Brian Brown | Dan Savage | Gay Marriage | NOM | Religion

Dan Savage To Debate Brian Brown!

Brian brownYesterday, Andy reported that the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown has offered to debate Dan Savage about the contents of the Bible:

Let me lay down a public challenge to Dan Savage right here and now: You want to savage the Bible? Christian morality? Traditional marriage? Pope Benedict? I'm here, you name the time and the place and let's see what a big man you are in a debate with someone who can talk back. It's easy to make high-school girls cry by picking on them. Let's pick on someone our own size!

I'm here, any time, any place you name, Dan Savage. You will find out out how venal and ridiculous your views of these things are if you dare to accept a challenge.

(In case you somehow missed it: What's got Brian so hot'n'bothered is Savage's almost month-old speech to a bunch of high school journalists, in which Savage explained that the Bible is no more a warrant to bully gays than it is a warrant to stone wives or keep slaves. You can read about that here.)

Dan Savage has now accepted Brian's offer:

I will name the time and the place, per your offer, as soon as possible. Looking forward to it, NOMnuts.

Think Brian will lose his nerve? 

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  1. Do I need to buy the popcorn.

    Posted by: Beto | May 5, 2012 11:08:19 AM

  2. If Dan Savage sticks to the New testament teachings of Christ you know the whole "whatever you do to the least of my brethren that you do unto me" ... "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" ... 'when your enemy smites you you turn the other cheek"... the stuff that over-rules the Old Testament stuff that these 'christian' philistines ( and islamic extremists for that matter) rely on to justify their hate. Could be an interesting fighting fire with fire type of thing to ask these assholes why they choose to ignore the teachings of christ in the new testament
    But Brian Brown will back down.

    Posted by: Ralph | May 5, 2012 11:10:13 AM

  3. "...Urghhh... Wish Savage would crawl back into whatever hole he came out of. Such an embarassment to the gay community. Posted by: Matt..."

    The only kind of person who'd say his (twice) is a Paid NOM Troll as eXposed by their own, embarassing, internal documents.

    We got your number NOM...and it sounds lie this;


    Posted by: Mic | May 5, 2012 11:30:03 AM

  4. Goon.

    Posted by: Jim | May 5, 2012 11:31:07 AM

  5. I would trade my Madonna tickets for this. It would and could become the fight of the century.

    True Dan can be over the top, mouthy, and even offensive, but LOUD is what we need.

    Posted by: Tim | May 5, 2012 11:34:08 AM

  6. Here's the problem I have with Dan. He thinks he is always preaching to the choir. Being right (that is, the logical, fact-based, intelligent point-of-view) is one thing. Being arrogant about being right is another.

    Talking to a group of high-school journalists and using the word "bullsh*t" was stupid, ill-advised and low-class, quite frankly. Mr. Savage is eloquent enough that he could have found another less-vulgar epithet to use to describe his personal opinions about the Bible. That he then went and called those who walked out of his speech as "pansy-@ssed" only added fuel to the fire.

    Dan, these are high-school students. They are not 35-year old sex-columnists, radio commentators, or talking heads on news shows. They're kids, for crissake! Calling those students who walked out semi-vulgar names because they did so virtually defeated your entire argument about bullying in a snap.

    Are you are really going to debate Bryan Brown about the veracity of the Bible, Dan? If so, I can tell you now: it's a debate you will lose because--whether you like it or not--belief in the bible is a personal choice. You can choose to believe that the bible is the "true, inerrant, divinely-inspired Word of God" and no amount of facts will ever change that. Remember the Scopes Monkey Trail a century ago. The battle was won but the war was lost.

    If, however, you debate Bryan Brown on whether or not the bible can be used as a foundation or basis for secular law, then you might have a chance.

    Dan, I love you. You've done wonderful things (the It Gets Better Project) and you have stood up for the LGBTQ community time and again with wit, humour and courage. But, Dan, vulgarity never wins. Never. Vulgarity in a speech to high school students never wins. Calling christian students or others who walked out because you chose to bash their bible and their beliefs "pansy-@assed" instead of respecting their right to have done so only shows that you need to grow-up just a little bit. Maybe take some classes in "public maturity".

    We need many debates with the bible-believers but those debates are best done when questioning the bible as a basis for any laws. That type of debate exposes the hypocrisy and surely would silence any of your (and our) detractors.

    Considering that Amendment One is headed for passage in North Carolina by a wide margin, Bryan Brown and Maggie Gallagher and the Catholic Church and the myriad of other enemies who are religiously-biased against us will have yet one more electoral victory to tout that "when Americans are permitted to vote on preserving marriage as between one man-one woman, they resounding vote in our favour".

