Day of Dialogue

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The Day of Dialogue is a student-led event which is organized by Focus on the Family which takes place in April. The goal of the event is "encouraging honest and respectful conversation among students about God's design for sexuality." It was previously known as the Day of Truth and was founded by the Alliance Defense Fund in 2005, in opposition to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's Day of Silence which protests against the harassment of LGBT students.[1]

History[edit]

ADF's Day of Truth[edit]

The Alliance Defense Fund states that it established the Day of Truth[2] "to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective."[3] ADF's web site regarding the Day of Truth states that the Day of Truth gives students "an opportunity to speak the Truth in love and have an honest conversation about homosexuality . . . . Participating students are encouraged to wear T-shirts and pass out cards with the following message: "I'm speaking the Truth to break the silence. True tolerance means that people with differing—even opposing—viewpoints can freely exchange ideas and respectfully listen to each other. It's time for an honest conversation about homosexuality. There's freedom to change if you want to. Let’s talk."[3][4] ADF claims that students who have attempted to speak against same-sex relationships and behavior have been censored or, in some cases, punished for their actions under campus hate-speech rules, such as Tyler Chase Harper, a high school student whose activism sparked the first Day of Truth. Harper was suspended for wearing a T-shirt that read "Be Ashamed" and "Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned," and on the back read, "Homosexuality is Shameful" and "Romans 1:27." The Alliance Defense Fund filed an unsuccessful federal lawsuit against school officials on behalf of Harper, claiming his religious freedoms were violated. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court.[5][6][7] The Supreme Court ruled that the case was moot because Harper had already graduated, declined to further consider it, and ordered the lower court to vacate their decision against Harper (see Vacated judgment), leaving future matters open for litigation as though the previous trial had never occurred.[8]

The Day of Truth was first organized in 2005. According to ADF, over 1,100 students in 350 schools participated in the first Day of Truth.[9]

The second Day of Truth was held on April 27, 2006, with nearly 3,000 students from more than 800 schools participating, according to ADF statistics. In February, ADF alleged that various unnamed bloggers opposed to the Day of Truth had attempted to undermine the event by swamping the Day of Truth web site with requests for brochures.[10]

According to ADF, more than 7,000 students participated in the third Day of Truth, which was held on April 19, 2007.[11]

In one of several Day of Truth-related legal actions, ADF filed a federal lawsuit in 2006 on behalf of a student who they claim was prevented by his school from participating in the event, despite allowing the Day of Silence.[6][12] ADF reached a settlement with the student's North Carolina high school in 2007, allowing the student to participate in Day of Truth.[13]

ADF has been criticized for organizing and promoting the Day of Truth; Kevin Jennings of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has described the event as "a publicity stunt cooked up by a conservative organization with a political agenda; it’s an effort by adults to manipulate some kids."[14] In response, Mike Johnson of ADF contends that “We wouldn’t have come up with the Day of Truth if Christian kids hadn’t been silenced in the first place. . . . The public school is part of the free market of ideas — if the other side is going to advance their point of view, it’s only fair for the Christian perspective to present their view, too."[14]

After ADF[edit]

ADF has announced that beginning in 2009, it is passing on its leadership role in the Day of Truth to an ex-gay organization, Exodus International,[15] who has prepared the resources for the event.[16] On October 6, 2010, Exodus International stated they will no longer be supporting or leading the Day of Truth.[17]

On November 6, 2010, Focus on the Family announced it had acquired the Day of Truth event and was renaming it to the Day of Dialogue. The goal would remain unchanged.[18][19] The 2011 event was announced to be held on April 18.[20][21] In 2012, the event was scheduled for April 19.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]