TINLEY PARK, Illinois, April 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Two divergent causes aimed at youth are colliding this year as outreach events for two very different voices – the attempted normalization of homosexual behavior and the defense of life – land on the same day.
A national coalition of American pro-family groups is urging parents to pull their children from school in protest if the school promotes the pro-homosexual, pro-transgender “Day of Silence” (DOS) tomorrow, Friday, April 21.
Friday is also American Life League’s (ALL) National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day 2017 (NPLTD).
ALL has hosted the pro-life t-shirt day numerous times since the 1990s with the goal of empowering young people to speak up and defend the innocent unborn children killed through abortion. Other groups participate in the event and some are sponsors.
Young people and pro-lifers of all ages are encouraged to wear a pro-life T-shirt throughout the day at school, work, around their neighborhood and elsewhere. ALL sells special shirts for the day. Pro-life partners have been also selling shirts, and some participants make their own.
Participants are also encouraged to post photos of themselves wearing their pro-life shirts on social media using the event hashtag #NPLTD17.
Emily Brown is director for ALL’s Life Defenders group, which oversees the National Pro-Life T-shirt Day. She said the event has steadily grown in the two years she has worked on it. Brown estimates some 10-15,000 people will be taking part this year. NPLTD includes students as young as middle school and also many homeschoolers.
Young people are excited about the “easy” pro-life activism the T-shirt day represents, she said. Pro-life supporters simply display their conviction in standing for the voiceless unborn, similar to how they might on countless other days of the year.
“This year has been amazing,” she told LifeSiteNews. “I’m shocked at the interest. We’ve had so many people excited about it.”
There will be lots of pro-life T-shirts in schools nationwide that day, which coincides this year with the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) annual Day of Silence.
The LGBTQ activist group says the purpose of the event is to bring “awareness to the silencing effects of anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.”
According to GLSEN, “Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBTQ behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBTQ students and those perceived to be LGBTQ.”
Among the materials for GLSEN’s Day of Silence is a palm card for silent students to hand to people they encounter explaining their silence.
The card calls the Day of Silence “a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies.”
“My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment,” it states. “I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices.”
The card concludes in bold print: “Think about the voices you ARE NOT hearing today.”
But Christian pro-family advocates say the Day of Silence is more about celebrating immoral sex and gender lifestyles and stigmatizing social conservative students than preventing anti-LGBT “bullying” and discrimination.
“The Day of Silence is not a bullying prevention event. It's a political event that exploits anti-bullying sentiment, taxpayer-subsidized schools, and captive audiences to disseminate pro-homosexual and pro-gender-rejection propaganda,” Laurie Higgins, cultural issues writer at the Illinois Family Institute (IFI), told LifeSiteNews.
IFI is leading the coalition calling for a “Day of Silence Walkout” in pro-LGBTQ advocating schools nationwide.
Others in the coalition include Christian advocacy group Mission America, along with more than 40 other organizations and individuals.
“How many teachers and school staff will be cooperating with the irresponsible objectives of the Day of Silence by remaining silent along with students?” asked Linda Harvey, president Mission America, in an interview with LifeSiteNews. “How many will accommodate silent victimhood-posing in their classrooms?”
The Day of Silence Walkout coalition urges parents to keep their children home on Friday if their school is a participant.
“Parents must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes,” the coalition webpage states. “Please join the national effort to reclaim a proper understanding of the role, and limits of public education.”
“The ultimate goal of GLSEN's Day of Silence is to eradicate conservative moral beliefs about homosexuality and gender dysphoria or to make it socially impossible to express them,” Higgins said. “The goal is to make conservative kids ashamed of their true and proper beliefs on these topics.”
“Whether it is intentional or not, the Day of Silence has the effect of shaming conservative students for the beliefs about the morality of actions related to homosexuality and gender dysphoria,” she continued. “By allowing the Day of Silence into the classroom, schools becomes complicit in the shaming of conservative kids and their families.”
Harvey said that ultimately the Day of Silence message is if you don’t approve of ‘LGBTQ’ identities, then you must approve of bullying.
“Not true,” she told LifeSiteNews. “People can both object to bullying and to deviant, harmful behavior. We must free our children from the anti-intellectual, anti-moral climate in schools on the Day of Silence.”