The right wing and conservative religious world is in an uproar. Dan Savage called “bullshit” on their bullshit, and they’ve collapsed onto their fainting couches, and are fanning themselves furiously.
“He’s a bully and a hypocrite!”, they say, for daring to challenge them on the tenets of their faith, the inconsistencies of it’s application in their own lives, and directing a term at them, in passing, more commonly heard spoken by real bullies tormenting gay men and boys: “pansy assed”.
The religious right wing clearly have no clue what bullying is really all about.
A speaker, known for his “straight”, sometimes “salty”, talk, at a public forum, is not bullying you when he says your religious beliefs are bullshit. He doesn’t have you cornered against a locker, trapped behind the auto shop building, or head down in the commode in the bathroom stall. He isn’t threatening you with physical harm, not even the promised threat of “getting you later” after school.
The right wing thinks all these kind of interactions are not bullying, especially if religiously motivated, but a speaker at high school assembly, who points out logical and factual inconsistencies in the way you behave is the bully and a hypocrite?
Here’s the part of the talk that has generated all the “concern”, and charges of hypocrisy:
This was a large crowd, in a high school auditorium. Some reports have said a dozen students got up and left, others report dozens. Either number is a rather small proportion of the entire audience, and it’s clear that the students who left en-mass had planned to do so.
The first to get up and start walking out did so only seconds into his comments on the Bible. They didn’t have time to actually hear what he was going to say about the subject, they simply heard “Bible”, and that apparently was their cue to start moving. There was no time to listen to what Savage was saying, to come to the realization that they found it offensive, and then decide to get up and leave.
The “outrage” was pre-planned, and staged.
Dan Savage’s position on the Bible and Christianity are no secret. Anyone with a smart phone or computer (and that’s probably 99% of those students, not to mention those with MTV) has access to what he’s said in the past, and if they found his thoughts about the subject offensive, then why were they even in the auditorium to begin with?
These kind of assemblies are not something students cannot opt out of, if they don’t want to hear the speaker. This was not a surprise to anyone. The outraged and offended “doth protest too much”.
To call Savage’s talk a “rant“, and label him a hypocrite is, to me, the mindset of someone who wants all those pesky LGBTQ activists to “sit down and be quiet, for heavens sake!” They stir stuff up, and give those “good” gays a bad name. Heaven forbid their straight friends think they might support those radicals, or maybe they’re even one of them themselves! Agitators make it more difficult for the “good” gays to prove to the rest of the world that they really are “just like them”. Don’t rock the boat, don’t challenge the status quo, don’t stand up and say things that upset people. And whatever you do, don’t ever challenge their religion!
Dan Savage apologized for the “pansy-assed” comment, and in the spirit of forgiveness so allegedly prevalent in Christianity, we can dispense with any further commentary on that, even though * I * don’t think an apology was warranted. Savage did, after reflection, and made it publicly. End of that fainting spell.
I find it interesting how often people who stand up and fight for what they believe in, and for the rights of others, are labeled “angry” and “bitter.” They make their points, sometimes forcefully, and their entire presentation is dismissed as the “ranting” of an “angry” and “bitter” hypocrite. The message is ignored, and instead an attempt is made to focus attention on the speaker, and discredit him (or her). No challenge to the points made, no correction of anything possibly factually incorrect, no explanations of why the speaker is wrong. Instead, the messenger is held up as unworthy and to be shunned, the message ignored.
Apparently, only perfect human beings, those who never make a mistake, or never match a low blow with one of their own (or at least a low blow in the perception of those on the receiving end of one), or say a “bad word” are allowed to be the spokesmen or leaders for a movement. Real human beings need not apply.
Oliver Twist got himself into a real bind, when he got roped into stepping up and meekly saying “Please, Sir, I want more.” He was immediately assaulted, and those in control were in an uproar. He didn’t get more. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t get action on civil rights by politely speaking from his pulpit, asking the white power structure, “Please, Sir. I want more.” He had to take action to the streets, and forcefully challenge the status quo. Dan Savage has consistently challenged the religious and political powers-that-be on their entrenched homophobia. He’s an excellent role model and leader in the battle for LGBTQ civil rights. He’s clearly shown “It Gets Better”, and that one (or in his case, two) people can make a big difference.
The real hypocrites are those who claim they are against bullying while working to prevent anti-bullying laws, and who claim any attempt to protect children from harassment based on perceived sexual orientation is somehow an infringement on their religious rights. The real hypocrites are the ones who say they love you, but reserve to themselves the right to scream “you’re an abomination!” in your face. If you dare call “bullshit” on them, they feign outrage, and scream “BULLY!!” at you. If you return fire with the same ammunition, they intone “HYPOCRITE!!”.
Dan Savage a hypocrite?
Not even close.
Filed under: Views & Voices