Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Day of Silence Boycott

Most of my readers know about the Day of Silence, a day when many kids in high schools around the country don’t speak at school for the day to call attention to anti-gay bigotry and bullying. Well now a religious right group is calling on parents to boycott by pulling their kids out of school that day. Apparently, even knowing that other people don’t hate gays is enough to turn your kids gay. Run! Run away!

“Teenagers deserve an opportunity to study English, history, math, and science — without being subjected to pro-homosexual proselytizing sanctioned by school authorities,” Harvey said on a Web site she has opened to call for the boycott.

Yeah! How are our kids supposed to learn how to do differential equations knowing that other kids actually think gay kids should be treated the same as other kids? Won’t someone think of the children? On the other hand, pulling them out of school kind of impedes their learning too, doesn’t it? But wait….there’s more.

“Students shouldn’t be forced to self-censor or adopt beliefs contrary to those of their parents and places of worship,” Linda Harvey said on NotOurKids.com.

A real genius, this one. One would think her kids were being forced to be silent that day. Of course, that’s nonsense – but why let a little thing like reality get in the way of a perfectly good paranoid rant? And this coalition they’ve put together to boycott includes Concerned Women for America, Americans for Truth and other religious right gay haters.

April 18th is this year’s Day of Silence, when thousands of kids are expected to observe the day by not speaking. When spoken to they will hand out a card that says:

“Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?”

Anyone who touches that card, of course, will immediately become gay. Best to keep them home, obviously.

Comments

  1. #1 Jim Ramsey
    March 28, 2007

    from “South Pacific”, the song “You’ve got to be carefully taught”.

    As loving Christians, the benficiaries of God’s loving grace, it’s important that we make it very clear to everyone just exactly whom we hate.

    It’s even more important that we teach this hatred to our children, so that they can carry on the tradition.

  2. #2 Robert
    March 28, 2007

    How is other students refusing to speak being disruptive to anything? I think this is one of the more clever protests I have ever heard of. The fact that other groups are complaining that some people aren’t talking is about the silliest thing ever. Which is good, let them look stupid to everyone. We need more of that.

  3. #3 llDayo
    March 28, 2007

    “Teenagers deserve an opportunity to study English, history, math, and science — without being subjected to pro-homosexual proselytizing sanctioned by school authorities,” Harvey said on a Web site she has opened to call for the boycott.

    Another point you could have made with this was to reword it: “Homosexual teenagers deserve an opportunity to study English, history, math, and science — without being subjected to anti-homosexual proselytizing sanctioned by bigots,” Harvey forgot to say on a Web site she has opened to spread christian hate.

  4. #4 Alison
    March 28, 2007

    If they’re serious, they should pull an all-out boycott and send their kids to christian schools or homeschool, then nobody else has to deal with them. At least for a little while.

  5. #5 Gretchen
    March 28, 2007

    “Teenagers deserve an opportunity to study English, history, math, and science — without being subjected to pro-homosexual proselytizing sanctioned by school authorities,”

    Wait, how exactly are the school authorities sanctioning it? By allowing it?

    So let’s see….when government entities do not actively promote Christianity in the public sphere, they’re prohibiting it. But when they permit individuals to “promote” homosexuality (I use scare quotes because they’re actually promoting tolerance), the government entity is promoting it?

    Did I get that right? And does this seem to anybody else like a screaming need for consciousness adjustment on par with the kind a lot of men needed in the advent of feminism? In other words, “The removal of your privilege does not equate to your oppression.”

  6. #6 Gretchen
    March 28, 2007

    Or to put a more positive spin on it, “The granting to others the rights you currently enjoy does not equate to your oppression.”

  7. #7 CPT_Doom
    March 28, 2007

    “Students shouldn’t be forced to self-censor or adopt beliefs contrary to those of their parents and places of worship,” Linda Harvey said on NotOurKids.com.

    I am so glad that Ms. Harvey is standing up for the rights of Roman Catholic teenagers to refuse to recognize the “marriages” of their friends’ parents, not to mention their teachers, who have been previously divorced, and to denounce the “lifestyle choices” of those who practice heresy by not worshipping in the Roman Catholic Church.

    Oh, wait, that’s not what she meant. Oops.

  8. #8 Eamon Knight
    March 28, 2007

    About the Day Of Silence itself: there are occasions when a teacher may legitimately call on a student to say something (eg. answer a question in class, participate in discussion). If the “silence” applies even to these situations, might not someone deem it disruptive? (Not that this justifies a boycott).

  9. #9 GH
    March 28, 2007

    is standing up for the rights of Roman Catholic teenagers to refuse to recognize the “marriages” of their friends’ parents, not to mention their teachers, who have been previously divorced

    I see this now and again in the comments and it’s not such a good analogy. There are plenty of better ones involving the RCC’s hypocrisy.

