A Message for the Tolerant Christians

An important lesson for moderate Christians from Dan Savage:

In summary: If you’re tired of being lumped in with the anti-gay, anti-science, fundamentalist Christians, don’t complain to us.

Complain to the leaders of the Christian right who are dragging you down with them. Complain to your pastors. Lead the charge and don’t be quiet about it.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    I agree, so what’s the difference when some of us in the secular community demand that “moderate” Muslims start raising hell with their more radical brothers and sisters?

  • daakujc

    this made by day..

    ..evangelical taliban christian family association..

  • daakujc

    The talk was okay. Though I find his claim, that christians are not identifying themselves as christian because that meant that they are anti-gay, to be dubious.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    Let’s face it. Christians are NOT — repeat, NOT — going to go after each other in any meaningful way. Sure, once in a while one of them, or maybe a group, will pipe up, now and again, and point out the extremists in the midst of their religion. But their “protests” are tiny, squeaky, short-lived affairs that accomplish nothing and are never intended to change the extremists.

    But they are NOT — again, to repeat, NOT — going to do anything substantive about it. To do so would admit their religion could be abused, and they are NOT — again, to repeat, NOT — going to admit there can possibly be even the slightest flaw in their metaphysical construct.

    Case in point: Jim Wallis and his Sojourners, a so-called “liberal,” moderately Leftist Christian organization which has butted heads occasionally with the more extreme Christians. Not surprisingly, though, when push came to shove and they had a chance to put their money where their putatively-tolerant mouths were, they staunchly refused, and buckled under the pressure of actually standing up to the militants in their religion.

    There is quite simply no such thing as a Christian who will truly, tangibly confront his/her co-religionists. Such a creature is a figment of the imagination … no more real than Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.

    To be blunt about it, the Christians Dan is talking to, do not exist — on this planet, or on any other. They are ALL part of the same “club,” and they act that way. Count on it.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    @PsiCop,
    Does this line of thinking extend to other religions?

  • Bones

    I think there is a chance of Bigfoot existing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/staks Staks Rosch

    What is really disappointing is that even some of the most well known liberal Christians are anti-gay (I’m talking to you Jim Wallis). I am anti-Christian because at the end of the day, the right wing nut jobs have the biblical high ground in this fight. Christianity does promote hatred and discrimination for gays. So it really isn’t Tony Perkins who is the problem. He is a symptom. The problem really is Christianity and if that makes me an anti-religious bigot for pointing that out, then so be it. But at least I am not an anti-gay bigot. As a secular Humanist I strongly support gay rights even though I am straight. Keep up the great work Dan!

  • Erp

    Jim Wallis is on the conservative side of liberal. Liberal Christians include people like Desmond Tutu (definitely pro-gay rights) and Mark Hanson (head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, also pro-gay rights) and Katharine Jefferts Schori (head of the US Episcopal Church who has participated in the ordination of out gay/lesbian bishops). The venom some of conservative Christians have in particular for the latter two is toxic. I’ve seen rainbow flags fly from ELCA and Methodist churches and I’ve seen their ministers out on street corners protesting against prop. 8. Are they all this liberal when it comes to gay rights, no, and, for some it is still a process of becoming (I’ve heard Mark Hanson give his story).

    Liberal Christians admit they don’t take the Bible literally and completely (no one actually does but fundamentalists won’t admit it). They are also more intent on creating a ‘kingdom of heaven’ here and now by improving the lot of the poor and distressed (this is where Jim Wallis is a bit liberal) rather than waiting for ‘divine intervention’.

    Some seem to have problems with science. They accept it but also try to fit it into a worldview where it doesn’t fit very well.

  • http://mojoey.blogspot.com Mojoey

    I’m in for $10 plus I have a story posting in the morning which supports your call to action.

    Great job on this. Thanks.

  • http://seeminglyimpossiblequestions.blogspot.com/ Eric

    OH, thanks for the plug to this Rhodes sponsored event. I go to Rhodes, and I asked the second to last question in the Q&A about transgenders in the IT’s Get Better campaign, since I think the news coverage did not seem to focus much time to transgenders when addressing IGB. (Gender and Sexuality is one of my minors if not a major, and transgenders are minority group that I focus on.)

    Savage was really good and raunchy. He taught me to look more into the statistics people cite, even ones FFRF cites. He taught us what Santorum means just in time for Republican primary debates.