    Snarky, petulant, vulgar comments to high-school students do not help our cause. Debating Bryan Brown might not either, but if you are going to do so, Dan, then keep the topic to the use of the bible and its myths as a basis for legislation in a secular society.

    Dan, grow up. You got the balls to face down our enemies. But at this stage of the game, the ONLY thing that is going to work is educate, educate, educate which means telling the truth but in a way that is mature and responsible.

    I have enough of my own horror stories of gay friends and acquaintances over the years who have been beaten, attacked, hurt, raped, bludgeoned, hospitalized, fired from their jobs, kicked out of their apartments, rejected by their families, died alone and forsaken in public shelters or public hospital wards.

    I also have my own horror stories of how counter-productive my outrage and anger has been when confronting the bible-based homophobia that infects our society and our world (witness Africa and Latin America and the rise of evangelical influence there).

    We are getting very close to our own "armageddon" in America where LGBTQ rights are concerned. It has been a long, difficult struggle fought by many caring, committed, righteously angry and, yes, foul-mouthed people (I being one of them). But, here we are in a legal fight for our life where LGBTQ rights are concerned.

    The bigger picture is this: Mitt Romney (depending on who his VP choice will be) could very well defeat Pres. Obama in November AND the House republicon majority could increase AND the Senate could have a republicon majority and no one--least of all you, Dan--needs to be told how DISASTROUS that will be for women, for minorities, and for us LGBTQ people.

    Such a scenario guarantees several Constitutional amendments being sent to the states by Congress--marriage is hereby defined as only between one man-one woman and no other civil relationship permitted; reproductive decisions made by consenting women being forever prohibited, whether it is abortion or contraception; the declaration that the only legal sexual acts are those between the marital union of one man and one woman; the criminalization of gay sexuality.

    Anyone reading here who believes such things can NOT happen in America had better take a couple of shots of Red Bull and wake the hell up. It can. And, it will if we continue to have these senseless debates about whether or not the bible is "true".

    Personally, I don't give a rat's ass someone wants to believe it is true or isn't true. I gave a rat's ass if laws are being legislated to govern a secular society based on so-called biblical "truths".

    These are dangerous times, Dan Savage. Debate Bryan Brown at your own peril. But, if you do, at least make it a debate worth having and tone down your smirky, snarky, arrogant demeanor.

    It works on Bill Maher's show. It didn't work with those high-school students. And it sure as hell won't work in a debate with one our most repugnant yet pungent enemies.

    Posted by: jamal49 | May 5, 2012 11:40:56 AM

  7. I appreciate Dan's sentiments, but we really need a progressive theologian to debate about Biblical authority, not a radio personality. His previous rant tells me he doesn't have the right words to say what he's trying to say, and there's nothing more frustrating than watching someone debate something and knowing that someone else, even someone you know personally, could do better than the one (self-)appointed.

    It's this simple, really. For Christians, Jesus is the Word of God, and the Scriptures point to him, sometimes very imperfectly. All Scriptures are inspired by God, for better or worse, but Jesus IS God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, of one substance with the Father. Not the Bible. This is classical Christian language that turns this debate on its head. But I doubt that Dan Savage is conversant enough with the tradition to grind this shithead into the ground. That's really too bad.

    Posted by: Clint | May 5, 2012 11:41:12 AM

  8. @ Mary the Troll: Whether The Bible is "true or not" IS the issue. This compendum of fairy tales has been used to wage war against us overall, and murder and torture us in speficied instances. You and yours have declared war on us "Mary>'


    I take no prisoners and I hope Dan won't either. I can't imagine Brian Brownshirt backing down. He has no idea of what he's in for. As the "Religious" have made abundantly clear our existence is The End of Them.


    The faster the better.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 5, 2012 11:50:52 AM

  9. I would rather see Brian Brown try to debate Mel White, a guy who has been to seminary and really knows the Bible - that'd be something! But I'm sure Brown would never take that chance. Savage is probably an easier target for Brown and his cronies to trash after he gets his butt kicked in the debate.

    Posted by: TEC | May 5, 2012 12:04:03 PM

  10. The debate is NOT about the veracity of the bible. It is not even about whether there are admonishments against gays.

    Dan's premise, for those who actually saw his video, assumes that the bible has veracity and condemns gays. He basically gives up the argument and agrees that it does.

    What he IS saying is that the bible says a whole lot of other things. It promotes slavery, and has been used to promote slavery for thousands of years. It promotes treating women as second class (at best) and has been used to denigrate women in society for thousands of years. It has been used to promote racism and all sorts of things.

