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April 30th, 2012
12:24 PM ET

Columnist Dan Savage stands by comments on 'bulls**t in the Bible'

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Columnist and gay-rights advocate Dan Savage is standing by his comment that “we can learn to ignore the bulls**t in the Bible about gay people” at a recent conference for high school students, a line that prompted some to walk out and spurred intense online debate.

In a blog post on Sunday, Savage wrote that his remark at a conference for the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association was "being spun as an attack on Christianity. Which is bullshhh… which is untrue.”

“I was not attacking the faith in which I was raised," Savage wrote. "I was attacking the argument that gay people must be discriminated against — and anti-bullying programs that address anti-gay bullying should be blocked (or exceptions should be made for bullying 'motivated by faith') — because it says right there in the Bible that being gay is wrong.”

Some Christian students walked out of the Seattle speech, prompting another controversial line from Savage: “It’s funny to someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansya**ed people react when you push back.”

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Savage apologized for that specific remark in Sunday’s blog post, writing that his word choice “was insulting, it was name-calling, and it was wrong.”

One of the teachers attending the speech with his students told CNN’s Carol Costello on Monday that he was taken aback by the speech and that he supported the decision of some of his students to walk out of it.

“It took a real dark, hostile turn, certainly, as I saw it,” said Rick Tuttle, a teacher at Sutter Union High School in Southern California. “It became very hostile toward Christianity, to the point that many students did walk out, including some of my students.”

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“They felt that they were attacked … a very pointed, direct attack on one particular group of students. It’s amazing that we go to an anti-bullying speech and one group of students is picked on in particular, with harsh, profane language.”

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Charity • Christianity • Homosexuality • Israel • Schools • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (4,113 Responses)
  1. Clyde

    When the Romans were feeding christians to the lions, they stopped waaaaaay to soon. I say we give it another try!

    April 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Humanist

      Amen to that.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  2. rzr808

    why is the bible defended so fervently as if it were some magical book of spells?

    April 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Me

      It serves as a security blanket.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  3. me

    Bible thumpers have been blasting people for years...don't dish it out if you can't take it. That being said, the vulgarity wasn't needed in front of highschool kids.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  4. rj

    As Christians we should all understand how people like this think. It really should be no surprise to us at all. They have never put their trust in Jesus Christ as savior (1 Corinthians 2:14). I'm not offended at all by this guys foolish comments.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • PLEASE

      Amen...

      April 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • QS

      All that tells me is that your indoctrination is so complete that you're unwilling to even listen to differing opinions.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Maya

      Oh, you know how we think, do you? Well, since you so enlightened, why don't you share with the class?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • rj

      Not unwilling, I just understand where one would come from with this worldview. I'm not surprised.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  5. mendacitysux

    A congregation would welcome Andre Yates into their church. And yet gays are not.
    Only in religion does this make sense.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Larry

      Wow, you are incredibly uninformed. Gays are welcome to attend church. Most Christians believe gays should be in a leadership position.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Larry

      I meant to type, "should not be in a leadership position'.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  6. John

    This is now the norm for Obama's evolving socialist totalitarian police state. I'm actually surprised the students who got up and left we're physically restrained by government paid brown shirts. That's coming.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • QS

      Wow, I knew religion made people irrational, but this is so far beyond irrational I can't even think of a word for it!

      April 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Katie K

      Please...

      April 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Michael

      History clearly was not one of your stronger subjects. The "Brown Shirts" and their successors the "SS" were terror agents of the Right, not the Left. You are correct though that we do have to be wary of a reasendence of Brown Shirts these days.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      The Bible, Koran, Torah hav less historical and factual proof of GOD than the writtings of Olympus or Pagan scriptures yet these religions are called "mythology". I see no more proof that Zues throws lightening bots than I do that God makes an Earth quake. We can explain all of this stuff now and should be comfortable calling out all lies regardless of religious or faith explainations for things. Lets work with truth, Jesus believed in Love, that is truth, Jesus put people in front of money, that is a human truth, Jesus healed the sick that is a necessary condition for the humane race to survive. Dump the myths and lies then add in truths and really enjoy life.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  7. Gary

    I am gay. A National Journalism Conference for high school kids was not the time or place to get on the soap box. It should have been handled a lot differently. However, I do agree with what he said. Plus, gay kids aren't the only ones being bullied.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Kendall

      The problem is it is not christian kids doing the bullying. It is people that don't believe in someone bigger or stronger than them. It is angry people lashing out to make themselves somehow feel better. There would be a much bigger problem if the country were run by say Muslims and their "tolerant" belief system. I just don't understand the hatred for Christians, although I guess I really do. Jesus said the world hated Him and if it hated Him it would hate Christians as well.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • QS

      I'm gay too, and I totally disagree. This is where most of the bullying problems occur, so this is EXACTLY the time and place for this conversation....it's just that intolerant religious people hate to hear opinions about how their beliefs are harmful and have no place in today's society.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  8. Lee

    I am left with only one conclusion: atheist 'progressives' (so-called) support ra pe.

