Christian Teens and Gay Teens: It’s in the Cards

Christian Teens and Gay Teens: It’s in the Cards February 25, 2010

Yesterday I received an email from Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a fellow blogger on the Christian website Last year Dr. Throckmorton founded an initiative called “The Golden Rule Pledge.”

This April 16th, students in middle schools through colleges across the country will be participating in the 14th annual Day of Silence, wherein they will not only stop talking for the day, but will also be handing out cards reading:

Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence,  which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building  awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today.

Many conservative Christian parents will respond to the DOS by keeping their teens home from school.

Instead of staying home, Dr. Throckmorton would like Christian teens to attend school, and, when handed one of the DOS cards, hand back a card he has made, the “Golden Rule Pledge” card, upon which is printed this:

This is what I’m doing. The Golden Rule. I pledge to treat others the way I want to be treated. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

Dr. Throckmorton wrote me to ask if I would recommend to my readers his GRP card and initiative. In response I emailed him this:

Hi, Warren. I certainly appreciate you asking me about this, but I’m afraid that [handing out your GRP card] is just not something that I personally would recommend. The (too blunt, I’m afraid: forgive me!) truth is, if I were gay, that card would piss me off, insofar as I would understand it as both condescending and a lie. I would know that the Christian offering it to me does not, in fact, extend to me the same respect he certainly wants for himself (making it a lie), and that without question he feels that he is morally superior to me [making it condescending]. If I were gay, I would much rather have a Christian classmate of mine stay home than hand me one of those cards. I don’t think it’s possible for those cards to do anything but further divide gays and Christians. But … no offense to you personally! I certainly appreciate what you’re trying to do.”

I then sent him a follow-up email to say that, if he’d liked, I’d post our brief exchange here on my blog, as a means of presenting the matter to my four or five readers, and perhaps thereby discover their thoughts on it. (“I think a lot of them probably would like the idea,” I wrote.) If you have anything to say about the DOS, or his proposed response to it, Dr. Throckmorton is listening.

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