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. kimsland

    God I hate religion.
    Notice I use similar hypocrisy to them to make them understand!
    The world is sick to death of every single religious nut, and every (billions of) barbaric religions.
    Thank god religion is on the way down, and people are finally waking up and seeing the universe.
    It truly amazes me that women in church PREFER to be a lesser life to men. They truly are mad!

    October 6, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
    • Proud to be the way I was created.

      i have to agree, people seem to forget or overlook, which ever it is, that there are actually two creation stories of women in their bible. Then first where man and woman are created equal and at the same time, and the second where she is created from man secondary. This puzzled me as a child growing up a Baptist and I find it interesting now, as an adult atheist, that no one really cares to address it.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:38 am |
  2. Jasun

    I guess you can only get so much blood on your hands before it starts to chafe.

    Those people are responsible for countless teenage deaths, from murder to suicide. I'm glad that the media is FINALLY reporting the high numbers of LGBT teens that are dying. But it's nothing new at all.

    I'm glad that the Christians have finally decided to dial it back a bit. But don't worry... they'll find other ways to force their will on us. It's what those... people... do.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  3. Brett Favre's fan (a.k.a. ybs)

    BTW, does jesus beat off? 🙂 Do you (beat off or touch yourself)?


    October 6, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  4. Reality

    No simple cause for se-xual orientation has been co-nclusively demonstrated, and there is no scientific co-nsensus as to whether the contributing factors are primarily biological or environmental. Many think both play complex roles.[1][2] The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psy-chological As-sociation have both stated that se-xual orientation probably has multiple causes.[3][4] Research has identified several biological factors which may be related to the development of a heteros-exual, ho-mos-exual or bise-xual orientation. These include genes, prenatal hormones, and brain structure. Conclusive proof of a biological cause of s-exual orientation would have significant political and cultural implications. [5]"

    October 6, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  5. Cam

    It's about time Christians started following the Bible. I Corinthians 5:12 Paul instructs the church never to judge those outside the church but to only judge those within the church.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  6. Bruce H

    There are definitely false prophets among us. All we have to do is look at so-called "reverend" Phelps' truly diabolic view of religion. He has to be a pawn of the Devil himself rather than inspired by God. Phelps is himself the Anti-Christ living among us in our own time, fomenting dissent through the false use of religion, leading his followers to do evil in the name of God, as though Phelps is anointed – he is anointed all right, by the Devil himself, to do evil in a way that only the Devil can do so well.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  7. sedreck fields


    October 6, 2010 at 11:34 pm |
    • Brett Favre's fan (a.k.a. ybs)

      Hey, does your jesus beat off? 🙂 And you? 🙂


      October 6, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  8. Brett Favre's fan (a.k.a. ybs)

    fakk your god, bible, heaven, hell, bs!

    go beat off, fakk yourself & all the world's immorality will vanish! 🙂


    October 6, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  9. Augy

    Wow !! There sure a lot of HATERS posting. I say..... Screw EVERYBODY !! It's WAY PAST DUE for MANKIND's EXTINCTION.
    STOP THE SUFFERING, NUKE THE PLANET NOW......." it's the only way to be sure".

    October 6, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
    • TBera

      LOL–I have my days when I feel like that, too... Thanks for making me laugh, in spite of the grim outlook for humans as a species...

      October 6, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
    • Frank

      Yeah, I'm a misanthropist at times, too. I look at it this way: rebirth, reincarnation or not, I don't want to come back here. This is it for me. I'm tired. I want to go SOMEWHERE ELSE.
      And I'm only in my early 20s. So jaded and fed up. That's why I say that if I was God, I would've finished the job with the Flood. But God is Merciful, for some reason.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  10. WhichWouldYouRather?

    If you were blind and deaf and about to step into the path of a highspeed train, which of the following kind of person would you rather have walking next to you at the moment?
    (a) A person who pulls you (or pushes you) out of the way of the train (possibly inadvertently causing you to skin your need or even break your arm if you fell)–but ultimately saving your life–knowing full well you might get angry at them because you didn't understand why they just pushed you and caused you to break your arm; or
    (b) A person who lets you walk in front of the train because he or she believes wholeheartedly with great conviction that doing anything else would be interfering with your free will to walk where you want to walk and forcing their thoughts and wishes on you

