Students Walk Out On Dan Savage Criticizing The Bible

This is fantastic: a living symbolic depiction of Bible believers’ closed-minded resistance to challenges that they cannot answer and so refuse to even listen to. And Savage’s response to their walking out is great too. It’s like a work of art but real.

Plug your ears and sing “la la la” all you want, Christians, but the truth does not change on that account.

Your Thoughts?

For more, see this follow up post. 

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kimmyrafter kimrottman

    Good for Dan for standing his ground there. It would have been very easy to cut that segment short and move on but he barely even flinched. I hope those who left got an earful afterward from those who stayed.

  • Nomad

    They act like sheep, going to what they falsely ascertain as greener pastures, when that pasture is just a pile of decay.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marius.rowell Markr1957

    I wish I’d had this video for the Capital Area Atheists and Agnostics meeting last Wednesday evening when we were discussing the failure of the Louisiana legislature to pass anti-bullying laws thanks to the asshats in the Family Forum lobbying to remove protection of gay students from the proposal.

  • Stacy

    Cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable, and doubt makes Baby Jesus cry.

  • http://www.idioprag.com Jarreg

    Someone linked to a faux news article about this earlier today. To read it Dan was foaming at the mouth as he cursed the people in the audience. Talk about spin. I was half expecting to be disappointed in him. I couldn’t agree more with what he said. He didn’t push back hard enough IMO.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      “Pansy-ass” is a half curse out.

    • http://www.idioprag.com Jarreg

      One easily thwarted by taking criticism like an adult. I’m proud to be living in a time when people are standing up and saying what needs to be said without fear.

    • ash

      Goddamn that was stellar. The shame-walk of all the X-tians on their way out against the magnificent televised backdrop of Sir Dan was fucking high cinema. H/T to whoever shot that….Wow.

    • Michelle

      I think people are taking his comment completely out of context.

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    #4 -Stacy

    Cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable, and doubt makes Baby Jesus cry.

    Stole that. Used it as my comment on the video when I shared it on FB.

    • broken.cynic

      Seconded.

    • Stacy

      Thanks for the compliment guys

  • tcsf

    That was so brilliant I can’t believe it actually happened.

  • doktorzoom

    I’m fairly sure that the 2016 Republican primaries are going to turn on which candidate takes the strongest stance in favor of stoning non-virgin brides.

  • wilsim

    To my eyes, it seems the large herd that left in the middle together were more just going along to get out of having to do something that actually protesting the words. Too nonchalant in their manner, much smiling.

    I’m glad he called them out on their cowardice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/izzy.jaecks izzyjaecks

      Their walk-out felt 100% planned– “Okay, Bible Club, we are going to the Dan Savage thing today because we know he is going to bash the bible at some point. And then we will stage a glorious walk out in the Glory of the Baby Jesus…”

      They didn’t walk out because they were upset– they walked out because that was the only reason they were there in the first place (IMO). I’ve seen it many times before (protests of “Last Temptation of Christ” come to mind… )

  • GMacs

    Funny thing is, when I was a Christian high school student, I would have been cheering him on. I gave up on the Bible long before I gave up on faith (although the latter should not have taken so long).

    I saw the glint of a cross as one young woman walked out, looking very distraught, and upset. Huh, I guess Jesus and his little torture device don’t give one strength and protection. To that girl I say “run, little coward, because you know your god can’t fight this for you.”

  • alexmartin

    It’s just fine then when an adult curses at your children, viciously hurtling profanities at them?

    Would you want anyone addressing your high school-age student that way in person or captive audience?

    It would be okay for anyone else to do it?

    You forget the context. This man was apparently an invited guest to a forum directed at high school students on the prevention of “bullying” in school. Those kids had no choice but to be there.

    He then avails himself of that opportunity to lash out at the christian faith, the faith held by at least a few of the kids in attendance, spewing obscenities at that faith and, by extension, at the kids who hold that faith.

    A forum on “bullying”. Who was the “bully” then?

    Here’s how The Blaze reported it:
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/anti-bullying-crusader-attacks-bible-and-curses-christian-teens-during-high-school-speech/

    Pretty accurate and balanced. Problem with that?
    If this man wishes to see what he would deem as positive change occur in this culture and polity regarding the treatment of homosexuality, he should probably first lead by example and BE the change he would like to create; casting venom, anger and bile at those who disagree with him is NOT likely to help his cause very much.

    You disagree?

    What did ANY of this hapless kids in that audience EVER do to him? Nothing, of course. What was his cause for spewing such repugnant hatred, for lack of a better term, at them?

    Y’all actually applaud Dan Savage’s conduct?
    Purely reprobate.

    • Mike de Fleuriot

      Is there anything that Dan said that is incorrect or untrue?
      or would you rather have hurt feelings because your book has been shown to be nonsense?

    • echidna

      Are you saying that slavery is appropriate, and sanctioned by God? Really?

    • BruceC

      While I agree that you should be a little careful when addressing a captive audience, I don’t think that he stepped over the line with this. I don’t think that he threw any ‘venom’ or ‘bile’ at them. Are you saying that what he said about the bible was untrue? I think that very few people see your comment for anything other than it was – Avoiding the argument, while trying to claim the moral high ground. In short the same thing these kids were doing, and it is an act of pure cowardice.

    • Robert B.

      ⟨boromir⟩They have a tone troll…⟨/boromir⟩

      The Bible started it, Alex. This is a document that says slavery is just and love is an abomination. This document advocates the brutal public murder of women and gays. If the Bible was written today, the Southern Poverty Law Center would have a hate crime warning out on the authors before the ink was dry, because that’s exactly what it calls for.

      What exactly is the right way to refute such a book? Shall we meet over tea and cookies while I explain that, while I’m sure you have my best interests at heart, I should rather not be stoned today, thank you? Mr. Savage’s death – his actual death, blood on the sidewalk – has been called for in the most widely distributed document in the history of books, and you’re objecting to the term “pansy-ass”? Wake up!

      And while we’re at it, quit it with that tired old equivocation between Christian texts, Christian institutions, and Christian people. They are not identical, or even similar. The kids who walked out of that assembly do not, I’m sure, believe in slavery, in the uncleanliness of shellfish, or in the practice of stoning non-virgin brides in front of their fathers. An attack on the Bible is therefore not an attack on them personally: they believe the opposite of what it says on several vital issues. (And also the shellfish thing.) That was exactly the point Savage was making. If the students think it is a personal attack, if they are saddled with such a profound emotional dependence on a stack of evil old books, then they probably have been bullied – but not by Savage.

    • jamessweet

      Savage curses a lot, whether he’s talking about the bullshit in the Bible, or what he had for lunch yesterday. I’m pretty sure anybody who came to see a lecture by Dan Savage was expecting that, so the cursing is NOT THE FUCKING ISSUE, and anyone who thinks it is can just sit the fuck down.

      If you object to the cursing, then you are a naive prude. (“Prude” because who the fuck cares about a few four-letter words, and “naive” because this is what a Dan Savage lecture looks like, get over it) If you object to the content, then either you are a homophobic violently-misogynist slavery apologist — or else you are one of those people who is so deep in denial that they can look at a sentence like “If a man lay with another man as with a woman, then fucking kill his ass, yo” and come up with some twisted interpretation that makes that phrase LGBTQ-friendly. I hope you are part of the latter group, because at least they are generally nice people, even if a bit misguided.

    • Kevin

      It’s astonishing that you are not outraged by the insanity that Dan exposes in the Bible but rather you are upset with his language. That makes you dangerous.

    • jennyxyzzy

      Where are you going with this Alex? Are you honestly trying to suggest that gay kids aren’t harassed by people using the Bible as their justification? I’ll assume that you aren’t making that argument – if you are in fact making that argument, you are deluded and there really isn’t anything else to be said.

