Christian Group Wants Parents to Call Their Kids Out of School on ‘Day of Silence’

Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute is putting out her annual call for parents to remove their children from their public schools during next month’s “Day of Silence” (a student-run initiative during which volunteers don’t speak on behalf of the members of the LGBT community who have been forced to be silent about their sexual identities):

A coalition of pro-family groups is urging parents to keep their children home from school on the “Day of Silence,” if your school is allowing students to refuse to speak in class.

When administrators refuse to listen to reason and when they allow the classroom to be exploited for political purposes, parents must take action. If they don’t, the politicization of the classroom and curricula will increase.

It is unconscionable that conservative parents remain silent, acquiescent, fearful non-participants in our public schools while homosexuals and their ideological allies engage continuously in vociferous, vigorous, and bold action.

Conservatives need to start acting and speaking as if we think our moral beliefs are objectively true. Conservative teachers need to create activities that require students to speak on the Day of Silence, and conservative parents need to teach their children by example to take a stand for truth.

Please call your children out of school if your administration permits students to refuse to speak on the Day of Silence.

Besides the fact that it’s a dick move to have teachers go out of their way to make students speak on that day, this is nothing we haven’t heard before from groups like IFI.

The core of their argument, they say, is that the Day of Silence “politicizes” the classroom. And if that’s all this was, I might not have a huge problem with it…

But it turns out conservative Christians already have their own event — modeled after the Day of Silence — where kids stay silent on behalf of aborted babies and affirm their anti-choice beliefs. It’s called the “Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity.”

It’s a student-led event, it’s perfectly legal, and it’s also taking a political issue and bringing it inside the classroom.

No atheist or civil liberties group has ever tried to put a stop to it nor have they ever urged parents to remove their children from the classroom as a result of it.

And the Illinois Family Institute has never, ever, ever, ever issued any statement condemning the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity.

In fact, there’s not even a mention of the event on their website.

Do you really need any more evidence that groups like these preach hate more than anything else? If they really cared about students “politicizing” the classroom, they would have denounced the pro-life event in a heartbeat. But they never have.

As I wrote last fall:

[Groups like IFI will] keep their kids home if there’s anything going on at school that blatantly or “secretly” suggests that LGBT students should be treated respectfully. But they remain completely silent when it comes to the pro-life event that operates in the exact same way.

These Christians are hypocrites, pure and simple.

They don’t give a damn about “politicizing” the classroom as long as it promotes their personal agenda.

We need more people pointing out that hypocrisy.

We need more people contacting IFI to ask why they were silent last fall (and many falls before that) when the pro-life event was going on.

We need more people — Christians especially — to realize they’re being used by groups like IFI who care only about their own bigoted agendas and not about what in children’s best interests.

Because high school students are fully aware that there’s nothing “wrong” or “immoral” about their gay and lesbian friends. They know the Day of Silence is just one way to stand up for the students at their schools who are bullied by “loving” Christians. They know groups like IFI don’t get it andd they’re brave enough to take a stand, even if it’s unpopular, because it’s the right thing to do.

They’re not scared of empty threats made by cowardly Christians who think an invisible protest is needed in the face of “more tolerance.”

Higgins could learn a lot from them if she weren’t so busy trying to make life harder for LGBT teenagers.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • WallofSleep

    “Conservatives need to start acting and speaking as if we think our moral beliefs are objectively true. Conservative teachers need to create activities that require students to speak on the Day of Silence, and conservative parents need to teach their
    children by example to take a stand for truth.”

    You keeps using that word…

    I guess at some point the term “conservative” became synonymous with “religious bigot”. That’s too bad. I blame people like Laurie.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Typical hypocrites. They have no qualms about politicizing schools when the political view happens to meld with theirs. Just like their bitching about how businesses shouldn’t take political stances, yet they celebrate the few who take their side.

  • Silo Mowbray

    Social conservatives like those in the IFI are pieces of human filth. Note:

    “When administrators refuse to listen to reason and when they allow the classroom to be exploited for political purposes, parents must take action.”

    And they follow that up with:

    “Conservative teachers need to create activities that require
    students to speak on the Day of Silence, and conservative parents need
    to teach their children by example to take a stand for truth.”

    As Hemant noted, they’re pushing a double standard, acting hypocritically. It’s perfectly fine if social conservatives act politically in the classroom, doing everything they can to oppress other human beings of which they do not approve, but the minute you challenge them on their bullshit, they get all wild-eyed and frothy and outraged at the “injustice”.

    So fuck them. Fuck them and the ignorant horses they rode in on. Fucking sick little asscakes.

