It Does, It Must and It Will Get Better.

Last week Dan Savage the founder of the It Get’s Better Campaign lashed out at the Bible and some of the students during an anti-bullying conference at a high school in Seattle. In his statements he clearly went over the line and became that which he most despises: A bully. In his statements Mr. Savage attacked the Bible, belittled the beliefs of others and used a slur to attack the students who disagreed with his statements by simply walking out. This is a transcript of the portion of the speech in question:

“We can learn to ignore the bullshit about gay people in the Bible the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waived Bibles over their heads during the civil war and justified it.”

“If the Bible got the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced wrong, slavery, what are the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? 100 percent.”

Afterward, Savage remarked: “You can tell the Bible guys in the hall they can come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible. It’s funny as someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-ass some people react when you push back.”

While I vehemently disagree with Mr. Savage’s attack on the students because of their protest, I do believe that he can be forgiven. He has issued an apology for the “pansy-assed” comment saying it was “insulting, it was name-calling, and it was wrong. And I apologize for saying it.” Therefore, he gets a second chance. I have certainly spoken in the heat of a moment words I wished I could retract as soon as they left my mouth. I am sure you have too.

I also disagree strongly with Mr. Savage’s view of the Bible as I read it. I do however think that some things people have used the Bible to say and do are BS. And honestly when I think of the way the church has used and in some cases still uses the Bible as an excuse or even an encouragement to bully, hate and abuse the GLBT community as a whole and individual GLBT people I can easily figure out how  Mr. Savage ended up on a stage calling bulls%#t on the whole thing. Sometimes I actually want to stand up and join Dan Savage in calling BS for the way people use the Bible for purposes which I believe were never intended. After all, this is the same Bible that says that Jesus came not into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. This is the Bible that says  people will know we are Christians by our love. Today is a day I am going to call BS. Today I call BS on Pastor Sean Harris of the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Currently the state of North Carolina is in a battle over Amendment 1 to their state constitution which states in part:

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.

This past Sunday was declared “Marriage Sunday” by Vote for Marriage NC, a political action committee. Their purpose for organizing the day was:

Marriage Sunday is an early voting awareness campaign focused on equipping churches and citizens to vote FOR the Marriage Protection Amendment during the 4/19-5/5 early voting window. Churches participating in Marriage Sunday are encouraged to preach a marriage themed sermon on April 29th, and encourage congregants to vote early on Monday April 30th.

This is the United States of America and this is the way we decide things here. We vote. I am for voting. The good people of North Carolina get to go to the polls and decide how they will define marriage in their state. What I am not for, what is complete BS, is the hatred and abuse that was spewed out in the name of my Lord Jesus and my God. I will not be silent. I teach my children to stand up and speak out in defense of the weak and the oppressed and today I will do the same thing.

If you are unable to listen to the audio, here is a transcript (emphasis added):

So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, “Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,” you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.
Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male. And when your daughter starts acting to Butch you reign her in. And you say, “Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.
You say, “Can I take charge like that as a parent?”
Yeah, you can. You are authorized. I just gave you a special dispensation this morning to do that.

Well, you are going to need more than a special dispensation because Jesus authorizes you to do no such thing.

In fact, I would assert that parents treating their children in this way does not prevent one person who would have grown up to be gay to suddenly become heterosexual. Just ask any number of people in the GLBT community. I bet you can find many who were treated in exactly this fashion by their parents. My guess is that not only did it not stop them from becoming gay it also made them think that God didn’t love them, didn’t come to be near them, and doesn’t offer them salvation. All I know to say is, God forgive them for they know not what they do. Forgive me for the times I know not what I do. This has nothing to do with whether or not people have the right to believe whatever they want about homosexuality. It has to do with the fact that Jesus does not give you the option to hate, bully or abuse your child or anyone else ever. You don’t have that right, Sean Harris doesn’t have that right and Dan Savage doesn’t have that right. So far Dan Savage has apologized for bullying the kids, I wonder if we will ever hear an apology from Sean Harris? I hope so. I pray that the radical love of the Jesus who died for us all grips the hearts of Harris and Savage. Today I shout at the top of my lungs that it does and it will get better. Lord, let your Kingdom come.

18 thoughts on “It Does, It Must and It Will Get Better.

