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November 11th, 2010
09:12 AM ET

New Christian sponsor takes over event challenging homosexuality

CNN's Dan Gilgoff filed this report:

A major Christian group will take over an annual event that challenges homosexuality, weeks after the event's main Christian sponsor pulled support for the student-focused program, saying it had become too divisive and confrontational.

Focus on the Family, an influential evangelical organization, will begin sponsoring the event known as the Day of Truth but will change the name of the happening to the Day of Dialogue, the group is set to announce Thursday.

The Day of Truth has been pushed by conservative Christian groups as a way for school students to counter the Day of Silence, an annual April event promoted by gay rights advocates to highlight threats against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

Exodus International, which had been the Day of Truth's primary sponsor this year, announced last month that it was pulling support for the event.

Focus on the Family said that the Day of Dialogue "will boast a new name while maintaining the same goal it's had since its 2005 inception: encouraging honest and respectful conversation among students about God's design for sexuality," in a press release that is scheduled to go out Thursday.

Focus on the Family, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, provided CNN an advance copy of the press release and offered CNN an early look at the event's web site, which is scheduled to go live on Thursday.

"We're trying to raise awareness that more than one side needs to be heard on the issue of homosexuality, and we're helping to ensure Christian students have the chance to express their viewpoint," said Candi Cushman, a Focus on the Family education analyst, in the release. "What is freedom of speech, after all, but a guarantee of the right to have dialogue?"

Cushman criticized the Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

"Silence is a media op, but dialogue is a learning op," she said in the release. "That's why we're so proud of the more than 14,000 students who have taken advantage of this opportunity to learn and share."

The Day of Truth had traditionally been held on the same day as the Day of Silence, but Focus on the Family said that the 2011 Day of Dialogue is scheduled for April 18, three days after the Day of Silence.

On the Day of Silence, students take 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 Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

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, said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International.

"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 Chambers said last month in announcing that his group would no longer support the event.

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.

Focus on the Family's web site for the Day of Dialogue discourages participants from bullying other students.

"Any form of bullying and harassment of others is always wrong, including making fun of others, speaking down to them and saying things that hurt people," the site says. "Christian students in particular should be bold in speaking up to oppose that kind of behavior because it goes completely against the model Christ gave us."

"Any verbal and written expressions used by students participating in this event should be loving and compassionate - and never be expressed in a condemning or antagonistic way to others," the site continues. "Even when we disagree with others, we should always demonstrate the utmost compassion and respect for them."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality

soundoff (364 Responses)
  1. Jake

    All kids should be indoctrinated into strange flesh. It Is quite popular to be one and Hollywood and Washington DC where our roll models live say it is okay to be G-A-Y so hey it must be okay. All teachers are briefed to endorse and enforce acceptance to such behavior.

    November 11, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  2. Edsudo

    Yeah, more "truth" from the same people who brought us the Dark Ages! Sweet.

    November 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
    • YBP

      As far as they are concerned, it is still the Dark Ages.

      November 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  3. R.A.W.

    Exactly how do you have a dialogue when one side says gays are born that way and the other says it is a choice and against the laws of "god"?

    November 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  4. Ebelray

    Christianity continues to grow. The fastest growing force in Christianity can be found in China where there are now over 60 million Christians . . . all this after missionaries were thrown out of China in 1950 and Bibles were not allowed as recently as 1980. God's word . . . challenging though it may be . . . continues to thrive.

    November 11, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  5. Foz

    I think it's ridiculous that in this day and age we still have fools quoting the Bible as a source of moral conduct. Quite disgusting.

    November 11, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
    • YBP

      Amen.

      November 11, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  6. sparknut

    Focus on who's family? Certainly not my family. We have people in our family who are gay. We love them. God loves them.
    We DO NOT love "Focus on the Family".

