Sharing God’s Truth at School
“I Will Not Be Silenced”
13-year-old Day of Dialogue student
But you might wonder–What kind of real-life impact do these initiatives actually have?
The answer to that question comes from powerful feedback recently received from the students, and their families, who took part in Day of Dialogue. On this day, Christian students put their First Amendment rights into practice and boldly expressed a redemptive, Christ-centered viewpoint on controversial, sexuality issues already being promoted in their schools. An estimated 25,000 courageous students and youth leaders participated in last year’s event (on April 16).
One of the most compelling reports came from a family in Massachusetts. “Thank God we just found out about Day of Dialogue … It is an answer to prayer,” said Karen, the mother of two high school students. “We live in a very liberal area and the opposition to Christian beliefs is harsh.” She added: “The events of Diversity Week and the Day of Silence at [our high school] have become fanatical, even to the point now that … unisex bathrooms are on the way.”
Karen’s family, as well other community members, appeared before their local school board to express support of students’ equal-opportunity rights to have a Day of Dialogue. “Christians believe … the Word of God, the Bible, to be the source of truth,” Karen explained to the board. “We do not hate, judge, or condemn anyone, as that is contrary to our beliefs and the teachings of the Bible. We are against bullying, slander, and bigotry. We strive to love ALL others as Christ loves us. We support free will.”
“But our beliefs are often mischaracterized and even ridiculed. Some have tried to prevent our perspective on issues from even being discussed in public schools.”
Then Karen provided some disturbing examples of this one-sided treatment: “During the classroom discussion period in Diversity Week, a student raised his hand and asked, ‘Isn’t there another perspective that is not being presented here?’ and the teacher replied, ‘What other perspective–you mean the KKK?’”
“On a recent field trip, my son was harassed – by his ‘friends’ – for buying lunch at Chick-fil-A,” Karen went on to explain. “He was harshly told that they are homophobic and he should not buy from them. Well, our daughter and several members of our church work there.” Ironically, she pointed out, the students who “harassed him are some of the very same students who made the diversity videos. It seems that the anti-bullying crowd has become a crowd of bullies themselves.”
She concluded her comments with this powerful statement: “Christians have a different belief system than that, and have every right and responsibility to share our perspective in a peaceful, loving, respectful manner. It is possible to disagree without disrespecting; to have meaningful conversation without confrontation.”
“Christian students will respectfully request to share their perspective in a Day of Dialogue at the high school before the end of this school year. … We support their efforts.”
Her daughter Grace,17, also spoke directly to the school board (see photo below). Grace later told Day of Dialogue that her decision to speak was spontaneous and her comments were unprepared.
“I am a junior in high school,” she told the board members. “And I have experienced some of these things firsthand … I’m not trying to be intolerant of anyone in any way, shape or form. And I feel like [people at school] always trying to change my opinions in its own way is somewhat intolerant. And I think that we need to learn how to be able to deal with everyone’s beliefs in a healthy manner, yet still be able to stand on our own two feet and have our own beliefs at the end of the day. … I think this Day of Dialogue is important because it doesn’t push a certain agenda, it just encourages healthy discussion about what the Christian beliefs are.”
At presstime, Grace said that she and several of her friends had requested permission from school officials to have a Day of Dialogue and had at first been denied. The good news is, the students have recently obtained permission to put up posters, but they are still inquiring about the right to do other free-speech activities, such as distribute the Conversation Cards before and after class.
Situations like these are the reason Day of Dialogue partners with Alliance Defending Freedom—a national legal ministry defending the rights of Christian students and parents. (Read more about students’ legal rights to have a Day of Dialogue.)
In addition to this powerful story, below is a sampling of feedback we received from other students and youth leaders:
Ashlee, a 16-year-old high school student, and her friends participated by wearing Day of Dialogue’s “Let’s Talk!” wristbands at school (see photo) and distributing the Conversation Cards. She said this was her “first time ever hearing about Day of Dialogue and, after reading all the details, I am all in with the mission, goals and themes” and excited about “sharing God with my school.”
Lily, a 13-year-old student, said: “My teacher for one of my classes wants us all for 45 minutes to be silent [for Day of Silence]; what he doesn’t know is that I will not be silenced, and I will stand for what I believe—and if that means respectfully saying, ‘Hey, Jesus Christ loves you’ … then that’s what I’m going to do, because Jesus loves us all and died for us.” Lily also shared that she and her best friend invited others to “have lunch with us to talk about the Day of Dialogue … We go to a public school and we took risks in doing so because many kids don’t agree with what we believe … We gathered these kids and talked with them about Jesus Christ and how he loves us all … and we should stand up to bullying, to bow when others stand and stand when others bow.”
Beatriz, a youth leader, shared that their youth group (students ages 11-17) “started by praying the day before (we prayed as a group) and then their friends started by asking them questions. So you could say that they did not start the Dialogue, but their gay friends did. Which was good. … There are so many questions coming from their peers in school.” For example, “If you are invited to a gay wedding—should you go or should you say, ‘I disagree with it because I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman’…? I confess this is a new chapter to me. I pray that the Lord will give us all wisdom so that many through our firm but loving testimony will be saved.”
Cynthia, a teacher, said she shared the Day of Dialogue quiz on students’ religious freedom rights. “Last week I used the quiz to begin a conversation with my Sunday [school] class. … As I was talking with a co-worker about the week, she relayed an incident with her son at our school. The teacher shut him down when he related the lesson to his [religious] belief. The teacher said he was a Christian, but they couldn’t continue the discussion. I told her that it was part of the normal class conversation and in the teacher’s curriculum—he had to allow him to finish. So I sent the quiz and the students’ rights link to them. She was better equipped as a parent to help her son with this teacher.”
Are you as encouraged as we are by the bold love for God demonstrated by these students and their families and youth leaders? If so, then please spread the word by sharing these resources with a student, parent or teacher you know.
Day of Dialogue website: A hub of resources with a redemptive perspective on sexuality for students, parents and pastors/leaders.
Day of Dialogue Facebook: Join our vibrant Facebook community and stay informed on a range of student/education-related issues.