Day of Truth / Silence / Golden Rule

Last year I used the Day of Truth to talk about what "post-gay" meant to me.

This year I want to highlight a post Warren Throckmorton has made in connection with his campaign to emphasise the Golden Rule on the Day of Silence (which was on Friday). The post is one person’s email to Warren about how she carried out her Golden Rule witness on Friday.

Yesterday was the Day of Silence. A national event where students on their campuses are silent for the entire day to bring awareness to the silencing of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) students. This community has been daily silenced by the name-calling, bullying, and harassment simply because of their sexuality. Many Christians are confused about how to respond to this day because they do not agree with homosexuality, but they do agree that hatred based on it is not acceptable.

This year I decided to get involved. I went to Campus Crusade for Christ as well as Intervarsity Fellowship to present the idea of participating. They both said they wanted to participate but I was absolutely astonished when Campus Crusade said that not only did they want to support it as individuals, but as a ministry. When I heard this, my heart was pounding- it was a prayer come true.
I can’t give you a count of how many students from the ministries actually participated. It might have been one, or many. But to me, it was their sincere desire to do something that really hit me hard. I have long been frustrated with the Christian community’s response to the GLBT group. When Crusade called me, a little piece of anger towards the church was cast away.

Students at our school chose to participate by duct taping their mouths shut in complete silence, and when people asked why, handing them a slip of paper that explained. While I was more than fine with doing this, I wanted to do more. I wanted to make it clear that not only do I love them, but Christ does also. So I made my own slips, not to preach, but to break down the walls between the Christian and LGBT communities. The slips I made said this:

“Today I am pledging to be silent to bring attention to the name-calling, bullying and harassment experienced by LGBT students.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Luke 6:31

As a follower of Christ, I believe that all people are created in the image of God and therefore deserve love and respect.”

Yesterday morning, when I went to the SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance) table to receive my piece of duct tape, I showed them my slips and told them that several ministries would be participating as well. The look on their faces was priceless. They were shocked, but ecstatic. This alone would have been enough to make my day.

But there was still more to be done. Eric Heistand from Campus Crusade for Christ had the idea of bringing a flower to the head faculty advisor of SAGA. We left flowers and a card that read,

“Dear Mary Ballard and SAGA: As followers of Christ, we want to stand beside you in silence to bring attention to the name-calling, bullying and harassment on college campuses around the world directed toward the LGBT community. We believe that all people have been created in the image of God and therefore have infinite worth and dignity. May these flowers and our silence be a symbol of our desire to show true love and concern. May they also be small step in breaking down some of the walls that sometimes divide us. In silence we stand with you, Jordyne Krumroy Eric Heistand on behalf of Campus Crusade for Christ.”

At 5 pm, the students who participated gathered at a theatre to break the silence by letting a scream go and then talking about their experiences. I was 10 minutes late due to a nap, but when I got there people greeted me with hugs, handshakes, and smiling faces. I discovered that Mary Ballard, the teacher who we gave the flowers and card, read the card aloud to the community.

People came up to me shocked. Over and over, people said to me, “Thank you. You don’t know how much this means to me. I’m amazed. Thank you!” The students seemed really surprised that a ministry, especially a Christian ministry would do that. I talked with several students, but one student spoke with me for a while. She told me that she was so surprised and couldn’t believe her eyes that she had to read the card twice even before it was read aloud. I’m so grateful for the relationships that were begun yesterday just by pledging to be silent for less than 24 hours. Later that night I went to eat with several of them and hung out until the wee hours of the morning. It was wonderful.

To those of you reading, I wish I could tell you in person because this day deserves more than a short summary. Yesterday, the LGBT community saw something revolutionary- they saw Christians loving them and more than that, they saw the love of Christ. What would happen if next year, hundreds of Christian students walked around with duct tape in silence?

I have to tell you about how I felt yesterday walking around in silence with duct tape. I felt humiliated at times, and other times proud. You see, everywhere I went, people stared. I felt like a leper, completely stigmatized from people. In fact, I was experiencing what the LGBT community has experienced for decades.

As I was walking to my dorm, I realized why 30% of LGBT students report having missed one or more days of school per year out of fear. Walking by a dorm, someone opened their window and yelled a derogatory statement to me. I was scared. There was such anger in his voice that I was fearful to walk by the dorm again later that day. I was reminded of Lawrence King, a 14 year old who was murdered because of his homosexuality just two months ago.

Yesterday was amazing. The best day of the year by far. The truth is, this group has been disappointed by the church. I know that as people read that, some will become angry with me. ‘Not my church’ they will say. But when “Christians” hold signs on campus that read, “ God hates Fags.” and “fags burn in hell,” the LGBT community associates that with Christianity. Many people have told me that they have never said anything derogatory to the gay community, but the problem is they haven’t said anything at all. You see, half of the church is screaming hate at them, and the other half is silent. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that silence is powerful. The failure to not say anything, has said a lot.

This [Golden Rule Pledge] was a great first step for me to get out there in ministry. So thanks so much to you!

I don’t know how to end this note, but hopefully there won’t be an end. This is just the beginning…

‘Nuff said really.

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  • Kitty

    People cannot cross a bridge that hasn’t been built.

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com Jay

    I’m proud to say this happened in my great home state of North Carolina, at Appalachian State University. I actually learned today that I personally know a girl that knows the girl who wrote the e-mail. It’s kinda awesome, really. I think this is just an amazing way for Christians to reach out and show love to a community that hardly ever sees it from Christians.

  • http://perpetuaofcarthage.blogspot.com/ Perpetua

    This is such good news. It would really help to be reminded of this a month before next year’s Day of Silence.

  • Jack

    Peter,

    First let me say thanks for this article. It is good to know that Conservative Christians are making efforts to improve relationships with GLBT Students. As one who advises GLBT Student Groups and serves on numerous National GLBT Student Advocacy Boards, we appreciate the olive branch. Being a gay christian myself, I must confess, however, that, even though I am thankful for the “kinder, gentler” approach now being used by some Conservative Christians, I am all too aware of the underlying agenda of such actions that occured during the “day of silence”. It may be an assumption on my part, but I cannot help but feel that this “outreach” is only designed to convince GLBT Students to come to a Bible Study so that they may somehow leave behind their sinful ways.

    Please do not misunderstand me, I truly believe that the efforts made were done in good faith but I have been around Conservative Christian Campus Groups long enough to know that there sometimes is a hidden motive. So while we appreciate the support, I would not expect GLBT students to really see you in a much different light-because they will ultimately figure out the true intent of your “outreach”. The best thing you can do is be supportive and listen–thats what they need. I think it is completely acceptable to share your beliefs about homosexuality–dialogue is important– but dont expect or build a relationship with them around the notion of conversion–you will only lose their respect.

    Thanks Again for Your Article.

  • Jack

    Peter,

    So I just re-read my comment to you I think it sounded a little harsh. Please dont take it that way. I do appreciate your willingness to walk with us on this journey even though we may see things differently. Peace, Jack

  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

    Not a problem Jack. Thanks for leaving your comments.

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