Standing up to bullies is offensive, but legal discrimination is not?

Standing up to bullies is offensive, but legal discrimination is not? April 30, 2012

So it seems a student journalism group invited Dan Savage to speak and then was shocked … shocked! … when Dan Savage showed up and spoke like Dan Savage.

The advice columnist and “It Gets Better” video pioneer didn’t say anything new or unusual or unexpected, and nothing he hasn’t said before in more prominent public forums. But the audience at the Journalistic Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association apparently included some members of the IndigNation — the sorts of Christians who don’t so much “seek first the kingdom of God” as “seek first and at all times some excuse or pretext, no matter how flimsy, to take offense.”

Savage was happy to oblige — in part by using the naughty word “bulls***.” But I call bulls*** on the faux horror expressed by the uptight umbrage-junkies who walked out on his talk:

One of the teachers attending the speech with his students told CNN’s Carol Costello on Monday that he was taken aback by the speech and that he supported the decision of some of his students to walk out of it.

“It took a real dark, hostile turn, certainly, as I saw it,” said Rick Tuttle, a teacher at Sutter Union High School in Southern California. “It became very hostile toward Christianity, to the point that many students did walk out, including some of my students.”

First, how awesome is it that this tut-tutting character is named “Tuttle”? And second, Tuttle here is just wrong to characterize Savage’s comments as hostile toward Christianity. Savage was certainly hostile, but he was not being hostile toward Christianity — he was hostile toward Christian hostility and its very real consequences.

As a high-school teacher, Tuttle seems to have fully internalized the moral imbecility so frequently spouted by teachers — “I don’t care who started it! That doesn’t matter!” — and has thus become unable to distinguish between bullies and their victims. Tuttle’s complaint boils down to the fact that Savage didn’t turn the other cheek the way other people are supposed to.

You should read all of John Shore’s deliciously sarcastic smackdown of the Tuttles and Tiskers and Fingerwaggers seizing on Savage’s talk as a pretext for their constant, pre-existing offendedness, but let me just quote from his P.S.:

What immediately become a meme amongst Dan’s critics is that those who walked out of his talk felt bullied by him. But that’s impossible. People get bullied because of who they are: how they look and act, what they say and do. Perceived as being in some critical way weak or lacking, victims of bullies are selected for persecution; they are pulled from the pack before being pointedly and repeatedly victimized. The people who walked out during Dan’s talk were not separated from their peers by anyone. They were content to do that themselves. They were not frightened or cowed. They were offended. They felt that by disparaging what amounts to their God, Dan had transgressed beyond their capacity for toleration. And they were pleased to show their intolerance of Dan’s words by protesting against them in the manner they did. Theirs was not an act born of suffering. It was a proud show of disdain.

And prideful disdain is, you know, a sin. Says so in the Bible. No B.S.

* * * * * * * * *

Relentlessly cheerful prosperity preacher Joel Osteen really doesn’t want anyone to take offense at his views, so he is careful to reassure LGBT people that he thinks they’re really nice and feels absolutely no personal animosity when he tells them they can’t have the civil rights he enjoys.

Or, as David Badash puts it, “Joel Osteen Doesn’t Hate You, But His Bible Really Hates Your Homosexuality.”

“I believe the Scripture says that being gay is a sin,” Osteen said on Fox News Sunday:

“But, you know, every time I say that, Chris, I get people say, ‘Well, you are a gay hater and you’re a gay basher.’ I’m not. I don’t — I don’t dislike anybody. Gays are some of the nicest, kindest, most loving people in the world. But my faith is based on what I believe the Scripture says and that’s the way I read the Scripture.”

Osteen added that certain rights and privileges should be afforded to gay couples, but he stopped short of saying that gays should have the right to marry.

“I think we shouldn’t discriminate against anybody,” he said.

“So, I think — yes, I don’t think there is an issue where somebody couldn’t go visit a gay loved one in the hospital. I don’t think that’s right. They love each other. So, I think there should be some. I’m not for gay marriage, but I’m not for discriminating against people.”

“We shouldn’t discriminate against anybody … I’m not for gay marriage, but I’m not for discriminating.”

As Scott Paeth writes: “Right. Because excluding an entire group of people from participation in a cornerstone social institution is … not discrimination?”

