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Christian groups criticize “Day of Truth”

NEW YORK—Irked by the success of the nationwide Day of Silence, which seeks to combat anti-gay bias in schools, conservative activists launched a counter-event this week called the Day of Truth, aimed at mobilizing students who believe homosexuality is sinful.

Participating students wore T-shirts with the slogan “The Truth Cannot be Silenced” and passed out cards to classmates Thursday—the day following the Day of Silence—declaring their unwillingness to condone “detrimental personal and social behavior.”

The driving force behind the Day of Truth is the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group that has opposed same-sex marriage and challenged restrictions on religious expression in public schools. The event is endorsed by several influential conservative organizations, including the Christian ministry “Focus on the Family” and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Mike Johnson, an Alliance Defense Fund attorney from Shreveport, Louisiana, said organizers were unsure how many students would participate in the Day of Truth, but expressed hope it would grow in coming years as more people learned about it.

Johnson said the event is meant to be “peaceful and respectful,” but made clear it is motivated by belief that homosexuality is wrong. “You can call it sinful or destructive—ultimately it’s both,” he said.

“But in the interests of respectful pluralism and tolerance,” Johnson added, “I insist that people should have the personal choice as to whether they consider homosexuality sinful or destructive or both.”

The event has met with sharp criticism, however, from Christian activists who believe that it does not go far enough.

“Mike Johnson likes to say, ‘ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set ye free,’” said Leviticus Wright of “Focus Even Harder on the Family,” an organization that has opposed same-sex sex and has challenged the very existence of public schools.  “Well, that’s one full truckload of nonsense right there.  Truth alone never got anyone up off the couch.  What gay teens need isn’t the so-called ‘truth’—it’s a good healthy dose of fear.”

Wright pointed to studies that showed that only 84 percent of gay and lesbian high school students experience verbal harassment on a regular basis at school, and a mere 40 percent experience physical harassment.

“What kind of world are we living in, where 60 percent of gay and lesbian teenagers can walk the school halls with impunity?” Wright asked.  “Where 16 percent flaunt their lifestyles without being verbally mocked or ostracized on a regular basis?  That’s not the America I grew up in– and that’s not the America any Christian should want to live in.”

Accordingly, Focus Even Harder on the Family and its allied organizations, including Campus Jihad for Christ and the Opus Dei is for Everyone Foundation, have proposed a national “Day of Fear.” The “Day of Fear” is scheduled for Friday, following both the Day of Silence and the Day of Truth.

Participating students are being offered T-shirts with the slogan “Thank God it’s Fear Friday” as well as “Fear Factor” and “Fear This” cards to pass out to classmates.  “We’re hoping,” said Wright, “that by the time the weekend rolls around, the youth of America will finally be scared straight.  With God’s help, of course.”

___

Post-satire alert, since this kind of thing has been misunderstood before:  the first five paragraphs of this post are taken almost verbatim from the AP wire.  Only the verb tenses in the second paragraph have been changed; the wingnuttery has not been tampered with.  It comes to you direct, in all its righteous wingnut glory, and the only thing I’ve done here is to make it a bit more explicit.

The Progressive Protestant has a more humane response.

Posted by on 04/15 at 07:37 AM
  1. I don’t know how you do it, Michael. You read stuff like this and respond to it in a constructive way combining satire and criticism. I read these things and I feel like I should turn in my membership card for the A.J. Muste society.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  10:39 AM
  2. For a couple of grafs, you had my hopes up just a little.
    But damn, that was funny!

