I Support the Golden Rule Pledge

Coming up is the National Day of Silence, where GLBT youth and their allies vow to not talk today at school to bring awareness to the name-calling, bullying and harassment of them in schools. In response to this day there are many Christians out there who decide to pull their kids out of school in protest.

I think that is the biggest mistake a Christian parent could possibly make.

Why?

1. It breeds in our Christian youth the idea that if we don’t agree with something we protest and walk in the other direction. And in my opinion, there is no worse way to represent our Christian faith on such a day.

2. From my perspective, what a better way to bring the GLBT topic to the forefront in our Christian homes then to use this day as a springboard in how to peacefully and productively engage what has always been nothing more than a very divisive topic. And in doing such a thing with middle and high schoolers, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to start our youth down the right path in how to bridge within the GLBT community. It’s our chance to do something different in showing our faith rather than just talking about it in regards to homosexuality, which is what most of us tend to do.

I was on a Christian radio program recently and off the air the host told me about how his daughter wanted to go to school that day because she knew all of her other Christian friends were going to protest and not be in school. The host went on to tell me that she was the only Christian kid left in many of her classes, and at the end of the day everyone in one of her classes was being silent. Since she was the only one not being silent, and since she was the only Christian, for 20 minutes the teacher allowed her to talk about her faith and her love, and all of the reasons why she decided to come to school that day in opposition to all of the other Christian who didn’t!

Just think what would happen around the country if our Christian kids did as she did…

I could only imagine.

A colleague of mine, Dr. Warren Throckmorton, has started what he calls the Golden Rule Pledge to be done on the Day of Silence. Take a look, and please join in, especially if you have influence in a middle school, high school or college campus—keeping our kids in school and using this day as the Kingdom opportunity it should be.

This is too important to keep running away from.

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • http://www.confessingevangelical.com John H

    Courageous behaviour from the girl you mention, but I can’t help but feel it would have been even more impressive if she’d joined in the silence in solidarity with her classmates against bullying and harassment (which are completely indefensible, wherever you stand on the LGBT debate). If the “Golden Rule” pledge card helps Christians to do that, then that’s great.

  • Kara

    As a gay student, I have mixed feelings on this. I’m just gonna quote the comment I posted on another blog post about the GRP.

    I think… It’s certainly better than the “Day of Truth” materials I’ve seen advocated in the past, I guess. Taken most optimistically, the GRP could be seen as a pledge to work against the bullying and harassment of LGBT students, because no one wants to be bullied or harassed. Taken most pessimistically, it’s another way for anti-gay Christians to co-opt a wonderful student movement by, as John said, handing out cards that are basically a lie.

    If it is the first case, and the intent really is to show genuine and fully unconditional love to LGBT students, why not just take part in the Day of Silence? If you really want to show that you’re against anti-gay bullying because of your faith, wear a Christian t-shirt. Heck, you can make one with the Golden Rule written on it. Doing that while backing the DOS would mean more to me as a gay student than the GRP card, by orders of magnitude.

    I guess the thing that bothers me about the GRP is that it seems like it’s saying “We’ll do what we think is best, but we can’t promise that means fighting bullying and harassment against you, so we’re doing this instead of the Day of Silence.” If the Golden Rule means complete and unconditional love for people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, then join the Day of Silence. If it doesn’t mean that, then keep it to yourself or stay home in protest if you like. But I can’t see how this would do anything other than disrupt a great event.

    Dr. Throckmorton posted comments several times to that blog post and I want to make clear that I don’t doubt his heart or motives at all; I applaud them. I just doubt the efficacy of his plan, based on my personal experience.

  • Jack Harris

    Andrew,

    I am with Kara on this one. If Conservative Christians want to be supportive they should simply support the Day of Silence. Why single yourselves out? I know Warren has all good intentions and I know that he would not create something that would intentionally be negative BUT it really isn’t being perceived that way. The Golden Rule Pledge, at its heart, its supportive but in some ways it seems like a way to outshine the Day of Silence. It’s like the bridesmaid trying to make a scene on the bride’s wedding day. It’s not your day just let it go. Peace Jack

  • Erp

    I very much doubt that the girl was the only Christian in school that day given that the vast majority of Americans including gays and lesbians and their allies are Christian. She was just the only person in the school that day who chose to speak even when she was not required to speak.

    I should note that my understanding is the day of silence does not include required classroom interaction so why was the teacher not teaching rather than giving a student a 20 minute pulpit? What did the other students think who were sitting in silent solidarity while one student proclaimed herself Christian and not in solidarity for 20 minutes?

  • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

    I am typing this from my phone as I’m in the airport, so I hope this works…

    A few thoughts:

    I totally agree that it would be more impactful to just participate in Day of Silence. However there are many Christians who would never do such a thing because they feel it would be ‘affirming’ (even though that is a falsity as there is a difference between validation and affirmation). So if many Christian (especially conservative) students won’t participate, there are 2 options of engagement then: 1) Run away like The Day of Truth, or 2) GRP. I would take GRP anyday of the week.

