- (Photo: Day of Dialogue)
A Colorado-based family values organization will be holding a nationwide event focused on high school students discussing matters of Christian faith and morality.
Known as the Day of Dialogue, the event will take place next Thursday with the hopes of having Christian teenagers engage in conversation with non-like-minded friends on these issues.
Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family, told The Christian Post that the Day of Dialogue is meant to counter one-sided presentations of social issues.
"It seems like more than ever before, students in public schools are encountering often confusing discussions about topics like homosexuality, same-sex marriage and gender identity," said Cushman.
"All too often, these subjects are presented in a one-sided way that is extremely disrespectful of parental rights and students' religious freedoms."
Cushman also told CP that the Day of Dialogue is meant to "create a safe space for students to express a faith–based point of view in a loving and respectful manner, and to proclaim their desire to take the first stand against any form of bullying as Christians."
The Day of Dialogue website provides various resources for teenagers seeking to take part in the 2014 observance.
"The first annual Day of Dialogue kicked off in 2011, and we are so encouraged that the event has experienced phenomenal growth in a short period of time," said Cushman to CP.
"Last year, an estimated 8,000 students participated in almost every state in the nation. We expect to at least double that number this year based on sign-ups already coming in from students and youth groups or clubs."
Focus on the Family's Day of Dialogue event comes at a time when surveys have shown an increasing disinterest in Christianity among American youth.
A March 2014 report by Pew Research, for example, found that 29 percent of Millennials considered themselves "religiously unaffiliated."
"Pew Research Center surveys show that half of Millennials (50 percent) now describe themselves as political independents and about three-in-10 (29 percent) say they are not affiliated with any religion. These are at or near the highest levels of political and religious disaffiliation recorded for any generation in the quarter–century," wrote Pew.
"At the same time, however, Millennials stand out for voting heavily Democratic and for liberal views on many political and social issues, ranging from a belief in an activist government to support for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization."
A Barna Group study from last month found that among American demographics, "Millennials (those 30 and younger), stand out as least likely to value church attendance; only two-in-10 believe it is important."
"Looking to future generations does not paint an optimistic picture for the importance of churchgoing," reported Barna.
Regarding the challenge of reaching the youth, Cushman responded that this is "why it's so important that we encourage students that they have nothing to be ashamed of in expressing their deeply held biblical convictions."
"Day of Dialogue sends youth the message they are not alone and equips the next generation of Christian leaders with confidence that the Gospel of Christ speaks into even the most sensitive cultural issues," sad Cushman.