Osteen’s clueless reassurance that “I don’t dislike anybody” while simultaneously trying to deny them legal equality is the flipside of the same disdainful pride shown by those determinedly taking offense at people like Dan Savage when they demand such equality as their legal right. Osteen can’t understand why anyone could be upset with him when here he is saying that “Gays are some of the nicest, kindest, most loving people” and even conceding that they should enjoy “some rights.” And Tuttle et. al. can’t understand why Savage had to go and be all rude when they were ever-so-nicely denying him legal equality without using any profanity at all.

"There you go again. Talking odd. If you can't talk even then I guess you're ..."

The weirdly innocent part of the ..."
"Its not my fault you cant keep up"

The weirdly innocent part of the ..."
"That's odd. What are you even talking about?"

The weirdly innocent part of the ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • PurpleGirl

    Osteen can’t understand why anyone could be upset with him when here he
    is saying that “Gays are some of the nicest, kindest, most loving

    Raymond Shaw is the kindest, blah, blah, blah and a trained killer. Doesn’t Osteen know where that phrase comes from and what it means?

  • PurpleGirl

    Marco Bennett (character in Manchurian Candidate)

    Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life. 

  • I think I get it. The problem isn’t being bigoted towards gay people or being hateful towards Christians. The problem here is using profanity. If Savage had stressed how much he liked and respected Christianity and mentioned the affection he felt for his Christian friends and family members, he could have gone on to say that Christians shouldn’t be allowed to vote and that churches should be condemned by the state and sold for scrap and no one would have been able to go after him as a ‘Christian-hater’ or a ‘Christian-basher’. After all, what really matters here is the tone of voice, and saying hateful things isn’t wrong as long as you don’t sound mean!

  • Heh, I was wondering when you would address this latest Dan Savage story, Fred.  :)

    I do wonder if some of those people attending Dan Savage’s speech were doing so in a deliberate attempt to bait for something to be offended about.  “See!  See!  Teh ghays hate Christians!”  He has a long history of being rather blunt about his views on homophobia, so maybe they were expecting it. 

  • gocart mozart

    As usual, the professional victims  feel the need to lie about what happened.  Doesn’t the bible say something about bearing false wtness or was that part left out of the Ayn Rand edition?

  • Spiritus

    Now, I watched the Dan Savage video, and as someone who is absolutely for equal gay rights, pro anti-bullying laws and all of that – Savage took things a bit too far. Throughout the course of his speech, he made some very real points about the way many Christians have treated homosexuals and about the bullshit with people opposing bullying laws -he’s absolutely right on that content.

    But then he goes and all but paints all Christians everywhere with the bigot brush and acts like everyone who walked out on him was personally resposible for the shit he had to put up with. That’s not fair – it’s a sweeping generalization that’s just…well okay, almost as wrong as the lies put out by stuff like the FRC. Again – I agree absolutely with the point he was making, but he very much came off like he was blaming the Christian kids in that very room for gay bullying everywhere. I understand where that’s coming from – it’s coming at justified anger at the foul treatment he and his have had to put up with from people under our tent for years, but you can’t lash out at the rank and file when most of them are just as anti bullying as he is.

  • I honestly can’t stand Dan Savage not because he apparently doesn’t like Christian hostility. That, much as I’m loathe to admit it, is understandable.

    I dislike him because he’s a grade one arse about asexuality and I’m asexual. He’s also bi and transphobic  according to my friends who’d know better than me since they’re the ones caught in the firing line.

    Somebody who disdains or erases whole chunks of the QUILTBAG community shouldn’t be a spokesperson for that community.

  • histrogeek

    No matter how nasty Dan Savage was, it’s simply, glaringly inaccurate to call what he did bullying. Bullying is about intimidating and threatening. He could be a class 1 dick, as he indeed can be, but nothing he was saying was threatening. Offensive maybe, overgeneralizing probably, but even the most thin-skinned Christians (and I can often be one) can reasonably think they were threatened by this.
    But a larger point needs to be made. Progressives of all types are ridiculously subject to some bizarre propriety police for anything that might offend certain key classes of the ruling elite. Hillary Rosen, Dan Savage, even the Bill Clinton ad touting the assassination of bin Laden are getting some ridiculous treatment about how they may have “cross the line.” And the discussions are more unctuous than anything Emily Post ever wrote.
    Meanwhile it proves nearly impossible to convince radio stations to remove conservative shock jocks no matter how blatantly offensive or even threatening they are. Hell the mainstream media makes every effort to look away from them and downplay their behavior. Already the media has gotten tired of Rush’s bullshit slut-shaming of a Georgetown law student, but have they shut up about Hillary Rosen pointing out that Ann Romney is an entitled member of the 1% who can’t possibly be a real spokesperson for women’s economic issues? (Eleanor Roosevelt could also be accused of that, and was, but she had worked with poor men and women for years. I’m not sure Ann has, since the Romneys would be shouting that if it had happened.)