  • awayreligion

    Christian = Bigot…. the similarities grow every time I hear a Christian speak.

  • Rich Wilson

    That’s kind of a bigoted thing to say, no? I realize it’s hyperbole, but have you never heard a non-bigoted Christian speak? Because I have. Lots of them. Ya, lots of Christians are bigoted. Especially ones who belong to organizations with ‘Family’ in their name.

    But let’s be honest freethinkers here and not buy into the broad brushing BS.

  • WallofSleep

    Bullies just can’t stand it when their victims fight back.

  • Mackinz

    Nothing says bigotry better than discriminating for “political” reasons.

  • Anon

    So when it’s a day of silence for aborted babies it’s A-OK, not politicising the classroom and ‘standing up for truth’.

    But when it’s standing up for living, breathing human beings who are being hurt by bigoted idiots it’s bad.

    Oh wait, these are the bigoted idiots talking.

    *staying silent on April 19th*

  • Drew M.

    The vast majority of my close friends and family are Catholic, and very few (hell, only one comes to mind) have any problem with LGBT rights.

    Thanks, Rich.

  • A3Kr0n

    Why aren’t the Christian parents opening their own PRIVATE school?

  • marilove

    Do those same friends still call themselves Catholic? Do they still give money to the very church that seeks to discriminate and in some cases even murder LGBQT or other non-conforming people? Are your friends speaking out against the abuse against children that their church has covered up? Or do they continue to give their church their money and support?

    Actions are louder than words. If they are still supporting the hateful church, then they aren’t truly FOR LGBQT rights — and are therefore part of the problem.

  • Mario Strada

    I have an idea: making the day of silence literature say “stay silent, or stay home on this day to show support for LGBT youth”

  • SeekerLancer

    If you can’t have your kids in schools without them resorting to the kind of senseless bullying that you’re showing here then everyone is better off if you do keep them home that day.

  • Rich Wilson

    For one we started at ‘christian’ and are now at ‘Catholic’. The people I know are a variety, including an ex-RC who left the church BECAUSE of its stance on LGBT rights.

    Another non-denom occasionally lurks this site when I send him stuff. Time and time again he goes away being pissed off at broad generalizations just like this. Far from supporting a church that opposes LGBQT rights, he has donated (and not a token amount) to support the fight against Prop 8. Not that it was his motivation, he has asked: “What the fuck do people want me to do, marry a man to show my support?”

    I just think we should focus on what is actually part of the problem and pissing on people just because they like the teachings of some dude named Jesus isn’t helping the problem(s)

  • William Bell

    My first thought when I saw his was “isn’t staying home sort of like staying silent?”

  • AxeGrrl

    Thanks for stressing this point, Rich.

  • C Peterson

    There are two ways a “day of silence” can work. In one case, the silence is overt, and speaks loudly about an injustice. But the other is just silence… the silence of the German people when their Jews were being victimized, the silence of Americans when blacks were being victimized. The silence of otherwise good people deliberately choosing to ignore the victims of injustice.

    What a message to send to kids. I can think of several things the “F” in “IFI” might stand for, but “family” sure isn’t one of them.

  • indorri

    Since when have “conservatives” felt afraid to speak? I had one barking mad dog calling himself conservative just yesterday who felt it his sacred duty to cuss at me when I told him I wasn’t responding to him.

    For that matter, when did conservative become synonymous with hypocrite?

  • indorri

    Anti-gay groups, organizations and proponents have tarnished a lot of words that generally have neutral or positive meaning. “Family” is one of them, like you said: it’s become a coded word for bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Same for “protecting marriage”.

  • Steve

    The best part is her claim that “homosexuals and their ideological allies engage continuously in vociferous, vigorous, and bold action.”

    Because the best way to describe a group participating in a day of silence is as “vociferous.”

  • Drew M.

    How ironic. Demonization is usually the tool of the religious.

    Rich Wilson has responded far better than I could, so I’ll leave it at that.

  • marilove

    Oh boo-ooh! Your friend is totally hurt that some people mock his crappy religion! Oh how terrible for him!

    Why should I care about some anecdotes about strangers? About people I don’t even really believe exist?

    You seem to care far more about the non-opression of your catholic friends than you do about the REAL, *actual* opression that is the point of this entire post.

    You’re derailing.
    Let’s focus on the REAL opression and not thehurt feelings of your friends. Stop derailing.

  • Immanuel Goldstein

    What about gay Catholics?

