the jesus of the bible is the God-man who in the incarnation stepped into humanity and spent the recorded years of his public ministry standing in solidarity with the oppressed and the marginalized. he is a friend of sinners.
it was so surprising to the religious leaders of his day that he would dare to align himself with those who had been pushed to the outside that they actually plotted to kill him.
because of the radical hospitality of jesus and the example of his grace and kindness toward all people, anytime an organization claiming to promote the values and message of jesus stands up to fight against an anti-bullying campaign, a few eyebrows are sure to raise.
and some questions should be asked.
Mix It Up at Lunch Day is a program started by Southern Poverty Law Center 11 years ago, and over 2,500 schools around the country participate in the program each year.
the purpose is to break up cliques and prevent bullying.
they’ve publicly declared themselves to be anti-anti-bullying (sic). the leaders of the American Family Association are not only uninterested in supporting Mix It Up at Lunch Day… their website slider includes an ‘Action Alert‘ and asks parents to contact their children’s schools to complain to the school administration- or to keep their kids at home to avoid the event.
according to the group’s website,
‘Mix It Up’ day is an entry-level ‘diversity’ program designed specifically by SPLC to establish the acceptance of homosexuality into public schools.’
‘The reality is we are not a hate group. We are a truth group,’ said bryan fischer, director of issue analysis for the association. ‘We tell the truth about homosexual behavior.’
here’s an inconvenient truth for the ‘truth group’ ::
• as reported in the article in the times, the suggested activities for Mix It Up at Lunch Day do not address gay and lesbian students. the official position of the organization itself promotes equal treatment for gays and lesbians.
equal treatment. as in, please don’t call them names, beat them up in the bathroom or continue the bullying that has contributed to the unprecedented numbers of students that are resorting to suicide rather than face continued and unchecked threats of violence, mistreatment and rejection from their peers.
mr. fischer of the AFA goes on to say, ‘No one is in favor of anyone getting bullied for any reason, but these anti-bullying policies become a mechanism for punishing Christian students who believe that homosexual behavior is not something that should be normalized.’
to summarize the ‘logic’ :: for fear that this anti-bullying campaign may inadvertently lead to the ‘tolerance’ of gay and lesbian students – which is apparently a bad thing? – they’re actively fighting against it. to them, all students being bullied means LGBT students being bullied, and that’s the important thing. if no students are bullied, then LGBT students aren’t bullied – and that’s a slippery slope to the normalcy of homosexuality in society.
therefore, according to the AFA, it’s best to be (anti) anti-bullying.
‘we are not a hate group. we are a truth group.’
• LGBT youth are more than two times as likely as non-LGBT youth to say they have been verbally harassed and called names at school. among LGBT youth, half (51%) have been mocked or name called at school for being gay.
• 17% of LGBT youth have been physically assaulted or attacked while in school.
• nearly six in ten LGBT youth (57%) say that churches or places of worship in their community are not accepting of LGBT people.
• 50% of LGBT youth that come out experience rejection in their own families.
• LGBT youth that experience rejection in their own families are more than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide.
• there are as many as 100,000 homeless LGBT youth on the streets in america.
given these statistics (the whole report is available here), even if Mix It Up at Lunch Day were explicitly promoting equality of gay and lesbian students, i contend it would be UN-christian to boycott such a program on grounds it might actually work.
it’s no wonder, then, that the SPLC has recently added the AFA to its national list of active hate groups, which includes neo-Nazis, black separatists and Holocaust deniers.
‘love one another.’
‘all will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’
‘to the extent you did it to even the least of these, you did it to me.’
this isn’t about taking a stand for being ‘right’ – it’s about standing up for the rights of others.