Silence can be golden, the wise man pointed out … but sometimes it’s just plain yellow.
And there’s certainly something saffron about the “Day of Silence” being promoted across the United States this spring, by advocates of homosexual behavior. The event is being sold to sympathetic schoolteachers and administrators as a gentle plea for sexual tolerance and understanding. But the real agenda is to gild and glamorize homosexual behavior while gagging anyone who opposes it.
“Silence” is certainly the operative word – and in this case, it’s intended as a verb, not a noun.
The idea of the “Day of Silence” is that students and educators go all day without talking, while flashing a card at those around them explaining that the quiet is their way of showing solidarity with the culturally-oppressed kids who get bullied “just for being who they are.” Teachers and administrators all over the country embrace the opportunity to stand with the sexually-confused, silently sighing and wringing their hands over the bitter repercussions faced by the innocent youth who suffer ‘neath the bigotries of narrow-minded mostly-white/heterosexual/Christian Puritans.
But the limits of their sympathy, empathy, and unanimity quickly become apparent on the day after the “Day of Silence,” when Christian students throughout the country request a “Day of Truth,” in which to counter the unspoken assertions of the riot of quiet with some thoughtful discussion of differing views – religious, scientific, social, personal – on homosexual behavior.
Suddenly, all pretense to tolerance – indeed, all interest in real education – is off the table. Requests for “Day of Truth” events are perfunctorily denied, students who initiate discussions or even wear philosophically provocative T-shirts quickly find themselves on the short list for detention, even suspension. You can almost hear some principal yelling:
“This is a school, people – the last thing we want to do is think!”
And thinking is pretty clearly the enemy here, as far as some school officials are concerned. Even when student protests don’t call for open discussions, debates, and conversation – as in the pro-life Days of Silent Solidarity, which focus on calling attention to abortion – educators and government officials move fast to shut down what are usually quiet, respectful, non-aggressive demonstrations.
In other words, it’s not the tactics these schools are worried about … it’s the message. Students who support homosexual behavior deserve a platform; students who oppose such behavior do not. Sex education classes and safe-sex assemblies are required; expressions of conscience against abortion are forbidden. (That flagrant double-standard is the main reason courts nationwide are upholding the rights of students who participate in “Day of Truth” and “Day of Silent Solidarity” events.)
Clearly, several factors are at work here. One is the grassroots-level embrace by many teachers and administrators of the National Education Association’s position on social and political issues. Too many educators are more concerned with goose-stepping to their union’s party line than they are with cultivating their students’ appreciation for honest discussion and principled debate.
Another is the knee-jerk opposition of government employees to any conversation or activity that even hints of religious faith. Never mind the First Amendment protections of speech and religion; never mind the possibility that a Christian could be thoughtful, compassionate, and reasoned in his concerns about those engaged in homosexual behavior or abortion. As one school official told Chase Harper – a San Diego high school student whose suspension for wearing a T-shirt questioning the assertions of the “Day of Silence” spawned a lawsuit now in federal court – “next time, leave your faith in the car.”
But beyond any of these naked biases and transparent political agendas is the simple question of what, exactly, a public school education is supposed to accomplish. Is it merely a forum for grinding a handful of key facts and skills into still-pliable minds, the better to up test scores, the better, in turn, to secure ongoing state and federal funds for teachers and their facilities?
Or do we actually want our young people to learn critical thinking … to be able to sift through complex emotions and conflicting facts and compelling arguments, and decide intelligently for themselves where they stand on the most pressing social and political issues of our time?
Are we so terrified of our children, that we can only entrust them with one side of the debate? Are we so unsure of our own convictions that we think they can’t withstand the tests of candid discussion and open assertion? Do we still believe in a truth that will reveal itself, if the full, unshaded light of reason and faith is shined upon it?
Say what you will about the young people pressing for a “Day of Truth” … they have the courage of their convictions. Courage enough to state them, out in the open. Courage enough to invite free and far-ranging conversation, argument, debate. Courage enough to risk suspension for the privilege of celebrating their most basic American liberty.
That’s a lot more courage than the supporters of homosexual behavior are showing, as they move to silence anyone who questions their established agenda.
But then courage has always been rare … and the truth, a precious thing.
Both are worth their weight in gold.