Dan Savage in new controversy for calling parts of Bible BSon April 30, 2012 @ 10:47 am (Updated: 2:11 pm - 4/30/12 )
"We can learn to ignore the bull---t in the Bible about gay people the same way we have learned to ignore the bull---t in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bull---t in the Bible about all sorts of things," Savage said.
Dozens of students walked out of the speech in opposition, prompting Savage to respond "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."
His speech and subsequent criticism has drawn sharp criticism. The father of two students in attendance calls Savage a coward and a hypocrite for attacking them for standing up for their own beliefs, especially since the speech was supposed to focus on anti-bullying and tolerance.
"He waited until after they left the room because not only is he a bully he's a coward. He's the one who uses any position of power to beat down and the fact that he's on a presidential panel on anti-bullying he should be removed," Philip Naman, the father of two high school students from Arrowhead Christian Academy in Redlands, CA. told Dori Monson.
"Imagine a keynote speaker at a high school conference telling gay kids that everything they believe is evil and wrong that would never be tolerated so why would a conference invite Dan Savage to stand up there and tell Christian kids that everything they believe is evil and wrong," replied Dori.
Savage has apologized on his blog for describing the walkout as "pansy-assed." But he's not apologizing for what he said.
"I didn't call anyone's religion bull---t. I did say that there is bulls--t "untrue words or ideas" in the Bible. That is being spun as an attack on Christianity. Which is bullshhh, which is untrue. I was not attacking the faith in which I was raised. 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.
"I cannot believe that he was actually invited to speak to a high school anything," said Naman about the National Scholastic Press Association, which sponsored the convention.
In a statement, the organization called Savage "inappropriate and offensive". And it said the content was unexpected.
"This is not what our organizations expected. In his attempt to denounce bullying, Mr. Savage belittled the faith of others - an action that we do not support. Ridicule of others' faith has no place in our programs, any more than ridicule of the LGBT community would."
Ross and Burbank co-host Luke Burbank says if you listen to the content of the speech, it was actually very thoughtful and well reasoned. But he says Savage made a tactical error.
"In his attempt to be really clear and not dance around the issue and not in any way seem like he's being overly delicate, he uses the word BS. The problem is if you're talking with someone who believes the Bible, the second that you start referring to it as BS, you've lost the ability to really have them hear what you are saying."
Luke, who was raised a devout Christian as well, agrees and says Savage raises a good point.
"There are so many things in the Bible that we as a modern 2012 group of people have realized, particularly stuff in the Old Testament that we aren't going to get particularly hung up on anymore and he's just trying to say 'why is the gay question...why is that the one thing we hold on to?'"
Dave Ross says the offended students who walked out of the speech have a much bigger problem.
"If this kind of speech shocks them, they're going to have trouble making it in journalism...You have to put the most exciting, click producing stuff on the web that you can. If they're going to walk out on a story like this they're not going to go very far in their journalism career."
But Naman says Savage began the speech with overtly sexual comments about birth control and gay sex that were completely inappropriate for a student audience regardless of the controversial nature of his speech, and given his history and reputation should never have been allowed to speak to students in the first place.
"My daughter was there and this guy talks like this? What is wrong with him!?"
By Josh Kerns, My Northwest.com Editor
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