Dan Savage offends with comments on Christianity

MTV MTV Dan Savage at the University of Maryland. Dan Savage became a hero to gay youth in particular when … Continued



Dan Savage at the University of Maryland.

Dan Savage became a hero to gay youth in particular when he founded the “It Gets Better” movement to fight anti-gay bullying. Now the sex columnist is on the other side of the bullying issue after he called some high schoolers “pansy-a—-” for walking out of his lecture because of comments he made about Christianity.

Savage, an outspoken gay columnist, argued at the National High School Journalist Conference that Christians ignore things in the Bible they don’t like and should “learn to ignore the b——- in the Bible about gay people.”

Many bloggers and activists responded to the speech in Seattle, and Savage’s sharp comments to some students who got up and walked out:

“It’s funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-a—- some people react when you push back,” he said to students leaving the lecture in protest.

In a blog post published Sunday night, Savage apologized for using a term he said was “insulting:”

As for his comments about the Bible, Savage is less apologetic, writing “I did not attack Christianity. I attacked hypocrisy.” You can read his full response here.

Still like so many things related to how Americans talk about religion, there was pointed disagreement over Savage’s remarks. His crude language aside, can a public speaker to a bunch of journalists make the argument that religions are followed selectively?

The executive director of a conservative, pro-gay rights group called GOProud quickly demanded Savage apologize. But the National Scholastic Press Association, who organized the event, said it appreciated the “level of thoughtfulness” that went into the speech and said it’s important for journalists to be able to “listen to speech that offends you.”

Meanwhile there are so many versions of this conversation going on that hit on the collision between civil liberties and religion. Some are the type that would wind up in court, others (like the Savage incident) are not, but the tensions are pervasive today.

A Christian college club recently saw its official status yanked because it requires students to be committed Christians. Catholics in Washington state are divided over whether parishes should be used to organize against the state’s new same-sex marriage law. And of course the country has been debating since February whether the White House’s requirement that employers — even religious ones — provide contraception coverage in their health care plans is fair or a violation of religious freedom.

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  • RickWatcher

    While this isn’t said in hate of the person or persons it will only be taken as hate by those who do not want the truth.
    First they are not gay they are homosexual and lesbian. Just like the socialist/communist/progressive they highjack words and change their meaning to make things appear not as dark as they truly are.
    In a world that hasn’t gotten so sick and diseased with sin and death the only platform Mr. Savage would be given to speak from would be in dark back alleys where such things belong.
    In a world that has become lost in the darkness of lies and half-truths and distortions and unnaturalness many have become blind to the truth of how unhealthy in all realms this lifestyle is, whether spiritual, physical, psychological and every other way. And just because much of the world is now accepting such things as ok does not mean that it is not just sinful but an abomination before God.
    Now God is willing to forgive us all our sins but….Jesus says go and sin no more.
    It is better to stand for truth than to fall prey to lies and political correctness and persish.

  • cricket44

    Truth is nowhere in that post.

  • rockyboy1

    Amen, amen, and Beelzebub shall perish I say to thee. Smite them, smite them, smite those heathens, O Lord! They frighten me…

  • RickWatcher

    The whole Word of God must be taken into account not just little snippets to justify ones ranting against what they don’t like.

  • jaynashvil

    Savage was correct about how the Bible is used selectively, especially when it comes to justifying discrimination and bigotry towards gays. The storming out of the Christian reporters from the gathering just reenforces the point. But I do wish Dan had said it in a different way.


    I want someone somewhere to show me where god wants you to be an a//hole, because a whole lot of you bible-thumpers seem to have been reading that chapter.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    I have to commend you Rick, you’re one of the few actual christian literalists to be found on these threads. It’s almost like running into someone from another planet, or a neanderthal when you thought they were extinct. Most moderate christians subconsciously realize that morality is an innate human quality, so they try to ignore as best they can the passages of the bible that are morally revolting. Not you, my friend, you take the good with the patently evil and I can’t help but respect it.

  • TheHillman

    So, Rick, are you actively out there campaigning to ban divorce?

    And to reinstitute slavery?

    No? You seem to be actively fighting against gay rights.

    Why the difference?

