"If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain."

Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.

A Library in Your Pocket

May 1, 2012

At the Intersection of Bible and Bullshit, Close Your Eyes

Trolling for a hot topic to blog about, I was surprised to find Dan Savage, host of NPR Savage Love and founder of the "It Gets Better" anti-bullying campaign, is #12 on the Google Trends 'Hot Topics' today. 

Savage became a hot topic not because of the always frank and often funny sex advice he regularly dishes on his weekly radio/podcast and not because of the countless lives of young gays and lesbians throughout the world he has helped save through the simple, true promise 'it gets better.'  While these accomplishments and contributions certainly warrant Savage being declared a hot topic, what ultimately propelled him into the stratosphere of google hotness was the keynote speech he gave earlier this month at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle.

The published topic for Savage's keynote speech was "alternative media, social media and creating a movement against bullying" and the convention itself was marketed as "Journalism on the Edge."  Given all this, you would reasonably expect that the audience would have anticipated the nature and slant of Dan Savage's remarks, especially an audience of wannabe journalists, but  such was apparently not the case.

During his keynote speech, Savage acknowledged that many anti-gay bullies often defend their conduct based on various passages in the Bible that indicate homosexuality is wrong.  This  is hardly a breaking news bulletin, but more in the arena of established fact. Savage next proposed  a simple solution for dealing with the passages in the Bible that are anti-gay: ignore them. As Savage explained:

"We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people 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, [etc.etc.etc.]"

As Savage delivered his remarks a few of the attendees walked out, to which Savage made an admittedly and unnecessarily harsh comment: 

"Its funny as someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansy-assed some people react when pushed back. I apologize if I have hurt any one'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 that we must live by the code of Leviticus on this one issue and no other."

On April 28th, Jimmy LaSalvia, a co-founder and the executive director of GOProud, a U.S. political action group which purports to represent gay conservatives, issued a press release, claiming Dan Savage’s outrageous anti-Christian tirade hurts – not helps – the fight for gay rights in this country.

In truth, it is Mr. LaSalvia who is hurting the fight for gay rights in this country every time he opens his mouth.

Dan Savage's speech was clearly intended to spark interest and debate and, most importantly, to take a stand. In all respects, his keynote speech was a complete success. 

Savage's comments were not in any way anti-Christian, but they were most definitely anti-hypocrite. To be a Christian, plain and simple, is to believe and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus Christ had two simple messages: love and forgiveness. Jesus never instructed or encouraged anyone to kill abortionists, bomb federal buildings or bash and bully gays and lesbians.  These acts are perversions of Jesus' message of love and forgiveness. 

Dan Savage is right when he says we can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible and his remarks are in no way tantamount to characterizing the entirety of the Bible as bullshit. 

No comments:

Post a Comment