Should we be surprised when a gay activist famous for his bawdy sex column and known for his glorification of promiscuity attacks the Bible, ridicules Christian morality, and mocks the Pope in the lewdest of terms? Not at all.
Speaking to 3,000 high school students attending a journalism conference in mid-April, Dan Savage strayed from his appointed theme – anti-bullying – and launched into a tirade against the Bible, also castigating scores of Christian students who walked out during his presentation.
He said, “We can learn to ignore the ‘bull---’ in the Bible about gay people. The same way, the same way we have learned to ignore the ‘bull---’ in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore ‘bull---’ in the Bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waved Bibles over their heads during the Civil War and justified it.” After the students walked out in protest, Savage said, “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.”
Two weeks later, on April 29th, he issued a clear apology for using the term “pansy-a---” to describe the walkout of the students but emphatically denied that he was attacking Christianity: “I did not attack Christianity. I attacked hypocrisy. [His emphasis.] 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.”
So, an attack on the Bible as a “radically pro-slavery document” which was also very wrong on human sexuality is not an attack on Christianity?
The same day Savage issued his apology, he launched into a similar tirade, this time while speaking in the chapel (!) of Elmhurst College in Illinois (once again, deviating from his anti-bullying topic). He also had some choice words for the Pope: “What the Pope is saying is that the only thing that stands between my [expletive deleted] and Brad Pitt’s mouth is a piece of paper....What the Pope is saying is that once we're all gay-married we're going to go extinct in a generation because once we're all gay-married, we're gonna forget which hole [expletive deleted] babies.” And I imagine that this was not an attack on Catholicism?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.