    November 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • xknox

      God loves people who chose to be g-ay, God doesn't love g-ay as choice or g-ay families by the way, don't put words in God's mouth if you don't have what He has mentioned in the Bible. To chose to be g-ay is like to chose to be an incest, pedophillic, polygamous, beastial, or necrophillic, now how would God love this if it corrupts his creation? Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor EFFEMINATE, nor abusers of themselves with mankind [...] shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10). And God is willing to forgive anyone only with all their hearts if they chose to leave their wickedness

      November 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • KDW31

      You quote Corinthians as back up to your claim that god does not accept g-ays. Yet Corinthians was written by a man, Paul. Who brought his own prejudices and world view to his opinion. Could you perhaps find a quote from Jesus. What's that you say, Jesus never said anything about g-ays. Well isn't that interesting. Personally I'm agnostic. Frankly I don't understand why it concerns anyone what two adults do in the privacy of their own home. No one is saying you have to become g-ay, be friends with g-ay people or allow them in your church. All they want to is to have the same rights and protections that every other citizen of this country has. I've never read a logical argument as to why this is a bad thing.

      November 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  7. There are no gods

    there are no gods, get over it.

    November 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  8. David in Canada

    Sounds like hatred of others hiding behind scriptures... kinda like what KKK and others do to black people, or what many do to anyone with olive-skin and worship islam.
    Hatred is hatred... last time I checked, the good 'ol USofA was supposed to be based on freedom... a place where hatred of others was not publicly acceptable.... it seems that this is true only unless the person talking hate hides behind a 1500 year old book of stories about things that happened 500 years and more before that.

    November 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  9. Quinn Olson

    Why can't they leave their blood soaked hands off the Day of Silence? Who asked them? There's no need to "counter" silence.Just one more way the "Christian" right is shoving their beliefs down everyone's throat.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  10. Rick

    If you gays and lesbians want to be accepted by others, you need to try to be accepting of others yourselves. You hate Christians for their beliefs yet want others to accept your beliefs. Sounds very hypocritical to me.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Rick: Being gay is not a belief, christianity is a belief. And it is a belief overwhelmingly practised by many adherents as anti-gay propaganda.
      Are you straight, Rick? If my religion all over the world is constantly saying how being straight is a sin and we should never let you be around children or get married, would you be accepting of my beliefs? Or would you also feel anger and disappointment and hate for people who practise a point of view that treats you as inferior and sinister?

      November 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  11. Jack

    The sooner we abandon our fanasy about a skydaddy looking after us, the sooner we can start to heal all the hate and violence in the world, much of which is the fault of religion. Science and just basic common sense should tell you that their isn't some man in the sky watching over you

    November 11, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  12. Buford

    I love this part "Any form of bullying and harassment of others is always wrong, including making fun of others, speaking down to them and saying things that hurt people," the site says. "Christian students in particular should be bold in speaking up to oppose that kind of behavior because it goes completely against the model Christ gave us."

    "Any verbal and written expressions used by students participating in this event should be loving and compassionate – and never be expressed in a condemning or antagonistic way to others," the site continues. "Even when we disagree with others, we should always demonstrate the utmost compassion and respect for them."

    Where does Focus on the Family get off on saying this bs because they are #1 when it comes to bulling. So is the so called christian church. They teach acceptance but do not practice it at all. I use to be a christian but now I will not step foot inside a church door because are such lyers and only teach hate. Jesus never once blasted anyone for their sin except the "church leaders". Funny how they say they live by the WHOLE Bible but only really do they parts they like. Just like eating pork and shell fish is an abomination to God but they leave that part out because they like it. Can we say the church and christians have a double standard.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  13. TLM

    Dialogue has be shut down by the LGBT supporters. Much like a politician in the lead, they feel they are winning and have absolutely no reason for debating.

    Lets take the core assumption that gay people are all born that way. If you do you own research (google "discordant identical twins"), you will find studies that date back to the 1950s. If you average the results of most studies, you would find this:

    If you put 50 gay men and 50 lesbian women together, the odds are that of the 100, no more than 25 were born that way. The rest are likely gay because of their environment or discrete events. Is there any gay person you have ever heard claim they were born straight? Never. Yet the research tells us that 3/4 of the people claiming they were born gay are wrong.

