Anti-bullying measures meant to protect gay teenagers are "indoctrinating" kids with a pro-gay message, a national Christian group believes. There are new efforts to counter that message, in schools and in state legislatures.
Focus on the Family, a Christian nonprofit, is spearheading a national "Day of Dialogue" on April 19 -- one day before a national student-led "Day of Silence" is set to raise awareness about anti-gay bullying in schools.
The dueling "Days" come as Christian groups are stepping up efforts to change or scrap anti-bullying laws they feel carry a pro-gay agenda, The Huffington Post reports.
In Arizona, a Christian lobbying group called the Center for Arizona Policy convinced lawmakers last month to kill a bill that would have required all Arizona schools to train teachers and administrators in how to recognize bullying.
The group's president called the legislation "agenda-driven propaganda," though the bill did not refer to sexual orientation at all, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
Thanks to lobbying in other states, some lawmakers are trying to carve out exceptions for bullying based on deeply held religious beliefs. A Michigan anti-bullying bill, passed last year, created such a loophole before public outcry led lawmakers to delete the "religious and moral exemption" from the law, Yahoo! News reports.
Groups like Focus on the Family hope Christian counter-programming like the "Day of Dialogue" will add to the anti-bullying conversation. Jesus' example "calls us to stand up for those being harmed or bullied while offering the light of what God's Word says," the event's website says.
- Focus on the Family's Biblical Counter Fights GLSEN Day of Silence (EDGE Boston)
- Student Sues Over 'Jesus Not a Homophobe' Shirt (FindLaw's Injured)
- Teen Sues School, Ex-Classmate for Bullying (FindLaw's Injured)
- Bullying (FindLaw)