  • flat

    countdown to some serious merchandising to land rover in a rapture novel:

    19 days 

  • I listen to his weekly podcast, and calling Dan an arse about asexuality, or bi- or transphobic sounds like the opinion of someone who doesn’t.  He’s touched on all these topics multiple times, admitted he’s caught flak for his words in the past, and done more than his share of apologizing to these respective communities.

  •  And at least with regards to asexuality gone on to say it again. Why would I listen to some guy who thinks I’m repressed. I’m 40 next week – I think i’d know by now if I was attracted to anyone.

  • friendly reader

    In defense of every teacher’s “moral imbecility,” have you ever actually had to deal with the blame-fest that ensues between two 6-year olds? Generally no one witnessed the starting event, and generally neither is particularly trustworthy because they haven’t reached the stage of taking moral responsibility for their actions. While it’s always best to try to figure out who started the fight, especially with children the response is generally completely inappropriate as well, and sometimes both need to be told they should apologize.

    Now, anyone using this on a kid past about 8 or so is just hindering their learning curve on taking responsibility…

    …but I guess I’m saying is, the teacher is responding to a very different situation than the one-sided hostility of a bully-on-victim. And if you want us to be able to watch every single child every single moment, you’re going to have to hire more teachers and not post us at a 1:25-3o ratio.

  • Spiritus

    Nonsense – clearly what we need is FEWER teachers! How else are we going to afford all these sexy, sexy tax cuts?

  • friendly reader

    Okay, in shower, tried to think of a way to properly express what irked my about that comment, and I think it’s the term “moral imbecility,” implying that teachers who say this are somehow morally stunted (using what I think might be considered an ableist term, but whatever) rather than just, you know, totally frustrated and trying to restore classroom order so that everyone can learn.

    What do you expect teachers to do when they can’t determine who’s to blame and both sides are pointing the finger at the other? Assign blame at random? Sure, you can pick up trends here and there as to who is more trustworthy, and that can help make a determination. But even then, sometimes people go against the grain, and assigning a bully and a victim when you really don’t know who started it doesn’t help teach moral responsibility any more than saying who’s responsible no longer matters.

    And that’s how I think it should be phrased: at this point, no, it doesn’t matter, we need to stop it from getting worse, and I will be keeping an eye on you two from now on to see if I can figure out who is the instigator.

    Again, it’s just a completely different scenario, and the only way to completely eliminate it would be a constant monitoring that some might even argue invades privacy and inhibits taking personal responsibility (versus just being afraid of getting punished). It’s a bad situation for teachers, and I don’t like them – okay, us – being called “moral imbeciles” when we try to do our best in it.

  • In defense of every teacher’s “moral imbecility,” have you ever actually
    had to deal with the blame-fest that ensues between two 6-year olds?

    Hell, six year olds? Try teenagers and even grown adults.

    When there’s no authority around to see who definitively did something, you should see the amount of CYA blame-shifting that can go on when people know shit rolls downhill and have no desire to be the one it lands on.

  • The problem is “I don’t care who started it” attitude doesn’t lead to at least the semi-egalitarian result of punishment all around (the Marines have this one down pat, by the way; if anyone fucks up in the platoon, the ENTIRE PLATOON gets it in the neck), it just leads to the jerkass getting away with murder (metaphorically) and learning that as long as blame can be shifted away by means of effectively appealing to this exasperation with “this-one said, that-one said”, then there will be no effective consequences for any actions.

    And this, bullies learn very well, especially when existing social biases reinforce the actions they take rather than blunt and weaken the actions they take. For example, if every time a gay or lesbian teenager who was bullied could effectively call down the wrath of authority against those who bully them, you better believe the bullies would lay off posthaste.

  • We Must Dissent


    Hell, six year olds? Try teenagers and even grown adults.

