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April 19, 2012 Print

Savage incident shows why we need the Day of Dialogue

by Candi Cushman

You might have noticed the sobering story in the CitizenLink Daily Update e-mail yesterday about how a gay activist speaking at a high school journalism conference used profanity to describe the Bible—prompting several Christian students to leave the room.

One of the students told our reporter that after they left the room, they were mocked. “He was calling people that walked out pansies,” the student said. 

It’s important to note that Savage is no small player in the cultural scene: He created the nationwide “It Gets Better” campaign, which even President Obama joined by contributing a video. Many schools have participated in the campaign. (Read more about Dan Savage and his campaign here.)

So it’s significant—and extremely ironic— that Savage would feel the freedom to display such intolerance during a speech that was supposed to be about bullying prevention.

Using profanity to deride the Bible—and then mocking the Christian students after they left the room—is obviously a form of bullying and name-calling. This illustrates perfectly what we’ve been saying all along:  Too many times in the name of “tolerance,” Christian students find their faith being openly mocked and belittled in educational environments. Incidents like this one stand in stark contrast to the principles we’ve continually espoused on our Web sites, truetolerance.org and dayofdialogue.com, which call for a free exchange of ideas and respect for different viewpoints, including those that are faith-based and socially conservative.

It also powerfully illustrates why there is a need for events like the Day of Dialogue, which is taking place today, with thousands of students in at least 40 states participating. The Day of Dialogue creates a much-needed safe space for students of faith to feel welcome to articulate their point of view in a loving and respectful manner when these topics are introduced in their schools.