      So, assuming that you aren’t making that case, how do you propose that someone should go about changing people’s bullying of gays? If they are doing it because they are good little christians, and the Bible tells them to do so, the only way you can get them to change is by pointing out that the Bible is wrong. Oh yes Alex, the Bible is a steaming pile of bullshit, and people need to hear that it’s OK to ignore anything obnoxious in that book.

      Also, the tone trolls lost when those kids got up and walked out. That was a lack of respect, and getting called pansy-assed in return is fair play as far as I’m concerned. If you want respect you have to show respect.

    • steve oberski

      Alex, how many of your daughters have you stoned to death and how may slaves do you own ?

      Or did you miss the entire point of his talk.

    • KG

      The first time I tried to view the video, I got an error, so I read alexmartin’s tirade before I saw it. I was thinking Savage must have used the most obscene, offensive language possible, and threatened the students leaving with violence. What he actually did was say “bullshit” a few times and “pansy-ass” once, the latter in the only comment he made about the students leaving. that’s what alexamrtin was whining about? Srsly? I see he cannot find anything in Savage’s speech that was in any way inaccurate, and his accusation of “bullying” is so ludicrous I really started to wonder about his sanity. But in fact, I guess he just wants to divert attention from the frequent use of that disgusting monument to ignorance and bigotry, the Bible, to justify the only too real, vicious homophobic bullying that has led a number of American school students to kill themselves even within the last year.

    • http://chainthedogma.blogspot.com/ Perry Bulwer

      I sure wish someone gave a talk like this when I was at high school. Not because I’m gay or was bullied, but because I was indoctrinated from birth into the Catholic church, and I needed to hear the truth about the bible from someone like Savage. I don’t think I even knew what an atheist was back then, and I certainly never heard non-believers speak critically against gods and religion, or the bible. That’s why it was so easy for an evangelical Protestant cult to manipulate me at 16 and exploit me for 20 years until I finally escaped that psychological prison. That nearly killed me and certainly ruined my life.

      On second, thought. I actually was bullied as a child – psychologically and spiritually – by adult believers.

    • julian

      He seemed to get a bit off topic but, sure, I’ll gladly applaud his conduct. He didn’t do any of th things you accuse him of and pointed out something that should be obvious; we cannot take the Bible’s moral pronouncement on people as absolute or infallible.

      If you and your children take issue with that, give up your worldly positions, become hermits and spread the word of your lord. Hell do anything as long we don’t have to deal with you.

    • http://blogingproject.blogspot.com/ Ing: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream So I Comment Instead

      The Blaze is “accurate”!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  • redwood

    @alexmartin:

    “It’s just fine then when an adult curses at speaks straightforwardly to your children, viciously hurtling honestly presenting profanities truths to them?”
    FIFY
    Really, how quickly you jump to hyperbole, overstatement, and exaggeration. Why should high school students be “protected” from hearing differing points of view? Maybe they can learn from them. Or are you afraid their faith is too weak to handle the truth?

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    @alexmartin,

    The bible is used as justification for the bullying of LGBT teens. Just look at the recent efforts of xtians to exempt religiously based bullying from anti-bullying laws. To not address the main reason so many American xtians bully LGBT people would be ridiculous.
    Oh yeah, and you’re a fucking idiot.

  • laurentweppe

    It started so well, and then… and then… he had to quote Sam Harris: you know, the guy who makes big moral statements despite the fact that he’s willing to tear the US constitution to shreds as long as people from a socio-ethnic background other tha his are the ones suffering from the consequences.
    The guy who still has the nerve to confess his ideological proximity with crooks like Shoebat, Pipes or Littman.
    Mister “I can peddle my bullshitty cultural determinism while virtually no-one calls me out on my blatant dishonesty because hey: lookey here: neuroscience PhD so fuck off you plebs“.
    Mister “The bible got the simple question of slavery wrong, then I got the as simple question of torture wrong, but since I’m a gutless little weasel I’m just going to pretend that I never advocated the use of torture despite the fact that my words favoring it were printed
    *
    Why, oh why is this guy still quoted and treated like a respectable civilized person despite being soooooo obviously a rich-white-upper-class rich-white-upper-class-supremacist coating his far-right ideology in pseudo-liberal jargon?

    ***

    He then avails himself of that opportunity to lash out at the christian faith, the faith held by at least a few of the kids in attendance, spewing obscenities at that faith and, by extension, at the kids who hold that faith.

    Savage lashed out at a specific brand of christian faith: one which hurted him and millions of people like him for generations. He did not demands that the religious members audience stoped being themselves, nor pulled a Dawkins and claimed that they were all either retards of cowardly closeted atheists: he was neither insulting nor trying to hide spite behind cheap rhetorical tricks.

    Could have been better by not qupoting Harris though.

    • jamessweet

      While I disagree with your characterizations of Dawkins and Harris, we agree on an important point here: Dawkins, Harris, and their ilk are much more aggressive in their attacks on religion; whereas Savage was much kinder here, asking people only to discard one more obviously objectionable thing in the Bible (and remind them they’ve already discarded a bunch of others).

      The reaction, in my opinion, disposes of one of the common criticisms of New Atheists: Savage was way nicer, and people are still frothing at the mouth. You may have other reasons for opposing New Atheists, but you can’t say their approach is bad because it drives people away. Merely speaking the truth about religion, even a very modest truth like “It’s not okay to oppress people just because it says so in your holy book”, is already out of bounds.

    • Sheesh

      Fwiw, torture has been normalized among a majority of Americans, it’s right up there with Christianity and rape now. We make jokes about it, it’s in every TV show, almost every movie, memes, pop references, high-school slang, even our old Wu-Tang CDs.

      That ship has sailed in America unless you’re a vet or ethical.

    • steve oberski

      I gather that you have never actually read anything written by Dawkins or Harris but rather inhabit the echo chamber of the politically correct, cultural relativist, it’s OK to slice off the genitilia of young girls and stone women and gays to death because don’t you know those are their customs and must be respected, etc. ad nauseum.

      You have a lot in common with those young people who walked out of Dan’s talk.

    • =8)-DX

      Mister “The bible got the simple question of slavery wrong, then I got the as simple question of torture wrong, but since I’m a gutless little weasel I’m just going to pretend that I never advocated the use of torture despite the fact that my words favoring it were printed”

      As far as I recall, Harris gave torture (and violence in general) as an example of the kind of thing we may be justified in doing to prevent greater harm, not something he personally endorses. When you’re talking about morality, brutal examples are common (cf. trolley problem).

  • jamessweet

    Man, I thought that was pretty mild. He didn’t go on to point out (as I surely would have) that even the non-bullshit in the Bible is frikkin’ obvious. “Thou shalt not kill” is not some brilliant insight. There’s a few nice parables in the New Testament (sprinkled here and there among a mess of parables which are either disgusting, obvious, or incomprehensible — or some combination of the three), but nothing earth-shattering.

    He didn’t say, “Fuck the Bible”, he just said “We have to learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible”, which seems like a rather nice warm and fuzzy accomodation-y position to me. I guess it’s all relative, eh? :D

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com Verbose Stoic

      You have to apply empathy here, and imagine yourself in the position of Christians who happen to think that homosexuality is wrong but that aren’t interested in beating homosexuals up or bullying them. If you do, you get this:

      Wait … I came here to listen to thoughts on bullying, and what I’m getting is this yahoo ranting about things in the Bible with arguments that I’ve already heard and with arguments that are really simplistic, lumping me in with people who want to kill homosexuals, or beat them up, or bully them? Why am I listening to this jerk? I’m outta here.

    • Lori

      I don’t and can’t have empathy for someone that thinks homosexuality is wrong. It isn’t wrong, it’s part of who they are. How would it sound if I said I believed heterosexuality is wrong? It doesn’t even make any sense because it’s just how heterosexuals are — I certainly can’t choose to be homosexual. It’s like saying having curly hair is wrong. It’s not something I can change, it’s just part of who I am. It’s not an idea or a belief, it’s not a choice.