    I teach in high school, and I was going to post the same thing. On the other extreme, I hear “But he/she started it!” at least a few times a week. “And you’re not four.” is my usual response.

  • P J Evans

    Sutter Union High School in Southern California

    It’s in Northern California. I would expect reporters to get it right, since they’re quoting him.

  • Turcano

    I’m sorry, but yes, that is either moral stunting or or moral cowardice.  I had a pretty traumatic childhood, so I can tell you the lesson that I and everyone else that was in my place learns from this policy:

    If someone oppresses you, those in authority will not lift a finger to help you, and will punish you if you try to defend yourself.

    This has two outcomes, depending on how the victim reacts to this lesson.  The first reaction is learned helplessness and/or depression, sometimes going as far as suicide.  The second reaction is to figure that you have nothing to lose, which leads to escalation, the most extreme form being a school shooting.  This is what your indecisiveness will wreak.

  • 2-D Man

    People get bullied because of who they are: how they look and act, what they say and do. Perceived as being in some critical way weak or lacking, victims of bullies are selected for persecution; they are pulled from the pack before being pointedly and repeatedly victimized.

    Oh, the irony….

  • friendly reader

    Turcano, I’m not talking about a “policy” of punishing everyone or ignoring bullying, I am talking about the phrase, which I have only heard coming out of the mouth of frustrated teachers trying to handle discipline in scenarios where it can be near-impossible to say who started a conflict.

    You might say that it should be easy to identify who the oppressors and the oppressed are in schools, and for some things, particularly for LGBT students, it is absurdly easy. But in everyday bullying it’s not as simple as that; many bulliers are also bullied, and it becomes  an issue of who do you believe and on what basis.

    An example:

    I had a pretty rough childhood as well. I got teased for my nerdiness, but never was targeted with serious bullying. And I was the good kid. I had good grades, I was honest, helpful, generally kind.

    I also had an undiagnosed mental disorder, and when I had explosions of rage, sometimes over very minor things that I perceived as being far worse because of my anxiety. My behavior was generally chocked up to being the other person’s fault, they must have been teasing and provoking me, etc. etc. and as a result it took far too long for me to get the help and medication I needed.

    I’m not saying it doesn’t matter who started it, I’m saying that when a teacher says that, he or she is in a situation where they cannot determine who is responsible and they need to end a conflict because it is interfering with the other students’ ability to learn. It’s not moral imbecility or cowardice because it’s not a moral statement, it’s a pragmatic one.

    If we really want to stop bullying, we can’t just tell teachers to do their jobs better. Teachers have to be given the time and resources to invest in stopping bullying, because right now we’re up to our necks in meeting state standards whilst underpaid, under-supported, and under-staffed.

  • friendly reader

    And an added thought:

    I’ve sometimes wondered if mandatory meetings with counselors for all students might help stir up bullying, but we also grotesquely underfund counseling programs. Your child’s future was the first to go with budget cuts…

  • friendly reader

    And another another thought:

    Before anyone assumes the mental disorder was me cracking from horrible bullying that I am in denial about, (1) I’ve had episodes since I was 2 or 3 and (2) looking at my family it’s definitely genetic. Counseling helped somewhat, but getting me on the same meds my father takes for his seizures is was finally solved it. It’s a glitch in my brain, not a product of trauma.

  • Turcano

    You might not know this, but this is actually a policy in many places (and there are even worse policies out there; in my local school district, teacher’s aren’t even allowed to intervene in incidents of violence).  Also, I was probably overly harsh in my initial response; the issue kind of touched a nerve.

    In your case, where the issue is one of not having eyes on the back of your head, this is one of the instances where I believe having a systemic video surveillance system is fully warranted, especially since bullying usually doesn’t happen inside the classroom proper.  And there’s a big difference between not knowing who the aggressor is the first few times it happens and seemingly not ever knowing who the aggressor is, which seemed to be my experience.

  • friendly reader

     As to the first issue – I considered bringing up the issue of “and sometimes our hands are tied by misguided policy” but I wasn’t sure if you would consider that a weak excuse or something.

    I am not sure how I feel about video surveillance. I recognize its advantages, but are we going to put them in bathrooms? shower rooms? are we going to bug places so we have audio in case it’s verbal harassment? How much privacy will we be willing to strip away from children? Keeping them safe is an ideal, but so is respecting privacy. Hence I feel conflicted.

