As I’ve been reading up on the Day of Silence – a student-led national event to end anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools – I’ve been shocked and saddened by what I’ve seen. The antagonistic attitude and message of hate towards homosexuals from the Christian community can be enough to turn your stomach. These issues are certainly a hot topic – the cover of my time magazine this week was a lesbian couple kissing. Its everywhere. But regardless of how I feel about it personally – there is an epidemic of hate and intolerance in the world that needs to stop.
GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey found that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and more than 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. Did you read that? More than THIRTY PERCENT of students are missing school out of fear. Another GLSEN study found that in the course of a single school year, two-thirds of teens reported being verbally or physically harassed because of their perceived or actual appearance, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, race/ethnicity, disability or religion.
Its not just about sexual orientation, folks. Kids are bullied for their religion. Their disabilities. Their race. Their clothing, their acne, their parents…. everything is fair game.
That is wrong. I don’t care what religion, race or sexual orientation someone is.
I will stand up. I will teach my children to love their neighbor – whoever that neighbor might be. I will teach them that our differences are something to be celebrated. I will teach them to speak the truth of the Bible, but we are not the ultimate judge. I will teach them to be love and lights in this world and that calling people derogatory names is NOT part of that equation. I will teach them to stand up for people who are being hurt.
I will teach them the value of a human life. And of a human spirit.