  1. Paul says:

    I agree that Dan Savage overstepped the mark but purely because of the way he phrased his argument. I really wish he hadn’t phrased it that way, because by doing so he was alienating those he really needed to get the message across to and simply preaching to the converted who were cheering him on.

    Although I strongly believe that anti-gay Christians need to be called out for their attitudes the way in which Dan tried to do it has only given them a ton of ammunition. Due to the recent inclusion of homophobia under hate and equality laws in the UK, anti-gay christians (and other anti-gay persons of faith) continually reverse the roles and play the victim, which to my mind is yet another example of how peversely the human mind can work. Although the persecution of Christians by some LGBT is present, it is still dwarfed by what is inflicted upon LGBT by many Christians, either actively or by complicit means.

    I think that the way in which Dan and other pro-LGBT people can write the Bible off as homophobic rubbish, is purely a reflection of the message that anti-gay christians have and still do send out about LGBT – the Bible says it’s wrong and if you reject that view then you reject God. Thus a lot of LGBT have been pushed away from the Church, people have literally had the door closed in their faces. I know how it feels to sit in Church week after week within a Church family and feel like the loneliest and most rejected person on the face of the earth. The Church and anti-gay christians have taught those around them the practice of demonising and generalising a section of society. It takes great determination not to give in to what the homophobes want me to do and do the same to the Church and those within it in return, especially in the face of such bile and hatred and see, hear and read spewed forth at me and other LGBTs.

    Thank you for adding some much needed perspective to this situation by writing this blog.

    • Paul, Thank you for your response. I am honored that you are following. I am sorry for the way you have been treated by the church in the past and I am encouraged by your desire to keep on loving in the face of rejection. Don’t give in. Keep on loving. In so doing you will be an encouragement to many that they are not alone and that they are deeply loved by Jesus.

    • john says:

      I would say the Church, in a general sense, fails to hold their members accountable.
      Unrepentant adulterers, fornicators, thieves, and liars should be held to the same level
      of accountability as homosexuals. The only way to resolve the issue is to give everyone a free pass and turn the church into a swingers social club. I just read a story from a leader in the SBC in which two married men were having a homosexual affair. The men were serving as representatives of the church in some capacity. The pastor said that because the men were married that they were committing adultery and could not serve. So they divorced their wives left their children and were able to continue to serve because they were no longer in adultery. Consequently the wives were pressured to reconcile themselves and their children with the newly created couple and now they all are in the same congregation. I say that is apostasy. If that is an irrational fear of homosexuality(homophobic) then we are in deep trouble.

      • Paul says:

        John I would refer you to the God and Homosexuality series which is linked at the end of this blog piece. Whether you choose to be enlightened after reading it is up to you. Being gay does not make you a swinger. If the case that you outline above was about a man and a woman who were committing adultery together the outcome would be exactly the same, so does that mean we should fear heterosexuality too?

  2. I am grateful to Sean Harris for showing the monstrous evil of his position. Squash your son’s effeminacy like a cockroach. Hit him, and tell him to man up. I hope more people will see the evil of that, and reject it. Proverbs, however, supports him: spare the rod, and spoil the child.

    As for the Bible- do you actually believe that the World was created less than ten thousand years ago, or that Methuselah lived 900 years? If male-bedder really means gay man, why not reject that verse? What do you think of “I have been young, and now am old, yet never have I seen the Righteous forsaken, or his children begging their bread”? It is a Prosperity gospel, and it was as untrue when written as it is now. The Bible is messy. The Masoretic text often makes no sense- see the footnotes in English translations- and the Dead Sea Scrolls versions are often very different.

    And the Bible is a pro-slavery document. Christian masters should treat their Christian slaves reasonably, but not necessarily free them.

    I think the Bible is wonderful, and that everyone should read it and that use of it to condemn gay people is wrong, whatever it says. So I call bullshit on the Bible. If you believe all of it is the revealed word of God, you misuse it, and if you use it to condemn LGBT people you misuse it devilishly.

    Again, if God damns gay people for falling in Love, then God is a monster, and I choose Hell rather than Heaven with that God. I have been too hurt for too long. Hear my Anger.