      Anyone that has the belief that homosexuality is wrong is perpetuating the problem and is part of the problem whether or not they actively take part in bullying. By not denouncing those beliefs they are supporting them.

      It’s not any different from the bible supporting slavery — it’s wrong, christians know it’s wrong and they ignore that part. You can’t say oh I think it’s okay to own slaves but I don’t have any and really expect anyone to believe you’re a moral person.

      His arguments aren’t simplistic. Christians have ever written and rewritten and revised and reinterpreted and ignored the parts of the bible that don’t suit their current agenda. So citing a few weak verses that support their current agenda is bullshit. It’s just another cheap and lame excuse for perpetuating hate and bigotry.

    • Forbidden Snowflake

      You have to apply empathy here, and imagine yourself in the position of Christians who happen to think that homosexuality is wrong but that aren’t interested in beating homosexuals up or bullying them.

      People who are opposed to violence against gays shouldn’t have a problem with hearing the parts of the Bible that call for violence against gays being called “bullshit”.
      Thinking homosexuality is wrong is bigoted and irrational. They do not deserve special consideration for holding that view.

      Dan Savage was exactly right. The students who flounced were being cowardly.

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Lori,

      You’re coming perilously close to saying that you don’t care how those people feel because they disagree with you on the moral status of homosexuality. One thing to note about this is that while you are completely convinced of your position, they are completely convinced of theirs. And so badgering them on that basis isn’t going to do much good.

      This also carries on to your claims that they perpetuate the problem by not denouncing it. I would indeed like Christians to far more often denounce bullying and violence on the basis of their belief that homosexuality is not moral, and also for a more nuanced view of homosexuality. But you won’t get that by insisting that they must give up or denounce their strongly held belief that homosexuality is wrong, and again they are as certain that they are right as you are that they are wrong. Are they right or wrong? At this point, it doesn’t matter; it is what they believe that those beliefs are to some extent protected because they are a protected class. Thus, it is far better to work for everyone practicing tolerance and eliminating bullying than it is to insist that they must give up beliefs they hold or be considered bullies or abetting bullies. Simply holding beliefs that others do not and expressing them is not, in and of itself, bullying.

      His arguments are simplistic, and your repeating them doesn’t make them any less so. He points out supposedly equivalent examples and yet they don’t apply. The shellfish exemption, for Christians, is more strongly suggested in the NT (“Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” Mark 7:15). Slavery was never mandated by the Bible, but merely not condemned. So they aren’t quite the same thing, and that’s WITHOUT getting into the specific theological arguments that the various religions actually use to settle the discrepancy. Note that any arguments from the OT are suspect because while Jesus claims to not want to eliminate the Law in any way, it is generally believed by Christians that the new morality does supersede the OT. So, yeah, simplistic.

      Now, that people DO cite those simple verses simplistically to justify their own views and not in the context of what their actual religion says or ought to say is undeniable, especially since most religions do indeed draw a distinction between the sin and the sinner. But if you are going to go after those people you do have to be careful not to drag the ones who want to be tolerant in with you.

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Forbidden Snowflake,

      And if Savage had targeted that directly, there wouldn’t be a problem. It’d even be on topic. But he didn’t. His big examples are all about cases where religions have stopped considering something wrong, and he seems focused on arguing that point, and not that bullying based on that would be wrong. And if he wanted to argue against the violence point, there are a ton of examples in the NT that he could have used to make that same point without causing the reaction he got.

      (You can start with the case of the adulterous woman, and move on from there to the Golden Rule.)

    • ‘Tis Himself

      Verbose Stoic,

      You have to apply empathy here, and imagine yourself in the position of Christians who happen to think that homosexuality is wrong but that aren’t interested in beating homosexuals up or bullying them.

      You’re right. Why can’t those goddamn queers stay in the closet and not bother us straight folks? Imagine, those fairies actually think they should be allowed to marry whoever they want just like normal people. Don’t they know the Bible says they should be stoned? Aren’t they happy we’re not stoning them? Fuckin’ faggots, they make me sick.

      Hey asshole, why don’t you take your homophobia and shove it up your rosy red rectum? I know you’re going to pretend you’re not homophobic but if you support homophobia like you are then that makes you homophobic. Fuck off, you bigoted shithead!

    • Dalillama

      Verbose stoic,
      If Lori isn’t saying that, I will. I don’t care in the slightest about the feelings of people who base their morals or their identity on a collections of millenia-old fairy tales. However strongly they may believe, their beliefs have no basis in fact, and I am under no obligation to respect the beliefs or those who hold them. If you wish to convince me that there is a moral element to homosexuality, you must prove that there is some potential harm intrinsic to homosexual behavior specifically, a contention for which there is no evidence. Therefore, your religious claims or beliefs regarding the moral status of homosexuality are invalid, and deserving of nothing but mockery.

    • Lori

      Their beliefs are causing irreparable harm to others, therefore I consider those beliefs immoral. I have yet to see a valid reason for considering homosexuality immoral so until I do I will continue to disrespect those beliefs.

      How strongly someone might hold them is irrelevant to me. And whether or not they are the person doing the bullying is irrelevant. I don’t want them to be tolerant, I want them to stop being bigots. By holding that immoral belief they are perpetuating a culture that leads to the bullying and harm. They are a part of the problem. Where do you think those child bullies learned their behavior? Oh yeah, all those “non-bullying” adult role models in their lives. They are just as guilty and I have no respect for them.

      Bullying is a serious problem with long-term and potentially lifelong effects. As a victim of bullying myself I can’t emphasize enough how psychologically damaging it has the potential to be. I can do nothing less than fight for the end of the bigotry that leads to it.

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com Verbose Stoic

      T’is Himself,

      Congratulations on quoting my defense of a moderate position and then trying to argue that I’m defending an extreme position on this issue. Well done! It’s sadly not rare enough for commenters to directly quote that which refutes their own arguments and questions, but you managed to do it with an expletive-ridden rant that is devoid of any rational or argumentative content.

      Let me rephrase that in a way that you might understand it: Until you learn to fucking read comments and address what I actually fucking said, you can take your rant and shove it up your arse.

      Does my adding in the expletives help you understand where actual calm, reasoned discussion would fail? I do so like to ensure that everyone is talked to at their own level.

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com Verbose Stoic

      Dalillama,

      The risk here is that your comments might lead to this:

      “I don’t care if those people who disagree with me are bullied, beat up, or even killed because of their beliefs, because they deserve no respect as people because they hold beliefs that I don’t and that I don’t like”.

      The problems with this are that a) this is the exact sort of behaviour that we’re trying to stop, which is the reason that a great many atheists at least introduce the “I don’t have to respect their beliefs, but I do have to respect them as persons” distinction and b) since they feel exactly the same way about your beliefs your argument that justifies you acting this way also justifies them. I think both are unjustified, myself.

      See, the only reason you can say this so strongly and feel that you aren’t being an irrational and immoral person is because you stand on the rightness of your position, and how convinced you are that you are right. That way lies madness, since that way lies dogmatism and claims that the ends justify the means if you have the right ends, and you are convinced that you have the right ends, and they don’t. And yet they feel the same about you and your position. The rational thing to do is recognize this and these risks, and take more humble positions.

      Take this, for example:

      If you wish to convince me that there is a moral element to homosexuality, you must prove that there is some potential harm intrinsic to homosexual behavior specifically …

      Which is fine for you if you hold that morality is determined by harm. Christians generally deny this, relating it more to God’s commands — especially in the case of homosexuality — than to that, and so they’d reply: “If you want to convince me that homosexuality is moral, you must prove that it does not, in fact, contravene God’s commands …”. At this point, you are at an impasse, since neither side are using the same standards. For my part, I take a more neutral stance, but I find your criteria exceptionally dangerous and likely incorrect due to the vagueness over harm and that you likely hold that the total harm is what is to be used to adjudicate this, which I can see can lead to terrible results. In short, I ain’t gonna hold that as the criteria for morality either, even as I reject the simplistic “God commands” alternative.