  10. #10 Robert
    March 28, 2007

    Eamon: I think that its not really disruptive, and while the teacher could punish the student for not participating I don’t think they can compell the student to talk.

    Also, I think if they explain it to the teachers the day before, or explain on the card that they will do their best on the schoolwork despite not talking I think most teachers won’t have a problem with it. The ones that do will most likely have issues with the idealogical component, not the non-speaking component.

  11. #11 Stuart Coleman
    March 28, 2007

    I really want to know what these people are thinking. How is this disruptive? If anything having most of the school quiet would help learning.

  12. #12 Rob Knop
    March 28, 2007

    DOH — Ed, you Bastard!

    Just from reading this blog post I have now BECOME GAY!

    It’s all your fault. You gave me TEH GAY.

    -Rob

  13. #13 Rob Knop
    March 28, 2007

    About the Day Of Silence itself: there are occasions when a teacher may legitimately call on a student to say something (eg. answer a question in class, participate in discussion). If the “silence” applies even to these situations, might not someone deem it disruptive? (Not that this justifies a boycott).

    I have a friend who is a former student, and one of the most “out” gay people I knew. (A colleague who was visiting, and who would later be a post-doc, described him as introducing himself as, “Hi, I’m Ryan! I’m gay!” That’s not quite true, but he felt no need to hide it.) He told me that the “rules” of the Day of Silence *do* allow participating in classroom discussion and so forth. As such, it’s not really disruptive at all. The silence is for most of the day — between classes, normal social interactions, etc. And, yeah, in college that’s a greater fraction of your on-school day than it is in high school, but the point can be made without having to sacrifice classroom participation.

    -Rob

  14. #14 caia
    March 28, 2007

    The Day of Silence was also observed at my university. As I remember it, participants refrained from speaking in class as well, except in situations where it would hurt them academically. This applied to foreign language classes, where daily participation is a large portion of your grade, and to oral exams. But I think many people chose not to participate in classroom discussions as well.

    Basically it was, if you have to talk, talk. So in high school, where you’re more likely to get called on even if you don’t raise your hand, students probably would answer.

    Which all adds up to a protest that is almost completely undisruptive… except to people’s assumptions and prejudices. Which is what the haters really hate.

  15. #15 Ed Brayton
    March 28, 2007

    Rob-

    How will you ever tell your wife?

  16. #16 Matt
    March 28, 2007

    Rob, um… are you busy tonight?

  17. #17 Rob Knop
    March 28, 2007

    Ed – I’ll just send her a link to this blog. Then she’ll suddenly be a lesbian, and it will all be OK.

    Matt — sorry, I’m going to a classical music concert tonight. Now that I’m gay and all, you know.

    -Rob

  18. #18 tacitus
    March 28, 2007

    Those parents who take their children out of school in protest should receive this letter:

    Dear Parent,

    Thank you for taking your child out of school for this year’s Day of Silence protest. Your actions have helped to highlight the continuing need to draw awareness to the homophobia that takes place in classrooms around the country.

    Your efforts in this regard are much appreciated.

    Sincerely,

  19. #19 jim Spencer
    March 28, 2007

    I have finally figured out why the religious right always seem to be thinking that the “Government” is attacking them. Their beliefs are handed to them from an authority. So when a school “government” allows or disallows something seen as contrary to their teaching, that is seen as coming from an authority supporting something contrary to their teachings.

  20. #20 etbnc
    March 28, 2007

    There’s at least one other factor at work here, I think, one we overlook because it’s hidden in plain sight. It seems to me one of the lessons we tacitly expect our kids to learn in school is to be obedient to authority figures.

    There have been a number of eyebrow-raising incidents in recent years which illustrate the lengths we will go to obtain obedience. (My current favorite is the case of the notorious Napa Tigger socks. And if I remember correctly, Dr. Free Ride might provide another example.)

    For people who hold a certain worldview, classroom obedience seems to be a goal that’s secondary to other learning goals, and so it can be safely overridden on some occasions.

    For folks who hold a certain other worldview, conforming to cultural norms and showing obedience to authority are very important lessons. For those folks, the idea that students could plan and carry out a protest of any perceived cultural norm probably seems intrinsically disruptive.

  21. #21 CPT_Doom
    March 28, 2007

    is standing up for the rights of Roman Catholic teenagers to refuse to recognize the “marriages” of their friends’ parents, not to mention their teachers, who have been previously divorced
    I see this now and again in the comments and it’s not such a good analogy. There are plenty of better ones involving the RCC’s hypocrisy.

