Despite bogus claims and outright lies being promoted by various people, the Day of Silence is not about “promoting homosexuality”. It began 12 years ago when University of Virginia students wanted to find a way to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment on campus. This year, it was held in memory of Lawrence King, an 8th grade student who was murdered because of his sexual orientation.
Contrary to claims by groups like the American Family Association and the various individuals riding its coat-tails, this kind of bullying and harassment is a serious problem in schools. The purpose of the Day of Silence is to bring awareness of anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment, and to promote effective responses to it. It is not about allowing gay students to disrupt class for the day to promote a “homosexual agenda”, as the AFA would have people believe. Students of all beliefs, backgrounds and sexual orientations participate in the Day of Silence.
There is nothing on the DoS website that says everyone, or indeed anyone, is required to participate. It’s not necessarily observed throughout the entire day, and some schools only participate during lunch to avoid “disrupting” class. There is no single way to participate and no one is ever forced into participation. And yet, many people, often in the name of a superior moral agency, promote lies and misinformation about the purpose of this event, claiming that it is some kind of conspiracy to promote a “homosexual lifestyle” in public schools.
Saying that it’s not OK to bully, harass or murder someone because of his or her sexual orientation is not the same thing as promoting or honoring that sexual orientation. There is no reason that I can see to oppose the Day of Silence, other than ignorance, bigotry, and the desire to cause harm to a vulnerable group. And yet, opponents of this non-violent demonstration deluge schools with floods of angry letters and phone calls, threatening to keep their children home from school if the Day of Silence goes ahead.
This is just another form of bullying, a disgusting attempt to silence those whose opinions they dislike.
Public schools lose funding for each child that doesn’t attend school on any given day. The more students who are absent, the more funding the schools lose. This strong-arm tactic serves one purpose: to bully schools into calling off the event by threatening their funding.
The author of Mom Loves Being At Home said this in comments at her blog:
First of all, atheist students across the United States are required to participate, every single day, in a school-sponsored moment of silence, which is nothing more than a substitute for prayer. Do you oppose this ritual as well, Mom?
Most importantly, though, if bullying and harassing students because of their religious beliefs, Christian or otherwise, were a problem in our public schools, I would certainly not oppose efforts to bring awareness to the issue. In fact, I would join the effort myself and encourage my son to participate as well.
I do not approve of the Christian lifestyle. 1 I believe that it largely promotes intolerance, ignorance and bigotry; it certainly violates many of my personally-held values and principles. But it is not OK to mistreat people whose lifestyles I disapprove of, and I would fight alongside them to put a stop to it.
If your school or your child’s school is organizing a Day of Silence on April 17, 2009, I urge you to participate. Call the school or send a letter thanking them and assuring them that your child(ren) will be in attendance that day. If there is no event scheduled at your school, please read the Day of Silence FAQ to find out how you can help.
1Although I believe that Christianity largely promotes intolerance, ignorance and bigotry, I realize that not all Christians are ignorant, intolerant bigots, and I appreciate those who are educated, caring and tolerant.