements.

      John Boehner- House Minority leader: has a 0% voting record (says the HRC) on any legislation benefitting gays. He voted against prohibiting job discrimination, for ammending the const!tution to ban gay marriage, for banning gays from adopting, and against enforcing anti-gay hate crimes but supports religion-based hate crimes.

      October 7, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  18. Marc from Florida

    It sounds like a thoughtful decision and a step toward respecting the rights of folks that practice a different lifestyle. Exodus International should be congratulated for a giant step foward. MJY

    October 6, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  19. sedreck fields

    And Jesus Christ is coming back and all of y'all will PRAY that I WAS LIEING!!!SO SEE ALL OF YOU JUGEMENT DAY!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
    • dalis

      Still didn't answer my question...

      October 6, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
    • Roger

      If he does come back he'll be a lot more concerned about his actual teachings than anything. Have you brushed up on them? Here's one:

      Matthew 5:43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

      October 6, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
    • Roger

      Here's another. Are you doing this?

      Matthew 25:34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

      37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

      40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

      41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

      44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

      45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

      46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

      October 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
    • asrael

      Don't think you'll make it, sedreck; Heaven requires a rudimentary knowledge of a language

      October 6, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • lightnessandjoy

      No, we're all just hoping you sign up for a remedial English course real soon so we can see if we can understand what you're trying to say.

      October 6, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  20. JOHN

    This debate has nothing to do with gay people or immigrants or religion or even christianity.
    It's a debate amongst a freightened citizenry. It's a debate about americans scared of everyone not like them.
    It's a debate about people that refuse change. A people scared of the future, Scared of the changing world around them.
    It's a debate about the old fighting to keep a changing world around them more familiar. It;s about keeping with the world we understand.
    Welcome to the united states of america.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:25 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.