As thousands of students across the nation participated in the "The Day of Silence" – a vow among students to remain silent throughout the day in recognition and protest of the perceived "silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools" – Christians found themselves facing a dilemma.
Although many Christians were vocal in their opposition to what they claimed was an annual endorsement of homosexuality – many called for a boycott of the event, and a number of organizations even urged parents to keep their children away from school that day – other Christians looked for ways to reach out to their homosexual peers while emphasizing the loving teachings of Christ.
Dr. Warren Throckmorton, associate professor of Psychology at Grove City College, and Michael Frey, Western PA Director for College Ministries with Campus Crusade were both instrumental in organizing what they called the "Golden Rule Initiative," an alternative non-confrontational approach to The Day of Silence, which took place Friday.
As part of the "Golden Rule Initiative," students passed out cards throughout the day vowing to live in the manner of Christ's teaching to "Do to others as you would have them do to you" in reference to the passage from Scripture. The cards also read, "As a follower of Christ, I believe that all people are created in the image of God and therefore deserve love and respect."
Over a dozen schools and campus ministries across the nation participated in the Golden Rule Imitative, and responses from students were reportedly positive.
Jordyne Krumroy, a student at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC., wrote in an email to Throckmorton that the event had helped bridge important gaps between Christian and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) students.
"The LGBT community saw something revolutionary – they saw Christians loving them and more than that, they saw the love of Christ. What would happen if next year, hundreds of Christian students walked around with duct tape in silence?" she recalled in her email, a day after the event.
"The truth is, this group has been disappointed by the church. I know that as people read that, some will become angry with me. 'Not my church' they will say. But when 'Christians' hold signs on campus that read, 'God hates Fags,' and 'fags burn in hell,' the LGBT community associates that with Christianity," she continued.
"Many people have told me that they have never said anything derogatory to the gay community, but the problem is they haven't said anything at all. You see, half of the church is screaming hate at them, and the other half is silent. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that silence is powerful. The failure to not say anything, has said a lot," she added.
First organized in 1996 by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in collaboration with the United States Student Association, The Day of Silence was first held at the University of Virginia, and has since spread across the nation's schools into a yearly event.