    I was not trying to point out any specific hypocrisy on the part of the Roman Catholic community, but rather point out that those same people like Harvey who claim that accepting others who are different or don’t follow their specific religious beliefs is an attack on religious freedom seem to forget the number of “immoral lifestyles” everyone has to accept on a daily basis. There is not one human being on this planet who meets the criterion of “morality” for every religion in this country, so every day we all must “compromise” our religious beliefs, if only to accept the rights of other to live by their own religions.

  22. #22 Dr X.
    March 28, 2007

    Good post and many interesting comments.

  23. #23 daenku32
    March 28, 2007

    War is peace.
    Transcripts are a spectacle.
    Up is down.

    and now..

    Silence is proselytizing.

  24. #24 James
    March 29, 2007

    Gretchen:

    Or to put a more positive spin on it, “The granting to others the rights you currently enjoy does not equate to your oppression.”

    Actually Gretchen this is quite normal for tribalistic thinking – “that which is not forbidden is compulsory”. So if Christianity is not compulsory its forbidden and if homosexuality is not forbidden its compulsory. Stupid, but it carries its own warped internal logic.

  25. #25 CJ Croy
    March 29, 2007

    Anyone who touches that card, of course, will immediately become gay.
    I was eating lunch during my high school’s day of silence with a group of other students from the GSA. We were pretty psyched; after five minutes together we’d already successfully implemented communism and were wondering what to do for an encore. So when I heard a girl behind us randomly yelling “GAY DAY!” at us, I knew just what to do to top communism: Bring a homophobe around to my way of thinking. So I gave her one of my cards.

    She threw it to the floor and declared, “I don’t want this!” A guy at her table jumped leaped back in his seat and called out, “Keep that GSA away from me?”

    I stopped and asked myself what Tom Cruise would do. Hrm…Tom Cruise would give him a lap dance! So that’s exactly what I did. I sauntered over to the table and plopped myself into his lap, lovingly stroking his chest and running my tongue over my lips. After a minute of this, I grew bored and went back to my seat.

    The rest of the GSA was VERY confused. I was the token straight guy, WTF was I doing giving out lap dances? I finished eating, picked up my tray and wandered over to the trashcan to dump my garbage. Mr. Homophobe jerked back as I passed by him, but he was safe.

    …Until I remembered another student had paid me back five bucks that morning. I fished it out of my pocket and walked by him, waving the money at him as I gave him my best “Come hither” look. A guy at his table asked Homophobe why he was worried about me waving money at him. Homophobe knew exactly what I meant. “I don’t know what I’ll have to do to get that money.”

    This story doesn’t have a happy ending where the homophobe delivers a stirring sermon in defense of a gay men to a lynch mob, saving him from certain doom. This story ends with me being a sad panda because all the women now thought I was gay. Convincing women I was sensitive and cared was the whole damn reason I joined the GSA in the first place!

  26. #26 Daniel Kim
    March 29, 2007

    “Convincing women I was sensitive and cared was the whole damn reason I joined the GSA in the first place!”

    So . . . um . . . you joined the GSA to pick up women?

  27. #27 Martin R
    March 29, 2007

    There are actually a couple of 6th/7th century rune stones in southern Sweden that threaten vandals with the Curse of Gayness.

  28. #28 jba
    March 29, 2007

    I cant speak for his, but the GSA in my HS was mostly straight. It was pretty much just a statement of tolerance to be in it. I myself wasnt a member (extra-curicular activities werent really my thing) but I played in a couple bands that played some GSA events and there were always girls at those things who liked guys. It worked out pretty well, you got points for playing in a band, being ok with gay people and being one of the few straight guys there. Ah, good times.

  29. #29 jba
    March 29, 2007

    this was supposed to be at the top of my post…

    “So . . . um . . . you joined the GSA to pick up women?”

  30. #30 CJ Croy
    March 30, 2007

    [I]“So . . . um . . . you joined the GSA to pick up women?”[/I]
    Partly. I did care and all, but women perceiving me as caring was a nice kicker. Anyway, straight women were a super-majority of the members.

  31. #31 Jessica
    April 17, 2007

    Wow, just…wow. I have those cards and I’m planning to hand them out tommorow proudly. And no, I am not gay. Unless…I don’t know it! Yeah, that’s it…and I’m going to infect all the other people who I hand the cards to! XDD! Now that I got my sarcasm out of my system…I actually feel bad for those who think that a small student run program is really that horrible. I mean, it’s just a day. And hey, you get people to shut up for a day! I’m sure many people would love that! Including some teachers..whatever, they can think and say what they want..I’ll just go to school tommorow and not talk. (Which is apparently disruptive to the school. Oh noes. -.- )