    Next, consider what is likely to happen in our near future. The majority of research has found that it is not the child, but the mother's womb where gay men are made. What happens when doctors can offer the mother the option of taking supplements to dramatically reduce the probability of having a gay child? Is that immoral? If you consider that a major driving factor behind having children is to propagate your genetics into the future, why wouldn't a mother want to maximize the chance of having grandchildren?

    There are many more things to discuss, but, nobody is talking.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • BobInIrvine

      Wow, you've made what sounds like a plausible post that totally falls apart due to complete lack of support. Your assertions have no basis.

      Studies in the 1950s? Please.

      November 11, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  14. Joe

    G a y s want to be more equal than others...
    but genetically they are a dead end...

    November 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Joe

      You said: "Gays want to be MORE equal than others. "

      I think gays simply want the civil rights they are ent_itled to.

      You said: "But genetically they are a dead end..."

      Yes, without extraordinary measures, gays would be in trouble. They would be extinct, unable to reproduce without extraordinary measures.

      Except, that is not true.

      If a gay man and a lesbian woman bear a child, the child would probably not be gay. There probably isn't any better chance of that, than hetero couples. Note that gay people come from hetero couples. If you could show that gay parents, produce gay children, you would have made a case for gays being born gay. Understand?

      Your argument is manure.

      November 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
  15. Joe

    Gays want to be MORE equal than others.
    But genetically they are a dead end...

    November 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
    • becazican

      no joe , genitically your family line should be a dead end

      November 11, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  16. MM

    Hey wait a second, how come I didn't get the memo from God saying that living a Gay lifestyle is a sin? It is great to read how God fearing people seem to think that "they are the messenger of God's will". Listen if you want to be a good Christian, be good to your neighbors, go to church, pray to Jesus, but leave the darn Gays a lone. Don't you see, the power brokers in the GOP only reached out to you people because they want your vote, they could really care less about gays and gay rights. Same thing with abortion, the issue is a means to and end – winning elections.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  17. DeannaInGeorgia

    And Matthew Sheppard died on a fence post so that other LGBTs would have safety.

    Don't you realize that for the next coming of Christ, she will be a homeless black transwoman, and every Christian that spits on her, that doesn't take her in, that doesn't treat her with respect will go to Hell.

    LGBTs are here to test the true followers of Christ, not the bigoted followers of the false prophets in the Catholic and any other church that preaches that LGBTs are NOT true Christians and not less than other true Christians.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
    • YBP

      You're ignoring the possibility that Matt was the Second Coming. How can anyone miss the fact that he was crucified and lives on?

      November 11, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • DanW

      As lightning flashes in the east and moves toward the west, so will the coming of the Son of man be. So if anyone says to you, come, He is in the desert, don't go with him. For where the carcass lies, there the vultures gather.

      Christ will not come as you imagine. He will not be a "tranny", for sure.

      November 11, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
    • Frogist

      @DanW: Ummm Christ will not come as we imagine... but he will come as you imagine? What ever happened to as you have done to the least of my bretheren you have done to me? Maybe to you the least of your bretheren are the gays or the "trannys" and because you reject them you also reject your god.

      November 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  18. BL

    Treat your neighbor how he or she wants to be treated... Your neighbor just wants to be treated EQUALLY. That's all. Do that and we can all move on.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  19. DeannaInGeorgia

    Dialogue? Great, LGBTs need equal time. Let's see, how many church services are there every week in America. How many are preaching against LGBT?

    Now lets give LGBTs the same amount of time.

    Don't want to give LGBTs equal time?

    So much for your honesty, you hypocrites!

    Especially since you are so hypocritical about your selective interpretation of the Bible.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  20. MS

    Focus on your own darn Family

    November 11, 2010 at 5:24 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.