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Apr 17

You can’t please these people, even by shutting up

The Day of Silence is this Friday, GASP!, and the religious fundies are up in arms about it. Americans United has a short piece about it here.

The premise behind the event is simple: Students attend classes but do not speak for the entire day. The Day of Silence isn’t sponsored by the schools. It’s run by students, often through a Gay-Straight Alliance Club that many schools now have. (Ironically, these clubs exist thanks to a federal law backed by Religious Right groups, which were eager to get Christian clubs into public schools.)…

Meanwhile, Religious Right groups like Focus on the Family and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) are advocating a different tack: They are calling for a “Day of Dialogue” on April 19.

The Day of Dialogue website reads, “As a high school or college student, do you wish your classmates could hear more of the story – like the truth about God’s deep love for us and what the Bible really says about His redemptive design for marriage and sexuality? Wouldn’t it be nice if a deeper and freer conversation could happen when controversial sexual topics are brought up in your school?”

Dialogue is fine. I question the value of the “dialogue” when it’s simply fundamentalist students lecturing LGBT young people that they will burn in hell or that they can “pray the gay away.” If such activity rises to the level of bullying and harassment it’s definitely not acceptable. Groups like Focus and the ADF insist that they oppose bullying of LGBT students. In light of some recent bills we’ve seen in states that purport to address bullying and harassment in public schools but give an exemption if it’s based on “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” I’m not so sure about that.

Here’s one thing I am sure about: The public school students all over the nation who take part in the Day of Silence are doing it to make a statement (albeit silently) about an issue that concerns them. They are aware of the risk and are willing to deal with it. Their silence is no threat to any other student.

Only a true zealot would tremble in fear or sputter in rage in the face of silence.

I say don’t worry about how they respond. They don’t want people that are different than they are to exist and they won’t be satisfied until they can convince themselves that we don’t. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

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balter.norbert ruohogolda@mailxu.com