“We hope most of all to bridge the gap between Christian and GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered) students that has been created by the promotion of false tolerance,” said Mike Ensley, youth analyst for Exodus. “Our goal is to embolden and educate students to make a stand for real tolerance – treating each other with dignity and respect in the midst of debate.”
While dignity and respect are certainly laudable goals, Ensley’s notion that the “gap between Christian and GLBT students” is somehow the product of gay-straight alliances and other efforts to combat bullying and discrimination begs the question of when Christian students (at least those likely to side with Exodus) were ever on friendly terms with GLBT individuals, and when and how gay activism allegedly destroyed this bygone utopia.
It also begs the question of what “dignity and respect in the midst of debate” look like to Ensley. Will Allies, Too work to educate Christians on how to treat others with dignity and respect, or will it and Exodus continue to stand by as their allies portray “unrepentant” gays as abominations, pedophiles, destroyers of families everywhere or just plain stupid?
Given the religious right’s history of demanding respect without showing any to its opponents, Allies, Too will hopefully be understanding of the skepticism it’s bound to encounter. And given that the resource list in its Leadership Packet consists entirely of websites that promote a single viewpoint (including NARTH) and fails to offer any materials to instruct students in how to conduct meaningful dialogue, that skepticism would appear to be well founded.
Allies, Too has scheduled its national campaign for the week of November 5 (scheduled to coincide with the Gay and Lesbian Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) Ally Week), so we won’t have long to wait to see whether this new initiative represents a sincere effort at reaching out to GLBT individuals or just another salvo in the culture war that it claims to deplore.