October 16th was Spirit Day, an annual event sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to support LGBTQ youth and condemn bullying. Political leaders, celebrities, news providers, and landmarks were decked out in purple last Thursday as a show of solidarity with LGBTQ young people.
Not surprisingly, Focus on the Family sponsored Bring Your Bible to School Day on October 16th as well. The Focus on the Family website describes the day as a Day of Dialogue event, bringing to mind the organization's past resistance to LGBTQ youth initiatives. The Day of Dialogue website features conversation cards, banners, and posters that students can download, as well as suggestions for sharing scripture with their schoolmates.
The Bring Your Bible to School Day website describes the event in terms of alleged religious persecution and religious freedom.
"Did you know that students have recently been ordered to stop reading their Bibles during free time at school? Here at Focus on the Family, we believe the Bible is a powerful message of hope and love for humanity—something to be celebrated, not banned. We also believe in the cherished religious freedoms our Founding Fathers fought to protect.Actually, federal regulations do permit students to read holy texts during non-instructional time, as Valerie Strauss points out in a recent Washington Post column, so I'm not sure why Focus on the Family feels that religious freedom is under threat.
Do you share our desire to reverse this trend and equip the next generation to boldly exercise their religious freedoms—and be unashamed of their biblical beliefs? Then you'll love Focus on the Family's new event for students: Bring Your Bible to School Day on October 16! Students all across the country can stand up and celebrate their religious freedoms together."
Why did Focus on the Family feel the need to host Bring Your Bible to School Day on the same date as Spirit Day? Was this an attempt by anti-gay fundamentalists to compete with an LGBTQ youth initiative? If the positive response to Spirit Day is any indication, Bring Your Bible to School Day hardly drew attention away from its competitor. Our society is growing more enlightened, and Focus on the Family should take note.
To read additional news and commentary, visit the following links.
The New Civil Rights Movement: Anti-Gay Groups Turn Spirit Day Into 'Bring Your Bible To School Day'
The Advocate: The 'Biblical' Response to Spirit Day You Didn't Hear About
Huffington Post: Focus On The Family Sponsors 'Bring Your Bible To School Day', Encourages Students To Talk About Their Faith