  • DavidJ9

    The gays in the GOP need to know that they will be persecuted by the folks who control the GOP. Today is just another example of how intolerant the GOP is and how far from caring about GOProud. Richard Grenell was not the first victim of their bigotry and will not be the last. The GOP will let gays vote for them, but they will reject any attempt to treat gays with respect and dignity. Dan Savage has suffered from their evil attitudes.

    Personally, I think that anti-gay bigots and the rest of the fake Christians who are driving the far right in this country are not remotely Christian. They mock what Jesus taught with their worship of wealth and bigotry. As long as other Christians are willing to put up with these haters claiming to be Christian, there is no reason not to condemn Christians for the evil of racists, bigots, sexists and other vile people who twist Jesus’ teachings to preach their own brand of evil. Keep speaking out, Dan.

  • DavidJ9


    You are perverting Jesus’ teachings for your own corrupt purposes. You are ignoring all of the parts of the Bible that show your bigotry is evil. No wonder people like Dan Savage have no use for Christians. Christians like you are poisoning the brand.

  • CitizenWhy

    He neglected to mention that the Bible Leviticus) calls for the death penalty for adulterers, male or female, and deth for female fornicators. The good Christian should be parcticing these commandments in their churches. If not, they should shut up about Leviticus.

  • ceodata

    You are oversimplifying that wikipedia article. There were several studies cited, and they came to different conclusions. Some studies found that more educated people were more likely to attend church. Unless you want to argue that years of education and intelligence are negatively correlated, that would undermine your fervently-held belief that atheists are “smarter” than religious people.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Not at all, that would be giving far too much credit to athesits. It requires only a modicum of intelligence to see religious delusion for what it is, it requires a great deal of self-inflicted ignorance to avoid this conclusion.


    Hey, I KNOW I’m smarter than people who believe in imaginary king gods.

  • Counterww

    Yes, we know how smart you think you are. Smug too.

  • Counterww

    Soddi, I think you broke the mold on how to be an a hole. There is none that can match you.

  • Rongoklunk

    The Bible needs bashing. It’s just an old book written by folks who lacked knowledge and were superstitious to a fault. Of course they made up gods – thousands of them over the eons of time. The people today who still believe in gods, or even one God, are just as deluded as the ancients. After 2000 years – it’s time we grew up and put aside childish ideas about the world.

    And death is death, for us and all living things. We have to face reality. The truth is infinitely more important than any religion, which caters to those who can’t handle the truth, and prefer wishful thinking, and the comfort of an imaginary cosmic teddybear.

  • TheHillman

    I thought that initially. That Dan was being overly aggressive.

    But the more I think about it I’m glad he did it exactly how he did.

    Particularly his use of the term pansy.

    I thought it was completely appropriate, given the number of times gays have been called that.

    I do actually wish he had used something more creative than bull###, as that’s just a boring word at this point.

  • SimonTemplar

    If you are so smart, then how is it that you’ve strayed so far off topic?

  • jimward21

    Christianity is followed selectively because it’s impossible to do everything required by the Bible. How do you determine what parts to follow and what parts to leave out?

  • Tquin

    This administration should have enough common sense not to allow this sort of person to speak before a group of high school children. Would President Obama give approval for Savage to speak before his daughters private school and use language such as he did with this group? Don’t say there is a big difference in age groups. There isn’t. This is the change that Obama wants and he is taking it to your children.

  • park6708

    Hi Jim,

    Clarifying question… As I read your comment, my impression was that you were assuming that Christians have to live their lives perfectly or at least that their good outweighs their bad. Is this an accurate read on your statement? If I logically followed that assumption, then yes, it would make sense that people would feel a need to decide to follow the Bible selectively.

    My understanding of Christianity, however, is that no one can meet either of the standards of either a perfect life or even a life of good outweighing the bad. Given that, it seems to me to be an exercise in futility to try to selectively ignore parts of the Bible that do not align with one’s personal lifestyle. At least in my personal experience, I would be left with a very short Bible, largely absent of any commandments at all.

    Instead, in Christianity, God has offered a way to be forgiven without ignoring the fact that I had committed all sorts of sins throughout my lifetime. This eliminates the need to ‘determine what parts to follow and what parts to leave out.’

  • cricket44

    What a bunch of nonsense.

  • Jeroboam

    Thanks for elucidating all of that.