  • Gary P

    I would like to respond to something daakujc posted. I am a very recent convert to secularism, after having been a pretty devout christian for well over 20 years. Before I took the leap into non-theism, my first step was to stop identifying myself as a christian. The primary reason for this was the way in which christians, especially the Palins, Santorums, Bachmanns and Becks of the world (to name just a few), were acting and speaking specifically about LGBTs. I am straight so I don’t really have any personal reason, but it sickened (and sickens) me to watch and hear. I finally became a secularist, not because of anything the christians did, but from something of a personal awakening, but my point is that at least I did change my label because of the homophobic crap from other christians.

  • http://www.DangerousTalk.net DangerousTalk

    Thanks Erp. I try to stay fairly well informed about Christian leaders, but I never heard of any of those people. I guess that is just proving Dan Savage’s point. Those voices need to be louder… much louder. Still, the problem is still Christianity but I have no problem dealing with the symptoms and the root of the problem at the same time.

  • http://www.youngatheist.wordpress.com Cate

    Does anyone else think its weird that he says, “Not all Christians are Tony Perkins,” but then says, “All the atheists out there – the Christopher Hitchens of the world…” as though we are all one homogenous group represented by Hitchens and Dawkins. I like Dan Savage, but come on! BTW, does anyone know where he got that fact about “nones” being afraid to admit they are Christian. I would have thought it more likely that people were afraid to admit they are atheists. If you look at the ARIS Summary Report from 2008, they claim the opposite is true

    “Based on their stated beliefs rather than their religious identification in 2008, 70% of Americans believe in a personal God, roughly 12% of Americans are atheist (no God) or agnostic (unknowable or unsure), and another 12% are deistic (a higher power but no personal God).”

  • http://persephone_rising.blogspot Em

    There is quite simply no such thing as a Christian who will truly, tangibly confront his/her co-religionists. Such a creature is a figment of the imagination … “no more real than Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.

    To be blunt about it, the Christians Dan is talking to, do not exist — on this planet, or on any other. They are ALL part of the same “club,” and they act that way. Count on it.”
    Then call me Nessie…because I DO practice what I preach. I have walked away from evan/fundie churches. I can self church.I support all of my friends:gay, athiest, gay-athiest,agnostic, christian, whatever. I use my blog as a platform to protest their torture by the civil unfairness perpetuated by the right. I stand upon the edict of Christ, “LOVE ALL”. Period. I do not subscribe to the “Cult of Hate” that the current modern “Inqisition” has installed in the churches. I will be a voice.I will gladly support vocally, monitarily and in print a movement for civil equality and simple human KINDNESS across the board. Don’t count out the genuine hearts. They are out there. An avalance begins with the smallest rumble… Peace.

  • http://shadesthamatter.blogspot.com Amanda

    I disagree with PsiCop that moderate/liberal Christians will never stand up to their conservative counterparts, but I doubt that we’ll get the “screaming” that Savage would like to hear.

    I think what’s more likely to happen is that the moral zeitgeist will eventually move to a more accepting stance towards the GLBTQ community, and the church and its “Christians” will backpedal and pretend that they’ve been “showing God’s love all along”. Just like with women’s suffrage, civil rights, and interracial marriage. The frustrating part is that these more liberal, accepting Christians will probably never have their voices heard.

  • http://www.churchofreality.org Wally Real

    Dan Savage isn’t someone that I’d be proud of. In fact he’s a sleazeball hypocrite for LGBT rights.

    This is note to you liberal atheists (eg. Hemant, Staks, Jen McCreight) who suck up to this kind of bullshit.

    Listen to what Ron Paul has to say about this. I don’t give a fuck whether he’s a christian or not (or if he’s wrong about the abortion issue), he does more for liberty that all the shit talk I’ve seen y’all do in the blogosphere:

    “Rights belong to individuals, not groups; they derive from our nature and can neither be granted nor taken away by government.”

    Ten Principles of a Free Society by Ron Paul
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul732.html

    This is precisely why I criticize you dumb atheist liberals. You don’t understand that rights are not granted by government.

    That’s why you have all these petty fights on special interest groups like LGBT, or no prayer in public schools, church/state separation issues.

    And now I’d like to post a rant from a commentor from the liberal gay site Joe Jervis (aka Joe.My.God) because it illustrates the hypocrisy of Dan Savage and Lady Gaga sucking up to the bread n circuses of politics:

    ***

    Dan Savage and Lady Caca are NOT for GLBT rights they’re both just money hungry media whores who will jump on whatever bandwagon there is to further their careers and “fame”. Lady Caca only wishes she was a Gay Icon and only jumped on the bandwagon of “GLBT Rights!” just to sell albums and music.

    to think that dan savage could generate such a comment post is actually pretty pitiful. but then to come across HIV STIGMA just goes to show how far we have not come since the eighties.

    to think that those who are NEGATIVE live more meaningful and productive lives is utter bullshit when every hiv-positive person i’ve talked to in my years has confided in me that they are much happier with who they are now versus who they were “back then” when they were self destructive.

    what i see: the inability to care for those in your community. Instead, it’s the same ol’ bullshit of making yourselves feel better and more privileged in yet another minority group that is somehow convinced that breaking into a mainstream, CAPITALISTIC, evil hetero-normative society is going to magically make things better – HA! Savage is an A-Gay and is upper middle class and lives in the suburbs with a house and kids and just wants to emulate a Heterosexual lifestyle and thinks that all bisexual and gay men should do this or that we all somehow want to like him. Savage is a media whore with Peter Pan syndrome who just loves attention and
    can’t get enough of it even if it’s negative attention.

    I find it hypocritical that gay men are claiming that most bisexuals and trans people are somehow victimey or want to celebrate victimhood. Have these queens looked in the mirror lately? Have they watched any “It gets better” videos which are all about celebrating victimhood and getting hugs and support and having these things ALL THE TIME instead of just learning to love yourself as a gay man.

    I’m not sure why so many Savage/It gets better queens on this blog are now claiming and denying that Dan Savage is poz phobic? He clearly is and if you’ve read his “advice” column or listened
    to his podcasts one can easily see how he has major issues with people who are HIV+ and that he is poz phobic. Or how they’re now revising history and claiming that Savage has never been
    bigoted towards bisexuals, trans people, and African Americans.
    Try doing the resarch on these topics for yourself and you will see how Savage is very bigoted.

    It really is just as bad as the shit we get from Heterosexist society and Rev. Phelps but it’s from another GLBT person so it’s 10,000X more hypocritical and worse when it’s from someone on
    the inside like this.

    fuck this shit. IT DOES NOT GET BETTER!
    you’ll spend your days feeding the wallets of major corporations. allowing them to sell you a version of gay culture that is more concerned with KILLING YOU and this thing you call “individuality.”
    then instead of actually doing anything about being metaphorically “fucked in the ass” by nearly 99% of americans (because queer/GLBT people still fuck queer/GLBT people over in extreme ways) you’ll turn to some MONEY-HUNGRY ICON like Dan Savage and Lady Caca and repost false, generic information and claim it as your own.

    and don’t forget the pride celebrations and nightly outings, which take you on a spiral into ALCOHOLISM, meth addiction, bareback sex, and recklessness. where a quarter of you end up hiv-positive because nobody has learned how to talk to one another or give a shit about knowing their status or using condoms either in the heat of the moment or as part of having safer sex.

    and instead of blaming yourselves, you’ll blame others, until you hopefully realize how fucked up the “community” is, and start living a more productive and meaningful life. but fuck it, it’s pride and we all know what that is about, right?

    going out, buying shit, getting wasted, buying more shit, getting more wasted, angry, annoyed, horny, stupid, redundant and ugly.

    well, not so much. it’s about stonewall. it’s about resistance. it’s about a memory and celebrating a time when queers were brave enough to stand up and fight against the system in hopes of thriving and forming their own unique culture. stonewall was a riot! not another dreadful, self-loathing party in the gentrified Castro district.
    Someone like Dan Savage who is a primadonna media whore that does not like bisexuals, people with HIV/AIDS, or Trans people is the last person we need representing gay men and GLBT Americans in the media.

    He’s a tool, media whore, jumps on any bandwaggon-Started his whole “It gets better” project not to actually help GLBT youth but to self promote he and his husband and get an MTV reality TV show with crocodile tears.

    He should have named his kid “Material” or “the book all about ME that I want people to buy!”

    He’s an opportunist – always has been.

    Dan Savage’s tone is harsh and biting; his responses seem to care little about the community but alot about how he looks in the community.

    Time after time, Savage attempts to pass off his cute funny bits as true advice when everyone knows that he’s just talking out of his ass.

    http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2011/06/gaga-talks-lgbt-rights-at-europride.html

    I agree with most of the rant.

    Any questions?

    ~WR

  • http://shadesthamatter.blogspot.com Amanda

    WR:

    This is precisely why I criticize you dumb atheist liberals. You don’t understand that rights are not granted by government.

    Really? I beg to differ! It may be true that rights are not “granted” by the government, but it is blatantly obvious that taking away rights from individuals via local or federal law is political.

    I’m not sure what the argument is, exactly, in what you describe yourself as a “rant”, but I’m pretty sure it has absolutely nothing to do with liberal Christians confronting the poisonous beliefs of fundamentalist “Christians”.

    I know the rant is saying that Dan Savage is a terrible advocate for the GLBTQ community (for reasons that are poorly articulated and hard to understand), but it seems to be more of a tirade against capitalism than anything else.

  • http://www.churchofreality.org Wally Real

    but it is blatantly obvious that taking away rights from individuals via local or federal law is political.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    In other words just because Christians get special rights doesn’t mean Atheists should get special rights.

    If you defend the principle that rights come from individuals then that is all-inclusive to all groups.

    That way you don’t have these petty fights about gay marriage and we-need-more-money-for-Planned-Parenthood.

    Taxation is theft. That means you are stealing from one group of people to provide alleged benefits to others.

    I already had that fight with Jen on her blog, but the bitch banned me from her blog calling me an Uberlibertarian troll or sth.

    I’m a free market anarchist. I’m not the only atheist that defends free markets. Micheal Shermer does too. It’s just that atheists who are for free markets get derided or drowned out in the blogosphere because popular atheist opinion is that we need government for all these alleged benefits that atheists want.

    I’ll quote him because I think this is very important for you liberals/progressives to understand:

    MICHAEL SHERMER
    Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American; Author, Science Friction

    Where goods cross frontiers, armies won’t

    Where goods cross frontiers, armies won’t. Restated: where economic borders are porous between two nations, political borders become impervious to armies.

    Data from the new sciences of evolutionary economics, behavioral economics, and neuroeconomics reveals that when people are free to cooperate and trade (such as in game theory protocols) they establish trust that is reinforced through neural pathways that release such bonding hormones as oxytocin. Thus, modern biology reveals that where people are free to cooperate and trade they are less likely to fight and kill those with whom they are cooperating and trading.

    My dangerous idea is a solution to what I call the “really hard problem”: how best should we live? My answer: A free society, defined as free-market economics and democratic politics — fiscal conservatism and social liberalism — which leads to the greatest liberty for the greatest number. Since humans are, by nature, tribal, the overall goal is to expand the concept of the tribe to include all members of the species into a global free society. Free trade between all peoples is the surest way to reach this goal.

    People have a hard time accepting free market economics for the same reason they have a hard time accepting evolution: it is counterintuitive. Life looks intelligently designed, so our natural inclination is to infer that there must be an intelligent designer — a God. Similarly, the economy looks designed, so our natural inclination is to infer that we need a designer — a Government. In fact, emergence and complexity theory explains how the principles of self-organization and emergence cause complex systems to arise from simple systems without a top-down designer.

    Charles Darwin’s natural selection is Adam Smith’s invisible hand. Darwin showed how complex design and ecological balance were unintended consequences of individual competition among organisms. Smith showed how national wealth and social harmony were unintended consequences of individual competition among people. Nature’s economy mirrors society’s economy. Thus, integrating evolution and economics — what I call evonomics — reveals that an old economic doctrine is supported by modern biology.

    http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_2.html

    See also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agorism

    I’m not sure what the argument is, exactly, in what you describe yourself as a “rant”, but I’m pretty sure it has absolutely nothing to do with liberal Christians confronting the poisonous beliefs of fundamentalist “Christians”.

    My argument mirrors Michael Shermers and Ron Pauls principles. Free markets will bring prosperity to all people. When you reduce the power of the State, then Church doesn’t become such a big deal like School Prayer and Prayer at Graduations and teaching Bible in Class.

