Friday, May 04, 2012

Dan Savage and the Economist

A few days ago the Economist magazine ran a short opinion piece on the Dan Savage "bible bullshit" speech and the predictable reaction that followed from the religious right.  A good number of atheist and humanist bloggers that I read were not entirely happy with the Economist's comments.  I think this is because they focused on the opening paragraphs where the writer tries to make an issue of Savage's style, rather than the real issue of substance which is the bullying of Gay youth.

But the last paragraph of the piece really lays it out well:

Mr Savage's apology did not stop the outrage machine. Some seem to have taken particular delight in hurling Mr Savage's epithets—bully and basher (of Christians and Christianity, rather than gays)—back at him. The American Thinker harrumphs, "Evidently, bullying is one of those things that is defined by the 'victim'." Well, yes: in fact it is. Bullying is the strong picking on the weak, not the other way around (the other way around is satire). One could make the argument that in the case of Mr Savage's speech, he was the strong one, and the high-school students were "victims", but that would be weak tea indeed. Mr Savage is one person, not a movement, and of course those students whom he gave the vapours were free to leave. Not everyone has such freedom. Gay teens, not Christian teens, kill themselves at higher rates than the general populace. Nobody calls Christianity an abomination. One blogger accused Mr Savage of "Christian-bashing" for pointing out the Bible's position on slavery. A writer for a Focus on the Family site said that "using profanity to deride the obviously a form of bullying and name-calling." In fact it is neither: Mr Savage, however intemperate his language, was arguing, not name-calling. That is a crucial distinction, and one that too often eludes the showily devout. If the Bible is in fact the word of God it can survive a few arguments about context and application.
And then there's a letter writer's acerbic comment about the piece:
The reason the psycho end of the right wing is *really* angry at Dan Savage isn't over the one word "Bullshit". The actual reason the psycho end of the right wing is angry at Dan Savage are the three words he brought into public consciousness: "It Gets Better".
There shouldn't be any doubt as to who the real victims are in this debate.

Please recommend this post

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