      So, seeing this impasse, what is your solution without using force?

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com Verbose Stoic

      Lori,

      Their beliefs are causing irreparable harm to others, therefore I consider those beliefs immoral. I have yet to see a valid reason for considering homosexuality immoral so until I do I will continue to disrespect those beliefs.

      The point, though, was that they are just as convinced of that about your beliefs, and the beliefs about homosexuality. Thus, they feel precisely as justified in disrespect those beliefs as you do. At that point, all you have are groups of people disrespecting each other for no other reason than they disagree with each other, and history has shown, I think, that whenever that happens no good ever comes of it.

      I don’t want them to be tolerant, I want them to stop being bigots.

      But you call them bigots because you think them wrong. They don’t consider themselves bigots because they don’t think they’re wrong. While that’s being settled, wouldn’t you at least prefer tolerance over the alternative, which is open hate, disrespect, and bullying?

      Where do you think those child bullies learned their behavior? Oh yeah, all those “non-bullying” adult role models in their lives. They are just as guilty and I have no respect for them.

      So, you think that a parent who consistently taught the message that homosexuality is wrong but that homosexuals were not to be bullied, beaten up, or killed for being that and that differing belief systems are to be tolerated would produce child bullies over homosexuality? I find that hard to believe.

      Or how about parents who think it wrong but never talk about it? Are they causing the problem, too, by making it utterly irrelevant in their children’s lives?

      Bullying is a serious problem with long-term and potentially lifelong effects. As a victim of bullying myself I can’t emphasize enough how psychologically damaging it has the potential to be. I can do nothing less than fight for the end of the bigotry that leads to it.

      The disagreement here — that you have not yet argued for, as far as I can tell — is that you think that holding these beliefs leads strongly to bullying, and I deny this. Even from my own experience, bullies will bully and use whatever they have available to do so, even just physical strength. In the meantime, this focus on “bigotry” picks fights you don’t need to pick and makes enemies out of those who would ally with you, and risks you becoming the bully. None of these are likely to help eliminate bullying.

    • Dalillama

      Verbose stoic:
      The alleged words of various gods have no truth value. They are not valid sources for any type of conclusion, moral or otherwise. I don’t care in the slightest that people have convinced themselves that they are true, because no amount of self deception will change reality. I have at no time suggested violence against anyone, however, merely stated that non factual beliefs are not entitled to any respect and indeed should be challenged whenever they are expressed.

    • http://blogingproject.blogspot.com/ Ing: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream So I Comment Instead

      Congratulations on quoting my defense of a moderate position

      There is no moderate position when the question is “do this group deserve the abuse it gets”. The answer is either “No” or some degree of yes. Compromising on the dignity of a minority group is not moral nor “moderate”. It’s basically saying “they are not important enough for me to care about”.

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Dalillama,

      You said this:

      …I am under no obligation to respect the beliefs or those who hold them

      [Emphasis added].

      If you feel that you can disrespect them as people because you don’t agree with their beliefs, do you really expect me to believe that advocating things like bullying, at least, will not be far behind?

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Ing,

      There is no moderate position when the question is “do this group deserve the abuse it gets”.

      And I was defending the group of people who while they might think that homosexuality is morally wrong, would answer that question nevertheless with a resounding “No”. So, then, what was your point?

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      And I was defending the group of people who while they might think that homosexuality is morally wrong, would answer that question nevertheless with a resounding “No”. So, then, what was your point?

      You’re also dealing with a group, Verbose Stoic, who engage in behaviors and make statements which they think are “speaking truth with love” but which constitute and contribute to a great deal of the abuse gay students experience. Their attempts at love are often themselves abusive. They do not grasp this.

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com Verbose Stoic

      Dan,

      You’re also dealing with a group, Verbose Stoic, who engage in behaviors and make statements which they think are “speaking truth with love” but which constitute and contribute to a great deal of the abuse gay students experience. Their attempts at love are often themselves abusive. They do not grasp this.

      So, I think we can presume here that we are talking about a group — again, the one I’m interested in defending — that are unintentionally doing this. So here are the possible cases:

      1) They are expressing their own beliefs in a reasonable and non-abusive manner, but some people take that as support for their unreasonable and abusive actions. Well, we can argue over how much responsibility people in that case have for what other people do with their statements, but the solution to this is to point this out reasonably and let them do the reasonable thing and say, vocally, “No, my position does not justify that”, and thus become allies against the unreasonable ones.

      2) Their expressions of their beliefs are in fact abusive, but they don’t see it that way. Again, the answer is to simply and reasonably point out the perspective that they are missing, at which point many will be shocked at what they are doing and stop.

      3) Their expressions of their beliefs are not abusive, but those they aim it at think it abusive because they interpret it as meaning something it does not and that it reflects an intention it does not. The problem here is with the interpreters, not the speakers, and so it must be made clear what the intent is and the interpreters must be open to accepting that and avoid still interpreting it in line with their own biases.

      The biggest debates, then, will come when trying to decide whether 2) or 3) is the case, as it deals with wildly differing perspectives and with people — on both sides — who are likely to be emotional and defensive over those accusations.

    • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

      Verbose Stoic, you are a fucking wanker who treats other people’s right to live unharmed as an intellectual exercise so long as those people are unlike yourself. Shut the fuck up.

  • Sili

    Why the hell was Christian kids listening to a sex columnist in the first place?

    • Dave

      Maybe they took vows of chastity and wanted to find out all the ways you can have sex that “don’t count.”

  • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com Verbose Stoic

    Dan,

    Why are you so certain that the reaction was due to them saying “I don’t want to listen to these challenges” as opposed to “I didn’t come here to listen to this stuff that I’ve already heard many, many times before”? This was not people choosing to attend one of this guy’s lectures. This was not a lecture on whether Christians should really consider homosexuality to be wrong. This was a lecture on bullying, and he used that to attempt to bully people into rejecting a belief they had and he didn’t. He was not, as some have asserted, being nice here. He was being aggressive and off-topic. He conflated thinking homosexuality is wrong with anti-gay bullying, and then challenged everyone based on the beliefs that some have expressed as if that was what everyone held. When he got onto slavery, he basically argued that the Bible clearly supported it by pointing to one group of people, again, that claimed it did. He quoted Harris on slavery as being the easiest moral question ever except that, well, if it was so easy how come we got murder and theft and even rape so much earlier than we got that one? He then made a shot at the GOP as being a strongly religiously oriented grouping, damaging his own argument in the process (by suggesting that maybe religious people didn’t WANT to ignore those other rules).

    And at the very end, the “pansy-assed” remark AGAIN conflates these people with those who actually beat-up gay people. So, he’s attacking these people who may, in fact, be totally on his side in thinking that beating up or bullying gay people isn’t right and should be stopped because they just happen to disagree with him — and his seemingly incredibly shallow views — on whether homosexuality is wrong. He isn’t, here, trying to stop bullying per se, but trying to stop people thinking that homosexuality is wrong. And there are, of course, many arguments that can be had over that. But this was not to be about that. It was to be about bullying, and instead he used this as a springboard for his own beliefs against an identifiable group that should, one imagines, also be protected from bullying on the basis of their beliefs.

    On the cowardice point, if someone talking about bullying had taken an aside to argue why homosexuality was in fact actually wrong, and a group of kids had walked out, would you have still called them cowards … or heroes?

    • Sheesh

      Hey, why would you invite Dan Savage to talk about bullying and not expect him to talk about gays being bullied for being gay and the wrongness of that? Wild.