    Consider:

    They don't believe in a Creator - we are all just blind accidents of blind, evolutionary chance.

    Therefore, they don't believe in moral absolutes.

    If there are no moral absolutes, then ra pi ng someone cannot be a moral issue...and also cannot be absolutely wrong.

    Putting their own beliefs in such blunt terms right back at them like this DRIVES...THEM...CRAZY.

    Now watch them twist themselves into pretzels, trying to explain how A) there are no moral absolutes, but of course B) ra pe is always wrong.

    "Well, right and wrong are...are, uh...a 'consensus' thing...."

    I've actually heard that, before.

    So if enough people SAY that ra pe is wrong, that makes it wrong. But if that number changes....uh...

    See what I mean?

    Let the contortions begin.

    Or better yet (like a GOOOOOD little 'progressive') just hit the 'report abuse' button, and then you won't even have to deal with it, at all.

    Or, just ignore this post, which you can't stand.

    Or respond with an attempt at intelligence (or feigned humor), which you can barely manage as you tremble with anger.

    But whichever way you choose, you're a wee bit stuck.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Lee

      OH, btw, folks...I'm also not a Christian, lest you jump to conclusions, here.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • GoRemote

      Not much of thinker, are you?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Darwin

      Wow, incredibly dumb. Your entire lunatic's thesis fell apart in the third sentence. If religion owns morality, then, as they say, god help us all. heheheheh

      April 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      with an absurdly weak argument, you wouldn't compete on a middle school debate team. how do you jump from te belief in some fairy tale to moral absolutes? Are you that ignorant?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • andrea

      There are indeed moral absolutes... there is nothing wrong with being gay, but there is something wrong with being disgusting and insulting to others, both of which you are. You are immoral... not people who love each other.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Gaunt

      Ah, the most absurd and self destructive of all the desperate zealot arguments: that morality comes from the bible or from god. It doesnt even pass the laugh test. Bad news zealots: every single moral you have, every one, is a secular humanist moral. EVERY one. After all, answer me this: has the bible changed significantly in the last 1700 years, since the canon were laid down? No. Has morality changed significantly since then? Enormously. But how is that possible if all morality comes from god the unchanging?

      ALL modern morals come from the age of reason, a pushback against the thousand years of theocracy referred to as the 'dark ages'. Humanists decided slavery was wrong, thoughj it is CONDONED in the bible. Humanists decided men and women are equal, though women are subservient in the bible.

      You look at some of the rules of the bible, like say, not wearing clothing of two different cloths, or not eating shellfish, and you ignore them. Why? because your modern HUMANIST morals ell you THOSE bible rules you can ignore as absurd.

      Oh but wait, says the desperate zealot, what about those very few core rules like not killing which still apply? Yes, there are a COUPLE rules of the bible (out of thousands) that still apply, but every ONE of those laws existed previously, in legal texts long predating the bible. Oops, you lose again zealots.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Lee

      See what I mean, folks?

      Not a single one of the above responders (save for the last one) even dealth with the topic, or tried to defend how they can believe there are no moral absolutes but that ra pe is still absolutely, morally wrong.

      Gets 'em every time.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Maya

      Wow, congratulations. Every SINGLE inferential step you made was completely logically invalid. You must really love to look like an idiot.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • KSO

      so based on your argument lee, the only thing keeping you from ra.ping someone is because you go to church? scary.

      atheist KNOW the difference from right and wrong. The religious seem to have to be reminded by going to church and listening to a man who believes ppl come back from the dead.

      absurd.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • AJR

      Wow....you are terrible at bullsh*$ting!

      Let's start at the top with your second incorrect and unfounded assumption – "Therefore, they [atheists] don't believe in moral absolutes." Says who? Whether one believes in a "creator" has nothing to do with their moral belief system. There is no need to believe in a god in order to have or believe in a moral code. That is the basis of your entire rant. Thus, because the basis is false, the remainder of your rant loses all credibility.

      Next: "If there are no moral absolutes, then ra pi ng someone cannot be a moral issue.." Wrong. Whether someone believes in, or adheres to these so-called "moral absolutes" has nothing to do with whether they necessarily view ra pe as wrong.

      Either you're a first semester philosophy student who has slept through the majority of your classes, or you're just not that bright. Both are dangerous.

      “... there is no shame in not knowing. The problem arises when irrational thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance.”

      – Neil deGrasse Tyson

      April 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • just sayin

      "Lee

      See what I mean, folks?

