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Dan Savage on Calling the Christian Teen Walkout 'Pansy-assed' and on Calling Religion 'Bullsh*t'

Yesterday, Dan Savage reacted to the conservative fury over his remarks at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, which Brandon featured over the weekend and which you should surely check out HERE.

Nea_savageWrites Savage at Slog:

I would like to apologize for describing that walk out as a pansy-assed move. I wasn't calling the handful of students who left pansies (2800+ students, most of them Christian, stayed and listened), just the walk-out itself. But that's a distinction without a difference—kinda like when religious conservatives tells their gay friends that they "love the sinner, hate the sin." They're often shocked when their gay friends get upset because, hey, they were making a distinction between the person (lovable!) and the person's actions (not so much!). But gay people feel insulted by "love the sinner, hate the sin" because it is insulting. Likewise, my use of "pansy-assed" was insulting, it was name-calling, and it was wrong. And I apologize for saying it.

As for what I said about the Bible...

A smart Christian friend involved politics writes: "In America today you just can't refer, even tangentially, to someone's religion as 'bullsh*t.' You should apologize for using that word."

I didn't call anyone's religion bullsh*t. I did say that there is bullsh*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.

He adds: Screen_savage

 ...while those slamming me most loudly for "pansy-assed" may be on the right, they are also in the right. I see their point and, again, I apologize for describing the walk-out as "pansy-assed." But they are wrong when they claim that I "attacked Christianity." There are untrue things in the Bible—and the Koran and the Book of Mormon and every other "sacred" text—and you don't have to take my word for it: just look at all the biblical "shoulds," "shall nots," and "abominations" that religious conservatives already choose to ignore. They know that not everything in the Bible is true.

All Christians read the Bible selectively. Some read it hypocritically—and the hypocrites react very angrily when anyone has the nerve to point that out.

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  1. He's brilliant! Kudos to Dan.

    Posted by: Oliver | Apr 30, 2012 11:12:39 AM

  2. So many trolls so little time... the 'rightists' said they would infiltrate and try to water down the true opinions on gay oriented websites and I see they are trying here... too bad they are so transparent and stupid! Honestly, Dan is right, including in his correcting of himself. His message is spot on, even if delivered a little ham-handedly. Christians only get upset when they are called hypocrites, not when they are actually being hypocrites (which, let's face it,is consistent when it comes to gay issues).... he is absolutely right to call them on it. To paraphrase a favorite saying of theirs: "Love the Christian, hate the hypocrisy!"

    Posted by: CKNJ | Apr 30, 2012 11:20:05 AM

  3. The NSDAP Office of Information, led by Joseph Goebbels applauds the way you attacked those weaklings who cling to their bibles and stand by their guns before they walked out on you. Because of the harm they cause society, we will make them wear a gold cross stitched on their clothes. These untermenschen must be identified. The Party is even now expanding the camp accommodations in Dachau to make room for these bullsheet pansies. The Fuehrer has made you an honorary party member. Besides being anti-Jew and anti-Christian, you will find the SS is very gay friendly. You are clearly Master Race qualified. Sieg Heil!

    Posted by: Heinrich Himmler | Apr 30, 2012 11:20:08 AM

  4. Dan is a hero, plain and simple.

    Posted by: Paul Leary | Apr 30, 2012 11:38:50 AM

  5. He's right he did not attack Christianity. He attacked God. And I would not want to be him at this time.

    Posted by: The_Walker | Apr 30, 2012 11:39:44 AM

  6. Dan Savage is what he was condemning. A BULLY! I heard his rant at the Anti-Bully Conference. He is a left-wing azzhole bully of the worst kind. How about shutting up for a moment and listening to these kids, and applauding their convictions. And you who agree with this behavior...Shame on you!

    Posted by: gary | Apr 30, 2012 11:40:11 AM

  7. I am gay but Dan Savage does NOT speak for me. He's an angry man who lacks self-control and true acceptance for all. He wants to be loved unconditionally, but doesn't want to be given it. He's what's wrong with the "older" gay generation. He'll never bridge the gap.

    Posted by: Damien | Apr 30, 2012 11:41:07 AM

  8. It's simple. Pansy-assed is pansy-assed. Dan called it.

    Posted by: Mitch | Apr 30, 2012 11:44:08 AM

  9. Dan must be in his glory reading all the wing-nut wacka-doodle comments here and on HuffPost (easily in excess of 10K comments at this point). Not to mention that this has been picked up by every major news source. So keep writing those troll comments - fuel to his fire!

    Posted by: Oliver | Apr 30, 2012 11:44:53 AM

  10. Not the least bit sorry that those brain-washed brats had to listen to the truth for once.

    Posted by: jht | Apr 30, 2012 11:46:52 AM

  11. Dan Savage is a hero. Do not forget that he started the "It Gets Better" campaign and is responsible for helping to make millions of kids' lives a little less painful. He has finally turned the tide on bullying and the world will be a better place for it. Whatever harm he might have caused a few thin-skinned Christian kids is overwhelmingly offset by his good work for countless others. Go DAN!!

    Posted by: Insensitivefools | Apr 30, 2012 12:14:11 PM

  12. The Right Wing shills are using FAKE OUTRAGE to keep from addressing what Dan Savage ACTUALLY SAID!

    THE BIBLE SAYS SLAVERY IS HUNKY-DORY! The Bible says adulterers should be stoned to death and people who are divorced and remarried are adulterers. THE BIBLE SAYS ALL SORTS OF THINGS WE *RIGHTLY* IGNORE. And it's PURE hypocrisy therefore to claim that the few mentions of homosexuality in the Bible are some bedrock truth when you disregard so much of what applies to YOURSELF!

