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:
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.
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”