      And there are, of course, many arguments that can be had over [thinking that homosexuality is wrong].

      No there aren’t. Not honest ones.

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Hey, why would you invite Dan Savage to talk about bullying and not expect him to talk about gays being bullied for being gay and the wrongness of that? Wild.

      Except that isn’t what he talked about. He talked about how Christianity considering homosexuality wrong was bad. Thus, that he said that while he was supposed to be talking about bullying being wrong, even bullying gay people specifically is at best wildly off-topic and at worst implies, as I said, that even not agreeing about the status of homosexuality is itself bullying. Which, of course, it ain’t.

    • julian

      Verbose Stoic brings up a great point. All I had to do was read his name before thinking ‘Fuck, not this fuckwit again. Jesus, I’m out of here. Heard his shit enough times.’ Maybe the highschoolers had a similar thought.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      VS, the issue was that anti-gay-bullying programs are being opposed by those who cite the Bible as legitimation for them. Dan Savage clarified the context today:

      I was attacking the argument that gay people must be discriminated against—and anti-bullying programs that address anti-gay bullying should be blocked (or exceptions should be made for bullying “motivated by faith”)—because it says right there in the Bible that being gay is wrong. Yet the same people who make that claim choose to ignore what the Bible has to say about a great deal else. I did not attack Christianity. I attacked hypocrisy. My remarks can only be read as an attack on all Christians if you believe that all Christians are hypocrites. Which I don’t believe.

      http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/04/29/on-bullshit-and-pansy-assed

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Dan,

      But again why should anyone think that Dan Savage’s claims that they are being inconsistent matter? Sure, maybe those Christians are hypocrites. So what? That they believe inconsistencies or, in fact, don’t make exceptions where he thinks they make them — which is as far as his argument gets — doesn’t say a thing about whether faith-based exceptions or exemptions are needed in the policies or not. It’s still what they believe, and they would argue that they aren’t being inconsistent at all. If they are to be allowed to hold and express their beliefs and have that fall short of bullying, then it does regardless of whether those beliefs are inconsistent or even hypocritical.

      Ultimately, again, it is simply not the case that thinking it wrong — even inconsistently or hypocritically so — is bullying, and this section still only argues that. Bullying is distinct from that, and if we ignore that then we get the sorts of policies that end up being ones that religious people who happen to think homosexuality wrong really do feel they need exemptions in, because they start to feel that even saying “I think homosexuality is wrong” is being considered bullying in and of itself.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      James Croft makes a strong point on this issue.

    • Sheesh

      Doesn’t that fail trivial equivocations with other ‘immutable protected classes’… by that I mean the usual easy arguments like:

      Bullying is distinct from that, and if we ignore that then we get the sorts of policies that end up being ones that white people who happen to think [blackness] is wrong really do feel they need exemptions in, because they start to feel that even saying “I think [blackness] is wrong” is being considered bullying in and of itself.

      Yeah dudez, saying “I think blackness is wrong” is bullying to black folks. So the snarking then goes, I’m not too concerned about protecting the hurt feelings of racists, etc. Shouldn’t you be able to preempt points like this, rather than waffling on the wrongness of how a person is born?

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/ Verbose Stoic

      Dan, Sheesh,

      That point isn’t actually strong here, because it is making the precise mistake that I am arguing Savage, you, and Sheesh are making: conflating expressing one of your beliefs with bullying when they are not the same thing.

      Yes, a school may have reasons to suppress some speech in order to keep the peace and ensure that all students have an equal ability to learn. Note that speech like Savage uses against religion might indeed also fall into that category, as you need to ensure that too direct a challenge to religious beliefs — one of those protected classes by the list you provided below — is not made in order to not disadvantage them. So, sure, there are arguments about that and about where to draw the line.

      But regardless of that simply expressing one of your beliefs is not bullying. Bullying is far more than that, and that’s what makes it so damaging and why we want to eliminate it. But bullying occurs over any belief, and even over beliefs that the bully doesn’t actually hold. It’s aimed directly at hurting and demeaning the person, and not simply at expressing your own beliefs.

      So, Sheesh, taking your example, someone who said that, say “Blacks are inferior” (saying being black is wrong seems to apply a term that cannot be applied to that) is someone who we could rightly call racist … but in and of itself that isn’t bullying, and they are not in and of themselves a bully. Bullying is far more than that, and we’ll never stop bullying if we keep conflating the two, because we’ll keep focusing on suppressing the expression of ideas while the bullies will simply take an idea that we aren’t suppressing and use that one instead.

    • ‘Tis Himself

      Verbose Stoic,

      All I’m seeing from you is justification for homophobia. You’re pretending that homophobia and bullying are too separate issues in regards to bullying gay or suspected gay people.

      I’m aware that other people get bullied in school. I was bullied in high school for being intelligent, small, shy and non-athletic. However a lot of bullying nowadays is directed toward gays and people suspected of being gay. It is reasonable for Savage to discuss that particular type of bullying. An awful lot of bullies use the Bible as justification for bullying gays and lesbians.

      As far as I can tell, you’re okay with Christians being homophobic because their cultural icon, the Bible, says homophobia is a good thing. Are you equally okay with sexism? Because the Bible says misogyny is also a good thing.

    • http://verbosestoic.wordpress.com Verbose Stoic

      T’is Himself,

      I think you need to define “homophobia”. If you think that disapproval — even moral disapproval — of homosexuality counts as homophobia, then perhaps your comments that I’m defending it are, in fact, valid … but then I fail to see how simple disapproval in and of itself is bullying, as I have said umpteen million times already. Again, disapproving of something is not in and of itself bullying. Can that sort of disapproval lead to bullying? Yes, but that bullying is indeed in addition to that disapproval. Ultimately, those who bully bully because they want to bully. The reasons are mostly immaterial to that, and so what we want to do is get people to at least make that clear by allowing them to maintain their own views and beliefs while insisting that bullying on the basis of them is not excusable.

      As I have said elsewhere, I do not think that the Bible justifies the bullying at all, and can easily point to cases where Christians certainly should doubt that the bullying would be appropriate. That’s what Savage should have argued, and that is not, in fact, what Savage argued.

  • alexmartin

    Was Dan Savage invited to speak to those kids that he may proffer–and attack–his interpretation of the bible in a public school? What, no separation of church and state in that little speech?

    No, he wasn’t.

    Was his calumnie against the bible appropriate to the situation? No, it wasn’t. But, as this speaker enjoys fame and notoriety, his playing to the cameras and the controversy he evoked sure garnered the desired effect. He just elevated his profile. Yep, you’re talking about it.

    Dan Savage used that moment for just this purpose.

    Regardless, every public school in the nation has some stated standard of decorum and conduct. Teachers and administration may not use profane language either toward children or where students may be present, and certainly kids may not ever, whether tacitly tolerated or not. You know this.

    Did that inconvenient little prohibition just evaporate all of a sudden? Did Dan Savage teach your kids appropriately?

    Is it alright suddenly for your 16 yr old to come home spouting obscenities, at grandma, say?

    No way. Don’t be disingenuous.
    No matter that other people or their religion may be wrong somehow. Two wrongs do not make a right. Is this a graphic illustration of the coarsening of and moral decrepitude of society that churchgoers bewail?

    Does Dan Savages’ morality, or lack thereof, trump your own?

    He came off like an angry little child lashing out at all those mean ol’ kids who bullied him in, ironically, high school for unsurprisingly, being “gay”.

    And that’s exactly how he conducted himself.

    So let’s get the picture straight: he was traumatized in his youth by “bullying” and harsh treatment at the hands of other kids. He never got over it. He suffered and remains emotionally stunted as a result to this day, as his regular columns in the local metro Times (Ann Arbor, Michigan) betrays, is given to some kind of diminished personality or other tendency, and never fully attained mature adulthood.