  • Feminerd

    Thanks for your eloquent words both here and in your comment below (above?). We all have to remember that Christians are people. Some of them are awesome. Some of them are assholes. Using their Christianity as a weapon against them doesn’t actually help anything. Yeah, I think religion in general is silly and illogical, but what I care about is reducing harm in the world, and your LGBT-rights supportive Christian friends are working to reduce the harm in the world. Our private intellectual disagreements pale in importance compared to that.

    Also, I’m not happy I have to trot out my “X group” are people argument in this manner. Atheists are people, women are people, theists of all stripes are people, men are people, intersex people are people, people are people. I shouldn’t have to remind a supposed freethinker of this basic tenet!

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    ” Conservative teachers need to create activities that require students to speak on the Day of Silence”

    Doesn’t matter and won’t work. You can’t punish someone for refusing to speak on this day. Refusing to speak is an act of the first amendment and as the ACLU has pointed it out it does not disrupt school activities and schools should/must protect students right to speech.

  • marilove

    I haven’t demonized anyone.

  • Bdole

    My very first thought as I was reading was, what if there were some anti-choice protest that exactly mirrored this. I wonder if the IFI would condemn that politicization of the classroom, too just to be fair. Lo and behold, hypocrisy. If the conservative teachers purposely arrange it so that students have to speak on that day then the students who stay home should be penalized for ditching school.

  • wmdkitty

    Okay. Let your kids skip that day. Just don’t complain when they get dinged for an un-excused absence.

  • Robster

    “Cowardly Christians who think an invisible protest… ” Hmm, these godbots love the invisible thing don’t they. Their imaginary friend is (as expected) invisible as is the long dead baby jesus, the friendly ghost is kind of invisible too. The influence of their god fantasy is invisible as is the morality of their churches, their leaders and their old nasty book of myth.

  • eonL5

    I was listening to an NPR report this morning about young (under 30) people at that conservative event that’s going on… CPAC? something like that. Anyway, while many of them are pushing back against the Republican anti-gay posture (some progress, at least!), one young woman was talking about how a tv show was actually very conservative (Modern Family, I think it’s called?) because it’s all about family: the gay couple has a child, and that’s a Family! And that’s a Conservative value! And the rest of the show is all about Families! And that’s very Conservative!

    Yeah, so because I have a spouse and two kids, I’m a Conservative! Really! Hope she doesn’t pull a tendon stretching herself to fit into the Conservative mold… because I doubt the CPAC will bend itself at all to accommodate her (and the other young peoples’) more socially liberal views.

  • baal

    Do you really need any more evidence that groups like these preach hate more than anything else?

    Actually, I do. A one-off anything example doesn’t sway me much. Every org has single people have temporary mental aberrations or gets stuck on a single wrong idea and holds it more strongly than they should.

    It’s more than a little disheartening that the IFI in particular and other similar groups provide additional examples more or less every day and often more than once per day. You don’t have to spend long on their website before it becomes clear that they are out to control everyone else and to use hate as the method to do it.

    From this example, the IFI is also propounding willful ignorance. That’s also a bit of a hot button for me. Even if you don’t support LGBT rights generally or the method of the day of silence, the fact that a lot of people are standing up means you need to see what they are trying to say (not that you need to accept it but that you should be able to fairly recite what their view is and have a clearly articulable alternative position).

  • baal

    Like gay Republicans, I think they should work a little more on integrating their minds and a little less on compartmentalizing their minds. It could also be that they don’t really value their sexuality much or don’t mind being told that a part of their identity is evil. I have a hard time thinking in these ways but I see enough other people (and certainly not just the gays) doing it in a number of contexts to find it normal (if unfortunate).

  • LoudGuitr

    They are right about the politicizing of the classroom. They are wrong about the issue. LGBT rights are important, but this strategy undermines the positive message. Keep God and politics out of school.

  • Bdole

    “Focus” is exactly what Rich was doing. Narrowing the scope to the actual problem instead of flailing about and lashing out at a broad spectrum of people.

  • Houndentenor

    So people are pulling their kids out of school on a day in which people are going to be SILENT? ROFLOL

  • ecolt

    Thank you. “Asscake” may be my new favorite insult, edging out “douchenozzle” by making me think of a big slice of chocolate cake and thus making me happier.

  • kaydenpat

    So what would happen if children of bigoted parents spoke up in class? I guess if they wanted to be devious, that’s what they’d tell their children to do to protest.

    As gay rights are gaining acceptance, hopefully these people will simply disappear. In a few years, that girl in the photo may voice her support for gay rights.

  • Sue Blue

    …because nothing upholds the constitutional right to freedom of speech like denying someone the right to silence! Like I keep saying, these idiots do not possess a sense of irony. They can’t even comprehend the word.