    And for your last line, I can’t attest to your experience. Mine was very different, but that can vary by region, income status, and political climate (my high school liked to think of itself as liberal*). And that’s also why I used 6-year olds as my example. I’m in early childhood ed, and I’ve heard plenty of teachers tell children squabbling over who had the toy first that it doesn’t matter who started it, we’re ending it now. I can never recall hearing a teacher in my high school say, “It doesn’t matter if he called you a homo first, you shouldn’t have called him a bigot!”

    The “don’t say gay” BS is horrible for precisely that reason: it treats homophobic bullying as though it were on par with “he took my ball!” “no, I had it first!”

    *…which turned me off from describing myself liberal for ages; if I use
    the word “progressive” for myself, it’s because learning about the
    Progressive Movement is what made me liberal, not the kind of
    liberalism I got in high school. Though in retrospect I can see how little funding we were getting to improve our overcrowded and out of date facilities, and why administrators wanted to emphasize the 4 students going to Harvard and not the 25% and 50% dropout rates for African Americans and Latinos respectively.

  • Turcano

    Well, the thing about privacy is twofold, as far as I can tell.  The first issue is that public schools are government property, and probably the only government property I can think of that doesn’t have cameras up (well, regarding buildings at least), so there’s definitely precedent behind the move.  The second issue is that there’s always a certain percentage that can’t or won’t internalize the rules society expects them to follow, and that percentage gets bigger the younger you go because children’s brains don’t work properly yet.  For those people, fear of getting caught is pretty much the only effective deterrent to bad behavior.

  • Tonio

     I know very little about Dan Savage, except that it’s an interesting coincidence that he shares a last name with the virulent homophobe Michael Savage.

    If Dan is gay and has personally suffered persecution for being gay, I can understand his trauma blinding him to the existence of the many Christians who condemn homophobia, even while disapproving of painting all of them with the bigot brush.

    At the risk of endorsing that type of painting, is it reasonable to suggest that anyone who declares homosexuality to be wrong or immoral is enabling homophobia? I won’t label that belief itself to be homophobic. Fred has said many times that people like Osteen are wrong in their reading of scripture on the subject, and he’s right that discriminating against gay people is not an act of love. But in the sect-neutral sense, there’s simply no basis for deeming homosexuality to be objectively and universally wrong. It would be far more rational, not to mention humane, if the Osteens of the world simply eschewed homosexuality for themselves and took no stance on other people’s orientation.

  • Lonespark

    “I don’t care who started it,” and Zero Tolerance Policies usually don’t come from the teachers; they’re policies created and enforced by administrations/school committees and teachers have to go along.

    And it’s a double-edged kind of thing.  Zero tolerance is horrible in a lot of cases, because it doesn’t look at underlying reasons.  But discretion lets a lot of prejudice and status-quo-defense sneak in, whether the people exercising discretion are aware of that or not.

    I totally agree that more counseling would be good.  I think mental health awareness and access to care, especially preventative care is unbelievably inadequate and causes huge problems.  OTOH, mental health contact with oppressive authority isn’t helpful, either, and it could be that way in a school setting…  (Dammit why is everything so complicated?)

  • Rachel W.

    Back on topic–IIRC, the Sutter kids had specific instructions on how to handle this situation.  They’re in the Gospel.  They should have stood there, took it, and turned the other cheek.  Funny we don’t see much of that nowadays.

  • Frank

    Every time Savage opens his mouth he sounds more and more ignorant.

  • At the risk of endorsing that type of painting, is it reasonable to
    suggest that anyone who declares homosexuality to be wrong or immoral is
    enabling homophobia?

     Isn’t that pretty much the root of homophobia? If people did not think that homosexuality was wrong or immoral, would this even be an issue? I’m probably reading this line completely wrong but I really can’t tell the difference between ‘people who declare homosexuality to be wrong or immoral’ and ‘homophobes’. The two might not be literally identical but they’re close enough that one feeds into the other.

    People who are uncomfortable around homosexual people try to construct “logical” reasons why they are, and people who subscribe to a belief system that brands homosexuality as being immoral are more likely to be fearful and uncomfortable around homosexual people in the same way that they might be fearful and uncomfortable around, say, assassins.

