Random Reflections

Day of Silence Creates Some Noise

I already posted about the fact that this Friday, April 25, is World Malaria Day.  (Buy a net, save a life.)

Well, there is another pesty problem on Friday that is getting under people’s skin and spreading ill feelings throughout the community.  It’s the Day of Silence.
According to their website, the DOS,a project of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), is a student-led day of action when concerned students, from middle school to college, take some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to the name-calling, bullying and harassment — in effect, the silencing — experienced by LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students and their allies….. The goal of the Day of Silence is to inspire change so that such a tragedy and others like it never happen again.

This is the first year the DOS will be observed at Jefferson City High School and it has stirred up a lot of controversy in this little o’town.  Some churches are encouraging members to call the school board members and voice their outrage; some parents are keeping their kids home in protest; some churches have created their own “Truth cards” to hand out to those who are silent to counter the “attack” that the school is under by the “homosexual agenda”.  One pastor in town wrote on his blog, “The “Day of Silence” sponsored by the “Gay/Straight Club” and Jefferson City High School is another. Yes, there really is that club at JCHS and they really are seeking to advance a homosexual agenda.”

The stated goal of DOS has nothing to do with advancing a homosexual agenda.  I’m not saying that some might make it their personal agenda. It seems there are quite a few personal agendas in the mix on both sides. But don’t put that upon the official DOS.  The “agenda” of the DOS is to silence hate – whether in word or in deed. What follower of Jesus Christ could oppose this goal? Christ himself was a vocal opponent of hate.

What grieves me is that Christians who use DOS to advance their particular agenda are distracting from a very Christ-like message that needs to be heard. Bullying, name-calling, and harassment of any kind are wrong. The thing that most breaks my heart is that I fear the most visible representation of Christ on Friday is going to be those who, by their own actions, are making the agenda of DOS homosexuality rather than what it truly is designed to be. Let’s fight hate … not each other.

Now, having said all of this, let me share a couple of personal feelings about the DOS:

  • I encourage those students, who feel led out of the right heart to participate in the DOS, to respect the classroom.  A tremendous impact can be made by remaining silent before and after school; in the hallways; at lunch.  Can you even imagine the difference a few silent people would make in the cafeteria? But respect the classroom – a privilege that many children around the world crave yet are denied.
  • One DOS doesn’t mean squat if we don’t really do anything about ending bullying, name-calling, and harassment on a daily basis.  It’s “cool” and “trendy” to be part of a big event like this but Christ is by far more concerned with the daily living out of Christ-like character.  So — don’t go silent if you don’t plan to make a determined effort with the help of the Spirit to not bully, name-call, or harass which we do mostly in the form of gossip. I’d much rather see us do this every day rather than having one day where we are on good behavior.

And like always let me end with this disclaimer.  This is my personal blog.  I don’t even dare speak for the church I serve. We’re Baptists, you know.  For every 50 of us, we have 52 different opinions on an issue.

Okay, leave the comments.  I know I’m going to get some on this one.

8 Comments

  • Brian Kirk

    So glad to hear that this was happening in Jefferson City last week. As an alumni of JCHS, it’s hard to believe that we’ve come this far since my days in school when no one would have even admitted to being gay, let alone having a day to recognize that there are indeed gay people in the world. I used to serve First Christian Church in Jeff City and in my years there encountered several gay students and heard of the struggles they faced trying to make it through high school. It’s encouraging to know that persons such as yourself are out there to help the kids who are teens now.
    Peace,
    Brian

  • Rebecca

    I honestly just caught word of the Day of Silence today when the senior vice principal announced over the intercom some important rules about Friday….I really wish more people could read what you just noted because I think it is very important to understand the real meaning of the day but to still respect the school and its administrators…..I sincerely hope that all goes well tomorrow and that students and teachers treat those involved in the silence with respect.

  • James

    I agree. I was at a Disciple Now where the host parent was complaining about the Day of Silence and how she wanted to organize a “Day of Truth” thing. I was offended. The purpose of The Day of Silence is to inform us that there is hatred for the LBG community, and that the hatred is unacceptable. That is simply what the Day of Silence is about.
    Jesus loves everyone and wouldn’t want us to show hatred towards anyone. So, while some are opposing this day and protesting it, I strongly encourage it. While I am not able to participate, I will let my peers know that I appreciate the stance they are taking to show that hatred is strong towards the LBG community

  • Jeanie

    well said, my friend. even as clearly spoken as you were, yes, you will get some criticism, but thank you for lending some insights, and reminding us of how easy it is to speak words that hurt and how horribly hurtful they can be. i’m proud to know you–and serve with you!

  • Jennifer

    I somehow missed that DOS is Friday, but THANK YOU for your words! Thank you for being a different kind of Christian voice (or silence…), one that respects personhood and shows the love of Christ in action. I’m proud to call you my friend (and pastor!) =0)

  • Kailey

    What a strong message to people. You are dead on! It’s amazing how tightly people get caught up in things and fail to see the true meaning behind something. The DOS could be said for not only the Gay and Lesbian community but also for the “goths, nerds, geeks” that get bulled daily in our school systems.

  • Angela

    Thank you for taking the time to articulate a positive message on such a sticky subject. I wish more people could read this.

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