  • Troglodyke

    I think all teachers should give a mandatory pop quiz that day counting for a huge chunk of the grade, so that any kid not in attendance without a valid doctor’s excuse loses important grade points. And they cannot appeal. You are welcome to keep your kids home that day, but what will the consequences of that action be?

    Then again, these idiots don’t value education anyway. Why they haven’t yanked their kids out of these “horrible” public schools already is beyond me; they are hypocrites for not sending them to private schools.

  • Katherine Harms

    The classroom needs to be a place for academics. Teaching values and teaching politics is the job of parents. Whether it is enforcing silence to protest the politics of abortion or enforcing speech to protest the politics of the LGBT agenda, it is not the right thing to be happening in the classroom.

  • Danni Schmidt

    I wish I still had kids in school so I could take them out on the national day of prayer!

  • Child_Puhleez

    The only bigoted idiot is you and your kind.

    We will NOT put God aside for your perversion. Go to hell by yourself. Why continue your fight for company for the ride, jackals?

  • Child_Puhleez

    I’m keeping my kid at home. Keep your perverted movements away from my child.

    Eff you jackals.

  • Anon

    Yes. I’m so bigoted I protest straight people getting married. I’m so bigoted that I denounce straight people as abominations. I’m so bigoted that I tell people they deserve to burn for all eternity because they dare to be or do something I disapprove of.

    Oh wait, no I don’t. That would be people who identify as part of your religion. And people who are, as noted in the article above, being ginormous hypocrites.

    You’re talking to an atheist. I reject your god as an iron age fantasy dreamt up by people who didn’t know any better which has survived this long through luck. I reject your notions of hell.

    I’m not fighting for ‘company on the ride’. I’m fighting because I don’t want any more kids to commit suicide because of bullying. I don’t want anybody to have to worry that coming out means getting kicked out of their home. I don’t want anybody to feel like there’s something wrong with them for something as ridiculous as who they want to sleep with.

  • Child_Puhleez

    The funny thing is, we DON’T give a damn. Just like whatever gays do is THEIR business, why shove what they do / believe down the throats of anyone who opposes.

    Live your life as gay, athiest, whatever. We are entitled to love and fear the very God you reject. Your unbelief does not delay Judgment Day, but you are still every bit entitled.

    You all project the very ugliness you accuse Christians of (name-calling & LIES which is BULLYING.)

    Leave us to our beliefs and defending God, just as you all desire to be left the hell alone concerning your beliefs.


  • Anna

    Hostile much? The public schools are for all children. LGBT students and students from LGBT families have just as much right to feel safe and welcome as other students do.

  • Child_Puhleez

    Nope. I leave all hostilities to you & your kind.

    Yep, you better believe all children are entitled to a safe environment.

    You know something else all children are entitled to? An agenda-free environment. Let morale / beliefs be taught in the HOME.

  • Rich Wilson

    Nope. I leave all hostilities to you & your kind.

    such as

    Eff you jackals.

  • Anna

    You come here and make a bunch of negative, threatening comments, and somehow we’re the ones who are hostile?

    It seems to me that you’re the one promoting a divisive environment. “Our kind” doesn’t want any students bullied, no matter if they’re gay, straight, Christian, atheist, etc.

  • Child_Puhleez

    Yup. Stand by it. Oh, wait, only you can spout off with name-calling, insults & such?

    Negative. Don’t think so.

    Try again.

  • Child_Puhleez

    ??? When did I threaten anyone over anything? Show me.

    This forum is littered with derogatory comments and flat-out hate towards Christians being left to their beliefs.

    Come correct if you’re going to insist on responding, and don’t lie on me, which I know will be a real feat for you liberals.

  • Rich Wilson

    Oh, wait, only you can spout off with name-calling, insults & such?

    So, you are name-calling and insults and such?

    Negative. Don’t think so.

    Or, wait, are you name-calling or not?

    Hey, name call here if you want. We can handle it. Just be honest about it, kay?

  • Anna

    In what universe is “Eff you jackals” and “Go to hell” not threatening?

    Pointing to other people’s bad behavior is no excuse for your own. I have never used abusive language or insulted anyone on this blog. There is no need for such hostility. If you actually wish to have a conversation about this issue, then why not do so in a civil, reasoned manner?

  • Rich Wilson

    I don’t think either of us want to ‘lie on you’. You don’t need to worry about that.

  • Child_Puhleez

    I am. Just stop being so butt-hurt over taking it as well as you give it, ‘K?

  • Child_Puhleez

    Um, the very same universe that such abuse is leveled towards Christians and their beliefs.

    Please know that I take God at his Word in scripture Rom 1:20-32 [emphasis on 32].

