“We can learn to ignore the bull—t in the Bible about gay people, the same way, the same way we have learned to ignore the bull—t in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bull—t in the Bible about all sorts of things,”
Some Christian students walked out. Savage finished those remarks moments later and referred to the students who left as pansy-asses.
For this there is now a call from conservatives (many of whom I call friends) to Viacom (owner of MTV where Savage just launched his own show) to fire him.
I find that absurd and short-sighted. Perhaps he should be criticized for using words like bullshit and pansy-assed when addressing an audience that young, but it’s not worth sharpening your pitchforks over (chill, it’s metaphor).
I’m not going to get into the merits of Dan Savage’s Bible interpretation. Him being right or wrong isn’t the point. I will say that Christians attacking him have once again missed an opportunity to defend scripture. Instead of walking out (which started the second he said Bible, before there was anything to deem offensive) and pressuring his boss to can him, those offended should have used this as an opportunity to counter his theology. They instead chose to send a message that Christians are intolerant and unable or unwilling to bother defending or explaining their faith, to which the conclusion is often that it’s because they can’t.
Besides all of that, this boycott mentality that both political extremes use now is hypocritical, wrong and short-sighted. This is no different from Media Matters having a team dedicated to bullying Glenn Beck’s sponsors, effectively trying to get him fired for saying things they didn’t like. I will say this is a little more serious than Don Imus. He was villified over one word, but you can see how the same faulty logic was used there. There are plenty more examples of this silliness on both ends of the spectrum.
This crap is wrong because the punishment just doesn’t fit the crime. It’s hypocritical because both sides do it, and it’s short-sighted because you’re giving the opponent grounds to give it back to you when the opportunity presents itself (and it will). No, technically Dan Savage’s free speech wasn’t violated, but creating this environment where anyone with a controversial opinion and notable platform are having their livelihoods routinely threatened for using it is truly regressive.
That’s not good for liberty or free speech or progress or unity.
And refusing to listening to opposing points of view sure as hell isn’t good for aspiring journalists who are still expected to at least pretend to set their personal feelings aside when covering a story. On the other hand, points for non-conformity.
*Some are invoking other provocative things Savage has said as grounds for their overreaction. That’s the political equivalent of a spouse bringing up past when losing a marital spat. I’m not interested.
*I’m also not buying that this is a case of the guy who started “It Gets Better” being guilty of bullying. Although I wonder if Bret Easton Ellis’s approach isn’t better? Probably not though.