  • Jeroboam

    They did shut up about Leviticus long ago. What’s your point?

  • Secular1

    Tquin, you are full of horse manure. Savage is not a rep of this administration. So Obama had nothing to do with his utterances. So why don’t you crawl back under whichever rock you crawled out of.

  • Secular1

    Park6708 I did not follow what you were writing. By teh time I got to teh end I was feeling like a pretzel. That is why I say we all need to leave them scriptures on the dung hill of history. In teh 21st century, for that matter even in the 5th century those books had no scientific or economic value and least of all any moral or ethical value. The only unalterable truth that stands out in those filthy, vile tomes is In-Group nepotism and Out-Group hostility.

  • Secular1

    No they haven’t. They selectively pick and choos from it.

  • EW88

    Savage and his kind certainly are intolerant, but I have to wonder if he has a point when this very week Romney’s foreign relations advisor (gay) decided to resign because of pressures from the religious right. Tolerance is a two-way street, is all I’m saying. For us to teach the left this fact, we need to live it first. We’re not going to be able to preserve religious liberties without first knocking down some barriers to listening to each other.

  • dbonade

    So according to some fo you, it’s okay to dissect what Dan Savage said. Make excuses. I’m Christian and would do your mother, his mother, Michael Bornstein’s mother in a heart beat. The point being, if we said because Dan Savage was gay, not normal, a sinner, less than human, all the puke liberals get the underwear in a knot in which Savage would love undoing the knot with his tongue. Gus like Savage & Bornstein, need a good old fashion NY beating.

  • cricket44

    “I’m Christian ” Uh, I just read your entire vicious rant and no…you aren’t.

  • Catken1

    Savage is intolerant of you poor persecuted Christians? When has he said you don’t deserve to select your own consenting adult marriage partners, told you you were an abusive mom whose kids should be taken away JUST because you were Mormon (or conservative, or had your hair color, or your eye color, or whatever), or told you that your marriage and family weren’t “real” because they didn’t conform to his religious taboos, or that you were evil and defying God by living as you do? When did he seek to use the secular law to hurt you and your family because of your beliefs? (And no, his existence and his family’s existence are not an attack on you and your family, any more than you being Mormon is an attack on your Orthodox Jewish or Buddhist neighbors.)

    Oh, right. That’s what you all tell him and all LGBT people. And then you whine, whine, whine about how INTOLERANT they are because they don’t sit down passively, submissively accept your insults and your attacks on everything dear to them, and live their lives by YOUR religion’s dogma rather than THEIRS, even if they judge that yours would make their lives profoundly lonely and painful.

    What religious liberties do you seek to preserve? The right to believe as you want and conduct your own family life as you see fit? Or the right to tell everyone else how to live, to require everyone else to structure their marriages and families as you do or else be denied equal treatment for them? Ask yourself – would you want someone to do unto your family, because you are Mormons, what you want to see done to Dan Savage’s family because he is gay?

    And is it really intolerant to question people about why they ignore certain parts of their holy book, regularly engaging in behavior it calls “sinful,” even “abomination” – but seek to not only religiously condemn, but also use the secular law to legally penalize others, for not following other parts of the same holy book? Is that intolerance and hatred and bullying, or merely using one’s f

  • Catken1

    What kind of parent sets up rules for their child that are convoluted, impossible to follow completely in the living situation in which the child is reared, then promises a horrifically unimaginable fate for any disobedience, but offers to spare those children who will believe in and accept an innocent being’s torture and murder as “expiation” for their own misdoings? What does that say about your God?


    “need a good old fashion NY beating”

    Typical christian.

  • cricket44

    No, Soddi, this pathetic person is NOT a “typical Christian” and your stereotyping is old.


    Christian threats of violence and acts of violence are getting MUCH older.

    Stereotyping? No, shorthand for describing how many christians are actually knuckle-dragging savages. What religion do you suppose all those threatening Obama’s life are? Zoroastrian?

  • DrDJ

    Dan spoke the truth.
    The sniveling little christianists in the audience (and those in the fundamentalist anti-gay blogosphere in the last few days) can’t handle the truth.
    Shame on them.

  • clementw

    Well Dan, I love all Democrats, I just can’t stand what comes out of their mouths just like I love you but, what you said to those kids made me want not to leave but tell you to ‘shut up’ and leave us alone to our Bible thumping.

