The Day of Silence has become a very divisive topic for our Valley. The idea behind it is valid — to provide awareness for people who feel discriminated against. I think the divisiveness comes from allowing one group an entire school day to focus on them. There are many people, in addition to gays and lesbians, that feel discriminated against. What about fat people? Racial minorities? Christians? Students who struggle academically? It is imperative for the school to decide whether they will allow all groups the same opportunity, or no groups.
As a parent of two Mount Si graduates, I can say that there were many events that occurred during the school day that detracted from the academic setting while they attended. There were far too many assemblies and the half days were useless. This Day of Silence seems to be backfiring, and is not having the effect the group wanted, nor is it a positive experience for the school day. Instead of creating unity, it destroys it.
There is nothing wrong with teaching our students to listen to each other and be respectful. Ideally, we all should have the luxury of feeling safe in our environments. However, something like the Day of Silence seems to create more animosity than understanding. I sincerely hope, for the academic and emotional well-being of Mount Si, that the school decides to discontinue not just the Day of Silence, but ultimately all activities that foster reverse discrimination.
Martin Luther King
My children have learned about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., both at home and school, since they were very young. They’ve learned about love and acceptance and the importance of civil rights for all. In high school, they joined the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), participated in Day of Silence each year, and supported civil rights for all. Yet there had been complacency that the hatred and bigotry Dr. King faced had mostly been eradicated, a belief that furthering civil rights would be easier now that people are enlightened to the evils of bigotry, thanks largely to the work of Dr. King and his supporters.
Since Mr. Hutcherson spoke at Mount Si High School, on a day to honor Dr. King, my children’s understanding of the need to fight for civil rights has blossomed. They now understand that hatred and bigotry are very much a part of everyday life for many. The members of the Coalition to Defend Education and Mr. Hutcherson and his followers have taught my children that it is not enough to belong to the GSA, to be silent for a day. My children now truly understand that Dr. King’s fight against hatred and bigotry must be carried on through them. They now understand they must stand against discrimination in all forms everyday, every moment. They have a true appreciation for Dr. King’s belief that “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
Shining a light
Kudos to Pastor Hutch! In his stalwart and tenacious fight to bring down the Day of Silence at Mount Si High School, he is remarkably bringing attention to the injustices, inequities, and harassment that young people face because of intolerant and bullying peers.
You see, just like another pioneer in the advancement of gay and lesbian rights, Rev. Fred Phelps, who demonstrates at military funerals [and] inadvertently brought new allies to the world of gays and lesbians and their families, Pastor Hutch and his Prayer Warriors have helped to brighten the lumens of the social spotlight to the discrimination and intolerance faced by gays and lesbians — young and old. And, through their ever-increasing efforts, families in the Snoqualmie Valley School District and across the Northwest, maybe even across the nation, are talking about gays and lesbians, tolerance and acceptance, compassion and love at their kitchen tables and in their minivans.
Many critics of Pastor Hutch (Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church) are concerned about his connection with Scott Lively and the Watchmen on the Wall. The Watchmen have hit the radar as one of America’s hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Scott Lively was the executive director of the Oregon Citizens Alliance and its anti-gay campaigns in the ‘90s.
My only hope is that once Pastor Hutch and his prayer warriors reach their goals in their quest to fully illuminate the issues surrounding the Day of Silence, and help bring to light the ongoing issues facing gays and lesbians, Pastor Hutch will direct some of his energies and resources to some of the lesser concerns facing America, i.e., homelessness, poverty, strained educational institutions and hunger. I know that if Pastor Hutch would devote as much passionate fervor that he has toward the Day of Silence and Mount Si High, many other social issues will soon be addressed and conquered. Although those same critics I mentioned before wonder if ‘Pastor Hutch protests too much,’ then again there were others who protested too much, even persecuted, gays and lesbians: Jim West, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, Mark Foley, etc., etc., etc.