      Not a single one of the above responders (save for the last one) even dealth with the topic, or tried to defend how they can believe there are no moral absolutes but that ra pe is still absolutely, morally wrong.

      Gets 'em every time."
      .
      Troll or insane like Pitt in 12 Monkeys. I see you running around clicking you r fingers and rambling. Yeah you get us everytime. lol

      April 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • mendacitysux

      You're right about no more moral absolutes.
      Just like in the bible where ra pe, murder, inc est, slavery, genocide are allowed against non believers as well as believers.
      Society determines right and wrong.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • ghgh

      "Putting their own beliefs in such blunt terms right back at them like this DRIVES...THEM...CRAZY"

      I've seen several atheist accept questions from believers both personally and in TV/Internet interviews. I have yet to see one atheist "GO CRAZY". For the most part they stay very calm with an occasional eye roll. I truly believe that it drives YOU crazy that you can't get under their skin...........but nice try

      April 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Humanist

      Lee,

      Want something "intelligent"? Well for starters, religion does not necessarily afford one "morals"; often, much the opposite. Also, as any educated individual knows, “Divine Command Theory” is not an acceptable theory of ethics; basically due to its self-serving approach and limited reach. Look it up, you might learn something.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Lee

      AJR...if someone believe ra pe is absolutely wrong, then they believe in moral absolutes.

      I'm not sure what else you were trying to say, but with that one line, you've undercut everything else in your post, and affirmed everything I'VE posted.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Lee

      ghgh, firstly what 'believers' are you talking about? Xtians? I'm not a Xtian.

      Secondly...my post clearly IS getting under their skins, because just look at the sheer number - and nature - of the responses: hostile, sneering, attempting to make me look dumb without even dealing with my questions (a typical 'progressive response), etc.

      I am indeed driving them crazy.

      Every response thus far has only reinforced every word I said, in my original post they're all responding to.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • just sayin

      *Official* Lee is an insane troll

      April 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Darwin

      Schizofrenia is a treatable condition, and one that your sky buddy can't help you with.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  9. Matt

    Christians felt like they were attacked?! Oh dear, welcome to how the rest of the world has felt for the past 1000 years, Christians.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • just sayin

      lol is it me are have the Christians in America turned into real p_ssies?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Calamity Jim

      Man how did you come up with all your hatred?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • BillyBaroo

      Jesus is a prophet in Islam

      April 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  10. Steve

    Christians dont like it when the shoe is on the other foot.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Calamity Jim

      No,we just think that God didn't make a man's pen!s to go into a B-Hole.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • just sayin

      Calamity Jim

      No,we just think that God didn't make a man's pen!s to go into a B-Hole.
      .
      Did you hear God tell you this or are you just taking what a man wrote down?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Kelly

      He is now a bully who teaches other people to bully – that is the point of contention. Is that the lesson we want to teach people about bullying? His words and actions teach that you may suffer at the hands of a bully (of any stripe) but just wait until you have some power or opportunity and then you can become a bully to someone else!

      April 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Maya

      Why are Christians so obsessed with sodomy? It's telling, is it not?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • lancem

      So bullying Christians is ok? Is there a list somewhere of people who I am allowed to bully? Am I allowed to bully anyone who considers themself a Christian or is it only certain members of Christianity that it is acceptable to bully. I certainly hope there is a website that has all these rules in place. I guess that mean, if you are gay, you are allowed to bully anybody because yourself or other gay people have been bullied.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  11. BillyBaroo

    Human history is fulled with people getting down on other people because they are not like them: jews, catholics, females, jjews, blacks, protestents, unionists, separtists, asians, jews, gays... get it?

    April 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  12. Clyde

    What does he have to apologize for? Interesting that these p#ssy Christians fee free to attack, with hatred, anyone they want but when someone calls them out they storm away like a bunch of 2 year olds. These people are a bunch of pathetic people that have to turn to a fairy tale in order to justify their existance.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Tigerdawg

      Don't lump all Christians in one group. Most of us realize ALL people are God's children. We are ALL sinful. God does not distinguish one sin being worse than another – that is a product of man.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  13. MAJ USA Ret

    You are mistaken not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God. If you want fairy tales and stories to make you feel good, believe anything else but Christianity. If you want hard truth, read the Bible. No punches pulled here. There is NONE righteous, not one. All of us are corrupt. Our only hope is the blood of Christ. I pray for those who mock and jeer TRUTH. If you fail to repent, you will join your friends in eternal damnation. Jesus did not say He was "A Truth", nor did He claim to be "A Way" nor did He claim to be "A Life". Jesus claimed to be "THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE..." And NO ONE comes to the Father except through Him. Do not take my word for it. He made certain it was recorded for you to read. Look it up. If you fail head His Word and fail to repent before you are judged, you will spend eternity regretting your decision. You can't blame anybody but yourself. It is your decision. May you repent before judgment. It is appointed unto man to die once, and after that, judgment.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Clyde

      Pardon me while I vomit. You are pathetic.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      lol! funny post. hard truth? in the bible? that's great!