    Posted by Ron Sullivan  on  04/15  at  11:01 AM
  3. The Truth Cannot Be Silenced, And the Truth Is, I’m a Homophobic Douchebag.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  01:01 PM
  4. I need a Campus Jihad for Christ t-shirt.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  01:06 PM
  5. But isn’t every day the Day of Fear? After all, by my last count, wingnuts tell us we should be fearful of all of the following:
    --Terrorist attacks
    --Evil Liberal Indoctrinatin’ Professors
    --Evil Liberal Media
    --Evil Liberal Activist Judges (especially the ones appointed by Reagan and Bush pere)
    --Evil Freedom Hatin’ Liberals
    --The Evil Homosexual Agenda
    --Evil Feminists (hey, Schlafly was on campus the other day)
    --The Evil Cheapening of Good Moral Values (thank you, Fox)
    --Evil God Hatin’ Liberals
    --Evil Small Business Hatin’ Liberals

    With so much to fear, I don’t know how they get through the day without collapsing into blubbering balls of goo. My, what fortitude.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  01:38 PM
  6. My feelings on this crew of jackasses is similar to that of Bill Murray in Stripes, addressing that one yokel: “You are a madman. When you stole that cow, and your friend tried to make it with the cow… I want to party with you, cowboy. If the two of us got together… forget it!”

    Posted by norbizness  on  04/15  at  01:45 PM
  7. I respectfully submit that dignifying reactionary publicity stunts like this with even a satirical response does the perpetrators an undue favor. My question is, are these people truly a substantive threat, or just loudmouth idiots making the nation’s sensible conservatives (if the legends be true) look bad? I find myself worrying more about the casual prejudice that infects the behavior and speech of the unexamined than that of the small number of individuals whose hatred persists after they’ve taken the time to sit and think about it.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  01:55 PM
  8. I heard a story about one of the nice things that fundamentalists are doing for young gay men.  Many young gays are isolated and unsure.  They have no one around them who feels the same way, or who is willing to admit it anyway.  Well, fundamentalists have set up bootcamps for these young men to meet others who have the same experience.  True, they are sent to these camps to be “cured” of their homosexuality, but for many of them it is their first chance to meet anyone of a like mind.  They meet these other young men and form a bond in their mutual struggle against the camp couselours.  I find that terribly funny....er I mean sweet.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  03:25 PM
  9. The terrorists have won. We’re living in an alternative universe.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  04/15  at  03:34 PM
  10. i think the real reason you posted this was to make sure, in your capacity as Minister of Beer, that we all run out and get stinkin’ drunk…

    ‘cause i for one am just about fresh out of any kind of rational response to the Heart-Land Taliban Jihad.

    -L.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  04:18 PM
  11. “But in the interests of respectful pluralism and tolerance, I insist that people should have the personal choice as to whether they consider homosexuality sinful or destructive or both.”

    Oh, yeah, there’s an open range of diverse opinion right there.

    I can’t belive that was something the wingnut said on his own.  Well, yes, I can, but I still can’t belive it with any rational logical part of my brain.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  04:20 PM
  12. Focus Even Harder on the Family, must have chosen to ally itself with the Department of Making Things Better for Children in the Middle East By Military Force, rather than with the ADF.  As Terry Jones reports in the Guardian, the DMTBCMEMF’s mission is to improve the plight of all Iraqi children that a report to the UN human rights commission in Geneva has concluded were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now.

    “For example, the policy of applying the most draconian sanctions in living memory totally failed to improve conditions.  By 1995 something like half a million Iraqi children were dead as a result of our efforts to help them.

    When a TV interviewer remarked that more children had died in Iraq through sanctions than were killed in Hiroshima, Mrs Albright famously replied: “We think the price is worth it.”

    But clearly George Bush didn’t. So he hit on the idea of bombing them instead. And not just bombing, but capturing and torturing their fathers, humiliating their mothers, shooting at them from road blocks - but none of it seems to do any good. Iraqi children simply refuse to be better nourished, healthier and less inclined to die. It is truly baffling.”
    http://politics.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,9115,1457669,00.html

    I can only hope that the increase of coercive practices in our nation’s schools’ hallways will have the same positive influence on homosexual behaviors.  But i suppose those masses of GLBT children will simply refuse to be inclined to submit; it is so difficult to understand.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  04:21 PM
  13. I agree with Njorl’s comment--fundamentalist boot camps for the “re-education” of young homosexuals are a prime example of how the Christian Right’s own attempts at supression end up backfiring in inspiring (not to mention cute and funny) ways.  It’s also a good illustration of that old Foucauldian notion of power’s exercise creating the possibility of resistance.  At the same time, I will say with some certainty that I am glad I was never sent to such a hateful and heinous institution.  Public school was trouble enough.

