April 19, 2005

High School Students: T-shirts, Homosexuals & Christians

Students at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Illinois are trying to promote acceptance of homosexual students with t-shirts which say, gay? fine by me.
Jamison Liang came out to his family members one at a time. A Homewood-Flossmoor High School senior, varsity tennis player and the youngest of four children, he told them each he has known he was gay "forever."

On Tuesday Liang comes out to a much wider audience: the Homewood-Flossmoor community. As part of a daylong awareness campaign, he and as many as 225 other students could wear T-shirts to school that say: "gay? fine by me."

"I feel like I'm ready for it," said Liang, who will enter Washington University in St. Louis this fall. "I mean, I'm confident in who I am. There's no sense in hiding it."
Students sold 225 shirts in the cafeteria during one week in March.

Other Students will counter the gay acceptance t-shirts with their own t-shirts which say, Crimes Against God.
Family Harvest youth minister Jacques Jacobs shows off a shirt he says he's given away to more than 200 area students. It says “Crimes Against God” on the front, and on the back it highlights discrimination against the ten commandments, prayers, values, faith and God.

Jacobs says his churches shirt is not a response to the other shirt and it makes no mention of homosexuality for a reason.

“We don't believe the schools should be a conduit for someone’s sexual preference,” he says.

But the Illinois Family Institute tackled the shirt controversy head-on on its website, citing Homewood-Flossmoor and saying “it's that time of year again, time for a tiny minority of activist students to use our schools to promote sexual lifestyles that are wrong and destructive.
Jacques Jacobs claims Christian students rights have been taking away from them.

Jacques Jacobs, a youth minister at Family Harvest Church, said his church is "not fighting anybody, we are only standing up for the rights of the Christian student." [...]

"I do know that Christian students, their right to pray has been taken from them," Jacobs said. "Their right to believe in their values has become an offense to many people. The Bible has become an offense."

Students who are organize the campaign affirm they are not promoting homosexual lifestyle but rather they goal is tolerance and acceptance of gay students.
The wording on the T-Shirts sold at Homewood-Flossmoor High School say, "Gay? Fine By Me." Senior Alissa Norby helped organize the campaign, and helped to sell more than 200 T-shirts at the school.

"Basically we're using it to promote tolerance and acceptance and safety at our school," she said.

Norby, along with two other students, made school posters promoting the campaign, NBC5's Meredith Welsch said on Monday. The goal is for students to wear them during class on Tuesday.

"We're not promoting gays or anything," said senior Jamison Liang. "It's just tolerance, like acceptance, just so everyone -- it's a public school, everyone is supposed to feel safe there."

"Even just making homosexuals feel comfortable in our school," said another senior, Myca Held. "Like they could sit down on this one day and, say, 'Wow, a lot of my peers support me.'
For some reason Jacques Jacobs, a Christian youth counselor, thinks his God does not support tolerance and acceptance.
On the back, it lists the crimes which is discrimination against my Ten Commandments, my prayers, my values, my faith and my God," said Jacques Jacobs, a Christian youth counselor.
As Christian, Catholic I disagree with some of the church teachings on Homosexuality. But, I did learn many things during my time in Catholic Sunday school, one of them is that God is not your God it is our God our Lord. The God I pray to is a God of acceptance.


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