When suicides by teenagers bullied for being gay, or perceived as being gay, reached a relative peak a couple of months ago, leading “ex-gay” organization Exodus International dropped its sponsorship of the annual “Day of Truth” designed to counter the “Day of Silence” observed by gay kids and their allies at schools around the country.
At the time, Exodus cited the “Day of Truth” activities as too divisive in an atmosphere where kids were being bullied to death for their sexual orientation. Have no fear, though, because the Focus on the Family has stepped in to save the “Day of Truth”—complete with a new name for the same old idea.
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.
However, despite the new, less inflammatory name, the goal of the Focus’ newly sponsored event is the same as it ever was—creating a platform to preach about the “sin” of homosexuality.
”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?”
Yes, dialogue would be wonderful, but dialogue is impossible when the position of one “side” is “God hates you and you’re going to hell.” I don’t care how it’s couched, that’s the bottom line. Focus’ main goal here is the same as it ever was—to intimidate school administrators, intimidate teachers, and most of all to intimidate students into shutting up about the whole thing.
Which really does underscore the entire point of the Day of Silence in the first place, since it is “designed to illustrate the silencing effect of this bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.”
I’ve made the point before in my book Bulletproof Faith and I’ll make it again: Cushman and her crew can crow about how “more than one side needs to be heard” but there is no other side to being gay or lesbian. Just as there is no “other side” to issues of race and gender, there is no “other side” to being gay or lesbian. Instead, there is homosexuality and then there is ignorance about homosexuality that spawns bigotry. It’s like proposing a “Day of Dialogue” about whether women should be paid the same as men for equal work or whether people of color should have civil rights. There is no room for “dialogue” on this issue—there is only religious bullying in the guise of “dialogue.”
If this were truly about dialoguing—as Same-Sex Marriage News points out—why isn’t Focus on the Family having “dialogue days” about other behaviors it should supposedly be against?
If this movement isn’t driven by anti-gay bigotry, then where is the outrage and “Day of Truth” over heterosexuals who are engaging in sex outside of marriage? Why aren’t Christians running around confronting their sexually active heterosexual co-workers and friends about their “lifestyle”? I guess because there is no “ick factor,” to borrow a phrase former presidential candidate and Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee used recently to describe gay men and lesbians.
This double standard might have something to do with the fact that many Christians also violate the Bible’s condemnation about sex outside of marriage with impunity. (I’m still waiting for the constitutional amendment banning extramarital sex.)
I suspect we’ll wait a long time for that, because the double standard runs so very deep on this issue of sexuality. While Focus on the Family may not like pre-marital or extra-marital sex, at least those engaged in it are having it with the “right” gender mix, therefore it’s not quite as pressing an issue as gays and lesbians having sex.
More importantly, it’s not as profitable for Focus on the Family—and Focus’ true concern is always about that bottom line.