    He then took it all out on those kids, as is his wont.

    He can read other people? I can read him, as well.
    All this talk of the bible and shellfish and whatnot? Totally irrelevant.

    Did he not speak to all forms of “bullying”: A kid is overweight, wears thick glasses, is intelligent or slow, skinny, handicapped, rides the short bus, is tall or short, speaks poor English, gawky or has buck teeth?

    Does he really give a damn about those kids as well, if they’re not also fortuitously “gay”?

    Or does this whole “anti-bullying” crusade being manufactured in fact boil down to the facilitated hegemony of homosexuality after all, as those fever-swamp Fundie conspiracists allege?

    • frankb

      There are more copies of the Bible in the U.S. than any other book. There are organizations in every town in the U.S. dedicated to reading and believing everything in the Bible. Most homophobic organizations cite the Bible to justify their beliefs. The Bible is the most important issue when it comes to combating gay bullying. Dan Savage addressed the heart of the issue. There is no other way around it. Every Christian needs to know that the Bible stands foursquare for gay bullying and attacking gay bullying necessitates attacking the Bible. So Alex and all the kids who walked out on Dan Savage, welcome to reality.

  • alexmartin

    farnkb-

    http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7lDiYp1PPysANghXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2dDN1NXJjBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA01TWUMwMDJfMTc1/SIG=11n2tc6g7/EXP=1335743330/**http%3a//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobia

    This is not an era of irrational fear and hatred of homosexuals. You grossly hyperbolize to force your point.

    You lie.

    The people I know, even “fundamentalist”, don’t care that a given individual self-identifies as “gay” or “homosexual”. I don’t care who you sleep with. It’s none of my business and leave me hell out of your bedroom. I don’t drag you into my sex life (which crazily, you seem so typically obsessed about, sex, sex, sex). Personally I say then, shut the hell up about it.

    Homosexuality and hyper-sexualization is rampant and de rigueur amongst today’s youth to the point of irrelevance. In this city, middle school kids have been busted trading oral sex favors.

    The perspective that most people have that I know of is that sexuality is a private affair and no one else’s business. But what we have is:

    http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7neKYJ1P7S0A2ZlXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2dDN1NXJjBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA01TWUMwMDJfMTc1/SIG=12p24h5rn/EXP=1335742730/**http%3a//www.amazon.com/After-Ball-America-Conquer-Hatred/dp/0452264987

    a deliberate and concentrated campaign to slam and jam open acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle upon a heterosexual population. Friction has resulted. There has been resistance. That resistance does not constitute irrational ignorant fear, hatred and loathing.

    The question many people have is whether the current moral norm is to be overturned and in favor of what.

    Again, homosexuality is not the entire spectrum of so-called “bullying”.

    You’re still talking about the bible.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Homosexuality is not about sex and people’s kinky bedroom quirks. I’ve written about this before:

      In telling someone they are gay, they are not revealing a quirky bedroom desire that’s impolite to mention in casual conversation, and to treat them like that’s what they are doing demeans their entire love orientation, and disrespects some of the most important relationships and desires for love and companionship in their lives. This is why the homophobic cop out that goes, “I don’t care what people do in their bedrooms, I just do not want to know about it” is so insulting to gays. Gays are not telling you about their sex lives when they tell you about their sexual orientation. They are telling you about a much deeper and much more central part of their identity—again, something as important to them as being straight is to a straight person.

      Fellow straight people, I implore you to imagine what it would be like to tell the core tale of your own life story and of the major moments in your own psychological life in a way that scrubs out all your thoughts, worries, fears, excitements, triumphs, loves, failures, crushes, and other experiences related to your desire for love with members of the opposite sex. Sure, there is much more to your life story and much more to your psychology than those experiences. But they’re goddamned unavoidably important, nonetheless. Your heterosexual orientation is much more than any one of your odder “sexual preferences” which you might easily omit with no disservice to your life story or an understanding of your psychology. It’s no different for gay people. And that’s why it is intolerable to ask of them any more silence on these matters than you would expect of a straight person.

    • lee

      I hate it when someone tells me they are straight. They don’t need to be rubbing that in my face! I don’t need to now what they are doing in the bedroom!

      See how stupid you sound?

    • DaveL

      “Friction” has resulted?

      When “Friction” includes wild conspiracy theories about how homosexuals are going to turn your children gay, that homosexuals have an agenda to destroy heterosexual marriage, that homosexuals are trying to destroy the family, that homosexuals are trying to criminalize Christianity, then what you call “friction” is nothing more than irrational fear and hatred.

  • Bryan

    The only objection I have is to the term “pansy assed”. In a speech about anti-gay bullying, you shouldn’t have to use an anti-gay slur like “pansy”.

    • Sheesh

      Hey Bry, I thought the pansy was the symbol of freethought — they say the bloom looks like a person’s face in thought. Shouldn’t be an insult, right? I guess assholes always win.

    • timberwoof

      Characterizing the flouncing Christian journalism students as pansy-assed made the point about their unwillingness to listen to opposing opinions. He used, justifiably, an insult that gets used against gays, turning it around and correctly applying it to to some weak-willed individuals. He even made a point of that when he used it.

  • alexmartin

    So, Daniel Fincke,
    As stupid as I sound… are we still discussing “bullying” of schoolkids?

    Remember?– protecting all children of whatever social, economic, mental, racial, or physical persuasion from schoolyard “bullying”, or has the topic been indefensibly highjacked by a single, narrow interest group?

    Is that this presidents’ and federal and state legislatures’ sole interest regarding mitigating “bullying” in school?

    Dan Savage has a point to make. Fine.
    He is a sex columnist. He can hawk his wares elsewhere. If he wants to protect kids from “bullying”– not just the “gay” kids– then be expansive enough and benevolent enough to pretend that he cares about ALL kids, all forms of disenfranchisement, don’t come into a public school smearing the Santorum of his righteous hatred upon every mothers’ child, tone it down, and act like he’s talking to public school kids in a public school.

    • steve oberski

      He is a sex columnist. He can hawk his wares elsewhere.

      This is the crux of your argument.

      You don’t give a flying fuck about ALL kids or any kids for that matter.

      You think sex is “dirty” and sexual mores should be governed by a book of vicious bronze age fairy tales.

      What really upsets you is kids being informed about human sexuality in all it’s myriad forms and viewing it as a natural attribute uncontaminated by shame and guilt.

    • julian

      all forms of disenfranchisement,

      Pointing out that your beliefs legitimize the bullying and harassment of gays does not disenfranchise you. It gives you an oppurtunity to reevaluate your thinking on issues and grow as a person. It is a favor to you and an act of self defense on the part of those who are on the receiving end of your harassment.

      And they are (as Mr. Savage points out) entirely free to defend themselves through criticism of your harmful views on the sexuality of others.

      P.S. As someone who was bullied by your ‘public school’ kids, fuck you. They say and do things that are actually hurtful. Not just refer to a bronze age myth that supposedly relates the one true god’s view on human sexuality as bullshit.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      The disproportionate emphasis on bullying of gay kids is due to the far higher suicide and homelessness rates of gay kids as opposed to other kids. Gay kids not only suffer bullying at school but quite often cannot take solace at home either where their parents, their religious authorities and random belligerent assholes like you degrade them and try to closet them.

      But the anti-bullying campaigns in the country are wider in scope. The novelty of cyber-bullying was another impetus for this to become a national concern. Finally other kinds of kids will have their bullying addressed (hopefully) because gay activists stood up for gay kids and raised consciousness of the issue as a whole. Sorry if this also means that gay kids are going to now be protected from bullies with some special focus–as though they matter as human beings or something or need any kind of special attention given the pecularity of their vulnerability in the culture. I know it just burns you up that any one might give the slightest extra benefit to a gay person. You must cry yourself to sleep with rage over how much this ruins your life.

