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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 • Faith Now • Homosexuality • Schools

soundoff (930 Responses)
  1. dbp

    All: asy has the right of it. whether you belive in Christ or not, He believed in you and loves you before, then and always. i hope everyone here has or will find that love. may God bless you and keep you.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
    • me

      Whether you believ in Poseidon or not, He believed in you and love you before, then and always. I hope everyone here has or will find that love. May Dionysus bless you and keep you.

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^This sentiment is equally valid to yours.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  2. bobby

    I think the right-wing is starting to get it. Now if they would just go away permanently.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
    • Flush1

      I'm surprised you haven't tried to fit them up your bum. I know you like that scratchy feeling.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
  3. Mike in B-More

    Mohandus K. Gandhi:
    I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian."
    - Young India (19 January 1928)

    October 6, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  4. Beware_of_God

    That is why I worship Satan. I love everyone and everything. I don't look down on people or what people do. Satanists feel that we are all here to enjoy life to the fullest and to live and let live. We only have a few years on this earth, anyone with any brains would simply enjoy it, rather than going around feeling guilty and criticizing others.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
    • nOT Trash

      You are as delusional as the goddies.

      October 6, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  5. sedreck fields

    And allah is not GOD JESUS CHRIST IS!!!!!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • dalis

      What is being gay a sin, Sedreck? Can you explain the objection to it?

      October 6, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
    • OnanismO

      FFFFFFFFFF SSSS MMMM MMMM
      FFFFFFFFFF SSSSSSSS MMMMMM MMMMMM
      FFFFF SSS S MMMM MMM MM MMMM
      FFFFF SSSS MMMM MMM MM MMMM
      FFFFFFFFFF SSSS MMMM MMMMM MMMM
      FFFFFFFFFF SSSS MMMM MM MMMM
      FFFFF SSSS MMMM MMMM
      FFFFF SSS MMMM MMMM
      FFFFF SSS MMMM MMMM
      FFFFF SS SSSS MMMM MMMM
      FFFFF SSSSSS MMMM MMMM

      October 6, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
    • OnanismO

      Ooops, that sucked. That was supposed to be a big FSM but apparently it didn't like all those spaces.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
    • Nora

      Sorry Sedreck I no more believe in your god than I do in allah or any of the other so called deities down through time. If you feel you need that crutch then that is your opinion and your welcome to it but do not try to put those opinions into some moral code and foist it off on those members of the public who neither need or want it.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
  6. Neal Sheppard

    Think about this question. What would happen to the human race if the entire world were gay?

    October 6, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
    • Nora

      Well they would probably get together with some nice lesbian girls who wanted children also and donate sperm. We'd be right back where we are now with babies being born as always.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
    • David in Cincinnati

      The question is like: "What if x equals not x?".

      October 7, 2010 at 7:36 am |
    • David in Cincinnati

      Human life, and gayness itself, together sadly with abuse, survive as the fittest of alternatives, through the evolved extreme power of s– ensuring reproduction (that wouldn't make it on Nora's contractual accommodations alone).

      October 7, 2010 at 7:48 am |
  7. Cher

    test test.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
  8. George Guadiane Austerlitz, NY

    Jesus Would Be Proud!

    October 6, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
  9. remccoy

    Hate is the new Christian value ...

    October 6, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
    • OnanismO

      What do you mean "new"? What do you call it when a fascist organization with tons of money goes around torturing and killing people who don't believe exactly like them. Spanish Inquisition and Crusades, for instance.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
  10. Jim

    Jesus Confronted Sin & Hypocracy head on. He Preached saying "REPENT" "GO & SIN NO MORE" We Did not white wash it or call it anything less than what his Father Called it- Sin, Iniquity, Unrightousness,Evil Look up what he said to the Pharisee's ,What he did to the Money Changers in the Temple. Yes He was Mercifull & Gracious to the Sinners Who REPENTED but what of those who did not?

    October 6, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Jim: And while you preach your hate speech, another child dies.