      April 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Jim tom

      Powerful stuff. Here is one of my favorite parts of the TRUTH. "And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you." So many sinners will be going to hell. I am starting a group called "Christians fight against unclean pigs".

      April 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • lolwut

      Why so serious?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

      Of all the 6 billion people on earth I'm glad you showed me the truth. Everyone else is an evil liar.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Ran

      Jesus 'claimed'...CLAIMED. And historically speaking he may not have even been a real person. Most likely a combination of several people, like Robin Hood or King Aurtur.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • gravis

      My parrots enjoy reading the Bible, so I line their cages with its pages. Works well.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Maya

      Ha! Oh, wait, were you being serious?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • rj

      Amen, thank you Major and for your service too.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  14. Sarcasmo

    Straight people are nasty. They're obese and gasp for air when they walk (or even just stand up), they reek, they have virtually no fashion sense, and they are ruining the planet with their pollution and economic policies. And they are perverts. Seriously, if you want to run around sticking your genitals in pumpkins, car exhaust pipes, and accidentally hanging yourself in closets, then be straight. If you want to make the world a better place, be gay. Gay men are just strong women, and let's face it: the world needs far more strong women. Gays rule, straights drool. And they're disgusting and filthy.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • joem

      It's just sad that when people know that they are wrong just resort to attacking other people I don't care if your gay that's between you and your creator but you will be judged not by man but God

      April 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Random Fella

      I think it's kinda funny and anyone that can't understand the name "Sarcasmo" doesn't have any kind of sense of humor. "Gays rule, straights drool"? Really? Ha! Only thing I can say to that is "straights go to Mars to get more cars and gays go to Jupiter to get more stupider".

      April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  15. Brian

    Frankly the fact of the matter is Christians are looking more and more like islamic fundamentalists everyday.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  16. Benjamin

    Never mind that all Christians already cherry-pick from the Bible... unless they decline to eat shell-fish and think it's okay to stone a disobedient child. It's because religion is mostly cherry-picked that it's mostly bull; we're all literally making it up as we go along, so it fits our desired world-view.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • zahbudda

      We are not under the Law no mo benny.... we under Grace...shed Blood.... the thangs of the Spirit is follishness to them that are perishing... that be you! Better get right... while you can...

      April 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • zahbudda

      We are not under the Law no mo benny.... we under Grace...shed Blood.... the thangs of the Spirit is foolishness to them that are perishing... that be you! Better get right... while you can...

      April 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  17. expatpatfan

    I ignore the BS the Bible has to say about shellfish.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • imma GAY

      Gays should be bullied...every day

      April 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  18. DaveInPA

    SAY IT DAN! Christians need to have their eyes opened to their blind and thoughtless acceptance of a book that has been manipulated and translated for generations by dishonest and self-serving religious powers.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • zahbudda

      Father Sandusky speaks!

      April 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  19. Rose

    Also whoever picked him to speak and the teachers that allowed this to go on should all lose thier jobs. They're suppose to be antibully teaching in school, not allow adults to come in and bully kids.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Worship Poseidon

      I'm guessing you are a brainwashed christian?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • fred

      Worship P
      I am guessing you are brain washed atheist

      April 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Haden

      Someone disagreeing with you is not "bullying." If Christianity is so great, why are Christians so sensitive about anyone disagreeing with them?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • fred

      actually, there is a lot of bullying going on in the gay community. It is not from Christians it is from the power brokers that manipulate the emotions of the community to their advantage.
      Christians get touchy because Nero did the same thing and Hitler did the same thing by starting the drum beat against one segment of the population. Gays are the drummers against Christians.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  20. Worship Poseidon

    Religion sucks.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • fred

      Typically yes
      But, if you bother to find the truth for yourself about God you may just save a life

      April 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Keep Honkin I'm Reloading

      and so do tantrum throwing, gay, activists.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Worship Poseidon

      Find tuth by being told what to think? Your god is just as real as Zeus, Posiedon, Rah the Sun God etc. How arrogant/ignorant of anyone to think they "know" god.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • fred

      Worship P
      Zeus and the rest of the Greek gods were exposed by Paul. If you read Acts you will see that they realized quickly the difference between the Greek gods and the Living God. Zeus did nothing then or now while Jesus is still working today through people to redeem lives. That is the difference. You cannot know God when you approach the Word of God with a negative perspective.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.