AFA Stupidity on the Day of Silence

AFA Stupidity on the Day of Silence April 8, 2007

As this year’s Day of Silence approaches (it’s April 18th), the religious right is increasingly losing its mind over the idea that thousands of high school kids around the country will, in a peaceful and civil manner, stand up for the right of gays and lesbians not to be bullied and abused. That thought seems to be driving them insane (admittedly a short trip for the Donald Wildmons of the world). Now the American Family Association is telling parents to keep their kids home from school that day, lest they discover that some of their friends don’t hate gays as much as their parents want them to.

The Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association (AFA) is warning parents across the U.S. to keep their children home from public schools on April 18, as a nationwide pro-homosexual observance takes place. That Wednesday marks this year’s “Day of Silence,” an event sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN; but an official with AFA says public school children should not be subjected to pro-homosexual rhetoric during the so-called Day of Silence.

I love that – “pro-homosexual” rhetoric. You’d think that the kids participating in the Day of Silence were handing out cards that said, “Wouldn’t you really rather be having anal sex with someone of the same gender right now?” But of course, that’s not true. What they’re protesting is prejudice and bigotry aimed at homosexuals, particularly at the bullying and abuse that so many gay teenagers have to face in schools every day. Only someone who thinks that kind of bullying is okay would equate that with “pro-homosexual” rhetoric.

And now the flagrant lies begin:

For the yearly pro-homosexual observance, students in many U.S. public schools are asked to remain silent that day to express support for the homosexual agenda or to hand out pro-homosexual literature. But AFA Special Projects Director Randy Sharp is encouraging parents and concerned citizens whose community schools are taking part in the “Day of Silence” to take pro-family action in response to the event.

“What American Family Association is recommending is for, number one, parents to write their school administrator and tell them they oppose the administration giving free rein to homosexual activist groups,” Sharp says. “And, number two,” he adds, “we recommend that if your school is participating in the ‘Day of Silence,’ that you simply keep your child home from school that day.”

Reading that one would think that kids are “asked to remain silent” by school administrations catering to “homosexual activist groups”; that is a flat out lie. It is the students themselves who choose to participate and that has nothing to do with whether the school is okay with it or not. Schools themselves do not participate in the event, students at schools participate (and so do some teachers, if they choose to).

The AFA spokesman feels the “Day of Silence” showcases a double-standard evident throughout society and many schools. “You’ve got two factions,” he observes. “You have these who choose to remain silent to promote their agenda; and you have those who are forced to remain silent, because if they speak out against the ‘Day of Silence,’ they’ll be labeled as homophobes, as bigots, as being intolerant.”

Nonsense. In fact, groups like the AFA already have organized a response to the Day of Silence, called the Day of Truth. And while a few school administrators who are ignorant of the law have tried to prevent it from happening, the courts have generally ruled in favor of the students, as they should. Students can and do participate in precisely the same kind of protest on the other side if they choose to. In fact, irony of ironies, the very next article on the Christian news service that this press release says:

A spokesman for the organization that launched the annual nationwide “Day of Truth” for high schools says it’s expecting more than 4,000 students from hundreds of schools to participate in 2007 — based on past involvement counts and significantly increased registration already this year.

It sure would be nice if they’d get their story straight. Are thousands of kids going to participate or are they going to be prevented from participating? Pick a horse and ride it, folks. And it would be nice if these demagogues and frauds would stop equating a protest against anti-gay bullying with being “pro-homosexual.” The only way that makes sense is if you’re in favor of gay teenagers getting beaten up and bullied. And if that’s what you’re for, come right out and say it.

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