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

soundoff (4,113 Responses)
  1. hostdude99

    A grown man bullying students should be ashamed of himself. Obviously he's not. How pathetic. Any adult calling out students in school a pansy ass is just propagating the bullying.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  2. AmericanSam

    Well, the parts in the Bible that say being gay is wrong are bull****. I can't say he wasn't speaking the truth. But I suppose he's got to realize that some people are afraid of the truth. And I suppose he could've done without the language at an anti-bullying event.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Texas

      AmericanSam – Based on your comment, do you believe some parts of the Bible are true and some are not?

      April 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  3. Fred

    This isn't even close to everything he said. Ironically he was the worst kind of bully to the Christians he was speaking to. You need to see his entire speech to see how hypocritical and pathetic it actually was.

    If there is anything Dan proved, it's that he actually hasn't read the Bible or understand what it says...that can be said for many "Christians" too....but this article is about Dan.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Fred

      Could you provide some examples? I have no idea if you're telling the truth or lying otherwise.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      I've read the Bible four times. It doesn't have a lot of nice things to say about a lot of different types of people. As far as gays go, saying that it is an "abomination" is bullcrap.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  4. Madison

    In my opinion, his statement about" pansya**sed people" is lumping all religious people, or Christians who believe in the Bible into one category. I am a Christian, I believe in the bible, but I DO NOT condone the beatings of gays, lesbians. I DO NOT condone hatred, discrimination and downright stupidity among SOME Christian people who claim to be all knowing yet they truly don't follow the word of GOD. I have family members whom are gay and love them no different. My sister-in-law is transgender and I see the discrimination SOME Christians put her through. Do not put me in the same category as them!! There's a time and place for religion/politics and public speaking to high school students about bullying isn't one of them! Fighting hate with hate will get us nowhere, understanding and compassion will!

    April 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  5. Tom

    This conversation needs to happen despite all the PC liberals pretending that all beliefs and opinions are equal or worthy of respect. They are certainly NOT all worthy of respect NOR equal. Either there is a god or there is not. Either the bible is truth or it's fiction. Either Jesus is our savior or he was just a man. Either the Koran was the final revelation of God or it wasn't. We need to stop pretending that science and religion are reconcilable. They are not. They mostly contradict each other. If one is true and the other is false, we should say so. And whichever one is false should be treated with contempt.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

      Tom, Although I agree with your sentiment, I wouldn't give God or the Bible a 50/50 possibility of being true or false ... that's way too muhc. It's about Probability ... there are infinite things I can believe in but only very few have reasonable probability. I believe there is a Stegasaurus orbiting Pluto ... is that really probable? Not even remotely, but it is more probable than God(s) since both Stegs and Pluto are proven to exist/existed and God has not.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Eric

      "Either Jesus is our savior or he was just a man." - don't forget option C, he was a made up fictional character.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Tom

      God does not exist. If you haven't accepted this yet, you haven't asked yourself some fairly obvious yet difficult questions.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • TRH


      This kind of polarized thinking is exactly what is wrong with this country. It breeds hatred and is EXACTLY what the Bible teaches against. You are a sad sad person. One can only hope that the future will render your thinking extinct and people will learn to live together in peace.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  6. zahbudda

    "Romans 1:21-32

    21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."

    April 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Tom

      Who the f cares what it says in Romans? It's fiction dude.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Christian mom

      And you can add 1 Corinthians 6:9. These are Gods words. Wake-up and repent!

      April 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Tom

      Crazy Christian Mom

      April 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  7. Jason K

    I have no problem with that comment and I believe the Bible. There is no perfect human on this Earth, therefore none have the right to judge. Even according to the bible, humans only have the right to pass judgment on another with peers present and only when someone has been wronged. I.E. the basis of a court system. The bible is the #1 misquoted publication in the history of the world. Why else would it have so many different translations in English alone! If you don't know the Hebrew and Greek it was written in you don't know half of the story. Something as simple as 'faith IN Christ' vs. 'faith OF Christ' which are very similar in the Greek of the New Testament.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  8. Learn the Bible

    The Bible used to say it is a sin to be gay, is the same Bible that states 2 different creation stories, it is a sin to plant 2 seeds in the same field, a sin to have clothes made of 2 different types of materials, a sin to eat pork (most church functions have pork dishes) and a sin to eat some seafood (such as shrimp). The Bible is not at all factual, it is a guide to help you lead a moral life. Once Christians get this, it will make things easier. For the record- stright male who was raised Baptist. Everything wasn't made in 7 days- no reason for God to need a rest since afterall its GOD. Jesus preached love and that is it.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  9. Francis

    "wasn't age appropriate," this guy says about high school students. Shows how very our of touch you are to your society and to your students.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  10. tony

    The bible is total BS. Anyone that believes it...is STUPID and too weak to minded to realize the truth.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Texas

      Tony – I guess you'll get to find out one day whether it is all BS or not. Good luck with that. Hopefully you'll realize the truth before that day comes.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Disco Jesus


      April 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • kathy

      "Jesus said to him, ' I am the way ,and the tru,and the life ; one one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14 :16)
      No God ,No Peace, Know God , Know Peace . Always in Christ (kathy)

      April 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  11. God is laughing

    God has to be laughing at us all. We try to define His morality by our own insufficient morality. No one is truly good except God. If He chooses to love or destroy He has that right, as He is God. Even if everyone on the face of the earth doesn’t believe in Him, He is still on His throne and is God. What is there to debate/argue about really? Love Him, Hate Him, or don’t believe, He still is God. On a side note Jesus is public enemy #1.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • momoya

      Yes indeed, christianity is nothing more than "might makes right" and therefore "subjective morality" applies a different standard to god, god's chosen ones, and others.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • God is laughing

      I agree might does make right. He is mighty...

