May 1, 2012

Dan Savage vs. the Bible (and Some High Schoolers)

A couple weeks ago, Dan Savage, the sex columnist, activist, and editorial director of Seattle alt weekly The Stranger, was invited to speak at the National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle. Savage is the force behind the “It Gets Better” videos, a series of messages from gay adults — and, later, straight ones including President Obama — to bullied gay teens, which were intended to discourage suicide. Somewhat more mischievously, and less G-ratedly, he also led the charge to propagate a rather filthy sexual meaning for “Santorum” as punishment for Rick Santorum’s anti-gay politics.

In the course of his talk about bullying, Savage pointed out anti-gay activists sometimes cite the Bible to justify their beliefs and behavior. He then went on to point out that the Bible sanctions any number of activities we don’t allow today, including slavery and the stoning of women who are not virgins when married (the full text, if you don’t want to watch the video, ishere), strictures he referred to as “bullshit.” In protest, some (presumably) Christian members of the audience walked out. As he wrapped up the inflammatory section of his remarks, Savage apologized for offending anyone, but undercut that apology somewhat by adding, “It’s funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back.”

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