    • krwordgazer says:

      I think the Bible’s books should be read within their literary and historical context, for the kinds of literature they were. The Proverbs are general sayings about the basic patterns of life, not divine promises of unequivocal prosperity. The early chapters of Genesis are in the genre of origins myths and were obviously not intended to be taken as newspaper-style fact by their original writers– indeed, such an interpretation is anachronistic in the extreme. As for how Paul counsels Christians to deal with slavery, he was trying to help an infant religious movement fly under the radar of imperialist Rome, which would certainly have forcefully squashed a movement that called attention to itself by saying all slaves should be freed! The Bible is not, nor was ever intended to be, a book of rules and principles to be read as if they were somehow suspended outside history. It is not a book of rules and principles at all, but a collection of writings gathered around a meta-story of redemption. Read this way, it can be accepted for what it is and not condemned for not being what it was never meant to be.

      • Agreed. The Bible must be read and understood in light of the time and culture in which it was written. It contains the truth and teaches us about Jesus who is the truth.

      • Absolutely, we agree about the Bible, and I would make the same case about the pro-slavery verses. But then I am making a case, not just going clearly from the meaning of the words. What case do you make about the anti-homosexuality verses? Do you use them to condemn gay people, and if not, how do you avoid doing so?

      • krwordgazer says:

        Clare, I think that the passages about homosexuality have to be looked at in their contexts as well. In Leviticus the command is one of many which were part of setting Israel apart from the Canaanites’ idol-worshiping practices. Homosexual relations were part of temple worship in many ancient cultures. In the New Testament I think what Paul is talking about is, again, homosexual practices which were part of temple idol worship or otherwise exploitative (such as the practice of older Roman men taking boy lovers). As far as committed, monogomous same-sex relations, as far as I can see, the Bible is silent. It neither endorses nor condemns. I know there is much disagreement on these issues, but that’s what it’s looking like right now to me. That’s all I can say.

  3. I personally cannot even bring myself to critique Dan’s approach – all I can see is that these young Christians should have been so outraged that people are being abused in the name of Christianity that the two harmless statements that Dan Savage made didn’t even register on their radar. I feel like the comparison here would be like someone stubbing their toe compared to someone having their leg chopped off. As a follower of Christ I actually find it embarrassing that even one Christian walked out.

    • john says:

      I find it absurd that you defend a man who has an unvarnished and livid hatred for Christ. Liz he thinks you are a cancer that needs to be eradicated, stomped out,
      and exterminated. Have you ever spent time reading his advice column? Would encourage young impressionable minds to read it? Would you encourage you sons and daughters to read it. Would you read his advice to your mother and father?

      • Paul says:

        From a quick scan of this blog which has been imported from another site, I don’t see anything here that demonstrates an unvarnished and livid hatred of Christ. What I can glean however is that there are some very frank and personal questions about sexual activities, and some very frank responses to them which manage to do more than just gasp in horror and tell those seeking guidance to go and pray away the ‘evil’. Perhaps there are some bits in there that could be construed as anti-religious. But I think I shall leave it to others obsessed by such things to spend hours salivating over every last detail to find out exactly what they are.

  4. Dan Savage is spot on and I applaud his approach. The Bible has been used to justify the Crusades, the Inquisition, the suppression of science and knowledge and understanding and to slander women. In fact, no one seems to notice the misogyny in the Pastor’s remarks. Far more belittling to women then go LGBT’s.

    • krwordgazer says:

      I actually was about to address the misogyny in that pastor’s remarks. When my son was between two and four years old he enjoyed dressing up. He liked to dress up in all different kinds of clothes. Yes, he liked to dress up in dresses or put on his mom’s nightgowns. I believed then, as I do now, that this had nothing to do with his sexuality and everything to do with exploring his world. In no way did I want to communicate to him that it was shameful to be a female member of that world. My son liked superheroes– and he was not like those boys who only wanted Batman and Spiderman and rejected Wonderwoman and Hawkgirl. He wanted to play with both male and female action figures. And I in no way wanted to communicate to him that the female superheroes were somehow not as good as the male ones, or that it was shameful to take Wonderwoman’s role in a pretend game.

      It’s pretty clear to me now that he’s thirteen, that he’s going to be heterosexual. He’s also going to be a man who respects women as his equals– because he has never learned to do otherwise.

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