Monday, February 21, 2011

Focus On The Family's "Day of Dialogue" - Bullying In Its Truest Form

     In response to GLSEN's Day of Silence, Focus on the Family is once again encouraging students to participate in a "Day of Dialogue", a day which is supposedly aimed at presenting a Biblical view of human sexuality and God's design for marriage.

    Interestingly, Focus on the Family is taking a different tactic than they have normally done. Instead of just focusing on the homosexual indoctrination that is taking place in public schools across the nation, they are adding an anti-bullying element to their special day. Though I applaud this effort of FOTF, the purpose of their Dialogue is anything but positive. Instead of addressing the hatred and the animosity that LGBT students have to face every single day because they are different from the rest of their heterosexual counterparts, this Day of Dialogue perpetuates this animosity.

       One thing that Focus fails to realize is that when you tell teens that their classmates are sinners and are going to hell because they have not "accepted Christ as their savior", as well as treat their very being as something wrong, these kids will react to their counterparts in the same manner.  Though Focus might like to think that these children will react to their LGBT classmates in the same way that Jesus did, who are we really kidding? Are these children Jesus? Are they going to treat their classmates with the grace that Jesus supposedly showed Mary Magdalene the prostitute? Or instead are they going to treat them like the social outcasts and lepers that many Christians think that they are.

     Not only does Focus overestimate the message of abnormality that its message will have on those delivering the message, it also fails to realize the pain that it will cause those students who do identify as LGBT. Think about it this way; If you were beaten, made fun of, teased, and called horrible things constantly at school - would you not want to stop it any way possible? Would you not attempt to "change" your sexuality - the thing that has been causing you all this trouble? This potential way out will be tried, and has been tried, by many a kid, with disastrous results - such as broken families and ruined lives.

    In the end, Focus on the Family's "Day of Dialogue" will only lead to broken people. By accepting Focus's supposed rejection of bullying, we are instead allowing in an even more pernicious type of bullying - a bullying whose effects cannot be immediately seen, but do have emotional and psychological consequences for years. The Day of Dialogue will only lead children in our schools to even more self-hatred and failed efforts to change, rather than an acceptance and a celebration of who they are as a person.

        Though Focus may have the Constitutional Right to conduct such a day, it does not mean that we have to sit by and allow their failed messages of change and self-hatred to win the day. Do we want an actual discussion of this topic in schools, like Focus supposedly wants to have? I would challenge us all, that during this Day of Discussion, we present these kids the testimonies of our lives and the reason and logic of science to back us up. Though that won't change the presenters minds in any way, our resistance might be what steers a kid from years of self-hatred and despair. That is one thing that is definitely worth our time.

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