Truancy Trumps Tolerance: Religious Right Tells Kids ’Stay Home Today’
What can you say to strike fear into the dark hearts of the pro-bullying religious right? If the panic over today’s National Day of Silence is any indication, the answer is "nothing."
The religious right panic machine has been in overdrive this week over the annual National Day of Silence to combat bullying. Today, students across the country, from middle school to college, take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.
The event, which started as a grassroots event at the University of Virginia in 1996 and grew to national prominence under the umbrella of the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network in 2001, is the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual or identity.
Linda Harvey of Christian radio Mission America and author of the widely discredited anti-gay tome "Maybe He’s Not Gay," urged her listeners to pull their students out of school on Friday lest they be "recruited" by homosexual propaganda. In her radio address, she said:
"Because of alarming and deceptive messages surrounding the Day of Silence, many Christian groups - Mission America included - are urging parents to keep your children home from school that day unless you have assurances that the school is not bending its rules. Some schools allow student organizers to widely promote the Day of Silence and homosexuality while recruiting others to participate. Here’s why I say it’s deceptive: the Day of Silence is sadly a day of pro-homosexual propaganda in schools."
Harvey goes on to say:
Students pledge to remain silent all day in order to protest what they believe has been the silencing of homosexuals and bullying that isn’t being punished, those who choose to be homosexual or switch genders are the victims and we’re all bullies or potential bullies if we don’t accept this premise. But we should not accept this premise because it wrongly communicates that homosexuality is honorable and respectable and that it’s inborn like race. But that’s’ not true. No one, especially young people, should take on this identity and behavior. It’s a high-risk life that dishonors God and the way He created us.
In an interview Vocativ, Monica Cole, head of One Million Moms, had this to say about the Day of Silence event: