Dan Savage upsets some Christians

Christina here…

Apparently people are up in arms because Dan Savage, sex advice columnist, spoke to some high school students at the National High School Journalism Convention. He had a few things to say about the Bible, which caused a significant number of students (I counted at least thirty who walked in front of the camera) to walk out.

The Blaze chose to turn this story into a piece about how Savage has “ties to the white house” and the Christian post wrote that the poor students “had to walk out“. WND claimed Savage “used his podium to bash Christians so severely, droves of the students fled the auditorium, some say victims of bullying themselves.”

Golly, he must have told them they would burn in hell for proclaiming the “truth” about homosexuality or something.  Here’s the video, and a transcript below:

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The Bible, we’ll just talk about the Bible for a second ah. People often point out that they can’t help it – they can’t help with the anti-gay bullying, because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans, that being gay is wrong.

So here’s a statement of fact.

We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people. [applause]

Here, kids begin walking out.

The same way, the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. [applause] We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waved Bibles over their heads during the Civil War and justified it. The shortest book in the New Testament is a letter from Paul to a Christian slave owner about owning his Christian slave. And Paul doesn’t say “Christians don’t own people.” Paul talks about how Christians own people.

So, I guess the terrible part of Savage’s speech here must be that he used the word, “bullshit”. If you had replaced the word, “bullshit” with, “stuff”, this would be another statement of fact.

We ignore what the Bible says about slavery, because the Bible got slavery wrong. Tim — ah, Sam Harris, in A Letter To A Christian Nation, points out that the Bible got the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced wrong. Slavery! What’re the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? 100% percent.

Another statement of fact. Unless of course, those fleeing students think the Bible got it right about slavery.

The Bible says that if your daughter’s not a virgin on her wedding night – if a woman isn’t a virgin on her wedding night, she shall be dragged to her father’s doorstep and stoned to death. Callista Gingrich lives. [applause] And there is no effort to amend state constitutions to make it legal to stone women to death on their wedding night if they’re not virgins. At least not yet. We don’t know where the GOP is going these days. [audience laughs]

I’m not sure how this is an attack on the Bible. Savage does take a jab at the GOP, though.

People are dying because people can’t clear this one last hurdle. They can’t get past this one last thing in the Bible about homosexuality, um.

What a terrible bully Savage is for pointing out that gay people die because the Bible is used to justify killing them.

One other thing I wanna talk about is — [chuckles] — so, you can tell the Bible guys in the hall that they can come back now, because I’m done beating up the Bible. [applause]

It’s funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back. [applause]

Uh-huh. Savage wanted to talk about how the Bible is used to justify bullying against gay kids. This is a point of fact. If you can’t take that and walk out on someone pointing it out, pansy-assed is a pretty apt description.

I apologize if I hurt anyone’s feelings, but I have a right to defend myself. And to point out the hypocrisy of people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the Bible, and insisting we must live by the code of Leviticus on this one issue and no other.

This is ALL he did. Using the word “bullshit” and “pansy-assed” hardly holds a candle to the bullying gay kids face. He didn’t tell anyone they would burn in hell because of who they love. He didn’t beat anybody in a bathroom. He called out the people who use a book used to justify those beatings.

To the kids who walked out: you’re at a journalism conference. Presumably, that means you have some interest in journalism. You will make a poor journalist if you need to “flee” every time someone says something you find offensive.

Furthermore, Savage did not “bash Christians” – he bashed people who use the Bible to justify bullying against gays. Plenty of Christians don’t do that. Christians who do that deserve to be bashed, just like atheists who beat up Christians (wait.. does that happen?) deserve to be bashed.  Christians should bash other Christians who use the Bible to justify bullying homosexuals. Plenty of them do.

Update: Dan Savage has apologized for his use of the phrase “pansy-assed”

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

About christinastephens
  • http://www.atheist-faq.com JT (Generic)

    If people think this is bullying, then they’re clueless, and it’s no wonder why there’s problems.

    Because clearly, voluntarily attending a presentation where you hear someone say things generally about a topic you’re associated with that you don’t like, for the sake of trying to convince you of a better way is equivalent to Being involuntarily ganged up on repeatedly, being targeted directly by people trying to make your life miserable, frequently under threat of violence.

    It’s an exact match!

    • Zengaze

      YaY let’s all walk out in righteous protest, and sing “lalala we’re not listening”. That’s what I find most depressing. Another generation of morons.

      • theAtheistAxolotl

        “Another generation of morons.”

        I take offense at that. While some people in my generation are definitely morons (the leavers in the video, for example), a large proportion of us identify as non-religious/free thinker/atheist. I have heard, but can not currently find data to substantiate, that my generation is in fact less religious (or at least has more open atheists) than any previous generation. Every generation has had those who could be considered morons. Please think before lumping us all under that label.

      • Mark D.

        Don’t forget, in addition to people walking out, many others were cheering on every word.

        That’s certain to lift your heart.

      • Zengaze

        Apologies for the broad brush, I was referring to those who walked out.

        How many walked out because of their programming, and how many of e guys walked out because the girl with the cute ass did.

        Yeah I was 16 too a long time ago, and I’d have been walking out if the hotties were. It makes evolutionary sense.

  • Aaron Ross

    The Jews wrote the bible.

    So lets BLAME THE JEWS! (Dawkins and Hitchens did!)

    • Zengaze

      Since when are Christians not Jews? Saying they are not is like saying Catholics aren’t Christians.

      • B-Lar

        Therefore Catholics are Jews!

        Mel Gibson’s head just exploded.

        • Zengaze

          Must have been the thorns piercing the cranium that caused it

      • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

        What you’re saying makes as much sense to me as saying primates are fish. Christianity and Judaism diverged. One is no longer the other.

        • Zengaze

          Then Catholicism and christinsanity, Presbyterianism and christinsanity, Methodism and christinsanity diverged, one is no longer the other.

          • Zengaze

            And just to clarify, what I am saying is that Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism take your pick are all evolutions of shaking your stick at the stars, if that helps you with the evolution problem.

            At what point did the first human exist?

  • ccaldwell314
  • Freethoughtstorm

    Next time my sister in law points out that being gay is a sin I’ll ask her if I should start collecting stones for her wedding night.

  • http://everydayatheist.wordpress.com Everyday Atheist

    After initially wincing a little at Savage’s language, I’ve now swung into full rage mode over the hypocrisy of Christians. The bible says homosexuality is wrong? Then explain yourself, and your non-stoning of non-virgin brides, your conspicuous consumption of shellfish, and those wicked, wicked mixed fibers you’re wearing. Explain why you have no problem dismissing out of hand the Jewish dietary laws and the morality of slavery (let’s not pretend the bible says anything against it), but the verses condemning gays are the sacrosanct, unchageable edicts of the Almighty? Explain why you haven’t given all you have to the poor and followed Him. C’mon, EXPLAIN YOUR FUCKING SELVES!!


    Next time my sister in law points out that being gay is a sin I’ll ask her if I should start collecting stones for her wedding night.

    Full.Of.Win. Stealing!

  • Mark

    The Christians in the audience did exactly what anyone being verbally “bullied” should do: walk away. I wonder how many Christians killed themselves over this.

    Pretty typical, however, Dan didn’t give a single reference so that people could check him on his context.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      “The Christians in the audience did exactly what anyone being verbally “bullied” should do: walk away. I wonder how many Christians killed themselves over this.”

      You know what? From 5th grade to somewhere in the middle of high school, the daily message I got from my peers was that I was ugly. I could not escape it. I could not walk away – they whispered it to me in class, shouted it in the halls. Wrote it on the chalkboard. Said it in front of teachers, who did nothing to stop them. Constantly. Unendingly.

      This male student sought me out specifically, came up behind me and drop kicked me in the back, many times. Countless times. Out of nowhere, I’d get kicked in the back, hard, followed by laughter from other students around me. Other students stole my backpack, broke into my locker, reported me for school violations I did not commit, smoked cigarettes in class and blamed me, etc.

      I could not escape. And I’m a straight female. I’m not a gay kid. I saw how these people treated gay kids in schools. One of my friends was literally tied up with jump ropes in the locker room during school hours and tormented by the jocks. You didn’t dare come out as gay or even act it.

      You can’t just walk away.

      When people beat you to death or shoot you in the head for being gay, you can’t just walk away.

      When your parents kick you out of your house and force you to live homeless, you can’t just walk away.

      Gay kids aren’t just being verbally bullied. Gay kids are physically abused. Gay kids are stalked. Gay kids can’t marry the sex of their choice. They don’t kill themselves over one or two insults.

      “Dan didn’t give a single reference so that people could check him on his context.”

      Reference to what, the Bible? Does he really need to?

      • http://godunderfoot.deviantart.com/ canthDecided

        References are not needed, Mark, when the genuine bullies, Christians like yourself, assault people like Dan, and myself, with their scriptures on a daily basis. Relentlessly, without pause, and above all, without escape.

        You cannot escape Christianity in this country. You cannot ‘walk away’ from the assault.
        And it -is- an assault.
        There’s no citation needed to repeat what is common knowledge, and the only reason you’re calling him out for lack of citation is because you need a fig leaf to mask the real issue, which is that you Christians can dish it out… but you can’t take it.

        I could not ‘walk away’ when my Christian father was beating the living sh*t out of me with belts, hairbrushes, fists, horsewhips (yeah, you read that right), shoes, and any other object available to him. I could not ‘walk away’ from the verbal brutality of his constant quoting of bible passages condemning me as an artist.
        You see, I wasn’t even homosexual.
        I was just an artist who loved to draw and paint unicorns.
        But he found passages in the bible to condemn me for ‘making false idols’… I paint a picture, I am creating an idol.

        You want citations about slavery? Some of these quotes are abridged… because you know wtf they say. You’ve read your pweshus book cover to cover… but apparently are ignoring the shyte in them whenever convenience lends you a more colorful mantle of victimhood:

        What the Bible says about Slavery

        Exodus 21:2
        If thou buy an Hebrew servant….

        Exodus 21:7
        If a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant….

        Exodus 21:20-21
        And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

        Exodus 22:3
        If he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

        Leviticus 22:11
        If the priest buy any soul with his money….

        Leviticus 25:39
        And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee….

        Leviticus 25:44-46
        Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever.

        Ephesians 6:5
        Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.

        Colossians 3:22
        Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.

        1 Timothy 6:1
        Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

        Titus 2:9-10
        Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

        1 Peter 2:18
        Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

        That’s JUST about slavery.
        Yeah. The Bible gets it wrong, and you’ve gotten it wrong about how to address bullying.

        You turn to the bully and you give them hell. You stand up for yourself. You defend yourself.

        But Dan Savage isn’t a bully.
        He’s telling the truth. He’s quoting your pweshus book, and pointing out all the ways we don’t follow it any more because it’s f**king stupid.
        It was written thousands of years ago by a society trying to set itself apart from and above its neighbors, and it should not be used as *any* kind of guidebook for *anything*…

        Because it doesn’t dispense any new wisdom.
        It doesn’t do anything but give people like you a reason to feel superior.
        It doesn’t stop you from sinning.
        It just gives you a sense of entitlement for being ‘Saved’, and therefore makes you into complete jerks at best, murderers and savages at worst.

    • Mark D.

      I would like it to be known that this Mark is not that same Mark as me.

  • Anteprepro

    Wait…since when do the kind of Christians that love conservative digi-rags like WND and Blaze give a shit about bullying? They really do seem to vacillate on the subject a lot. As in, seem to only care about it if the victims are Christians…

    • Anteprepro

      Oh, and obviously, I don’t actually accept the idea that this is actually bullying of any kind. Realized that my original phrasing may have suggested otherwise.

  • Steph

    I had to reread the title of this particular blog entry several times, as I was *certain* that it read: “Dan Savage Upsets Some Christinas”, and did a quadruple-take ;)

  • Ray

    Well said JT…

  • http://www.facebook.com/cosmicaug augustpamplona

    There’s a form at the National Organization for Marriage set up to e-mail the president & your representative. I think it would be good to make use of it. I would suggest a rewording it to show support for Dan Savage. It’s at http://goo.gl/rZAFW

    I reworded mine as follows (I added a sexual orientation category):

    Support Dan Savage against unfair, false demagogic accusations

    I see that Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign is prominently recognized on the White House website as a model for anti-bullying programs across the nation. I am grateful for the White House’s emphasis on creating a safe and civil school environment for children of all ethnic, social and religious backgrounds and sexual orientations as this is a goal that we all can share.

    This is why I was appalled at the obviously politically motivated accusations of anti-Christian bullying made against him mostly by conservative news outlets with regard to his recent speech at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention. No fair reading can construe his speech as an attack on Christianity or as “bullying” of Christian students.

    It is clear that certain parties are intentionally distorting the import of his speech for political gain to demagogically fabricate a controversy where none exists.

    I urge you to publicly support Dan Savage, making it clear that your administration stands on principle supporting Dan Savage and does not kowtow to pressures related to this politically motivated attack.