  • Spiritus

     I would say that there is a difference – My own father’s fairly conservative, though mercifully he’s too chill a personality to indulge in the worst excesses of the GOP, and he believes homosexuality to be wrong. He also has gay coworkers and has (admittedly acidentally) visited a gay bar before, and he treats the people there no differently than he treats anyone else. Why? Because he’s smart enough to know that being an asshole is wrong! So, you have people like my father and most of the people I know at the Christian University (Baylor – which is a far cry from the cultish BJU or such) I attend who also believe homosexuality to be wrong, but are not bullies and are absolutely opposed to the sort of shit that the worst branches of the evangelical movement. They do not deserve to be painted as hateful, bigoted bullies any more than gay people deserve to be painted as godless non-americans. Just because the other side is content to make sweeping, idiotic generalizations on a massive group does not mean that we ourselves should stoop to that same low.

    Besides, as a christian myself I would really rather not convince the general public that the God I believe in is in fact about hatred and bigotry. I admit my church has a lot to answer for, but I don’t want people condemning me individually for it as Dan Savage basically did.

  • Tonio

    I was originally thinking that the declaration “Homosexuality is immoral” would influence others to be homophobic or to discriminate against gays, but you have an excellent point.

  • LouisDoench

     Absolutely. The message I received consistently throughout my school years of being heavily bullied was that I was the one who needed to change because no one was going to make the bullies change.  In the case of anti-gay bullying (something even straight kids will be hit with, i certainly was called faggot almost every day of junior high and I’m as straight as the borders of wyoming) there is an almost tacit approval from authority figures, many of whom may very well be the kind of Christians Dan is talking about.

  • My $0.02…

    Several friends of mine from high school and college admitted to me, rather sheepishly, when I came out to them that they were frankly disgusted and repulsed by the very thought of two guys having sex, and they felt sort of bad about feeling that way, since of course it wasn’t really any of their business what I did in bed with consenting partners, but nevertheless that did seem to be the way they felt.

    I think describing their state as “homophobia” is not unreasonable; the way they respond to gay sex is very similar to the way I respond to insects, for example, and I’m perfectly content to describe myself as mildly phobic regarding insects.

    But at no time did they ever declare homosexuality to be wrong or immoral.

    So no, I don’t consider homophobia and the belief that homosexuality is immoral the same thing.

    What I said at the time, and still believe, was that while of course knowing that about them made me kind of unhappy, I appreciated their willingness to be honest with me about it, and I believed that whether they supported my political and social equality was ultimately far more important than how they felt about my sex life.

    I’ve got plenty of friends whose sexual practices I’m a little queasy about, myself. It’s not that big a deal.

  • Tonio


    He also has gay coworkers and has (admittedly acidentally) visited a gay
    bar before, and he treats the people there no differently than he
    treats anyone else. Why? Because he’s smart enough to know that being an
    asshole is wrong!

    While I respect your father for that, I must also say that his stance doesn’t make sense. Why? Because as I understand such beliefs, it’s apparently a moral imperative to refrain from homosexuality and to convince others to do so as well.  At a minimum, it says that one has no moral right to engage in homosexual activities. So why wouldn’t someone with such a belief feel justified in acting like an asshole toward gay people? From their standpoint, wouldn’t that be like intervening if one sees a person being mugged or a parent beating a child in public? Remember that I’m not equating homosexuality with such crimes, merely pointing out that such an equation appears to be inevitable from the statement “Homosexuality is wrong/immoral.”

  • So no, I don’t consider homophobia and the belief that homosexuality is immoral the same thing.

    That’s true, but I really do think that the two feed into each other, as I said in my previous post. If you’re afraid of homosexuals, you might construct reasons why that fear is reasonable or logical, and if you think that homosexual people are dangerous and immoral then it’s only more likely that you’ll be afraid of them. Certainly there are people who are uncomfortable around gay people solely due to unfamiliarity or discomfort at the idea of homosexual sex but don’t take it further than that, but I feel as if there are just as many people who do take that discomfort and construct an elaborate justification as to why it means that same-sex marriage will tear society to the ground.

  • rizzo

    Yeah I saw Savages speech…the people who walked out were just unhappy because they think that their religion gives them the right to be bullies and he called them out on it.  Just like all bullies, they’re big babies.

  • rizzo

     “So no, I don’t consider homophobia and the belief that homosexuality is immoral the same thing.”
    You’re right, one is born of ignorance and the other of stupidity.  I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which.