    So address that issue, Dan Savage's actual point! Because when it comes to "victimization," Christians don't have a leg to stand on. Yeah, you POOR mistreated Christians. EVERY President of the US has been at least nominally Christian. Nearly EVERY elected official in the country identifies as Christian. So if THAT is what you call being victimized you're dreaming, so spare us the crocodile tears. The real issue here is you can't handle someone calling you a hypocrite which, for all the reasons Dan Savage listed and more, YOU ARE!

    Posted by: Caliban | Apr 30, 2012 12:19:36 PM

  13. Homophobic hate speech just comes naturally to Dan Savage! So does speaking before he thinks better of what he says. I'm actually surprised he had the good sense to apologize; but then, the religious Right Wing was upset. That's why he did it. He has respect for THEM, but none for ordinary LGBT folk.

    I will never understand why Gay people become Dan Savage sycophants. Worshiping Lady Gaga makes more sense; at least she's got talent! Anybody out there who has "half his intelligence, balls and radical consciousness" is a sho' nuff "queer", and a dumbass, too! You're not qualified to speak for the Gay Rights movement any more than he is.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Apr 30, 2012 1:29:51 PM

  14. I agree with the premise of what Dan said, if not necessarily how he said it. That having been said. I thought about what I witnessed in the video clip, some of the students smiling as they left but none with what I would consider a look of indignation on their faces. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the walkout was organized and preplanned.

    Posted by: Stan D | Apr 30, 2012 1:40:31 PM

  15. of course we all agree with dan.

    He's a smart, motivated guy. I just wish his bedside manner was a little better. Rather than deliver a teaching moment, he offends and comes across as disrespectful. And if the entire audience is turned off and more entrenched in their beliefs than ever due to his gruff disrespect.

    Now, of course, when dealing with radical irrational people who believe that man walked with dinosaurs ten thousand years ago, that being gay is condemned by god, and that it's ok to ignore slavery, you would be mad. Fired up mad. But succumbing to that anger won't win over any converts. And if he's not going to win over any converts, then what was the point of the lecture?

    Posted by: dms | Apr 30, 2012 2:05:46 PM

  16. Some people expect religionists to be treated with a deference usually reserved for the mentally ill. (Oh, wait, maybe they have a point.)

    Dan was the invited speaker. He spoke. Very effectively considering the response.

    Posted by: Keepin' It Straight | Apr 30, 2012 2:06:40 PM

  17. While I still disagree with some of his points in his "apology," I think he would have been better off if he has been as careful to start with, instead of flying off the handle.

    Posted by: Javier | Apr 30, 2012 2:49:54 PM

  18. One of the things I see from a lot of non-Christians is a misunderstanding of how Christians view the Old Testament in light of Jesus Christ and the New Testament. Most Old Testament food and ceremonial Law is no longer applicable to Christians after the incarnation of Jesus Christ, so it would be best not to compare it to New Testament teaching on sexual morality.

    Posted by: Javier | Apr 30, 2012 2:52:16 PM

  19. I just regret that Dan Savage apologised.

    "Pansy-assed" was a remarkably restrained description to what was clearly a piece of manufactured outrage - one that arises from an unattractive strain of victimhood and entitlement that is currently being played up on the Christian Right.

    If the Christians at this event were really confident about their faith, they'd rise above perceived insults - as the New Testament tells them to several times.

    In fact their reaction differs only in degree from the whiny hyperventilation we hear every time someone has the temerity to ask hard questions about the crazier reaches of Islam.

    Posted by: Nick | Apr 30, 2012 3:12:17 PM

  20. It's not "disrespectful" to point out hippocracy. Christians need to open their eyes to alternate religions and viewpoints. They are not the only game in town and we are tired of their antics which have caused so much suffering.

    Posted by: ty | Apr 30, 2012 3:47:53 PM

  21. Good job Dan, you took some wind out. The truth hurts and some on the religion side hate the truth. Dans one of the good leaders, not afraid to play the game, we need more of him

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Apr 30, 2012 3:59:32 PM

  22. http://www.calltoawareness.blogspot.com/2012/04/dan-savage-and-bible.html

    Dan Savage has no clue what the Bible teaches about slavery. He cannot make the distinction between prescriptive and descriptive laws, and God's temporal and specific commands, versus general fixed ones. Why is this? Because he has no desire to learn what the Bible actually says, he just knows that the Bible condemns sex between people of the same gender, and he does not like that particular doctrine. Rather that listen to a raunchy sex columnist, why not learn from Paul Copan, Daniel B Wallace, Tom Gilson, and Crag Blomberg who are all actually knowledgeable in this area?

    Posted by: Eric Miller | Apr 30, 2012 4:03:54 PM

  23. Dan Savage was 100% correct

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

    Posted by: Ted | Apr 30, 2012 4:06:57 PM

  24. Eric another troll

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Apr 30, 2012 4:07:34 PM

  25. Dan's use of the adjectival phrase "pansy-assed" was the only thing that really bothered me from his speech, and he has now totally appropriately apologized for that, and sticking to his guns on the rest of it, as he should. Good on you, Dan!

    Posted by: Rob | Apr 30, 2012 4:16:15 PM

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