NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The “Day of Silence” — the annual homosexual-themed day involving thousands of public school and college students nationwide — will have a Christian counterpart this year.
The “Day of Truth” will serve as a counterpart to the “Day of Silence,” allowing Christian students to take a stand for their beliefs. It will take place April 14, one day after the Day of Silence.
Day of Truth participants will wear a T-shirt reading, “The Truth Cannot Be Silenced,” and also will pass out cards to their classmates expressing their beliefs. The inaugural event is being sponsored by the pro-family legal group Alliance Defense Fund and is being promoted by pro-family groups nationwide.
Its counterpart, the Day of Silence, is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and began in 1996 with students vowing a day of silence as a way to protest what homosexual activists see as discrimination against homosexuals, lesbians and “transsexuals.” It has since boomed, and organizers say last year an estimated 100,000 students participated. In some instances, school officials have taken part, creating uncomfortable situations for conservative students.
Joe Infranco, a senior attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, said too many students have heard a “one-sided message” on homosexuality within their schools.
“In one sense [the Day of Truth] is a response to the Day of Silence,” Infranco told Baptist Press. “In another sense it’s an attempt to break this public school indoctrination in favor of homosexuality.”
The Day of Truth is being held the day after the Day of Silence for a reason, Infranco said.
“We wanted to be respectful and permit the other side their day to express their message,” he said. “We’re not afraid to have the Gospel compete in the marketplace of ideas.”
But there also is a legal reason it’s being held when it is.
“Any school that permits the Day of Silence will be required to permit the Day of Truth,” Infranco said. “For a school to allow the former and not the latter would be viewpoint discrimination, which is impermissible under any circumstances. The courts have unanimously struck down any restrictions based on viewpoint discrimination.”
The Alliance Defense Fund has pledged free legal representation to any student who is discriminated against because of their Day of Truth participation, Infranco said.
The Day of Truth was inspired partly by Chase Harper, a San Diego-area high school student who opposed students in his school participating in the Day of Silence. Last year he was suspended after wearing a homemade T-shirt that read on the front, “Be Ashamed” and “Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned,” and on the back read, “Homosexuality is Shameful” and “Romans 1:27.”
ADF filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Harper, claiming that school officials participated in the Day of Silence and that Harper’s religious freedoms were violated. The lawsuit is still pending.
“The school that he attends was getting increasingly active with the Day of Silence,” Infranco said. “In fact, they were stretching the events out to nearly a week. They were purposefully setting up the school schedule and events to accommodate the Day of Silence. There was tremendous pressure being exerted on the students to be a part of this and to approve of this.”
The card that Day of Truth students will pass out reads: “I am speaking the Truth to break the silence. I believe in equal treatment for all, and not special rights for a few. I believe in loving my neighbor, but part of that love means not condoning detrimental personal and social behavior. I believe that by boldly proclaiming the Truth, hurts will be halted, hearts will be healed, and lives will be saved.”
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the Day of Truth is a good way to counter the Day of Silence.
“The Day of Silence is a misnomer, because what is truly being silenced is the truth,” Land said. “The Day of Truth is an excellent opportunity for students to influence their classmates from a Christian perspective.”
On the issue of homosexuality, Infranco said, many people feel they “don’t have a voice.”
“For many people [the Day of Truth] is a point of entry into the debate,” he said, “and it’s a way that they can respectfully and in a Christ-like manner say, ‘We do not approve of this message. We don’t approve of the lifestyle. And we think it’s important that there be an alternative voice in society.'”
Day of Truth T-shirts and cards can be ordered online at www.telladf.org/truth. The website also has questions and answers about the event, as well as a radio and television advertisement that includes Chase Harper, the high school student who took a stand last year in opposition to his school participating in the Day of Silence.