    You have a problem with my believing in God’s consequence he so explicitly states in 32, then I’m afraid you’ll have to take it up w/ him.

    The “eff” was clearly my secular response to all the hate towards christians you all are by all means entitled to spew on here.

  • Rich Wilson

    Well, it would be nice if you’d step up to actually dealing with the issue of kids being bullied. But that might be a bit much to ask. Honesty is a good start. Thanks.

  • Anna

    You’re not making any sense. One minute you claim you’re not threatening anyone, and the next you claim that threatening us and using abusive language is justified. Which is it?

    I personally don’t care what you believe. I don’t hate you, and I’m not going to “spew” insults at you. If your goal is to be a good representative of your religion, then you are failing miserably. You come across as a paranoid, hostile, threatening person who is more interesting in tossing insults at people than in having a conversation with them.

  • Rich Wilson

    Do keep in mind that this is a blog, not a public school. People here who grew up with being bullied, or have loved ones who were bullied, tend to vent.

    You don’t have a right to feel safe and welcome here.

    Students in public schools, however, do have a right to feel safe and welcome, and not be harassed by other parents, teachers, or other students. That’s not cool.

    Please know that I take God at his Word

    That’s fine. Go ahead. Just don’t expect us to live by your particular belief, any more than either of us should be expected to pray towards Mecca, no matter what anyone else thinks.

  • RobMcCune

    If you believe in romans 32, then why did you let your children into public school in the first place? Most public schools have the policy that killing students for being gay is wrong, whether or not students go around refusing to talk.

  • RobMcCune

    Just don’t expect us to live by your particular belief…

    This person doesn’t expect us live by their beliefs.

    Rom 1:32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

  • Rich Wilson

    Dominionism is scary. What’s worse is that person probably thinks gay kids committing suicide is ‘God’s righteous judgement’ and thus feels justified in encouraging it. In a ‘safe environment’ of course.

  • Anon

    If you really didn’t give a damn, we’d have equal rights by now. Because who I want to marry is my business, my partner’s business and pretty much nobody else’s.

    The point is that you cannot say that one thing is bad if you are doing exactly the same thing albeit for a different cause.

    How, exactly, am I entitled? I want things which should be secular to actually be secular. I want all religions to keep their religion in their homes and places of worship and out of places which should be secular (schools, politics). I want equality for LGBT people.

    Yes, yes. Help, help, you’re being repressed.

    I have no problem with what you believe, so long as it doesn’t affect my rights. At the moment it is, so I can’t.

  • Child_Puhleez

    When your politics of your bedroom makes its way into my child’s classroom, oh yes, it’s my business. I’ll continue to fight, whether God needs my help or not, to uphold His word in my child’s classroom and in this evil world.

  • C.N.S.

    Christians aren’t supposed to hate anyone or hurt anyone and any time that happens, it isn’t because of God but human imperfections. However, to say gay/lesbian sex is not a sin and is OK would definitely hurt you as it would be helping you to make choices to send yourself to hell (God doesn’t send anyone to hell.) Unless of course you don’t believe it is a sin because you don’t believe in God….and there is where the problem lies. If you believe in God, you have to beleive in what He says, but if that isn’t convenient for you, then how easy to say you don’t believe in HIm. Problem is you most certainly can’t prove He doesn’t exist. You might say I can’t prove He does, but I think the fact that the saints’ bodies are STILL preserved and can be seen any time you choose to make the trip to see them, or there are countless miracles that occur when praying to Jesus that can’t be explained, and over two thousand years of the same doctrine that hasn’t changed even one IOTA from the early church fathers (you can do your research into the history and read the Catholic Catechism to understand the whys behind the teachings, so you can have an informed conscience if you really want that but my guess is you don’t…you just want to do what you want) because He said the gates of Hell won’t prevail against His church even at the hands of people who try as you are. My prayers are with you though in hopes of your conversion. Many people have to live celibate lifestyles for various reasons…it isn’t the worse thing in the world and real sacrifice is realy love. Please discontinue trying to hurt the souls of others though.

  • Anna

    Many people have to live celibate lifestyles for various reasons…it isn’t the worse thing in the world and real sacrifice is realy love.

    If you like celibacy so much, why not live it yourself? You’re telling people they are never allowed to have a spouse or children, and it’s not “the worse [sic] thing in the world.” What a terrible thing to say to someone.

    Please discontinue trying to hurt the souls of others though.

    Atheists don’t believe in “souls,” but you’re the one hurting people by telling them there is something wrong with them and that they aren’t entitled to the same rights and happiness as everyone else.