      How exactly it ruins your life, I have no idea.

    • DiscountDeity

      “If he wants to protect kids from “bullying”– not just the “gay” kids– then be expansive enough and benevolent enough to pretend that he cares about ALL kids”

      I have no doubt that he would be happy to do this if the bullying of a specific minority group were not defended as “religious freedom”.

  • ohioobserver

    Why is is that “acceptance” is conflated with “slam-and-jam”? I understand (and am confirmed by experience with people) that “acceptance” means just this — that gay people have the same rights, privileges, and rewards due them by their accomplishments as straight people. No more, no less. If gay people have to resort to the same marketing techniques as any merchant trying to sell something to gain this, why not? This isn’t hard. Straight folks marry. Why not gay people? Straight folks raise kids. Why not gay pople. Straight folks rent apartments. Why not gay people? Straight folks get their spouses’ insurance coverage, the right to visit their spouse in the hospital. Why not gay people? Easy. But alexmartin’s virulent objection to these equities, his exaggeration of these basic human rights into a threatening attempt to “slam and jam” a “lifestyle” onto a heterosexual population, is a classic example of WHY statements like Dan Savage’s have to be made.

    I always ask anti-gay bigots this question: how does full equity for gay people harm YOU?

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      IT’S GOING TO TURN THEIR KIDS GAY!!!

  • alexmartin

    To be clear, there are not now, nor should there be, any exceptional or specially protected groups in this country under the law.

    Everyone should expect and enjoy the same protection under law and the same access to the full gamut of social access as anyone else.

    I am not at issue here. Projecting religious bias or cultural bigotry into me will serve you no purpose whatsoever. You may be that small, but I am not.

    Homosexuals comprise some 2-3% of the population (and certainly you were all waiting with bated breath for me to state this statistic). It is the responsibility of the remainder, in partnership with that minority, to ensure fair and equitable treatment to all our citizenry.

    What then is my responsibility?
    I, like you, am four-square against “bullying” of any kid by other kids, whether cyber-bullying, hazing, physical or psychological assault, either gender-oriented or otherwise, where ever it is to be found.

    But herein is where we part company.

    It is frequently stated by the political that that one may not legislate morality.

    No child should be tormented or ostracized by scoolmates to the point of suicide. But the fix must come through policing of attitudes and the assurance of moral rectitude by the people themselves, not through the ham-fisted overreach of over-eager government agency. This man Savage appeared at that school at the behest of government initiatives to enact legislation to force behavioral change and to criminalize thought, else why the plenteous state and federal initiatives (all of a sudden) to put laws on the books concerning “bullying”?

    I am skeptical of the whole business.
    But Dan Savage had no business ‘savaging’ those kids the way he did. For me, religions’ got nothing to do with it.

    Save all your bible talk.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      To be clear, there are not now, nor should there be, any exceptional or specially protected groups in this country under the law.

      Actually there are: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_class

      Plenty of them.

    • DaveL

      To be clear, there are not now, nor should there be, any exceptional or specially protected groups in this country under the law.

      Everyone should expect and enjoy the same protection under law and the same access to the full gamut of social access as anyone else.

      Pick one. You can’t have both.

      Or did you somehow fail to notice America’s long history of denying some groups equality without the need for special laws?

  • alexmartin

    Correction: political Left.

  • scenario

    Why is it that if some kid started beating up all of the left handed kids in school because it says in the bible that being left handed is evil, everyone would think he is a nut? But if someone beats up a kid because he is gay, the fundamentalists would just nod and say that he wouldn’t have had to beat the kid up if the gays would just shut up.

  • mechanoid

    “Ow, my freaking ears!”
    - Todd Flanders

  • scenario

    What other book besides the Bible would get a pass like this? If a hundred kids across the U.S. had died because they copied something from the Hunger Games, would people get up and walk out if you told them not to copy everything you read?

  • Simolean

    Christian indoctrination is a hell of a drug, and it is not reasonable. When a child is indoctrinated in that way he is forced to build his reasoning *upon* the indoctrination.

    The foundation is crooked therefor the house is crooked. No amount of reasonable talk will change that. You will just hurt the maniac’s feelings.

    I think that getting high is the answer.

  • laurentweppe

    @steve oberski who wrote to me:

    I gather that you have bullshitty bullshittismic bullshittelicious bullshitastic douchebaggy flight of insults that would warrant me a judicial trouncing for public slander if I actually had te guts to behave that way outside the parallel universe of the internet.

    You know what the problem with your apologism of Harris? What he said is a matter of public record. Oh, sure, you may believe that his circonvolutions are skilled attempts at hidding what’s wrong with him, but the thing is, they do not work: so when he writes:
    tearing the US constitution to shreds as long as people from a socio-ethnic background other than mine are the ones suffering from the consequences is bad but it’s justified anyway, oh, and let’s practice ethnic profiling on Muslims while we’re at it: he’s not succesfully hiding his nauseating approval of white privilege and support for the methods of racist police states.
    When he confess his ideological proximity with crooks like Shoebat, Pipes or Littman on his own fucking blog, he’s involuntarily aknowledging his favoring of professional liars.
    *
    TBC

    • laurentweppe

      Second part:
      *
      When he writes in favor of torture, before weaseling out when he realizes that he may have reached a threshold and caused the disgust of his own readership, he displays behind the thin veneer of pseudo-reasoning his sadism and utter absence of fortitude.
      *
      I know something by experience: fascist apologists do not, never gave, and will never give a shit about victims of oppression. When it comes to Harris, he is not smart enough, not cunning enough, not talented enough a wordsmith to hide the repulsive rich-white-upper-class-supremacism which motivates him: he tries, and he fails, again, and again, and again, and again, so do those who try to use the very same useless broken rhetorical tricks or try to hide behind the torments of stoned and mutilated women for whom they feel nothing, and for fuck sake how many time will I have to say that playing dumb to disguise one’s own moral failings never works?

    • steve oberski

      Handy tip, if you cover your monitor screen with a big sheet of saran wrap it keeps the spittle from collecting on it.

      A similar sheet on your keyboard will keep the drool out of it.

  • Dan

    It’s a bit unfair to tar all of those who walked out with the same brush. I’m sure a couple of them walked out because they needed to go to the bathroom, while a few others just saw it as an opportunity to scamper off and do something else that was a bit more interesting to them. And then there are those who walked because a cute friend they want to bone walked out.

    Lets be reasonable.

    • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

      “Lets [sic] be reasonable” = “Let’s make any excuse we possibly can for the fundies.”

  • http://andythenerd.tumblr.com The Nerd

    One thing that disappointed me was how he described same-sex marriage as the last great hurdle, like it’s some sort of final frontier. It’s not. I’m a member of the so-called LGBT community, and when same-sex marriage is legal, I still won’t have my rights. Many won’t. But for people who are as privileged as Dan Savage, that really is the last step between them and the American Dream. At which point I guess they can ignore the rest of us in the LGBT community still marginalized by unjust laws in society?

    • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

      Savage is good on certain issues, but his privilege on every axis except sexual orientation blinds him to so many things that I would never consider him a reliable voice of ethics, or even sexual advice.

  • michael

    He was not trashing the bible as a whole (i.e. “on ths one issue and no other”). But I did find his use of the word “bullshit” in connection with the bible extremely insensitive. I’m not particularly religious either. More importantly, he managed to alientate himself from the ideal target audience (The people walking out). Those are the people that need to be hearing his point. Somehow, I think that the cheering fans already have the message.

    • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

      Y helo thar, tone troll!

      The people who walked out weren’t going to listen to his message regardless. (As was said already, the walkout looked planned.) And why, precisely, should he have paid deference to religion, when religion is the fucking problem here? Here in the U.S., we need more, not less, of such rhetoric.

