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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. Courtney

    I am not mad at Dan. I get it. Even the last remark, which he apologised for is understandable. This push back against anti-bullying programs on the basis of faith is simply ridiculous. The bible says all kinds of antiquated things, none of which are an excuse to bully.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Think

      To bad millions of people would disagree with you.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  2. zahbudda

    "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth cried the Demon!"

    Anyone find it ironic that a Gay Leader would call Kids "Pansies"... at a Anti Bullying rally....which is what he was supposed to be there for..."ANTI BULLYING...Satan, that is in him, could not stand to be in the presence of "Christians"...without "bullying" them...such is his hate....Ha ha Romans 1:21 thru 31 paints a perfect picture of who he is... that passage of Scripture is sometimes referred to as ... "democrats in the Bible"...LOL

    April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  3. Maya

    American Christians are pansy***es. They have no idea what it means to be persecuted. They are so used to being coddled and favored that they throw a temper tantrum if their beliefs are questioned. They start casting stones when they hear about Muslims in the Middle East rioting because someone said something nasty about Mohammed. The truth is that they are the same in kind as those Muslims, if not in degree. Of course, they'll never admit that, because they've managed to convince themselves that they are God's chosen people and EVERYONE ELSE (that is, the majority of people on the planet who AREN'T Christian) is wrong. They are completely hopeless. Let's just hope that this archaic, destructive belief system dies out soon, before it destroys civilization once and for all.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • QS

      "Let's just hope that this archaic, destructive belief system dies out soon, before it destroys civilization once and for all."

      Unfortunately, for this to even have a chance to happen, the people that need to hear it the most and the most often tend to.....walk out!

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

      Over my dead body yep there are people who would die for Christ. Since you have no clue and love to see the demise of this but then again that is calling others to bully people isn't it.......

      April 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Dan

      So, you're saying, bullying, name calling and intimidation is ok, in certain situations??? Ok, got it.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • hmh1497

      Christianity will never die out. It preaches life, not death. Eternity comes from the children we create, so that their children will create their own children ... thereby propagating the human race for eternity. You just keep preaching your gay agenda of death and you all will die out long before Christianity does!

      April 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • zahbudda

      The things of the Spirit are foolishness to them that are perishing"...For God is a Spirit"....

      April 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Maya

      Christianity does NOT preach life. That is ridiculous. The whole religion is centered on death. Christ had to DIE to save humanity, you have to DIE to reach heaven. It is all predicated on life being inferior to death. Earthly pleasures are evil and you should eschew them to reach an afterlife by, you guessed it, DEATH. Christ's return coincides with EVERYONE'S DEATH. The whole religion is death, death, death.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Maya

      If bullying Christians makes them understand how their barbaric behavior affects others and inspires them to behave in a civilized manner, then I'm all for it. I don't seek out Christians to make fun of them, but if they are going to start spewing their irrational, ignorant nonsense at me, then they are going to get a mouthful right back at them. You started it, now you're whining like a pansy bully who gets hit in the nose after tormenting another kid for years. Don't dish it out if you can't take it.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  4. gravis

    Of course Jesus likes gays. All the bible-thumpers are in the South. Remember Deliverance?

    April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • TTatum

      So, you learned all about the south from Hollywood.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  5. torpedo8

    Great move, now maybe Obama can assign Bill Maher to teach us all Tolerance.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Moe

      You are right on the money there

      April 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  6. AtheistsSeeThePinkElephant

    Anything you say against the religious makes you strident. Anything.

    Normally, horrible ideas become extinguished after some ridicule...

    April 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  7. Sally

    He's a joke, just wanted his name in a story. LOL

    April 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  8. Pookenhagen

    I think he did make a good point about the hypocrisy of the students walking out. That being said, it does not seem like the type of forum he should be getting testy with the audience at. There is a time and place to have these debates, this hardly seems like a good one.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • QS

      Everybody keeps saying this, like high school kids are so sheltered as to not ever have heard this kind of language.

      Personally I think since this is where the majority of anti-gay bullying takes place, school, then this is the perfect forum for such a conversation.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • extm4frog

      Not following how students deciding to walk out is hypocrisy? If they wish not to listen to someone speaking negatively about their religon, what is the issue with walking away? If he so chose to do the same against other religons, there is good chance he would be met with verbal threats of death or harm for his comments about their stated beliefs.

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

    A book says that he and others are abhorrent and should be stoned to death. You're asking him not to hate this book?

    April 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • larper2

      You must only read the old Testament. The new testament states these immoral people will be forgiven if they repent and go out and sin no more.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  10. Kala

    Our country is being eaten alive by these kinds of liberal anarchists termites. What a disgusting bully.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Nice name calling

      bully.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • QS

      And of course when you say "our country" you mean the one you believe was founded by the forefathers as a Christian nation for Christians and only Christians to be able to have their freedom of religion?

