Monday, April 02, 2007

"Day of Silence" Silences Opposing Views

Favored speech, special rights: The "Day of Silence" propaganda event is looming in our high schools. Sponsored, organized, and promoted by the national radical homosexual/transgender advocacy group GLSEN, this is billed as a "student-led" event so that school administrators can hide it from parents. Its feebly framed goal is to raise awareness of students for the "oppression" suffered by GLBT people across America. Students supporting this goal remain silent all day, with their school's blessing. (Check the Day of Silence web site to see the incredible machinery behind this event.)

It's set to occur in hundreds of schools across Massachusetts the week after spring vacation, on April 25 in most schools. Why does a tiny fraction of the population, defined by unnatural sexual practices condemned over thousands of years of civilization by its great religions, get to propagate this viewpoint in our public high schools?

Call your local high school and see if this event is scheduled there. A national movement is taking shape to boycott the schools allowing this to happen. See

Check Dennis Byrne's excellent op/ed (Chicago Tribune, 3-27-07): "Free Speech and the Right to Disagree" on a free speech case coming out of this event in Illinois:

If a high school gives students permission to openly express their support of homosexuality, then why shouldn't other students be allowed to voice their disapproval? A federal court judge in Chicago might have to answer that question after a high school student in Naperville, IL, a suburb southwest of Chicago, filed suit charging that her civil rights were violated by school officials by not letting her wear a pro-heterosexual T-shirt last year.

Neuqua Valley High School's refusal to let Heidi Zamecnik, 17, wear a T-shirt saying "Be happy, not gay" on the back and "My day of silence, straight alliance" on the front was especially egregious because it came on the same day that the school permitted other students on the national "Day of Silence" to openly express their support of homosexuality....

Gay activists may say that the heterosexual message is more inflammatory than theirs because of the "long history of bullying, harassment and discrimination" that homosexuals and students of uncommon sexual orientation have had to suffer in schools. But, why should that restrict the free speech of someone who has not participated in "bullying, harassment and discrimination"? Or do you have to prove that you did not engage in such behavior before you are allowed to speak?

Or is the school saying her T-shirt itself constitutes "bullying, harassment and discrimination"? That would be a ridiculous assertion, because the T-shirt does not meet the generally accepted definitions of the terms. Unless we now want to restrict speech that "bothers someone." This is tricky, because it gets into the debate over how "offensive" speech must be before it can be restricted....

Then what if Zamecnik and her friends decide to have their own Day of Silence, to protest the other Day of Silence? This is an important question because gay activists are allowed to remain silent in class even if called upon by their teachers. Would the school allow Zamecnik to organize hundreds of students in opposition to homosexuality, a day on which they could refuse to answer a teacher's questions without facing disciplinary action?

The school has backed itself into this corner by sanctioning the pro-gay Day of Silence for political purposes. Who next will demand equal time? Peace activists, war supporters? Nazis? Communists? The limits of free speech in K-12 schools is a tricky issue, involving freedom of the press, freedom to publicly criticize administration and faculty, and so forth. But the issue in Naperville shouldn't be a problem. The school is practicing speech discrimination based on a certain belief, and that is unconstitutional.