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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. ss.thewizard@gmail.com

    Why is this man news? He certainly does not represent America.

    What has happened to civility, decorum and integrity?

    April 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      If you are looking for a single person who represents all of America, you will die after a very frustrating and fruitless lifetime. There are 307,000,000 of us, of all different shapes, sizes, colors, preferences, and proclivities, and Dan thinks we should all be able to get along OK if we just learn to accept that fact.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Rob

      "get along" – only if you agree w/ Dan. If not, then apparently you get bullied, just the same as he's claiming to fight against.

      Bullying goes BOTH ways...

      April 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • momoya

      If it's just some boring guy talking from a podium I think I can handle it.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  2. Dan

    I don't think we should ignore the b*sh't in the Bible. Rather, recognize it as b*sh't and learn from it. The Bible was written by man, it reflects the culture of the time. I personally don't see a problem with treating it as a work of ancient literature. We could be inspired by the fact that 2000 years ago, people had a sense of goodness in them ("...love is patient, love is kind...") while realizing that they were also in the infant stages of societal development.

    April 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Andres Conde

      I am with you. Call it out, let the bull crap be known..

      April 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • ckainredstateusa

      Odd logic: You call the Holy Bible b*******, yet you say learn from it.

      Sorry, but that doesn't pass the straight-face test.

      BTW: The Bible was indeed written by man, though inspired by the Lord God.

      Oh, yes: The Ten Commandments were written by the Lord, given to Moses (Moshe, if you prefer) and then transmitted to the Israelites.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • richunix

      @Ckain

      Neither does your book pass any test period!! Try again.....myths are still myths no matter who wites them.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • ckainredstateusa

      "TO richunix

      "Neither does your book pass any test period!! Try again.....myths are still myths no matter who wites them."

      Your comment borders on the incoherent.

      Your saying something is a myth does not make that statement true.

      Just wondering, though: Why so much P&V about something you seem to detest so? Why not just ignore it?

      And, no, with you, sir, I've no other comment. Your closed mind and spirit are evident. There's nothing I can say or do to even get some semi-intelligible remark.

      Here's hoping that while there's still time, you get rid of that hatred of God you possess.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Gregg

      Inspired by God? According to the Men who wrote the stories. The Qur'an was also inspired by the God they believe it and written by Man. The Bible has significance s an ancient piece of literature. And it is interesting that the story of Job appears in virtually all religious texts of note... perhaps the Men shared stories and then wrote it how it fit their lives?

      April 30, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  3. Ben

    I don't think that he should have called people "pansya**ed," but everything else (from the clip I saw) was spot on. Nobody accepts everything in the Bible, it has lots of BS. Saying that is NOT bullying.

    April 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • momoya

      You realize he didn't actually call anybody any names, right?? He described behavior in a way he has since admitted was wrong, but he didn't call anybody names.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Can you learn from him Momo 🙂

      April 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • ckainredstateusa

      Please, enlighten us: Give all those instances where the Bible is b*******. Give your defense, too, of your positions.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  4. Colin

    You should never have backed down from your comments Dan. We're all proud of you!

    April 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Hitchens

      No we are not.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • D

      Scott Fargus called dan. He said he misses you.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  5. John

    No apology required when you speak the truth. The world is so much cleaner when you don't worship a deity, we really sound like a primitive culture when we talk about Gods and demons. It makes for good movies, not real life.

    April 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • flannerys2003

      Interesting point. I think Hitler believed the same thing.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      That would be the same Hitler who said he had always been a good Catholic and always would be?

      April 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • eddie the geek

      You WILL meet God. And then what will you have to say for yourself?

      April 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Eric

      You're absolutely right; in fact, you've never seen any trouble for the citizenry when athiests are running the government, not one single time. Well, there was Chairman Mao, but, lto quote the Stalin said "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic." Stalin was a religious guy, right. He must have been.......he's responsible for more death and oppression than Hitler, so he must have been a Christian. He wasn't? Ok, how about that infamous Christian, Pol Pot? He must be religious, right?
      You know, all sarcasm aside, I'm amazed at all of you Theophobes and what is either your inablilty on unwillingness to even look at recent history when you decide to throw out the "More death and tragedy has occurred because of religion, than any other force in history," or some variant thereof. Sure, people have misused religion to control the lives of others through very brutal means; but it's still not matched the complete brutality of atheistic regimes. So, spare me the posturing about the peace loving, open minded nature of the 'religious free;' in recent history, they've been far worse.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • ckainredstateusa

      God forbid that there is anything "primitive" intruding into life!

      Unlike you, I do not have the faith to not believe in the Lord God - though I did my best for almost 50 years not to, including stints as bona fide New Ager and Buddhist - as you do.

      Your statement re: The world is so much cleaner when you don't worship a diety?

      Yeah, those Divinities, specifically the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, including God the Son Christ Jesus, just muck things up with moral absolutes and examples of how to live.

      But you kid yourself that you do not worship some small-case diety.

      And you kid yourself if you think there's a day of judgment coming for all of us.

