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. Mike

    "Day of Truth" coming from people that believe in fairy tales. Neat.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
    • Dave

      That's the problem. The Christian belief system is designed so that it can not be rationally challenged.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • vrrt


      No, religions are con jobs. They rely on lies and misdirection to defend the "big lie".

      They can be challenged with rationality, but they won't defend the "big lie" with anything rational, just more nonsense.
      Religion cannot stand up to rational dissection and discussion. There are holes too big for any rational line of reasoning to support.
      Religion is a con job. A fraudulent and ill-conceived house of cards. Would a con-man do his best to keep up the lie? Of course.
      But religion is full of victims who are trained to ignore any fallacies or contradictions. Why would arguing do any good?
      How will it all end?

      October 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  2. OnanismO

    Now that is a sensible Christian group, to pull support for an anti-gay program because it is "too confrontational." I hate all religions, but for once I can applaud a religious group. Yay! Now if only those obtuse morons in Topeka (Westboro Baptist) could learn from this. Love your neighbor as yourself. Direct words from Jesus, right?

    October 6, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  3. Old Fool

    The people who are condemning gays for their "lifestyle" are the same ones who refused to recognize Africans as human beings for hundreds of years. It only took two millenia for one Christian group to see the error of their ways. I am only hoping that this is a trend and not a one time event. It would be nice to see more "Christians" practicing what they preach. However, if you look up the word "truth" in your Webster's Dictionary there is nothing in the definition even close to what these folks practice on their day of truth. What they need is a "Day of Responsibility" as defined in the dictionary.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Old Fool: I'm down with that! But it seems as if every religion could use that too... Then again, not only religions...

      October 7, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  4. WhiteKong78

    Yeah cuz I can see your face on here. Stupid me. *sarcasm* or lol

    October 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
    • Craig

      Gee...now who could use a sense of humor?

      October 6, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  5. dwayne

    Sin was invented by the christians to get donations. Sin is not real.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  6. dalis

    Can anyone actually give me a rational explanation of why being gay is a sin? I await your posts.

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

      ...and you can't use the Bible in you explanation.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • fakegod

      Gullible christians said it because their pedo pastors and the bible says so.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  7. Eric Nicolas

    OMG reason and intelligence! At least of the "uh, oh, we look bad here" kind. At least that's progress!

    October 6, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  8. Shanezer

    So, what happens when all of these "better than thou" Christians get to heaven and discover that Saint Peter is Gods' domestic partner. Will getting down on your knees and repenting take on a whole new meaning? ROGLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!! Face it, if God didn't want people to be gay, why do we ALL have temptations to make love to someone of our own gender? Something to think about... Hmmmm...

    October 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
    • Zoe Brain

      Actually, no we don't. There are some people born straight the way that others are born gay. It's just that not everyone fits into those two categories.

      October 6, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Zoe: Actually the Kinsey scale, compiled from a survey of se-xual habits, points to varying degrees of hom-ose-xuality and heteros-ex-uality within every personality. It's not necessarily black and white. I think that's what scares anti-gay people more than anything – that they may have this gay-ness within them. So they deny anything that could possibly be gay.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  9. WhiteKong78

    Hey Craig get a sense of humor. I have gay friends. Many of them are severely lacking what you call "Class" like carrying a toy pee pee in their front pocket at work. Relax guy

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

      Dude...it was a joke. See: sarcasm at dictionary dot com.

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

      "Many of them are severely lacking what you call "Class" like carrying a toy pee pee in their front pocket at work."

      Lol. Do you mean a packer or an actual d!ldo?

      Just doing my part to bring down the quality of this conversation. (As if it could be brought lower.)

      October 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  10. Jeff S

    While it is good that they are not sponsoring this thing anymore, their reasons may not be entirely altruistic. If, as they say, things are becoming more confrontational each year, there is a greater likelihood of violence. That would result in a big lawsuit against the sponsors. It's good that they pulled out of the sponsorship, but scary that people can get so fired up about how other people live their lives.

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

      May not be? I think it's pretty clear to most people that the religious nutjobs don't do anything nice without expecting a return of some sort.