    If you answered (a), then that my dear friends is at the heart of true Christianity; the desire to save a life from eternal death. Christians risk angering the very ones they want to see saved (like the blind and deaf person may get angry at the one who saved his life by pushing him out of the way of an oncoming train if he fell down in the process and broke his arm)...but a true Christian will speak the truth in love anyway; because another's hatred and anger at them for doing so is far less important to them than a deaf and blind person knowing the truth and being saved from eternal separation from God (i.e. hell)

    Loving someone is not the same thing as never saying or doing something that offends them. Loving someone is not the same thing as never 'interfering'. Sometimes the most loving friend will tell you the hard truth, even if they risk losing your friendship because you get angry at them. I'd rather have a friend willing to risk losing my friendship by telling me the truth if I'm 'headed into the path of an oncoming train', than one that will just appease me, never wanting to 'interfere', for fear I might get angry at them. A loving parent will teach boundaries and discipline their child because they love them and know what's best. The child may cry and scream because he/she doesn't understand why they can't do what they want, and have what they want, when they want it; but loving parents will endure the anger of the child in the short-term for the long-term benefit of a well-adjusted, healthy, wise and mature child as he/she grows.

    Today's definition of tolerance is NOT the same thing as true, agape love; which is not afraid to speak the truth with grace.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
    • TBera

      I know that is what you guys tell yourselves, but that is not your heart at all. The actual thing that is going on is that the church is still eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and they think they are gods, knowing good and evil. They refuse the path of the Tree of Life. You guys are very bitter with mankind because we won't let you control us. That is your true heart of hearts. You just aren't being honest with yourself. I do hope that someday you will return to your First Love and quit chasing after power over others.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
    • CB

      That makes absolutely no sense. The whole point of your God is so that you don't die, it is so that you have everlasting life. A good Christian should let the train hit the other person so they can go to that better place. What kind of a Christian would prevent another person from being with God?

      I find it so hypocritical that you spend your life worshipping something in order to have everlasting life (really, what other reason is there?) and hten are fearful of death and you want to keep people here in this evil world. Please explain that to me.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • WhichWouldYouRather?

      Tbera, you are right; there are some bad apples in there that set bad examples and speak out of their flesh instead of from the Love of God (I would include myself in there, because yes...I screw up a lot too). Sometimes, even when the intent of something is good (desire/content), the way in which it is done or said (the how) can/ be offensive. Even Jesus was offensive to many people during his time on earth. And you are correct, Love is not control; but it is also not tolerance either. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death". And yes...even Christ followers get the how 'wrong' sometimes (okay, maybe a lot) when we don't listen to the Holy Spirit and get our own flesh out of the way. Heck, even Jesus' twelve disciples did that (a lot!). But God knows everyone's heart and the intent of our hearts. I'm sorry you have encountered so many 'bad apples'. And again; because you are/may be offended at the 'how'; doesn't mean it is not the truth. Search for yourself. Try and look past the bad apples and the screw ups of honest, true Christians–and look to the One they are seeking to emulate (not all...but many)...and often imperfectly. The book of John is a great place to start. Don't let the offense of some color your view of the many who truly have the love of Christ in their hearts. Peace.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:08 am |
    • dalis

      @ WWYR ... Why is being gay a sin? What exactly is the objection to it?

      October 7, 2010 at 12:40 am |
  11. Dan

    The church has never promoted tolerance before.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
  12. watch therefore,


    October 6, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
    • Jack

      Actually, the world used to be much worse than it is now, there were
      much more murders and violence and torture and corruption and famine and disease and natural disasters and ethnic cleansings and religious persecutions and wars and, on and on and on.
      We have it much better today, just start enjoying your life and stop waiting for armogeddon.
      You create your own heaven or hell right here on earth, pal.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:34 pm |
    • Woody

      Disease has always been with us , Earthquakes happen every day. In the past there was no computer, TV, newspaper, or radio to get the news. It is only in recent times that you here about so many of these things because we have electricity. Something that was not even around one thousand plus years ago. There is plenty of disease, earthquakes, and disease in the bible. The bible is full of bad times cover to cover. Where the bible stories took place was in one of the most earthquake prone areas in the world.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  13. Rebecca

    Look at the signs all around us. The return of Jesus is soon and many posts convince me even more. Christian persecution has started with a vengeance. The Bible says only a fool says in his heart that there is no God. He also says he has put the knowledge of him in our hearts. Be assured that one day not too far in the future every eye shall see, every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. You may not believe it now but you certainly will on the day of his return!!