      Personally, I think it’s good for the walkouts that they got to hear such blunt words applied to their “good book.” Maybe it’ll puncture the bubble they live in a bit.

  • StevenX

    Some were probably walking out just to be noticed, their usual holier-than-thouness pulling a psychological power play. Kind of like how they walk out on the homeless and needy – you know, all the people Jesus said to help. It’s no big secret that a lot of “believers” are only there to further their own agenda and fleece the flock. So many charities they say they’re helping, yet all the preachers are rich.

  • Antonio

    WHAT A HYPOCRITE!!
    This despicable fraud goes in front of students with the pretense of giving a speech denouncing bullying then he (this supposed humanitarian) calls those whose beliefs he is denigrating “PANSY ASSES” for walking out on him and refusing to allow themselves to be bullied. I applaud those who singled themselves out by standing up turning their backs on this charlatan and refusing to listen to the slurs he was making against God and the bible. This con-man should be forbidden from speaking to young people in the future. I think bullying is wrong, even more so when it is coming from one who is purported to be an anti-bullying spokesman.

    • julian

      No one was called a pansy ass (those who preach their Bible without concern for others but choose to walk away from criticism of it were), the walk out began the moment he mentioned the bible and it justifying gay bashing (this is before he actually began listing examples of other aspects of morality the bible got wrong) and the worst he did was derisively tell the students still present they can invite their bible friends back.

      Don’t lie about what happened?

    • http://ms-daisy-cutter.dreamwidth.org/ Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

      Fuck you, fuck your genocidal deity, and fuck your book of 3,000-year-old fairy tales.

  • laurentweppe

    @steve oberski

    Handy tip, if you cover your monitor screen with a big sheet of saran wrap it keeps the spittle from collecting on it.
    A similar sheet on your keyboard will keep the drool out of it.

    If you want someone frothing at the mouth, look at the guy who very recently wrote this bullshit of biblical proportion: to write something that retarded (“Oh no: TSA screening is done randomly and they’re not ruining the day of brown skinned foreign looking must-be-villains as often as I’d like bouhouhouhouhouhou)” , one must either have good chunk of their brain damaged beyond repair or assume that their readership have brains damaged beyond repair.

  • Michelle

    I’m a Christian and believe Dan was spot on with his accusations of the Bible. The Christian community picks and chooses what rules they will listen to. Two they do not listen to are placing judgement and the gay life style. Dan is a human being just like me and you. I think he deserves the same rights as EVERYONE else. People in the gay community are taking their own life because of the hateful words our nation is spreading…and everyone seems to think that’s ok. It’s not! God tells us to love one another. He want’s us to be a peaceful nation and care about each other. But it’s our very own sin that causes us to fall short of his glory everyday. We will all be judged on judgment day. For now let everyone live there life happily and freely. For those Christians who think I’m rebuking the Bible…I am not. I love the Bible, I love believing in my God and everything he has done for me and my family. I don’t think I could ever repay Him for what He has done for me. The God I know is a healer, merciful and loving. He healed lepers and prostitutes. Do you think God would turn his back on someone before he even spoke to them…NO. If we are kind and loving with our words maybe more people would listen. I to fall short of this one in my everyday life. I hope I can see a change on this in my lifetime. Dan I’m glad your stepping up and not backing down. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said…”I hope one day my daughters will be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin!”

    From,
    A 35 year old mommy with 4 kids, White and a Christian!

    • John Morales

      Michelle,

      I’m a Christian and believe Dan was spot on with his accusations of the Bible.

      How then do you reconcile your Christianity with the obvious?

    • Michelle

      I think people were missing the point Dan was trying to make (or maybe I am). What I took from the topic was Christians are hypocrites. They follow some rules and ignore others. That was the point he was making. Girls can have sex before they are married…no big deal. Husbands and wives cheat on each other…they are only hurting themselves. Of all the sins that Christians commit…we know God forgives us, but when it comes to being gay it’s an unforgivable sin. I believe in the Bible and the rules that God has set forth, but once the world turned away from Biblical teaching and principal, taking prayer out of school, etc. How can you ban one social group. It’s like slavery and segregation all over again. Like I said in my previous post…the God that I know, is a God of LOVE and healing. Not turning his back on people, but extending his hand. Just because our beliefs are different does not mean that they are any less human. How would you like it if someone came up to you and said…oh you wear blue polo’s, I don’t like them or anyone who wears them. You should be put in prison forever. When put in the context of a shirt it all seems pretty stupid, but that’s exactly what we are doing to anyone who is different from us. And maybe, just maybe, more Christians would be heard if we weren’t shoving it down peoples throat and saying I’m the only one who’s right and you should listen to everything that’s coming out of my mouth. God want’s us lovingly to share His word. What good is sharing His word if we are saying it with HATE towards another.

    • John Morales

      Michelle, thanks for the response.

      What I took from the topic was Christians are hypocrites.

      Generally so indeed, O Christian.

      PS “the God that I know” stood out to me.

      (You sure you know this God, rather than imagine it?)

    • Michelle

      Why would you say I Imagined it? I’m sitting down right now with my Bible. Looked in Leviticus, which is what Dan kept referring to… Lev 18-19. I have a whole bunch of stuff I need to be forgiven of. I know God forgives me for not knowing. I don’t think that God or the Bible is wrong, but our sin has followed us all the way from Adam and Eve. I think people forget, God, gave us free will. I don’t believe gene mutations, miscarriages, birth defects, etc are from God, but from our own sin. We were made perfect until Eve took from the tree. People want to blame God, but it’s not His fault we don’t listen.

  • John Morales

    Michelle:

    Why would you say I Imagined it?

    I didn’t say that; I asked you whether you’re you’re sure you know.

    (How do you know that your children exist?)

    I have a whole bunch of stuff I need to be forgiven of. I know God forgives me for not knowing.

    Ethically, only the wilful ignorance is worthy of forgiveness.

    We were made perfect until Eve took from the tree.

    Think about this proposition: Eve was perfect, but Eve disobeyed.

    (As a Christian, surely you consider that God knew full well that Eve would do this even before her creation, no?)

    People want to blame God, but it’s not His fault we don’t listen.

    Why the masculine pronoun?

  • Walter

    @ Daniel Fincke

    “a living symbolic depiction of Bible believers’ closed-minded resistance to challenges that they cannot answer and so refuse to even listen to.”

    I think you will do well to remember that these are not adults he’s talking to. These are kids. I doubt if they are equipped to argue with an adult. If this had been a group of adults in retreat, I would agree with your assessment, because, as adults espousing a belief, they should be able to counter his arguments with arguments of their own. I wonder, Mr. Fincke, what is your position on representatives of the US walking out on UN sessions when Iranian president Ahmadinejad dresses down the policies of the US?

    • sjoerdverweij

      Belief? Since when are rudimentary Bible facts “belief”?

  • jelmar

    I don’t know who is more pathetic, Dan Savage or his mindless hating followers.
    It’s amazing this tool has even half the support he does. He stands for hypocrisy. Are there really that many stupid people in this country to continue giving this freak attention?

    He perfectly represent the obama regime, that is, do as I say, not as I do. If you embrace the ideology of this idiot then that doesn’t say much about YOU!

    • Michelle

      You know Dan Savage personally? Oh wait…NO! Your making a rash judgement about him and me. So are you a tool? Should I be allowed to make the same rash decision?

  • jelmar

    @Michelle

    Should I be allowed to make the same rash decision?

    -Yes, you should be able to make the same rash decisions, it’s a free country where everyone has opinions. In fact you are free to rape, steal, murder and torture but you will face the consequences.

    My point is this man is a hate filled, vile person who deserves none of the attention he receives. There are many other prominent members of society that should be given the chance to influence young minds instead of this psychopath.

    Maybe it’s just me but when I start to speak to a large audience I never have to remind myself that I should never insult and offend those that took time to listen.


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