The right wing is throwing a fit over Dan Savage calling the Bible’s statements about homosexuality “bullshit.” I think everything he says here is absolutely right and on point. And the students who walked out of the speech are walking away from the truth, literally and figuratively.
Savage apologized for calling the students “pansy-assed” but defended the rest of what he said. Kind of.
A smart Christian friend involved politics writes: “In America today you just can’t refer, even tangentially, to someone’s religion as ‘bullshit.’ You should apologize for using that word.”
I didn’t call anyone’s religion bullshit. I did say that there is bullshit—”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 think this is the wrong approach. Why can’t you refer, in America of all places — you know, where we have freedom of speech and all that — to someone’s religion as bullshit? And what is wrong with “attacking” someone’s “faith”? Let’s rephrase that from “attacking someone’s faith” to “criticizing someone’s religion” — which is what it really is. Why should religious ideas be protected from criticism? Why can’t you say of someone’s religious beliefs that they are being inconsistent and hypocritical? No one would suggest that you could not point out absurdities and inconsistencies in someone’s political views; I see no reason at all why their religious views should be protected from the same criticism.
The problem is not that Dan Savage criticized the Bible’s disgusting statements about homosexuality; the problem is that we live in a country where it’s not only considered controversial to do so, but where it’s seen as a terrible character flaw to have brazenly “attacked” those vile ideas.