An excellent read: Tinker v. Des Moines School District...

(Tim) The joys of serving Church of the Good Shepherd are all around me, day by day, and my heart is constantly thankful to God for this privilege. Just one of my recent joys was reading the following statement written by several of our high school students a week and a half ago in anticipation of being ready to respond to the pro homosexual immorality Day of Silence held at our two public high schools each year on April 17th (last Friday):

Silence Can’t Hide the Truth

Although people attempt to write off sodomy as merely a lifestyle choice, it is in fact morally wrong. Arguments to the contrary could go on forever, but the conscience and the Word of God give indisputable evidence that it is sin.

Despite this fact, many believe that they can continue in this sin without any form of judgment, and try in every way to gain equal approval from others. However, even if all voices were to cease speaking out against homosexuality, in the coming judgment no one will be able to escape or to justify himself.

While this may seem cruel and heartless, as there are none who are perfect, God has given us a way to escape from our sin and be saved from the coming judgment...

By sending His son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins He has taken the punishment on Himself. If we trust and believe in Him, and give up our sins He is faithful to deliver us from the captivity of sin. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

“Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed…in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)


But then, this past Thursday (April 16th), the students were informed they would not be allowed to hand this statement out to anyone on school premises the next day because it was "judgmental," "demeaning" of gays, and would violate the "separation of church and state" required by the U.S. Constitution. (Yes, that was what the administrator actually said.)

In the hallway after school the next day (which was the Day of Silence), two of our students handed out five to ten small sheets of paper with the above text printed on them. One of the school's administrators confiscated the papers almost immediately, telling the boys that they would be disciplined "later."

This week we've had several meetings with administrators to discuss the First Amendment in connection with our students' statement being barred from the high school campus. Preparing for those meetings, we came across the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969). After reading this decision, I thought how grateful I am to live in a country that could give rise to such an excellent opinion. It's very easy to understand and you'll not soon forget its content which one day soon may well come in useful for you or your children, also.

May I suggest you print out a copy and ask the students of your congregation to read it, afterwards leading them and others in a discussion of it? Neither you nor they will be disappointed.

And while you're at it, give it to the leaders of your youth group, parents, elders, and everyone else. This is stuff worth knowing and being able to quote in defense of our liberties and consciences.

Freedom doesn't defend itself. The Apostle Paul knew his rights as a Roman citizen, and when the time was right, he used them.


These issues (student speech on campus) have been done to death, all to the vindication of those like your intrepid students. But, public school administrators ignore them and impose their own totalitarian standards, because they can usually count on parents and students to be ignorant of their civil rights.

There are a number of Christian advocacy groups (Rutherford Institute, for example), and I trust you are consulting one of them.

Ten years ago, our school district decided to ban all speech on clothing, except for advertising logos. Students wearing a t-shirt with "Christ Community Church" on it were disciplined. Local pastors met with principals and the superintendent, showing them (among other decisions) Tinker vs. Des Moines, all to no avail.

I called the Rutherford Institute, which assured me the law was on our side, but they could not help unless they had "an aggrieved student." "What's that"? I asked. "A student disciplined for violating the illegal policy," they replied. "Thank you," I said. "I'll call you back tomorrow."

That night my two eldest daughters and I bought blank white t-shirts, and some of that make-it-yourself-iron-on-decal stuff from Wal-Mart. By bedtime, we had two t-shirts, loaded with Christian verses, symbols, and slogans, inside and outside each shirt (the anti-constitutional Nazis on staff would first tell the student to turn the shirt inside-out). Bingo! Two aggrieved students!

There were many twists and turns, all amusing, which revealed that the administration KNEW they were in the wrong but persisted right up to the time the Rutherford Institute had informed them they were filing suit in Federal Court. Only then did they relent.

Here it is, ten years later, and this time a different aggrieved student has filed exactly this same suit. Are public school officials persistent, or what?

Ugh. I appreciate how Tinker is currently being used to protect Christian students, but from a constitutional standpoint the decision is lousy. Justice Black (an ardent defender of the 1st amendment) wrote a dissent from the original opinion that is worth reading. Justice Thomas also thoroughly demolishes Tinker in his concurring opinion in Morse.

But I heartily applaud the students mentioned in the original post and don't want to sidetrack the discussion with a debate over con law. : )

Dear Matt,

Sidetrack away, dear brother. Every attorney I know (and like) is a member of the Federalist Society. Well, almost.


Encouraging to hear about these students courage, will be praying for everything!

I feel the Day of Silence's intentions may be misunderstood. This day is not meant to promote any kind of sexual act, but instead to prevent harrassment of students at school. Please see for more information.

>This day is not meant to promote any kind of sexual act...

Funny, but all the students we've talked to misunderstand the day, despite being endlessly browbeaten about the day's "true intentions." They've seen it celebrated for years, now, and they tell us it's a simple pro-sodomy day, under the guise of being a simple anti-harassment and pro-civil liberties, day.

But undoubtedly they're wrong, right?

I have an idea for next year's Day of Silence. Some students will wear an armband for it that has a crossed-out rainbow, and will be silent for as much of the day as the school allows. They will hand out pamphlets saying, "We are being silent today to show two things. The first is that we opposed violence against homosexuals. The second is that we oppose homosexuality."

Given the small numbers of children that I hear were actually silent in the liberal town of Bloomington, it might actually be possible for the anti-sodomy group to outnumber the pro-sodomy. Or it might start a backlash. Either way, people would start thinking.

Sarah, that's hogwash. The homosexual liberties movement is a web of hypocrisies. They're opposing harassment at school by harassing other students at school? They're combating censorship by censoring their opponents? They're pretending to fight for "civil liberties", but that fight requires that the civil liberties of others be suspended? They pretend it's an event to draw attention to the violence perpetrated against homosexuals; but what about the violence homosexuals perpetrate against each other? Violence is bound up in sodomy, in the transmission of HIV, and in the act itself. They're killing each other with impunity, but then expect everyone else to feel sorry for their suffering? It's all a bunch of lies.

There's no question the day of silence is a "Celebrating Sexual Diversity" day in the average person's mind. I don't care what they call it, that is their purpose as well.

However, I can see Eric's point wanting to emphasize that as Christians we don't advocate any violence against any group. When I read the pamphlet that was put out I found myself wishing it had such a statement but as Christians we can't always be reacting against the straw-man that non-Christians levy against us.

The pamphlet they gave out spelled out the gospel plainly for those who have ears to hear.

For those who want to see Christians as haters, they will never see anything else. It amazes me, how often people assume that those who protest at Planned Parenthood are screaming hatred. It often doesn't seem to matter what we say, so we may as well trust God's word to say it and not try to apologize for the lies of the world told about us.

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