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November 11, 2010 Print
Day of Dialogue

Focus Rolls Out ‘Day of Dialogue’

by Catherine Snow

Focus on the Family announced today it is the new sponsor of the program once known as the Day of Truth, which will boast a new name while maintaining the same goal it’s had since its 2005 inception: encouraging honest and respectful conversation among students about God’s design for sexuality.

Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family and head of TrueTolerance.org – an online tool for parents who want to help ensure a balanced treatment of the issue of homosexuality in public schools – said the ministry is excited about shepherding the next phase for this student-led event.

“Focus has a long tradition of supporting those who want to express their faith-based viewpoints about homosexuality in a loving and respectful way,” said Cushman, “The Day of Dialogue gives students a great way to do just that.”

David Cortman, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), concurred.

“The Day of Dialogue is an excellent opportunity for students to respectfully present a different viewpoint than the Day of Silence,” Cortman said.  “ADF always stands ready to offer pro-bono legal assistance to student participants who have their First Amendment rights violated.”

The program’s new website poses several thought-provoking questions, including:

“As a high school or college student, do you sometimes feel discouraged when controversial subjects like homosexuality are brought up in your school – and the conversation seems stifled, one-sided and doesn’t allow free room for discussion?

“Do you feel like your beliefs – the deepest truths of Christianity – are being mischaracterized?

“Wish your classmates could hear more of the story—like the truth about God’s deep love for us and what the Bible really says about His redemptive design for marriage and sexuality?

“Wouldn’t it be nice if a deeper and freer conversation could happen?”

The Day of Dialogue – scheduled for April 18, 2011 – occurs the day after the “Day of Silence,” an annual event sponsored in public schools by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), one of the nation’s largest homosexual advocacy groups.

Focus’ event helps students ensure they have a safe space to express a faith-based viewpoint in a loving and respectful manner when homosexuality is brought up in their school – especially during events like GLSEN’s Day of Silence.

Cushman believes dialogue is more helpful than staying silent on this meaningful issue, which is what GLSEN’s event encourages. That’s why the program also encourages students to follow “the model of Christ gave us … one of sacrificial love that lays down one’s own life to rescue others” and to “stand against “any form of bullying and harassment” in their schools.

“Silence is a media opportunity, but dialogue is a learning opportunity,” she points out. “That’s why we’re so proud of the more than 14,000 students who have taken advantage of this opportunity to learn and share.”
Cushman said that now – more than ever – Christians need not shy away from sharing a message of hope and redemption regarding one of the most important social issues of the day.

“Christ did not back away from sharing God’s truth and light in the world, but neither did he hold back in demonstrating love toward others,” Cushman said. “So, in contrast to the whole idea of silence, the Day of Dialogue encourages student-initiated conversations about the fact that God cares about our lives, our relationships and our sexuality.

“The good news is that Christian students can be a voice of hope in their schools –and can make the difference in changing a culture of bullying in their school!”

Learn more about the Day of Dialogue.

Learn more about TrueTolerance.

MUST READ: “God’s Design for Sexuality.”

MUST READ: “Sex: a Gift and A Responsibility.”

Read CNN’s coverage, “New Christian Sponsor Takes over Event Challenging Homosexuality.”