      October 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  11. dwayne

    It feels great to not have a god.

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

      Amen! Oh, wait....

      October 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
    • TED

      so true! 🙂

      October 6, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  12. Liberal4Obama

    What happened to "Live and let live"?

    October 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
    • Dave

      What happened was the rise of the religious right.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  13. doogie

    I am not sure how the Christian groups had anything to do with the recent death of the Rutgers student. Wasn't it just some jerk roommate invading his privacy? What does one have to do with the other?

    October 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  14. ou812

    "Do not judge, or you too will be judged" and "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". Both are quotes from the Bible.
    That's all I got to say bout that.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
    • BarryW

      I'm sorry dude, but the texas legislature has pulled those quotes from the bible.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
    • Frogist

      @BarryW: It now reads "Do not judge! You will be judged! ... then executed."
      And "Let white men who are always without sin cast the first and only vote... but never for a Dem. Or see previous quote."

      October 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  15. borntolove

    About time. Listen God loves us all. Weather we are black, white, asian, gay, straight, killers, haters... no matter who we are, just like any loving parent he loves us. And when Jesus died for our sins, he gave us all a ticket to heaven. And while some of you might not believe in it, I do, and I think the glory of heaven is the thing that allows us to be peaceful and loving on our next plain of being. The glory will wash away our evil side as we enter into the gates of heaven, making us no longer need the humanly things that we feel we need!

    October 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
    • Frogist

      @borntolove: "killers"? I understand that you believe god loves all people. But if he is a just god, wouldn't the killers well not be tolerated as well as say... gays? Something doesn't quite make sense there.

      October 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • peace2all


      Maybe I am a bit impatient with all of the evil and hatred going on in the world, and especially since we are posting on this article about hatred towards gays.

      I would like to see you and others have their 'evil sides' washed away NOW, so we can help stop a lot of the evil and hurt in the world NOW.

      I don't believe that one has to wait to die and go to the other 'plain' to do good works now.


      October 7, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  16. Tonya

    Wow, HOPE! Lately I've been seriously considering rejecting Christianity as a religion simply because I don't want to be – in any way – associated with all of these extremist, fundamentalist, hating groups who seem to be everywhere now. I've thought that those of us who still believe in Christ and in his lessons of tolerance and love should start using a different name (other than "Christian")to characterize ourselves and our beliefs to avoid getting lumped in with all of these crazy people. Alan Chambers, you have given me hope that there are indeed people out there who understand the true meaning of Christianity. God does not HATE anyone, and shame on anyone for saying he does. Christ sacrificed himself for THE SINNERS (as we ALL are, in some way or other) – how dare these hate-mongers disrespect that sacrifice.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  17. bvilleyellowdog

    You mean hate is not Christian? Perhaps pretty soon they will like Muslims too?

    October 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  18. fakegod

    Thanks to pedo pastor Long and Haggard, we now know christian is BS.

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

      No, we know that Long and Haggard were BS. Has no bearing on Jesus or Christianity.

      October 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
    • fakegod

      But those gullible christians still donate their money to pastor long and his escorts tho. 🙂

      October 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  19. angela

    everyone is a sinner. to say you have not sinned is to say you are pure and holy as that of God. No man is God. To act in sin in the name of God you are acting on behalf of satan and doing exactly what the devil wants. God is love not hate. Many reasons why I do not believe in the organized religion of church. I do as I please and i try hard not to judge. Some churches still have stakes in thier basement ready to burn the next poor group. So many have been killed in the name of God. So many have been tormented and bullied, ridicouled by the ones who are supposed to love. What is wrong with people?

    October 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  20. London

    I applaud what the “Exodus” program has done but it is only a first step. The Exodus program has been around for many decades and has been telling LGBT people that they can change and need to change for the Bible tells them they are an abomination. Even though they have taken the higher road by not participating in this event, they are still damaging LGBT people on a daily basis. There is NO scientific proof that the reparative therapy they ask LGBT people to follow works. They are still contributing to low self-esteem, bullying, hatred, and lack of tolerance by simply saying what they say.

    October 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
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.