Monday’s Day of Dialogue gave Christian youth an opportunity to express their beliefs about sexuality and marriage, topics on which polls show young adults tend to hold liberal stances.
During the first annual Day of Dialogue, students armed with conversation cards started discussions with their peers about God’s “best plan for sexuality and relationships.” The event’s organizer, Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family, said the day gives young Christians under the age of 25 a chance to directly express their faith.
And part of that expression includes opposition to homosexual behavior, which means going against the grain for most students.
Randy Thomasson, president of pro-family, pro-traditional marriage group SaveCalifornia.com, said the event provides an opportunity to buck the trend of teens accepting gay marriage.
“There are so many young people who think 'anything goes sexuality' is OK,” said Thomasson. “These confused young people need to be shown the consequences of pre-marital activity as well as the unnatural, unhealthy aspects of the homosexual lifestyle. “
A 2010 Pew Religion and Politics poll shows that Millennials, those born after 1980, favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, 53 to 39 percent, the highest margin among all other generations dating back to 1928.
A 2009 Lifeway Research Study of 1,200 Millennials found that six in 10 young adults see nothing wrong with two people of the same gender getting married. It also found that Christian young adults are still strongly against same-sex marriage. Only one in seven said they strongly support two people of the same gender getting married.
Focus on the Family acknowledged that homosexuality is a controversial and polarizing subject to bring up, especially at school. But often, Christian students’ beliefs are mischaracterized on that issue and the conversation is largely stifled and one-sided, the organization noted.
The Day of Dialogue was designed to open up the conversation, and help embolden students to give their take on the issue and provide a fuller picture of “God’s deep love for us and what the Bible really says about His redemptive design for marriage and sexuality.”
More than anything, while participants are encouraged to speak the truth about God’s design for sexuality, they’re urged to speak the truth in love.
Praising the annual day, which follows the pro-gay Day of Silence, Thomasson likened it to evangelism. He believes Millennials are receptive to the message of God’s truth on sexuality despite media messages urging support for legalized same-sex marriage.
“Millennials want their own family. They want a solid marriage because many of them did not have that growing up,” he shared. He said they are looking for the best means to achieve those desires. Instead of engaging in sexual exploration, Thomasson said Millennials should seek God who created the desire in humans to love and be loved.
“These desires can become [achievable] goals if they will get with God’s means to reach those beneficial ends,” he concluded.
The Day of Dialogue is a newly re-invented event spawned by the Day of Truth. Conservative family group Focus on the Family took on the student initiative after Exodus International, which provides support for those with unwanted homosexual desires, said last year that it would no longer sponsor the Day of Truth because of the "adversarial" tone it came to take on.
The day also is a response to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence, which occurred on April 15. The Day of Silence urges participants to reflect on how anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) harassment silences their community.
According to Cushman, the mission of the Day of Dialogue is for the next generation of Christians to be equipped and emboldened with the realization that their biblical worldview and faith are relevant in this culture.
“We hope this event will give them confidence that their faith speaks into the hot topics in the culture of today,” she said.