Speak Up, Stand Up and Stand Out

By Lauren, contributing as a Michigan college student

stand out imageWhen I was in high school, there was no such thing as the Day of Dialogue, therefore Christians were often left trying to figure out how to respond to the homosexual-themed Day of Silence. They were often faced with the dilemma of: “Do I act out against it or do I just not say anything at all?”  Let me explain:

Chaos. If I had to sum up my experience with Day of Silence in high school, this is the one word I would use to explain it.  A good portion of my school participated and either wrote ‘Day of Silence’ on their hand or wore duct tape across their mouth. In response to this, there was a group of students who had T-shirts made with the words, ‘Make Some Noise.’ This specific group brought in noisemakers when they came across a person who was an active participant in Day of Silence. Some would shake the noisemaker and scream in their face. Needless to say, I saw this act as hateful and unnecessary; even though I did not agree with the Day of Silence participants, I do not believe this was the correct response. The ‘noise’ group did not represent Christians, although some Christians did take part. From my perception, the reason some Christians did participate was because they didn’t know how else to voice their opinion.

I had a very unique perspective on the event because I was a leader of the Christian club in my high school. Our group consisted of students from nearly every clique including the jock, the thespian, the prep, the math wiz, the emo, the band geek, etc. As the leader I had a relationship with each of them and heard their perspective on numerous occasions. On Day of Silence, about half of the Christian group chose to participate because they were against the bullying and harassment of homosexuals, and there were also some who carried the noisemakers and reacted to the silence because they didn’t agree with the promotion of homosexuality. The day was so chaotic and disorderly that my school principal called an impromptu assembly to address the issues at hand. In the end, the ‘noisemaker’ group was threatened with suspension if they did not turn in their shirts and noisemakers, whereas the ‘silent’ group was allowed to continue in their protest.

As a Christian, I must say that I was confused as to where I stood between the two extremes.  I obviously am against the promotion of homosexuality, but am also strongly against the bullying and harassment of homosexuals. I would not be silent on that day because it was seen as a day to support a homosexual activist movement, but I also would not wear the ‘Make Some Noise’ shirt because how would I be living out the gospel if I was blatantly disrespecting and ‘hating’ on those who are trying to show love?  In the end I decided I did not have to choose one extreme or the other, but I could continue through the day as any other day and continue living out the life Jesus exemplified by demonstrating love and respect for each of the groups in my everyday life. After all, in Matthew 5:9, Jesus states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

I addressed it at the next Christian club meeting and stated very openly that I am against promotion of homosexuality, but I am also against the hatred of the homosexual person. I believe in order to effectively be that peacemaker and respond to Day of Silence, we need to consider Ephesians 4:15, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

The Day of Dialogue is an incredible opportunity for Christian students to learn ways of getting conversation started and living out Ephesians 4:15.  It helps to give these students the confidence they need to act on their beliefs and a place to stand up and say, ‘I have a voice!’ ”

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