  • clementw

    Do the best you can!

  • Catken1

    And how about you then show us an example by stopping your efforts to impose Biblical law on civil marriage? Or perhaps by not telling gay teens that who they are is wrong, and that they deserve to burn in eternal hellfire for loving as they do?

  • larryclyons

    Hate much? Threatening violence.

    Typical Christian response.

  • handelliste

    Good question. The commands in the Bible appears to be selectively followed if the scriptures are taken out of context, but once one seriously studies them, it becomes clear why some are followed and others no longer apply. To make a long story short, laws are of different types (moral, ceremonial, civil, food, etc) and Christians only follow the moral ones*. I can go more into why, if you like.

    As far as keeping the law, the emphasis is not really so much on keeping rules, or else, but is showing through the rules who we are. This is one of the largest themes of the Bible: We love (and worship) ourselves and forget God. One example of this is how people sometimes become self-righteous when think they keep all the rules. Even in doing charity, people might lapse into this autolatry!

    *We do have ceremonial elements like the Lord’s supper and Baptism.

  • Catken1

    Funny how the distinction between “moral” and “ceremonial” seems to always boil down to “That law lets me look down on and sneer at bad sinful people” and “That law, I don’t feel like following anymore.”

    For the record, Paul condemns eating blood in exactly the same place he condemns “fornication”, but I don’t see anyone screaming to pass laws against black pudding.

    “As far as keeping the law, the emphasis is not really so much on keeping rules, or else, but is showing through the rules who we are.”

    People who define marriage as a matter of genital union first and foremost, with human relationships secondary at best? People who value Kim Kardashian’s latest publicity stunt and consider it more holy than Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon’s lifetime dedication to each other? People who think it’s OK to take away other people’s civil, secular marriages, and to hurt them and their kids in a million different ways ranging from inconvenience to devastating heartbreak, because they don’t conform to your religion’s rules?

    People who cheerfully worship a being who condemns millions of your brothers and sisters to eternal torture, for the crime of being raised in a faith other than yours and never choosing to believe you over everything their parents and teachers and every other trusted adult taught them in childhood?

  • Catken1

    And Counterww and Simon, if you’re so smart, how come you have nothing to respond with other than insults?

  • Lynnehs

    “can a public speaker to a bunch of journalists make the argument that religions are followed selectively?”

    Of course! Public speakers (and journalists) ought to tell the truth, and there is no way you can make the argument that all Christians everywhere follow everything in the Bible. You can’t say that about any religion. The fact is, there are restrictions in the Bible on eating shellfish and rules about what women should do during menstruation that nobody follows. Now that by itself doesnt’ mean Christians are somehow wrong or bad for not following those rules because they were set down thousands of years ago in a very different culture. It also doesn’t mean that every rule in the Bible is equally useless. Clearly there are a few found in all cultures. The point is that most people recognize that religion is open to interpretation, and if your particular interpretation is hurting people, then other people are entirely justified in suggesting that maybe you should consider other possible interpretations. There is absolutely nothing insulting about that. It is necessary for moral progress that we hear other people out and don’t falsely cry religious oppression because someone dares to suggest that a particular interpretation of religion might be harmful, faulty, or obsolete.

  • JRDevo

    Paul says nothing about eating blood…and God condemns much of what humans do naturally as offensive to Him. Homosexuals are not alone.

    Christians can’t stop people from being moronic, as in Kardashians assault on marriage or the activist homosexual assault on marriage. Both are insults to God’s institution of marriage. But so is adultery and premarital sex among many other things.

    Apart from faith in Christ, who says He is the only way to connect with God – we are ALL condemned. Christians, on the other hand are forgiven and should be progressing toward becoming more like Christ each day, a little at a time.

  • ChicagoJim

    It is b*******. I hated myself when I believed that b*******. Now, I’m free of those beliefs, thank God, and that bible has no more hold on me. It was as if I were demonically possessed, by the b******* in it.

  • GoodnessKnows

    Park, your response is disingenuous. As long as Christianists slam and penalize the LGBTI community and continue to judge their families sinful and inferior, your point is null and void.

  • Civilius

    Dan Savage…. Watch out for lightening!