National Day of Silence

The National Day of Silence is scheduled for April 17, 2009. This is a day intended to draw attention to the issue of bullying and harassment of sexual minorities in the schools. Most supporters will be silent on that day; others who cannot be silent because of various mandatory activities will apparently wear red.

If the DOS is controversial, so too is one reponse that has been endorsed by a number of conservative organizations: the ‘Day of Silence Walk Out.’ This is the idea that students walk out on this day in protest.

Another approach to this topic was launched last year. It is referred to as the Golden Rule Pledge. You can read more about this alternative, as it focuses on treating others as you would want to be treated.

I can appreciate the concern to respond appropriately to the DOS. Do Christians support it in light of the social justice issues involved? Do they reject it because of what they see as a political agenda? And I can appreciate attempts to respond constructively to the underlying issue of harassment and bullying, which I have been witness to in my work with youth. While I have worked with a number of adolescents who experience same-sex attraction who tell me they fit right in with their peer group, enjoy social support, and so on, others go to school and experience a significant amount of harassment through name-calling and bullying. The topic of harassment and bullying of sexual minorities is not a grey area in and of itself, but  it becomes more complicated to some when it is tied to events that people experience as politicizing the issues.

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