      This is my country to, and I see religion bringing it down much faster than anything else!

      April 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  11. Joe

    Who cares. Can we get back to discussing Obama's continued destruction of our country and stop being distracted? Thanks

    April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  12. bcbravo2zer

    So, being the member of a group whose rule book says that being gay is wrong and punishable by death feels that they are being attacked...? Well, no one said being religious is terribly rational in the first place, so no big surprise.

    BTW, the bible also says that working on the sabbath, cutting the hair around your temples, or sleeping w/ an in-law is punishable by death. Stoning for planting two different crops in one field...or wearing clothing made from two different kinds of thread.

    Ya, rational.
    Go away religion!

    April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  13. lancem

    It is not about christianity or gay, it is about the fact that this was suppose to be an anti-bullying message and the person delivering the message try to intimidate (bully) a group of people for no other reason than they were expressing their opinion (walking out). The comment about the Bible was not bullying, but when he called the kids names for walking out that was pure and simple bullying.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  14. MickyC

    Good on Dan.

    I think he was frustrated and lashed out (to err is human). He apologized for his attack (to forgive is divine). If it were left that he was the bully in this case, I would never read him again. But him seeking forgiveness, and it is found (ask, and it will be received, seek and it shall be found, knock, and the door will open), I'll catch his next column this week.

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

      to err is human.........how does the rest of that saying go? To forgive is DIVINE. Where do we get divine forgiveness? Thats right class, the Bible. BS? really? Or is Danny missing something here?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  15. Moe

    Being gay is unnatural but a talking snake is perfectly natural, happens everyday -___-

    Religion is joke, giving it up was the best thing I have ever done in my life! talking snake? man living in a fish? saving every animal on earth by putting them on boat? what are we, 6year old kids?you can't be religious and have common sense

    April 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • God eats little children

      Both religion and being gay are sicknesses. The first one is an untreated "delusional disorder" and the second one is a brain pathology.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Jim tom

      God eats children, thanks for explaining that to me. I will go ahead and ignore the psychological associations that have studied gays, and I will just take your word that it is a "brain pathology."

      April 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • God eats little children

      Jim, APA is a long discreditied political association, not a scentific one.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Jim tom

      God eats children: Fair enough, if that is what you believe. But please show me an actual scientific association then, that supports what you claim.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • God eats little children

      Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab – 2010 study.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • kirk

      What can a person say to this? It is someone trying to be clever. And maybe you are. Okay, you win. Almost everyone else in history was and is wrong. Seek the Truth and He will set you free. God bless.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • John Philby

      Moe; You breathing? you waking up every morning? after being unconscious for 5-8hrs,? You walking? The sun rising everyday? the earth suspended in space?

      how silly, how can that be?

      April 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  16. Jim tom

    I've posted this a couple times as a semi-joke, but I do have a serious question about it: "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." If you are of the opinion that the Bible is absolute truth, it pretty clearly states that we should not eat any pig. I'm guessing essentially no one who's Christian actually follows this. So if you are someone that belives the Bible is absolute truth, how are you able to ignore this part, but still believe the others? You get to pick and choose which parts you like? Don't mean this to come off harsh if it is, I am just honestly curious.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Worship Poseidon

      Careful, if you force sheep to reason they might lose their faith.

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

      Cuz pork chops tastez gooood!

      April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Robyn D

      The point is you have a choice. Kosher Jews do not eat pork. Neither do observant Muslims. Just because you are lazy doesn't mean the bible isn't the word of G-d.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Greg

      Peter, in the book of Acts, Chapter 10 slept on the roof of Simon the Tanner's house and had a vision where Giod told him it was ok to eat the things of creation .

      April 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Chuck

      In order to response I will go straight to the point. You are pointing out an Old Testament Law that saw Jew are to not eat pork. If one would read the New Testament they would find that the Jesus said that it is not what you eat that makes you unhealthy, but what come out of your mouth that will make you unclean. Christians follow the rules laid down in the bible. The rules of the Old Testament were rules to ensure societal success (just like now we have rules on not to exceed the speed limit) they are guidelines for life.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Fred

      This one's easy. The Jewish dietary laws do not apply to Gentiles. Gentiles are not under the law.
      Hope that helps explain it for you.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Mike Bratton

      If you're genuinely interested, read the tenth chapter of Acts.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • RKar

      In the 10th chapter of the Book of Acts Vs 9 – 23 Peter is show by God that they are now under a new covenant and he is free to eat what used to be considered unclean.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • NonAtheist

      Believing that the Bible is inspired doesn't have to mean that you take it literally. Just like in real life you wouldn't go out and try to save the little animals if I told you it was raining cats and dogs, we don't have to be tied to some absurb rules someone made up about taking the Bible literally. I am a believer who gets inspiration from the Bible but doesn't feel the need to play by that fundamentalist rulebook. Does that help?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • kirk

      And Jesus said that it was not what goes in a man's mouth that defiles him, but what comes out. Case in point. (So you see, Christians are NOT judged by what they eat. Study a little bit more, and maybe you sill see the Light.)

