Day of Dialogue
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In the United States of America, the Day of Dialogue is an annual student-focused event that challenges homosexuality. Its organizer, the Christian conservative group Focus on the Family, describes it as creating "a safe place for public school students to exercise their religious freedoms and express their deeply held Christian beliefs in a loving and respectful manner." 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 the harassment of LGBT students.
ADF's Day of Truth
The "Day of Truth" event was first organized in 2005, primarily through the efforts of the Alliance Defense Fund, with the endorsement of several major conservative organizations, including the Christian ministry group Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. According to the Alliance Defense Fund, the event was established in order to "counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective." In 2009 the ADF-sponsored "Day of Truth" website stated that the event gave students "an opportunity to speak the Truth in love and have an honest conversation about homosexuality", and encouraged participating students 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.
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. 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, leaving future matters open for litigation as though the previous trial had never occurred.
According to ADF, over 1,100 students in 350 schools participated in the first Day of Truth, in 2005.
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.
According to ADF, more than 7,000 students participated in the third Day of Truth, which was held on April 19, 2007.
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. ADF reached a settlement with the student's North Carolina high school in 2007, allowing the student to participate in 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." 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."
ADF announced that beginning in 2009, it passed on its leadership role in the Day of Truth to an ex-gay organization, Exodus International, which had already participated in running the event. On October 6, 2010, Exodus International said it would no longer be supporting or leading the Day of Truth since it had become too divisive and confrontational.
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. Focus on the Family said it would maintain the event's goal of "encouraging honest and respectful conversation among students about God's design for sexuality."
- Gilgoff, Dan (November 11, 2010). "New Christian sponsor takes over event challenging homosexuality" (blog post). CNN. cnn.com. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
- "Day of Dialogue". Focus on the Family. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- Janofsky, Michael (June 9, 2005). "Gay Rights Battlefields Spread to Public Schools". New York Times. nytimes.com. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
- "Group Makes Noise Over Day of Silence: Day of Truth Designed to Counter Gay-Supportive Observance". Associated Press. April 12, 2005. Via MSNBC. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
- "Learn About It: The Day of Truth Is Scheduled for April 20, 2009". Day of Truth. dayoftruth.org. Alliance Defence Fund. Archived from the original on 2009-04-11. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
- Foust, Michael (March 29, 2005). "'Day of Truth' Provides Response to Homosexual-Themed Day". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
- "ADF attorneys seek justice for high school student silenced on Day of Truth" (press release). Alliance Defense Fund. adflegal.org. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
- Supreme Court Summary Disposition
- Day of Truth participation statistics Archived 2008-06-26 at the Wayback Machine., Day of Truth website
- Breaking the silence: Day of Truth message undeterred by activist's intolerance, Alliance Defense Fund
- "Settlement allows NJ high school students to acknowledge Day of Truth". OneNewsNow.com. American Family Association. January 18, 2008. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
- ADF report on Arthurs v. Sampson County Board of Education, Alliance Defense Fund
- Victory for student First Amendment rights and religious speech at N.C. school, Alliance Defense Fund
- Hostile Questions : Day of Truth
- Homosexuality FAQ Sheet[permanent dead link], Day of Truth website
- "New Focus on Day of Truth: Now "Day of Dialogue" (Press release). Focus on the Family. November 11, 2010.