    P.S. Nice job at the roundtable discussion today.  I didn’t get to stay for long, but it was nice seeing you.  Tell Jamie I said hello and congratulations.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  05:09 PM
  14. Librarian,

    If you feel that way, it’s time to join the Unitarian Jihad! (Although we would not force you to choose between joining and getting stinking drunk, if your conscience leads you in that direction.)

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  05:11 PM
  15. Blessings Be Upon Thee, Brother Spikey.

    i am already a member of the UU Jihad. even more, i am apparently also a “Librarian of Terror”, according to the FraudPage of our friend D. Ho.--

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=15454

    “At one time American libraries stood at the heart of community education, forming in a positive way the minds and character of our youth, changing lives for the better. But sadly, the traditional mission of these august institutions of learning for generations of Americans is disappearing as they gradually turn into indoctrination centers against the United States and Israel.

    One of the main reasons for this tragic and disturbing turn of events is the American Library Association, where a clique of leftists has taken over, dedicating itself to padding libraries across America with anti-Israel books, videos and other materials, excluding both sides in the Israel/Palestine dispute.

    The American Library Association is the oldest and biggest professional society of librarians in the world with over 60,000 members. When college majors in Library Science graduate, they must have attended ALA accredited schools accredited if they hope to find the best jobs in their field. Starting in the 1980’s, hard-core leftists and pro-Palestinian activists have steadily been working to take control of the ALA much in the same manner as has occurred with Middle East Studies Centers on college campuses nationwide. These people decide what will you and your children will read and see at the local library.”

    *

    (while THIS librarian is not mentioned specifically by name, my institution is, my professional organization is, and so is my GOOD FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE who sits not more than 20 feet from my office! this is getting personal...)

    -Sister Lightning Strike of Liberation

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  05:29 PM
  16. “But in the interests of respectful pluralism and tolerance, I insist that people should have the personal choice as to whether they consider homosexuality sinful or destructive or both.”

    Actually, idiosynchronic, I confess that the parody begins with that paragraph.  I just loved Johnson’s “You can call it sinful or destructive—ultimately it’s both,” and decided to take it one half-step up.

    And while this blog always welcomes respectful disagreement, I have to disagree respectfully with your respectful disagreement, DGF.  Sure, these loons look like “loudmouth idiots” now.  But I don’t see them as substantively different from Loudmouth Idiot DeLay or Loudmouth Idiot Santorum or Loudmouth Idiot Coburn.  Who knows but that these loudmouth idiots will be setting the political tone of the country for years to come?

    Posted by Michael  on  04/15  at  06:20 PM
  17. Librarian,

    Just checked the catalogs here at the U of Chicago library, and found that they actually have a more complete collection of Horowitz and Coulter than they do of the nefarious Michael Moore. For instance, even though H’s Unholy Appliance came out roughly the same time as Fahrenheit 911, the former is stocked, while the latter is not (and we have a good video collection). We even have an extra copy of Coulter’s Treason in the Law Library here.

    Nonetheless, many of Moore’s books and videos are checked out, whereas none of the others’ books are. Unless you count the “missing” Coulter book. So I suppose it’s still possible that you liberal librarians are secretly pushing your agenda on an unsuspecting public. Also possible that you have to be extra careful here, what with the Committee on Social Thought.

    Anyway, just thought it was notable that a respectable academic library actually buys books written by Ann Coulter. But nothing at all in the Choose Your Own Adventure series.

    Posted by Lee  on  04/15  at  07:04 PM
  18. "Campus Jihad for Christ” is the best thing I’ve heard I’ll day.  I’m going to be using that one.