    October 6, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
    • Frank

      If you are a Christian in America, you don't know the meaning of 'persecution'.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
    • TBera

      Reaping what you have sown is different from being persecuted. If you act like jerks to other people, yes, they will not treat you well in return. The backlash you are experiencing has nothing to do with suffering for Christ.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  14. Woody

    I have to laugh every time I ask a Christian what continent Jesus was born on ! Most have no clue. Also since most Americans have no passport most will never travel where Jesus was born. Most also think that Christianity is an American religion. All of the stories in the bible came from the Middle East and Asia. Your Jesus is also not a white man . He was born on the continent of Asia . At Asia Minor. He was simply a human. Just Like the Jewish people believe. Many of the stories in the Christian bible are simply stories carried over from the Jewish book. All books were written by man. I am a former Altar boy. And I have a passport. I have also sailed the Nile , traveled the world, and actually read a lot more books than just the bible. All books are wrong from time to time. That is why every now and then a new one is written. Just like the bible or O'h wait . " Is it the Quran" ? Everyone thinks they are reading the proper book. Are You ?

    October 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  15. sedreck fields


    October 6, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
    • Woody

      In the bible it also says we must give up all material possesions and feed the poor and help the sick. In the name of religion are you willing to give up everything you own ? Including your computer and car to feed the hungry ?

      October 6, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  16. Tony

    I have to go to bed to get up in the morning and do all that science stuff us nurses have to do, oh by the way, love science, still a Christian. LOL I want to leave with these parting words. YES, you got it right, the Bible was written by man. Men who were fisherman by trade or their scribes. However, although written by man it was inspired by God. It's like your grandfather telling you a story and you write it down for your kids to read once your grandfather dies. It may not be exact and a few parts are missing but the story still remains the same. Funny after all these thousands of years one thing had remained, the Bible. Read the very last few pages in Revelation. God has a warning for that book and the rest of the Bible. He curses those who add to it or take away from it. Again, faith is a scary and powerful thing that rewards us in the end with eternal life. I can't speak for anyone other than myself, especially gays. I don't want to try. It's just not my job. As I said, while I may not agree with your lifestyle I will not judge you because God warns against it. We all get mad and say things at times but it's nice to know I have a heavenly father that I can turn to and say I'm sorry and know I will be forgiven if I truly mean it in my heart. For those of you who don't have that. I hope one day you find the freedom in it and not think about religion or man and trust Christ to help, love, and guide you.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
    • Frank

      Tony, did you even read my post in reply to you? I keep saying that it's not a 'lifestyle'. There is a culture and various sub-cultures within the LGBT community but to say that there's one way to be gay, lesbian, bi or trans is just ridiculous. We don't all live the same way! Just like being straight isn't a 'lifestyle'. It's part of who you are.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
  17. Jack

    Never understood how religions can change their minds or change their policies after a few decades or a few centuries, bending to public opinion, or societal norms. That only proves religions are made up stuff by men to keep the general populace under their control or scared out of their minds. If what a particular religion has practiced for years is all of a sudden no longer appropriate then the religions are obviously not very good at knowing what's right or wrong in the first place. Religions claim they are the word of God, then you would think that God would know the right thing to do from the get go. And since religions are supposedly teaching us how to connect with God, then they are obviously not very good at connecting with God since they ostracize and demonize certain groups or individuals on a regular basis.
    Jesus did not start a religion, men did.
    Jesus taught us to love, to love all men, God and ourselves, to forgive and be charitable.
    Religions don't seem to understand his message very well.
    The religions have caused more death and destruction in the world than any other source, except maybe the plague.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  18. sedreck fields

    Listen there os a GOD and his name is JESUS CHRIST!!!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
    • Brent

      I thought that he was the SON of God? No?

      October 6, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
    • TBera

      It is interesting to me that the model of god held by such an anti-gay group as Christianity is 3 men having union with one another in the trinity.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  19. Ronald

    sounds nice but lets see how long it lasts. I'm not holding my breath.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
  20. msaprilr

    The whole reason they started the day of truth was because gay rights activists were trying to force the gay belief on impressionable teenage kids. they decided to fight fire with fire. But it went too far, so they are putting a stop to it. Let's not jump to the conclusion that they are now just going to "accept" gay behavior. Further, I'd like to point out that tolerance and acceptance are two very different things. I might tolerate you in my presence, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be accepting of your behavior. if I care about you and you're doing something I think is wrong, I'm going to tell you so. And I'm going to tell you to stop. I will not be accepting of wrong choices. And I don't think anyone should be.

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

      @ msaprilr Perhaps you can answer my previous question: why is being gay a sin? what exactly is the objection?

      October 6, 2010 at 11:15 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.