Is Silence Golden for Christian Youth on April 20th?

Posted: April 17, 2012 in Faith/Christianity, Youth Culture & Trends
Tags: , , , ,

On Friday April 20th, thousands of youth from across Canada will observe and participate in the National Day of Silence.  It’s a movement started by a group of students at the University of Virginia in 1996, and according to their website, their mission is to “bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students 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.” 

Dare2Share released an article in their Soul Fuel resource this week asking the question: What’s A Christian to do on the Day of Silence?  It’s a great question, and I recommend you read that post, as well as their previous article on the topic; A Christian Response to the Day of Silence.  

I think the included articles provide excellent biblical, moral and ethical insight into this topic, but I’ll offer some of my own just for a free bonus!  First, I personally don’t feel compelled either way on this issue…to support or ignore.  Secondly, ignoring a ‘movement’ like this does more harm than good, especially if the motivation is predicated on negative feelings towards the LGBT community.  Thirdly, I also feel that Christians aren’t ‘duty-bound’ to support or participate in movements, rallies and demonstrations such as the Day of Silence.  However, IMHO, Christians that do so are in no way endorsing, by their presence/participation, the lifestyle promoted by the LGBT community.  It’s similar to the Halloween dilemma for Christians.  Our family has no particular conviction one-way-or-the-other re: handing out candy, taking the kids trick-or-treating in the neighborhood, or carving pumpkins on a Saturday afternoon.  Our engagement in any/all of the above does not mean we support the supposed evil origins of Halloween and Samhain, nor do we gear ourselves up for satanic-worship or devil’s night pranks the evening before.  My gut feeling would also suggest the majority of readers would agree with this ideology.  On the other hand, those who choose not to participate in anything ‘Halloween’ related are also within their own right to do so, based on their own moral, ethical and spiritual convictions.  The trouble starts when either ‘side’ tries to promote and dictate their particular conviction as an absolute imperative (i.e. You should/should not take part in…thus saith the Lord!).

The ‘Halloween Dilemma’ (of which there is countless articles, resources, opinions and arguments floating around), boils down to what kind of message do I want to send…or do I even care to want to send any message at all?  The same people who refrain from having anything to do with Halloween are praised by some as model Christians taking a stand, while on the flip side they fend off the bullets of criticism from others accusing them of being hyper-sensitive or intolerant.  Just the same as those who choose to participate (at any level) are bashed by the Christian brigade of the Halloween police, while others applaud their desire to engage with the community.  Likewise, the dilemma faced by Christians re: the Day of Silence comes down to a message.  Some will want to communicate a very clear anti-Day of Silence message, while others will seek to link arms and support the ideal behind the movement…to love each other!  And you can throw in the large crowd of those who could likely care less one-way-or-the-other, or who even know nothing about the day.  It’s one of those situations where you feel ‘damned’ either way you choose…as you’ll encounter flack and some level of persecution regardless of the stance you take.

So what do we do?  Do we pull our kids out of school to send a message?  Do we just go along and hop on board the wagon in hopes of building bridges and creating dialogue?  Again, I personally wouldn’t oppose either stance, although I think the former can send the wrong message, even if unintended.  I think any message that advocates the elimination of bullying and defamation of character is a good thing.  But there is cause for caution with this day, as there is much speculation and concern that there’s more than just a bullying agenda at play.  I do agree that the ulterior motive of the LGBT community reaches far beyond an anti-bullying message, with the ultimate goal being a total embrace and acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle, and an infiltration of indoctrinated curriculum into the school system.  Ultimately, parents have the trump card in how they want to play this issue out re: their kids going to school on Friday, or not.  I wouldn’t criticize their decision either way, but I think there is more to lose in turning our backs to the opportunity, than in turning our ears to listen and respond in kind.

But the bottom line is HOW Christians …and not necessarily in terms of observance/refraining from the Day of Silence.  The pressing issue is how we respond in our character, actions, attitude, love…all the while holding true to our biblical worldview on sexuality.  Anyone who openly bullies someone verbally, physically, emotionally, regardless of the issue at-hand, is NOT acting on behalf of Christ.  If nothing else, the Day of Silence should offer Christians an opportunity for teaching moments, to listen to those engaged in a LGBT lifestyle, and to offer our own hope for the reason we have!

One last recommended reading comes via CPYU‘s excellent article: How Can Christians Respond to the National Day of Silence?  Walt Mueller and his crew give a very clear and Christ-honoring view as to how Christians can respond and engage in these conversations, and why it matters.

‘They’ say “Silence is Golden“, but in this case I think we (parents, students, youth leaders) should seize the opportunities that will come to jump in the conversation, rather than stick our heads in the sand (or mud!) and say nothing.

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