On April 25th thousands of
students from across the country at over 50,000 schools will
participate in the 12th annual National Day Of Silence
sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian &
Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The effort
encourages schools to adopt policies that foster a safe environment
for GLBT youth while at school.
Students participating in the event
will remain silent for the day and carry cards in support of GLBT
people who have been silenced for expressing their sexuality.
Some community groups and parents are
planning counter protests.
In Seattle the event has created a
firestorm of controversy. Anti-gay-rights activist Rev. Ken
Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, has called
for 1,000 “prayer warriors” to protest the event. Hutcherson
plans to protest the event in front of Mount Si High School. His
plans were made public after he ran an ad in the local newspaper
inviting residents to join the protest. The ad called for action
declaring, “It's time for moral people to be unashamed and take a
A counter protest by groups supporting
students participating in the event has also been announced.
In Phoenix parents are protesting the
event by allowing their children to stay home from school. The East
Valley Tribune is reporting that one parent, Randy Bellino, has
invited children to come over to his house for a pool party instead.
Bellino told the paper that his son, Jake, a Desert Ridge sophomore,
should be learning about math and science, not gay and lesbian
Nationwide The Alliance Defense Fund, a
Christian group, is holding their 4th annual Day Of
Truth to protest the event. On April 28th students
are encouraged to wear t-shirts and pass out cards that read, “I'm
speaking the Truth to break the silence. True tolerance means that
people with differing – even opposing – viewpoints can freely
exchange ideas and respectfully listen to each other. It's time for
an honest conversation about homosexuality. There's freedom to
change if you want to. Let's talk.”
The Day of Truth is supported by
a coalition of Christian groups, including Exodus International whose
members believe homosexuality can be cured through prayer.