      October 7, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  11. wcnea567

    Christians and moslem groups are world class trouble makers. The world would be a lot more peaceful if those two groups weren't around. They worship the same God (Allah) but they have been fighting each other like cats and dogs. They should treat each other like brothers and sisters instead. On top of that they fight others too. Osama Bin Laden blew up statues of Bhuda which existed long before moslem was even born. If they don't respect others how can others respect them? What a dysfunctional family.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • Charles

      I am sorry but Christians do not worship Allah. According to the Koran Allah does not have a son. The Christian god has a son named Jesus. This in itself shows that we worship different gods

      October 6, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
  12. Joshua Ludd

    Wow.. they felt they needed to in some way COUNTER an event opposing threats and violence against people for being gay?

    October 6, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
  13. Ronnie

    These so called Christians are going to Hell ! It is not just their action but their beliefs that will send them to the pits of hell.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
    • Joseph

      I'm sure they'll have plenty of friends among all those who've taken it upon themselves to judge their fellow man.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
  14. George

    I can almost guarantee their leader will come out of the closet in the next few weeks. Every single religion has gays in it, specially the Catholic Church, and yet they always demonize the gay and lesbian community; what a bunch of hipocrites.

    October 6, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
    • George, I thought you was

      so much smarter. Your status: world leader or janitor, location, religious-affiliation or lack thereof, etc has no-bearing on the sinful act. It is sinful because its wrong. Wrong is that which offends God and offends neighbor. So if a filthy-rich person steals despite its wealth, we are to presume all rich people are thieves and all rich leaders are thieves: and know some day all rich thieve will come out if the closet so we can have the joy of calling them hippocrits. Please!

      October 7, 2010 at 1:22 am |
  15. sedreck fields

    Why everybody keep saying Jesus Christ LOVES EVERYBODY WHEN HE SAYS YOU BELONG TOO SATAN A LOT OF YOU PEOPLE DONOT READ THE BIBLE OR CARE WHAT IT SAY!!!! SO ABOUT 97 PERCT OF Y'ALL IS GOING TOO HELL!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • CB

      Yeah...we understood you the first time. We're all going to hell...blah, blah, blah....

      October 6, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
    • Beware_of_God

      lol.....like there really is a heaven and hell. Do you believe in ghosts and goblins too?

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

      We are already in Hell as far as I am concern having to put up with preaching, self righteous religious extremist freaks like you!

      October 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
    • It is true!

      Why if someone, christains in particular, mentions a consequence of one actions and what is spiritually healthy they are labeled extremists! Sed is using the bible as his source. It does lists who does not enter Heaven.
      True, no one can said with certainty what is God's judgement will be on a soul eternity...but the bible is clear on what displeases God and His disposition toward evil and wicked acts. Back to extremists, people and organization declare consequences on
      lifestyle choices all the time. Example, warning label of drinking alcohol while pregnant. Is the FDA an extremist, to an alcoholic, pregnant women, she would say: Yes!

      October 7, 2010 at 1:52 am |
  16. Frank

    Scr#w these comments. I'm going over to the Marquee blog and see what's shaking in entertainment. Then I'm going to smoke and watch movies. BYE! ~

    October 6, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
  17. ECBode

    I say "Thanks for the love" to Exodus. It may not be the perfect way to handle it in my eyes, but it's a wonderful step towards Co-existing in peace and love!

    October 6, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
  18. alex

    What a bunch of ... when/if you find yourself in need, you can reach out and ask for help from people that believe.
    Just keep hoping and waiting for the change.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
  19. Tom

    Look, look. A christian group who actually does something that is humane and decent, instead of spreading hate and intolerance. I wonder if this christian group will now be outcasted from the mainstream christian hate machine.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
    • Roger

      Huckabee was sure out once he mentioned Christ's teachings about responsibility for the poor and needy.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  20. Jet Butler

    Not to get all lit-referency or anything, but: bigotry, I wish more Christian groups knew how to quit you.

    October 6, 2010 at 8:58 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.