    And thanks for the link.  I’m a big fan of the blog.  grin

    Progressive Protestant, aka Brother Boomerang of Moderate Tolerance

    Posted by Chris T.  on  04/15  at  11:56 PM
  19. Shorter Kaplan on the ALA: Libraries have books I disagree with.

    Posted by luminous  on  04/16  at  12:33 AM
  20. Oh how wonderfully Swiftian! smile

    Posted by  on  04/16  at  12:29 PM
  21. This website is absolutely hilariously relevant: http://www.abstinenceonly.com/
    Almost as good as Michael’s humor smile

    Posted by Postmodernist  on  04/16  at  09:09 PM
  22. Re. Day of Truth. Should an artist’s political background influence our view of his work?
    I have posted about this on my blog On An Overgrown Path in the post Downfall and the mystery of Karajan’s personal photographer
    Comments and links welcome.
    Regards from the UK,
    Pliable

    Posted by Pliable  on  04/17  at  10:08 AM
  23. Dr. Berube,

    I am still recieving e-mails from Ralph Luker over that little spat.  He called me a Berubeian disciple.  It’s because of this sad turn of events that I have to make a very public break with you.

    I think the war in Afghanistan and all wars of America are imperial.  I would never serve in the military and would prefer if I could revoke my citizenship and move to another country.  I think throwing pies at conservative speakers is really funny and the correct response.  I also think you smell funny.

    I hope to God Luker reads that and leaves me the hell alone.

    Posted by  on  04/17  at  11:18 PM
  24. "Focus even harder on the Family” - brilliant!

    Posted by rev.paperboy  on  04/18  at  12:25 AM
  25. Fine.  So this is how it is, Anthony.  After you and I schemed for three years to gang up on KC Johnson, after we coordinated blog posts (even before we had blogs) and arranged a series of clandestine rendezvous across the nation from Cambridge to Berkeley, now you want to disown me just because Ralph Luker has developed an unhealthy obsession.

    Well, I know how these things go.  I’ve been spurned before, young man.  You will probably want to insist that you and I had never corresponded even once prior to that little spat, and that Ralph was simply out of his bird to suggest that I was “using” you in some way.  You may even be driven so far as to disagree with me about something important, like U.S. imperialism, in which case I will have to attack you mercilessly and take no prisoners.

    But as it happens, I do smell funny.  All of my friends and associates are aware of this.  And the fact that you are aware of this proves Ralph’s point, I’m afraid.

    I’ll see you at the coffee shop.  Remember to bring the KC Barbeque Sauce (that’s a code word, folks). 

    Posted by Michael  on  04/18  at  12:29 AM
  26. What the fuck is wrong with America?  The majority of the rest of the West has generally accepted faggots, queers, and dykes without problems - we haven’t sunk beneath the waves, been hit by lightening or had our cultures collapse.

    For God’s sakes, GROW UP!

    Posted by  on  04/18  at  11:39 PM
  27. "fundamentalist boot camps for the “re-education” of young homosexuals ...”

    They really, really have these places? In real life rather than in their imaginations?

    Well, who’d work in one? What sort of repressed, overcompensating roaring fruit would apply for the camp commandant gig?

    Posted by dave heasman  on  04/19  at  08:09 AM
  28. Anthony conveniently ignores the fact that he ran breathlessly over to Cliopatria to tell us that Michael had attacked KC. Jesus is worthy of such discipleship. None of the rest of us are.

    Posted by Ralph Luker  on  04/25  at  11:45 AM
  29. First it is not physically possible to run to another website.  Second it is really creepy that you found this comment thread and posted on it. Third I have obviously broken bitterly with Berube over this pie thing.

    Posted by  on  04/27  at  05:55 PM
  30. But I always said I was not worthy.  It’s about time people started agreeing.  This whole cult-of-personality thing is such a waste of time.

    Posted by  on  04/28  at  03:13 PM

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