      Perhaps, then, in greater detail, you can explain your theology to Christ Jesus.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • ckainredstateusa

      Meant to say, in the next-to-last paragraph, "there's not a day . . . "

      April 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Secular Nation

      @Eddie: Which god? Your god or mine? If yours, why not mine? What proof do you have that your god is more real than mine?

      Idiot.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Secular Nation

      @Eric:

      Hitler was a Catholic. That is not an opinion, but a fact.

      Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot were atheists, but did not commit their crimes in the name of atheism. Stalin and Hitler both had mustaches, did they commit their crimes because of that? You seem to be assuming a cause-effect relationship. You are wrong. Your logic is utterly flawed.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  6. Bill.1942

    I fear that there may be a special seat reserved in the south end of the 3rd furnace for this man.

    April 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • momoya

      Because the just punishment for saying a wrong word is an eternity in fiery torture?? What a disgusting god.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  7. Imani

    Interesting how some people applaud an adult man bullying Christian teens, I guess that explains why we have such a problem with bullies in our schools. It's okay to single out one group of people and pick on them as long as we feel we're justified in doing so. How did this discussion get away from a grown man calling teenagers names as he stood behind a podium and was cheered on by an audience (and some of the posts here) – especially, since the presentation was about anti-bullying?

    April 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Imani

      You said, "Interesting how some people applaud an adult man bullying Christian teens"
      Pointing out the hate speech and discrimination directed at homosexuals based on the bible, isn't bullying. The bible is used by many christians to justify and promote hate and bigotry. Pointing out the despicable parts in the bible is a public service.

      Those that hold the bible in high respect should critically examine it. Any decent human being will surely reject it.

      You said, "I guess that explains why we have such a problem with bullies in our schools."
      The bible and the hate filled examples set by parents and preachers contribute far more.

      You said, "It's okay to single out one group of people and pick on them as long as we feel we're justified in doing so."
      Stopping the hate speech justifies the somewhat crude depiction of the crap in the bible.

      You said, "How did this discussion get away from a grown man calling teenagers names as he stood behind a podium and was cheered on by an audience (and some of the posts here) – especially, since the presentation was about anti-bullying?"
      He apologized for calling them "pansyassed".

      Nobody has the right to not be offended. You have the right to believe whatever nonsense you want. Your beliefs don't deserve respect, just because you believe them.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's all you ever say, you complete dunce. Get a life. And, to repeat, name ONE!

      April 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Observer

      Why are you SO AFRAID to stick around and answer questions? No confidence you can support your nonsense?

      April 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Prayer changes lives
      Proven

      April 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • albert

      yeah, sure, just like empty blanket statments do...where is your proof?

      April 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Observer

      Atheism

      Are you an 8-year-old kid who just learned cut-and-paste? What a chicken.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • HM8432

      Yeah, just like atheists who parrot "Religion poisons everything!" like a broken record. For God's sake, that Hitchens book has at least several hundred more pages; his and Richard Dawkins literary works (among others) can't be that good if that's the only literary gold you guys can come away with after reading them!

      The day atheists adequately explain the human soul, or prove what caused the 'Big Bang', etc., will be the day I join your Godless ranks; at least the Abrahamic religions, just like any other, at least TRY to explain the Big Questions in life that aren't so subjectively obvious.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  9. Kevin

    Another American with an opinion. Why is everyone so upset?

    April 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  10. RichardSRussell

    The kids who walked out of the hall are training to be JOURNALISTS? Man, if I owned a newspaper or TV station and one of MY reporters walked out of some event because he or she thot something being said was unduly impolite, I'd be looking for a new reporter tomoro. I hope none of these kids is ever assigned to cover rap music or pro wrestling.

    April 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  11. The Other White Meat

    "LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE" John 8:7

    April 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • stu

      how convenient that you neglected to mention the last part where Jesus tells her to go and sin no more

      April 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • ckainredstateusa

      And your point is?

      Oh, I know: It's the secularist's or liberal Christian's trump card to silence anyone having an opinion.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Andres Conde

      Because STU stopped sinning.. LOL. evangelicals are ridiculous.. Humans will be humans.. we all make mistakes, and keep making some of them.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • ckainredstateusa

      "TO Andres Conde

      "Because STU stopped sinning.. LOL. evangelicals are ridiculous.. Humans will be humans.. we all make mistakes, and keep making some of them."

      Seriously, do you have anything intelligible or coherent to say? Actually, that's a rhetorical question. No need to answer.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  12. sybaris

    Just more evidence that christians can't face the facts.

    Go Dan!!

    April 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Chris

      Christians have been attacked since Jesus bore the cross. However the Bible is not BS no matter whether you agree with it or not. Historically accurate and almost 2/3 contain prophecy that is nearing its conclusion today. You dont want to be on the wrong end on this one.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • James

      A book as many contradictory ideology as the bible cannot be taken as coherent *literal* truth. Which is what many Christians who never try to process the bible as a whole, as opposed to study a few "favorite" passages, do. It is a big hole in their religious education. I wish more religious leaders try to have a even handed study of the good book, as opposed to twist whatever passage in a book of 774746 words, and possibly mistranslated one at best. At least King James version is specifically written to support the monarchy at the cost of religious accuracy.