    I defend free market anarchism and Agorism would the the most ideal philosophy for that.

    ~WR

  • fiddler

    I don’t expect much from Ron Paul worshippers, but that mess was just ridiculous. Perhaps when you come back to reality and stop worshipping an evolution denying, Ayn Rand devotee you can make sense in adult conversation.

  • http://www.churchofreality.org Wally Real

    Great another idiot. Ayn Rand was an atheist. Ron Paul is mistaken about evolution, so does that discredit the other things he is right about?

    ~WR

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    @The Godless Monster,

    In most cases, yes. Most members of a religion (especially a dogmatic one) are not really all that willing to say or do anything that implies it might have some kind of fault. There are exceptions, but this tendency can usually be counted on.

    @em,

    Good for you. Unfortunately you aren’t doing enough. The extremists are still out there, they’re still vocal, and they’re still in control of Christianity in the US. It’s great to say that you’re doing something … but no tangible change has resulted from it. This means you may as well be doing nothing at all.

  • Fiddler

    Taxation is theft. That means you are stealing from one group of people to provide alleged benefits to others.

    And this is where you fail. Rand, Paul, and you all follow the most asinine concept ever. There are precious few things that he is right about, just keep guzzling that kool-aid and rocking back and forth while mumbling : “don’t tax, don’t tax, don’t tax, etc..”

  • Anonymous

    Wally Real:

    I agree with most of the rant.

    Any questions?

    Yeah, there is a commenter at JMG who has an obsession with tearing down Dan Savage. Are you him?

    I’m a free market anarchist.

    I was too, when I was 17, and so were many others. I grew out of it, after learning more about how the world works, and about human frailties, and you probably will too.

    I hope Mr Nice Guy Hemant will have the wisdom to moderate you if you become an obsessive pest.

  • Steve

    What was the line in ‘Sister Act’? – “this better not become a nuns’ bar.”

    I certainly hope this website doesn’t become a libertarian rant site. As a gay atheist who stayed in the closet too long on both accounts,
    I understand Dan Savage’s point of view completely. I also know how much his message is helping young people. It would be nice if someone could zap Wally Real with a gay ray and let him have to listen to some real bigotry. I would bet his rant would change.

  • Bill

    Ugh. Why do we CARE what this smug jerk thinks? I don’t have to justify my beliefs to him nor align myself with anybody but Jesus. If he, as he claims, knows and values rational Christian opinion, HE should be the one aligning himself with them.
    Rational people know that the Falwells and Robertsons don’t speak for all Christians and we certainly don’t have to justify ourselves to this wing-nut.

  • PhiloKGB

    My argument mirrors Michael Shermers and Ron Pauls principles. Free markets will bring prosperity to all people.

    Notwithstanding the fact that the second sentence does not state a principle, you have clearly lost your mind. That is a statement of empirically unsound blind faith on par with anything Christianity has managed.

    When you reduce the power of the State, then Church doesn’t become such a big deal like School Prayer and Prayer at Graduations and teaching Bible in Class.

    Developed European nations, strong states all, have politically much weaker churches. Your thesis, it seems, sucks.

  • qwertyuiop

    Funny how they say only the extremists and fundies are anti-gay, but whenever gay rights are put up for vote (the very idea that people can vote on people’s basic rights is disgusting) the vote comes out against equality.

    Logical conclusion: the majority are homophobes.

  • http://www.churchofreality.org Wally Real

    Anonymous: I’m not the same guy who commented on that JMG blog entry, although I mostly agree with the rant.

    Steve: “It would be nice if someone could zap Wally Real with a gay ray and let him have to listen to some real bigotry. I would bet his rant would change.”

    Um dude, you are putting your hate on the wrong guy.

    I’m queer. I just did my Klein Sexual Orientation grid:

    http://kleingridonline.com/results.php?var_1_1=1&var_1_2=2&var_1_3=4&var_2_1=4&var_2_2=6&var_2_3=3&var_3_1=1&var_3_2=2&var_3_3=4&var_4_1=4&var_4_2=4&var_4_3=4&var_5_1=4&var_5_2=6&var_5_3=4&var_6_1=4&var_6_2=4&var_6_3=4&var_7_1=1&var_7_2=2&var_7_3=2

    capishe?

    URL shortner: http://goo.gl/KRQ9o

    ~WR