    Today, though, Christians over look those parts of the bible and even go so far as to write them out of current editions. Christians conveniently ignore those passages. Dan is merely saying that if you can get past God's approval of slavery and God's insistence of treating women and minorities as some sort of necessary evil, then they can and should get past their hangups on gays.

    That's all.

    If Dan sticks with that, it's a winner, because of course the bible promotes slavery and was used to uphold that peculiar institution. Most people, and most Christians, don't understand that. Brian certainly doesn't. But he won't be able to deny the actual words of the bible.

    I'm looking forward to this.

    Posted by: Randy | May 5, 2012 12:05:22 PM

  11. They need a moderator or it will just end up with both of them talking over and past each other for the full 'debate'.

    Posted by: jexer | May 5, 2012 12:15:56 PM

  12. Would some of you shorten your comments? Please? We're not looking for dissertations.

    Posted by: Paul R | May 5, 2012 12:21:21 PM

  13. @Paul R. Agreed. A "comment" really should not be longer than the original post.

    Posted by: Chadd | May 5, 2012 12:30:11 PM

  14. I would pay - absolutely pay - to be there.

    Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC | May 5, 2012 12:37:10 PM

  15. I bet Brian Brown will get a convenient message from "the Lord" telling him not to do it.

    Posted by: Seattle Mike | May 5, 2012 12:54:26 PM

  16. Photo caption: "This invisible penis is SO chewy! I'm biting and pulling as hard as I can!"

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | May 5, 2012 1:02:41 PM

  17. @PaulR / Chadd: That long comment was the most intelligent response I've read so far. Brian Brown is a snappy speaker, it's by no means a walkover by Dan - and I'm a Dan fan! But most commenters on Slog and here on Towleroad are living in their own echo chamber and have no idea how the enemies' minds work. WAKE UP.

    Posted by: Drift2 | May 5, 2012 1:05:31 PM

  18. Can't wait. Go for it, Dan!

    Posted by: Matt26 | May 5, 2012 1:06:19 PM

  19. Yes, it could be very entertaining. I'll bet Dan won't be the one to lose his cool!

    Posted by: Gary | May 5, 2012 1:09:30 PM

  20. Savage can't help but win. you show me an anti-gay "Christian" and i'll show you an anti-semite, an anti-woman misogynist and one whose life of piety and hypocrisy dangles on the wrong side of honesty and reality.

    this will be freakin' hilarious.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 5, 2012 1:22:14 PM

  21. If Dan refrains from using various words that would make certain people dismiss his speech outright, I think he can hammer home the the various points against this ignoramus until Brown loses his cool. Then shift the debate to "should the Bible be used to form law-making policy in this country?" That trap might work.

    Posted by: Michael Vilain | May 5, 2012 1:31:00 PM

  22. here's the thing, folks - the debate will only (if it even happens...) reinforce what every intelligent mind here already knows - you can't get blood from a stone.

    intelligence, debate, logic, facts, reason, consistency, historical awareness? they'll be ignored by Brown and his goons.

    check out the video online of Richard Dawkins talking to Wendy Wright (of Concerned Women for America)..... he is calm, rational, logical, factual, cites his evidences, backs up his statements, and she responds (if you can even call it "responding"...) will your general and expected inane blather and ongoing willful ignorance.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 5, 2012 1:35:28 PM

  23. Thanks Towleroad for the new pic of Brown! That old one always caused me to throw up in my mouth a little. Not that this one's any better - that's still a face that's begging to be slapped. I only found out recently that Brown has seven kids. Beats me how soome woman would let a man who looks like a rabid chipmunk poke her seven times ...

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | May 5, 2012 1:38:51 PM

  24. Over at JMG they quote Savage as calling Brown a Mother------- in his acceptance. This is terrible. It shows that Savage is a self destructive queen and will probably use a ton of profanity, which will effectively bury our winning arguments.
    But of course, he's paid by commercial media, which has used us as a scapegoat for fifty years. They have no intention of letting us win this fight, or loosing us as a distraction.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | May 5, 2012 1:46:08 PM

  25. Mary, this debate is about what place, if any, the bible should have in public life. cherry picking texts to throw in people's faces is a no-win for conservatives: all Dan has to do is refer to passages in Joshua or I Samuel in which the god commands genocide and any decent person will be disgusted. Funny how those parts are overlooked all the time by conservatives - except Zionist extremists and Nazis.

    Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC | May 5, 2012 1:49:54 PM

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