The National Day of Silence is a day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.That's the whole of it. The rest of the details of implementation are not terribly complicated. Students are directed to follow teachers instructions and speak in class if they are required to do so.
While you DO have a right to participate in the Day of Silence between classes and before and after school, you may NOT have the right to stay silent during instructional time if a teacher requests for you to speak. According to Lambda Legal, "Under the Constitution, public schools must respect students' right to free speech. The right to speak includes the right not to speak, as well as the right to wear buttons or T-shirts expressing support for a cause." However, this right to free speech doesn't extend to classroom time. "If a teacher tells a student to answer a question during class, the student generally doesn't have a constitutional right to refuse to answer." We remind participants that students who talk with their teachers ahead of time are more likely to be able to remain silent during class. Find more Lamda Legal advice here.But that doesn't slow the lies and bigotry as 20 April approaches. Here are four recent samples of opposition.
From a letter to the editor in Central Jersey
High school students across the nation (including a few Hunterdon Central High School students) will be celebrating the Day of Dialogue (April 19) that supports marriage between a man and woman (a creation ordinance in Genesis).
The Day of Dialogue gives students another perspective to the Day of Silence (April 20), which is promoted by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and receives a lot of support from high school administrators and faculty. The purpose of the Day of Silence is to promote the homosexual agenda — GLSEN encourages high school students to lobby for legislation supported by homosexual-advocacy groups. GLSEN also encourages the high school students to pressure school officials to promote gay friendly material and events.It should be noted that the Book of Genesis does discuss creation and procreation but does not establish limits upon who can marry whom.
"Promote the homosexual agenda" in terms of the Day of Silence is opposing bullying. There is no further agenda for the schools. "homosexual-advocacy" is a silly phrase. The LGBTQ Community does advocate for equal treatment under the law for all persons. As sexuality is generally believed to be immutable, according to major medical and major psychological organizations, advocacy is for how we are treated. Gay friendly is good. Human friendly is even better.
Right Wing Watch has an excerpt from a radio dialogue with Truth In Action Ministries' Jerry Newcombe.
It’s something where they are basically taking a legitimate concern, which is that of bullying, and they are using that serious problem that does happen as an opportunity by which they will then promote and essentially indoctrinate children and expose children to the acceptability of the homosexual lifestyle. Now bullying is wrong but so also is indoctrination into a deadly lifestyle and frankly homosexuality is a deadly lifestyle and that fact is withheld from the children.Again, one cannot be indoctrinated into homosexuality. Sexuality is immutable. To put this in terms of religion, all humans are created in God's image and are acceptable. If you don't like the "homosexual lifestyle" then don't live that way, but neither is there a single type of lifestyle for homosexuals nor is it their business to interfere in the lifestyle of others outside of their church.
The myth that "homosexuality is a deadly lifestyle" originated with debunked studies by Paul Cameron. I am a healthy gay man in my 50s, unlikely by their rhetoric. Giving false information to children is a direct defiance of the Bible's admonition against bearing false witness.
Mr. Newcombe continued with an inference that there is a link between Nazis and homosexuality.
It’s sad to see groups like GLSEN be accepted by the teacher's establishment and then allow the platform to go into the public schools and try and indoctrinate children. For example, they have something called the Day of Silence. Now they chose April 20 of all days to be the Day of Silence, I looked that up, I was like, ‘isn’t that Adolf Hitler’s birthday,’ I looked it up and sure enough it is Adolf Hitler’s birthday. I don’t think there’s a link there but how ironic. But they are using this day as a means by which to promote their lifestyle as if it is a positive thing.It should be noted that the Day of Silence is generally on a Friday in April. In 2011 it was on 15 April. The link to Hitler is particularly ugly given the treatment of homosexuals by the Nazis.
Michael Brown, who I have repudiated before, wrote an article a week ago with his complaint.
But don't some schools already have generic, anti-bullying programs in place along with special, daylong events to highlight the destructive effects of bullying, a subject that should concern all of us? Of course they do, but that's not enough. GLSEN insists that a special focus must be put on LGBT kids, as if bullying a gay kid was worse than bullying a fat kid.To the best of my knowledge there has not be a rash of fat kids committing suicide because of bullying. It isn't that bullying anyone is worse than bullying someone else, but the problem of bullying LGBTQ students is real and exacerbated by the rants of Mr. Brown. The attempt to diminish the importance of bullying that is sanctioned implicitly by religious organizations like Mr. Brown's is exactly why the Day of Silence is needed.
But there's more that takes place on the Day of Silence: A pro-homosexuality message is often sent to the students, with teachers and administrators frequently promoting homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism over the course of the day. That's why thousands of schools (and not just students) officially participate in the event, with the explicit backing of GLSEN. What about other messages being introduced during the day to balance the discussion? Perish the thought.Promoting? Again, sexuality is immutable. It is tolerance and acceptance that is encouraged by GLSEN and the Day of Silence. Balance the discussion? The balance to a message of not bullying would be what? A message to bully? Students who perish as a consequence of bullying is the symptom. Mr .Brown is part of the problem.
The so-called Liberty Counsel, an organization explicitly connected with the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, has a brief complaint about the Day of Silence.
The Day of Silence is not about tolerance or bullying. It is about pushing a sexual agenda. Students and staff who disagree with a radical sexualized agenda are demonized and made to feel like outsiders. Children should be afforded a rigorous education opportunity and not be forced to accept a radical sexualized agenda subsidized with tax dollars. Parents and lawmakers should take the time to learn about the extreme views of GLSEN and the intolerance promoted by the Day of Silence.There is nothing "sexualized" about the Day of Silence. This is a fabrication by Matt Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel, who elaborated in an article at One News Now.
The "annual student-led event" is described on the website as one that "brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment" in schools. But as schools face enormous pressure from GLSEN to support and promote this event, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel says administrators, teachers, parents and students should not be intimidated.
"This is not about tolerating any issue or person," he asserts. "It is about a radical and forced agenda of homosexuality that these [days] of silence are promoting, sponsored by the GLSEN organization -- and sometimes under pressure by the schools."Fear quotes around annual student-led event, implying that others are in the lead, is typical of Mr. Staver's writings. GLSEN provides materials to students and teachers who request them, it is not pushed from outside. The idea that homosexuality is somehow forced is completely absurd. Mr. Staver apparently cannot accept the truth so is making up lies.
The Day of Silence will occur. As the anti-LGBTQ bigots see that they are slowly losing, that equality for all citizens is becoming a mainstream concept, they can be expected to step up their rhetoric. The real homosexual agenda, to be allowed to live peaceful lives with equal legal status effectively to be ignored by hate groups like those cited above, is a long way off. The harassment of students continues and the Day of Silence is necessary. Perhaps one day it will not be.
19 March 2012, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
20 April 2012, FollowUp 2.