For the past few years, the anti-LGBT organization Focus on the Family has been trying to rebrand the event once known as the Day Of Truth so that it seems much less dogmatic than it was when it was controlled by the "ex-gay" organization Exodus International. As with Focus on the Family's operations in general, the organization's staffers have been attempting to put a new polish on the operation so that it seems much less strident and much more open to conversation than it was in the past. This cosmetic change is reflected in the new name that Focus on the Family gave its event: Day of Dialogue.
But let's stop here and get some background. For those not familiar with Day of Dialogue (née Day of Truth), this is the anti-LGBT crowd's annual attempt to undermine the pro-acceptance/anti-bullying event known as the Day of Silence
This pro-acceptance/anti-bullying event, which is spearheaded by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is described as "a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools." The GLSEN event has been peacefully taking place in public schools across the country for over a decade now, serving as a powerful reminder of the still-apparent problem of bullying that disproportionately targets LGBTQ students. No one is required to take part, and those student that do choose to participate do so without any drive to confront their fellow classmates. The day is 100% voluntary and equally non-disruptive.
Realizing that the GLSEN event is successful in raising awareness of why LGBTQ students deserve respect and fair treatment, the other side saw a need to step in an try to stop the tolerance from taking hold.
Which brings us back to the Day of Dialogue (née Day of Truth), which Focus on the Family will push into the nation's schools on April 18 (the day before Day of Silence). When under its old name and leadership, the event was nakedly geared toward "ex-gay" advocacy (i.e. telling impressionable young kids that they can and should "change.") Now, however, Focus on the Family pretends the whole day is just about conversation. Whereas the old guard was pretty darn direct with its call for gay "change," Focus on the Family is much more coy. Those who head up the Day of Dialog are quite vague about what this conversation sounds like and where it culminates.
The truth, however, is that nothing
has changed. The Day of Dialogue is still as much of an "ex-gay" event as it ever was. The new branding, styling, and pretense is all part of Focus on the Family's ongoing attempt to appear "softer" and "nicer" and much less extreme than the organization was under the leadership of James Dobson. But just like Focus on the Family remains an organization that calls homosexuality a "particularly evil lie of Satan
" despite whatever fluff pieces mainstream media chooses to grant it
, the Day of Dialogue remains an attempt to tell LGBTQ students that they should not
be who they are, that their sexual orientations constitute a "struggle," and that God has "a better plan" for their lives, no matter what spiffy new branding its host organization paints on top of it.
- The Day of Dialogue website refers to homosexuality as "broken sexuality" and calls for "hope, healing, and renewal"
- For "fun things to do," Focus on the Family suggests Day of Dialogue organizers "invite someone who has experienced homosexuality and walked out of it to share their story"
- The Day of Dialogue website runs an article from Focus on the Family's resident "ex-gay" Jeff Johnston, in which he writes of God "changing" him: "He changed my identity – I realized that I wasn’t 'gay,' but that I was a man, God’s son. I began learning to live in God’s grace and forgiveness, not in my guilt and shame. And my behavior began to change, too, as I experienced more victories over temptation and sin."
- Day of Dialogue pushes a piece called "Am I Gay?" with their answer being an emphatic no; they follow up this piece with another one called "How I Found Hope," which instructs students on how they can supposedly "overcome" their own "struggles"
- The staffer who organizes Day of Dialogue for Focus, Candi Cushman, is herself an "ex-gay" advocate who disputes that the scientific community is against so-called "reparative therapy" (Truth: Credible science is RESOUNDINGLY opposed to attempts at so-called "change")
The bottom line is that any student who follows Focus on the Family's teachings will come away believing that LGBTQ students are wrong, broken, immoral, and in need of some sort of "fix." That is what Focus on the Family believes; that is what this Day of Dialogue teaches. Whearas the pro-LGBT event is simply designed to stop ill treatment and genuinely does leave room for conversation, the Focus on the Family counter effort, if allowed to extend its own stated plan, would create a nation of young people who are against LGBT people's placement within regular society. The GLSEN event seeks peace of mind, while the Focus on the Family event robs LGBTQ students of exactly that.
If conversation is what Focus on the Family wants, then conversation is what Focus on the Family shall get. Let's talk, honestly and openly, about this downright chilling attempt to cultivate a nation of "ex-gay" advocates and what that means for the millions of LGBT humans who populate the world. I'm more than confident in what this dialogue will do for the American public's understanding of just how far and overreaching the anti-LGBT agenda can and does go.