The same week that two teenagers murdered a dozen of their classmates in Littleton, Colorado, 73,000 youth gathered in Pontiac, Michigan, to declare they would live with honor, take responsibility for their actions, and respect authority.
The unison reading and signing in the Silverdome of the "Teenage Bill of Rights" to "reclaim a generation"—with vows to abstain from premarital sex, illegal drugs, and alcohol—culminated Teen Mania's Day One rally. Ron Luce, 37, president of the Garden Valley, Texasbased ministry, conducts around 25 smaller two-day gatherings annually. The April national event, in the planning for two years, featured such speakers as Josh McDowell, Jack Hayford, and Jerry Falwell, plus music from performers that included the Newsboys, Out of Eden, and Rebecca St. James.
"What kind of Christianity will we take into the next millennium?" Luce asked representatives from 3,050 youth groups. "Teens want to boldly assert their own values rather than passively accepting the labels assigned to them by popular culture."
Luce, who led prayers for the Columbine high-school tragedy, said most of today's teenagers are not violent and immoral. The Teenage Bill of Rights aspires to "set the direction for this generation."
Luce urged the assembled to be passionate for Jesus in their hearts and not just their heads. At one point, the crowd erupted into an ear-piercing, ten-minute standing ovation with chants of "JE-SUS! JE-SUS!"
Many teenagers left determined to make a difference, the result that Day One organizers sought. "I decided to write a letter to every political authority from my principal to the President and tell them what the Teenage Bill of Rights says," remarked Katie Williams, 16, of Elmhurst, Illinois. ...1
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