      Serious bible scholars learn Hebrew and read the original.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • ckainredstateusa

      Enlighten us with all the other reasons why you allege Christians cannot face the facts.

      Oh, yeah: Please list the facts, too.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Guy

      2/3 contain prophecy

      It's easy to write prophecy after the fact.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Observer

      Chris,

      You can pretend all you want that serpents talk and unicorns existed.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Observer

      ckainredstateusa,

      One easy example. Christians can't handle the FACT that the Bible NEVER mentions abortion.

      April 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  13. Seksi Vitez

    Ah the zealots of both sides. Of course you should love each other and yes there are a lot of older judgemental and anti-gay people. But honestly, these people are almost all over 50 years of age.

    What all of you are not aware of is that you all have ego issues. People bash an ENTIRE religious group instead of looking at them as individuals with vastly different views of the world.

    Viewing the world as groups instead of individuals is the same mindset that members of the KKK have- which means you are no different.

    Also.. there is a religious movement that has taken hold of the West and these people live to cram their beliefs. This movement is based on a non belief of a single God or any at all and the need to destroy any other belief system.

    What a lot of really ugly people on both sides of this Bully movement. Go watch South Park from a few weeks ago and maybe you will notice this dude and other like yourself as the butt of the joke.

    April 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • James

      I don't remember the last time a Atheist knocked on my door trying to preach that I should stop believing in god. I do remember people knocking on my door trying to convert me to Jehovah witness, which I polity refused.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • sadlyperturbed

      What world do you live in? People who use the Bible as an excuse to hate, whether it is gays or any other group, are certainly not "almost all over 50". Perhaps your opinion is based on some falsehood, but reality is that anti-gay sentiment is taught to Christians daily, both adults and children, and this is what needs to stop. And it is not just Christians who preach anti-gay rhetoric, nor is it all Christians. But to make a blanket statement as you did is ridiculous. The world we live in is full of hate for people who are not exactly as someone thinks they should be, and it is leading us down a path better left to grow over and disappear.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Talitha

      What an idiot.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  14. Ed

    Cherisea, It seems that many people are attacking "CRC." In your case – can you tell me what languages the Bible (both Old & New Testaments) was written in?

    April 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  15. concerned citizen

    The real issue is not the offense to the people but the offensive language towards God and His sacred word. We have the freedom to say whatever we want in this country but such freedom do not remove the consequences that come with our choices.Whether you believe in God or not does not deny His existence and your ultimate accountability to Him

    April 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • momoya

      You're talking about Allah, right?

      April 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Blasphemy is a victimless crime.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • The Other White Meat

      "LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE" John 8:7 it means: unless you are God or Jesus, STFU.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      Whether you believe in "god" or not, it doesn't prove his existence, either

      April 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  16. The Other White Meat

    "LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE" John 8:7

    April 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Don in NY

      Typical drivel from liberals who do not believe the bible in the first place but are glad to try and use it out of context to justify what God calls a sin. THERE IS ZERO and I mean ZERO call by God to put gays to death, but this does not in any way not mean that it is not a sin...it is. ....Dan has been told the truth of this matter many many times, he is now PURPOSEFULLY lying to engineer hatred of Christianity and all Christians...Stop joining in with his bigotry.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • CHRIS

      I am not casting stones sir I only ask for the same outcry that would be heard if this was a Conservative attacking atheist kids because if a conservative did this to atheist kids I would be just as angry

      April 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  17. Yuliq

    No apology needed... Walking out on what this guy has to say is proof that some people aren't cut out for journalism, and they are the hypocrites of free journalism and the 1st Amendment.

    April 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  18. ba-ss-ackwards logic

    So intolerant Christians are ok... People that are intolerant of intolerant Christians are not... So if I'm intolerant, of intolerant people that are intolerant of intolerant Christians, then we're all ok again, right? Got it! YBP is right, you people need to go phuck yourselves.

    April 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  19. Shepherd

    I guess christians don't believe in the Freedom of Speech...oh wait, THEY can say whatever THEY want. They also don't believe in the Freedom of Religion...unless you pick christianity. Hipocrits, every single one of them.

    April 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Don in NY

      Joining in with the hatemongers I see. Anti-Christian bigotry is hardly the high road here.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  20. Major Beatdown

    It's time we Christians take a page from the Muslims! I assure you the filthy left won't be so "courageous", as to attack teenagers for being offended by such a discusting speaker, if they begin to feel a little wrath!

    April 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      You've got your history backwards, my friend. When it comes to violence and intolerance, it's the Muslims who took a page from the Christians, not the other way around.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Shepherd

      Nothing like an uneducated christian...it's disgusting, not discusting!

      April 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • momoya

      Judgment for WORDS is bodily harm in your code?!?

      Seriously, does that not just sound absolutely bat sh!t crazy?? Anyone?

      April 30, 2012 at 7:46 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.