How Long Are We Going To Keep Feeding The Gay Vs. Christian 'Controversy'?

As a gay rights activist and Christian, it was really hard to watch the recent video of Dan Savage (founder of the pro-gay It Gets Better Project) speak to an auditorium of high schoolers who started walking out when he said some harsh things about the Bible. In fact, watching this video made me feel extremely anxious.

What I see in this video, particularly at 2:45, is a man who has been deeply wounded ("on the receiving end of beatings" were his exact words) by people who claim to follow the same religion that I do. Watch:




It seems to me that the real "pansy ass" in this situation is a media that is obsessed with manufacturing a Gay Vs. Christian "controversy." The adults play out this inane battle, using our kids as pawns by presenting them with a false choice: you can either be Christian OR you can accept and love LGBTQ folks — but you can't do both.

The Jesus that I — and many of my fellow Christians — follow wouldn't have walked out of that auditorium. He would have embraced Dan Savage and called him "Brother." It seems that neither Dan nor any of those kids have ever been introduced to that kind of Jesus, which is perhaps the saddest part of this whole story. Because that lack of perspective is precisely what keeps us all locked into this vicious circle of fear, hate, and discrimination.

Clearly Savage shouldn't have said "bullshit" in a high-school context or called the kids "pansy asses" no matter how badly he's been hurt himself. However, his resulting public apology was a perfect example of how to ask for grace — a truly Christian concept — which is something that we Christians could learn from.
















It's high time that Christians follow Dan's example by publicly apologizing for the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual abuse we have caused our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. It's high time to start telling the truth that Biblical verses used to vilify homosexuality have been taken out of their historical context and simply aren't applicable to the modern-day reality of homosexual relationships. It’s high time the media starts amplifying the voices of moderate and liberal Christians who DO NOT believe that homosexuality is a sin and who welcome, honor, love, support, and respect the LGBTQ community just as they are.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

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