      April 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • momoya

      Yes, I know, but what if it turns out another god you don't know about is even more mighty and can prove it!?!? Guess you'll be out on your azz, then.. Good luck.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • God is laughing

      Then that would be a mess now wouldn’t it!?! LOL

      April 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  12. Jay Kelley

    It's funny how our kids are told to "just walk away" by then anti-bullying crowd, then when they do, the same folks call them names and accuse them of cowardice.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • QS

      No, it's funny that as soon as anybody says anything slightly bad about their religion, they walk out rather than listening to the message instead.

      Yes, kids are generally taught it's better to walk away...but that's in a potentially physically threatening situation. When reilgious people don't want to hear different opinions about their chosen beliefs, even though no physical threat is present, they walk away.

      There's a difference when you put it in context.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  13. good grief!

    for all of you quoting passages from the bible, know that the bible is just an earlier version of the same self serving trash as the book of mormon and more recently the books of scientology. Laughable rubbish when it's first written but over time, with indoctrination of generations of young impressionable people, it becomes what you delusional folk call "the truth". There may or may not be a God, but to think that any of these books are really his word is the worst sort of blasphemy.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • realist

      I just love these self serving dogmatic statements that rattle off comments with no examples, foundation, or solid argument. Anybody can shout out their anger, but it takes a person of integrity that's willing to back up their garbage with a little more than a mouthful of angst to impress people. Stop wasting your time here, and sign up for some counseling. It would be time better spent.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • good grief!

      the book of mormon: written by a convicted con-man and believed by fools. Scientology: written by an author turned con man and believed by fools. The bible: written by ancient con men and twisted through the ages by con men and believed by many, many fools if you believe all the religious tripe posted here today.

      @realist, if god made the heavens and the earth then who made god? If you answer that god has always existed, then why can't the heavens and the earth always have existed?

      The bible has ZERO logic in all its pages. plenty of fantasy examples, plenty of fantasy foundation, plenty of argument, BUT NO LOGIC. Believe any fairy tale you like and believe as hard as you like but it doesn't make it true.

      April 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  14. neoritter

    Anyone else find it funny that a guy promoting an anti-gay/anti-bullying campaign bullied students in the audience. Calling them "pansies" among other things?

    April 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • momoya

      he didn't call them that.. He was describing, not renaming.. It's the difference between noun and adjective.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Donna

      And momoya what you are doing is called 'splitting hairs'. He referred to a group of people, some who were in his audience, and pansy*****. That is akin to calling names where I come from.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • momoya

      Oh, I see, Donna, if you don't like the definition of a word you just change it to mean what you want it to mean.. Usually it's the christians who are best at that sort of thing since they have so much practice in cherry-picking scriptures and interpretations however they feel like it.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • neoritter

      Someone who is "pansy-a$$ed" would be a pansy. In his usage he was referring to the students that left the room.

      "You can tell the Bible guys in the hall to come back now, because I'm done beating up the Bible." *applause* *laughter*

      "It's funny, as someone who is on the receiving end of beatings...how pansy-a$$ed people react when you push back." *applause* *whooping*

      *sarcastic tone* "I apologize if I hurt anyone FEELINGS." *emphasis on the last word*

      April 30, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  15. dr.kno

    How's life working out for you Dan?

    April 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  16. RBL

    Since Dan was the only one with a microphone the people who objected with his position walked out. I dont see a problem here. If he was debating someone then Dan's position could have been rebutted.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  17. TruthHurts

    I get this guys point. Everyone who has differing views with the christian establishment are continously verbally assaulted and sometimes physically assualted. He is simply frustrated at an establishment that wants nothing more for him to shut up and subscribe to their views. Religion does not teach acceptance of everyone, it teaches acceptance of those who agree with you and spit hatred of those who dont.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  18. Fred

    Too funny, I wonder why all religions hate the gays? Maybe because if you fornicate with a pig in the butt it breeds disease?

    April 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  19. really?

    If "God" says being gay is wrong then why is there such a long history of the cleric molesting little boys? Isn't that gay? I know a number of gay men and don't think any of them would harm a child. I've met a number of priests (I used to be in our church choir) and only met a couple I'd let anywhere near my children. Just saying, the bible is just words that people mostly ignore if it doesn't suit there needs.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm |


      April 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • really?

      Clerics are representatives of God regardless of their actions. If God does not approve maybe he should do something about it. He doesn't though. The first abuse against those children is it; those children are scarred for life. There's no turning back. God clearly approves of this or He would have intervened.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Kenneth E. Lamb

      Really, really? He would have intervened? And you got this information how? Did God send you an email to let you in on His thinking?

      Your post shows you certainly didn't try to figure not how God thinks by reading his Word.

      Typical of Denialists, you impose your thoughts and beliefs on God, telling Him how should act. What foolishness! God never asked you how He should act, and He never will. Sorry to bruise your overgrown ego, but what you think doesn't mean squit.

      As Paul wrote, "Let every man be a liar, and God be true." It means that it doesn't matter if every human on Earth breaks God's Laws, God is still God, and His Laws are still correct regardless whether any human follows them or not. The actions of humans are irrelevant to determining the holiness of God.

      You obviously don't grasp any of this. Come back when you leave your childish self-centered thinking behind and replace it with adult, God-centric thinking.


      April 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • brain therapist

      We as humans, have free will to do things which result in a karmic imbalance on our part.

      Blaming God for the sick machinations of some criminals is really not an example of developed thinking on your part....

      May 2, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  20. John Wolf

    Always consider the source and the motivation.

    April 30, 2012 at 4:48 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.