      April 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Brad

      I can see why he wouldn't be a fan of the Bible as it is inherintly bigoted and full of terrible rules that have no place in a free society but an antibullying speech doesn't seem like a good place to air those feelings.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • hugh

      ...

      April 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Jim tom

      NonAtheist, that does help. I'm just saying, what makes you decide that this quote is not something important that needs to be heeded, but the line about man not lying with man is? (assuming that is what you believe)

      April 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Waldron

      That is a good question. Please consider Acts 10 and Romans 14. Jesus first came to the Jews (Romans 1:16). The point of Peter's vision in Acts 10 is that the salvation that is available through Jesus (he bore the wrath of God for the sins of those who believe) is also available to the Gentiles who will believe. This was shocking to the Peter as a Jewish man – they had to receive unclean Gentiles into the family of God. Thus, like much of the Old Testament, there is an analogy. The unclean food represents the Gentiles. With Christ, the Gentiles were able to be made clean. So, with the analogy, the food that was once unclean has been made clean by God.

      Does that make sense?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Jason Kahl

      Not exactly true...
      Mark 7:14-23: “Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside man can make him unclean by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean"
      We ALL fall short not just a little A LOT!!, no matter HOW far we fall short that does NO WAY excuse us from trying..I could .knowingly break every Commandment on a daily basis it STILL would NOT change the Word it remains with or without me. I as man can not it know way proclaim myself Righteous....it does not mean I will or should proclaim someone else's Sin Truth.

      Yahoo and Google have made sure that searches for this return pro gay rebuttals way before you get to the truth...
      Leviticus 18:22 (KJV) "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

      April 30, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  17. This is so sad.

    The teens handled themselves a lot more maturely than most of the people writing these posts. Name calling and cussing... really is this the best way to make a point? How old are you girls? BTW, strong women do not speak or react like you Sarcasmo.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  18. gravis

    If Jesus is so powerful how come his candidate Michelle Bachmann didn't win? I think he was hoping to get a little tail on the side.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  19. John Philby

    Notice he didnt dare say that about the Koran! 🙂

    There will always be fools and mockers! The sad difference is that this one is endorsed by our "President"!

    April 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • sam stone

      There are fools and mockers on both sides, John

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

      John, the koran is a fairy tale too, but irrelevant in this country. Mulsims are less than 5% so no impact on law-the christians actively take rights away-just a little education reveals this

      April 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Matthew

      That would be cool because then the Muslims would declare a "Jihad" on liberals/gays and they will fight each other. Nothing better than to pit your enemies against each other. Divide and conquer.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  20. Tevya

    Dan in his ignorant rant failed to remember that some of his Christian Biblical references (i.e. Leviticus) are also references and contained within Hebrew Torah. More than being offended by his bullying, I am chilled by the sound of the thunderous cheers and clapping of those approving of what took place and the spirit of this speech. It always starts with applause and then moves to actions. On the subject of human decency and respect for those that are different, we obviously have much to learn. I am sad that Dan was bullied by those proclaiming to know G-d but he needs to not indict a whole community for the sins of the few, it does nothing to promote understanding and unity.

    April 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Magic Jew

      That's all good and well except for the part where the Bible is bullchit.

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

      You seem to miss a bunch of biblical references as well.

      Like the one that says GLUTTONY is a sin. Are you OVERWEIGHT Tevya? If you are, you are JUST AS MUCH A SINNER AS A GAY PERSON.

      And the GAY PERSON was BORN THAT WAY. You got FAT on your OWN. YOU CAN BE CURED. The GAY PERSON CAN'T.

      Take your RIGHT WING CHRISTIAN BS and stick it where a GAY PERSON MIGHT FIND IT. You are WRONG about what JESUS SAID and you are SO BLINDED by the COUNCIL AT NICEA which had NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRISTIANITY and EVERYTHING TO DO with OLD WHITE GUYS TAKING CONTROL OF THEIR WOMEN.

      The Modern Christian Church has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TEACHING OF JESUS. He is IRRELEVANT to their teachings.

      That is why they are SO WRONG ALL THE TIME!

      April 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Fred

      Poor StevenR. Did someone forget their meds today?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Tevya

      StevenR. You assumed that I am a Christian and made response based on that assumption. I belive they call that stereotyping. Did you ever consider that I am a Jew? Also, in my post I never claimed to be perfect. In fact, because I realize my imperfections and failings I seek a wisdom beyond my own so that I might better shw the love G_d has shown me to others. Shalom aleichem. (peace be with you).

      April 30, 2012 at 6:03 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.