  • Spiritus

     That’s true, but my father actually has the decency and common sense to realize that bludgeoning people with his beliefs at work is, as we are constantly reminded by our good host, both ineffective and counterproductive. He is also well versed enough to know the obvious truth that Jesus doesn’t call us to be assholes – Golden Rule 101. If a gay man were to ask my father how to be a Christian, my father would say something like “Well, I hate to tell you this, but having sex with other men is going to have to go,” but he won’t do that to a coworker or some random guy he meets out in the world because it would be ineffectual and rude. He, in short, is a grown up who is capable of dealing with the fact that other people think differently than he does.

  • Tonio

     Not your fault, but I’m even more confused by your answer. Your father’s actions amount to treating homosexuality as a personal private matter involving individual conscience. That would seem to contradict any belief that homosexuality is wrong or immoral for everyone.

  • Thing is, it’s fine to be repelled by the idea of sex acts one wouldn’t do, as long as one doesn’t make it the centerpiece of how one interacts with those who do commit those sex acts (e.g. someone who practices BDSM and someone else who does not).

  • Varunreg

    You know, if your reading of a text you base your life on does not match with what you innately believe to be true, then one of the following 3 are wrong, and need to be changed:
    1) The text you are reading is wrong
    2) Your reading of the text is wrong
    3) Your innate belief is wrong
    Osteen needs to decide which one it is.

  • Tricksterson

    Not if Rand had anything to do with it.  Lying would be too close to tact.

  • Tricksterson

    I don’t know enough about Savae to have an opinion but if Frank doesn’t like him he can’t be all bad

  •  I mostly agree with you here, but I have some caveats.

    If you’re afraid of homosexuals, you might construct reasons why that fear is reasonable or logical,

    Yes, absolutely. There are things I’m phobic about, and the temptation to declare those things in some general sense bad (immoral, disgusting, awful, evil, etc.) is significantly higher than it would be were I not phobic about them. I imagine that’s true of most people.

    Of course, the more self-aware I am, the more likely I am to notice that temptation and adjust for it.

    if you think that homosexual people are dangerous and immoral then it’s only more likely that you’ll be afraid of them.

    Yes, as far as it goes. But I am not on board with describing the kind of fear of homosexuals you talk about in this example as “homophobia”, any more than I would describe a child as phobic about tomatoes if they had been (falsely) taught, and therefore believed, that tomatoes were poisonous. They are afraid of tomatoes, certainly, but that’s something different.  

    I should note that although I’ve met a number of people who I consider homophobic, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who is scared of homosexuals in the sense you’re describing here.

  • Tonio


    There are things I’m phobic about, and the temptation to declare those
    things in some general sense bad (immoral, disgusting, awful, evil,
    etc.) is significantly higher than it would be were I not phobic about

    That fits the point I was trying to make to Spiritus. One can be personally repulsed by homosexuality and live one’s life accordingly, while still remaining neutral on the sexual orientations of other people. But if one deems homosexuality to be immoral, one is implicitly saying that being straight is a moral imperative, where individuals don’t have a “moral right” to be gay. Otherwise, it would be like “I believe spousal abuse to be wrong but I don’t have an opinion on whether an individual should abuse his or her spouse.”

  • if one deems homosexuality to be immoral, one is implicitly saying that
    being straight is a moral imperative, where individuals don’t have a “moral right” to be gay.

    Two things here, both fairly tangential.

    First, to consider homosexuality immoral is not necessarily to consider heterosexuality a moral imperative.

    For example, if I consider any sort of discrimination based on gender to be immoral, I might consequently consider homosexuality immoral because it involves discriminating in my choice of sexual partners based on gender. In which case I would consider heterosexuality _equally_ immoral, and might consider bisexuality (or pansexuality, or something along those lines) a moral imperative.

    Or if I consider any sort of sexual attraction at all to be immoral, I might consider homo-, hetero- and bi-sexuality to all be immoral, and might consider asexuality a moral imperative.

    Second, I’m not exactly sure what a “moral right” to do something is.

    I can imagine, for example, believing that some act is immoral, but that preventing you from engaging in that act is also immoral, and concluding thereby that you have a “moral right” to perform that immoral act, although you would be wrong to exercise that right.

    But I certainly agree that I cannot consistently assert that I consider being homosexual to be immoral and that I don’t have an opinion on whether people ought to be homosexual.