    As for the person arguing my example, you can doubt whatever you want because either way, your comment is totally focusing on the wrong stuff…it’s majoring in the minors.

  • Kara

    The problem is, at least in my current view, that if a kid opposes the DOS (the sole purpose of which is to oppose bullying and harassment), then their pledge to “do unto others,” is probably essentially meaningless. I mean, it’s better than the Day of Truth stuff. At least it’s not overtly hostile. But I’d honestly rather they just pretended it was just another day instead of distracting from the DOS.

    And, uh, if a kid’s worried that they’re “affirming” LGBT students by saying that they shouldn’t be bullied in school, they needn’t worry. At least where I’m from, we’re pretty good at figuring out who thinks we’re sinners because we’re gay. Their being decent enough to say that people shouldn’t harass us for that fact isn’t going to confuse many LGBT folk about their beliefs.

  • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

    Kara – I fully agree with your points! :) I’m not trying to convince you that you’re wrong, I’m just trying to give a conservative framework through their filtration system.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    I tend to agree mostly with what Jack said. When I first heard about the GRP, I was not happy at all. It seemed like yet another needless competitor to the clear message of DoS. I, too, think a really radical display of the Golden Rule would be to simply join in with the DoS kids and explain your desire to help and why in the inevitable conversation that would ensue for days after that.

    I’ve grown to dislike it less, but I would be lying if I didn’t feel in my gut that what I said above is still true. But I don’t fault anyone for supporting it. And I tend to think the kids might find their way to that stand by themselves. And yes, it is better than the boycott or the DoT.

    Of this I am certain, the DoT has got to go. It stands as yet another blot on the reputation of the Church, an example of culture war rhetoric. At some point we have to disarm. To that end, imagine the reaction if Exodus were to just shut the DoT down. They could join with the GRP even, but dump that awful eyesore. That would be fearless, an act that would help distinguish them from a hateful crowd of posers.

    That’s the kind of major move that shows you work by faith, without fear of what the dry bones will think of you. I keep hoping.

  • Joe S

    How successful is the DoS? I find it difficult to believe that any kid at school could be silent for more than 1 minute.

    Is there a South Park parody of this?

  • http://jwalkergs.wordpress.com/ Jason

    Excellent, Andrew — as usual!! You inspired me to blog. :) Have a great trip this weekend. I’m praying for much productivity!!

  • Ricky

    Andrew — why do you believe that the DoT is Christians running away? From what I’ve read and know from the material from the DoT, is it not just letting the GLBT community that there is another option? That if they struggle with their sexuality or feel that it’s not what they want, that there is another option? Would you say that all of the GLBT community knows that it’s not our feelings or attractions that define us but it’s God? I know mnay guys I talk to never knew there could be an “ex-gay” thing where you decided what God is calling you to is higher than your attractions and feelings, inasmuch, changing your attractions to liking the opposite sex.

    I guess for me it’s how you present the message on the DoT… in actuality there is no talk on the DoS because everyone is silent! But rightly so, if we validate the GLBT on that day to stop the bullying, harrassing, etc., why not validate DoT, so that those that are not informed that there are other options, here it is!

    “People with differing, even opposing, viewpoints can freely exchange ideas and respectfully
    listen to each other. It’s time for an honest conversation about the biblical truth for sexuality.
    Let’s get the conversation started!”

    Sounds like they are doing the same thing as the DoS just from the other end of the stick. Let’s stand up and educate each other together!!! Why not?!?!?

    If we can talk freely on the DoT and talk about beliefs, faith, sexuality, God…. then stand together to stop any bullying, especially against the GLBT community the next day… Let’s do it!

  • Kevin

    Ricky – The Day of Silence is soley about opposing bullying and harassment at schools as the top of the page at http://www.dayofsilence.org states:

    “On the National Day of Silence hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.”

    That is the sole focus of the day and the LGBT community is not trying to promote their truth or push a pro-gay theology on anyone, but merely highlighting that they should not be on the receiving end of hateful speech or actions as a result of being a part of that community. Yet at the same time, the conservative Christian community seems to often use this day (with the DOT being one example) as an opportunity to express what they believe, which does not pertain to what the day is even about. Conversations on these topics need to happen, but trying to convince others of our beliefs on this particular day distracts from the main objective and I think that a lot more could be accomplished in relation to combating harassment if Christians could unify with the DOS efforts. By doing this, in no way would you be endorsing a pro-gay theology but would just be raising your to voice to say that harassment is wrong regardless of who you are and putting action to those words.
    In order to have those conversations that you speak about with individuals, those that hold a theologically conservative viewpoint on this need to start gaining the trust of the LGBT Christian and non-Christian community by engaging in projects like the DOS or Golden Rule Pledge if we would like for anyone from the LGBT community to even care what we have to say or give us the time of day. And engage in those discussions when the time is appropiate and relevant, with the Day of Silence not being one of those times.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X