Beliefnet

The report is difficult to believe: A paid “anti-bullying” expert is caught on video ranting at a national convention of high schoolers and is recorded bullying the Christian kids offended by his obscenities. They quietly follow his advice to homosexual youth in his “It Gets Better Project” – to passively walk away from bullies. Then, instead of praising them, he mocks them.

Dan Savage speaking to national high school convention

It seems that at the National High School Journalism Convention, author and sexual advice radio host Dan Savage was offended when a bunch of teenagers got up and walked out of his speech as he berated the Bible, repeatedly calling it a street obscenity for bovine excrement. When one by one, a number of kids silently stood and left the auditorium, he then called them another offensive street obscenity.

The ironies are incredible. Confronted with the video – which has gone viral on the Internet – the anti-bullying role model refused to recant, apologizing only for the obscenity he called the kids who walked out of his address.

Click to hear Savage's attacks (Caution: obscene language)

The controversy raised by Savage’s tirade has raised so many questions on so many levels. Has the national anti-bullying initiative been hijacked by activists who have only one message – U.S. teens must be tolerant of homosexuality? That anybody who disagrees with that message must be bullied by peer pressure into compliance? That the tyranny of political correctness must be wielded against any teen who dares to dissent — particularly on moral or faith-based grounds?

Christian kids have grown used to nobody worrying about their rights in academia – where it is perfectly kosher to attack biblical teachings, church history and personal beliefs, but “unconstitutional” to pray, evangelize or defend the faith.

However, this time -- incredibly -- defense of the kids who walked out has come from across the spectrum – prominent rabbis, Southern Baptist theologians, Mormon commentators, Catholic academics and even gay rights activists.

A student walking out during Savage's speech

“As an Orthodox rabbi with a gay Orthodox Jewish brother, I have endeavored mightily to reconcile the dictates of my faith with the most human, loving and respectful approach to homosexuality,” writes the Huffington Post’s Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. “I have counseled

hundreds of gay men and women of faith who seek to find their place in G-d’s love amid a gay lifestyle.

“But such efforts at reconciliation are undone by the gratuitous hate-filled bigotry of people like Dan Savage whose response to prejudice against gays is to offer insulting and degrading prejudices against religion. Just what Savage felt he was accomplishing by irresponsibly using obscenities about the Bible at a journalism conference for high school students is beyond me.”

Under a headline “Dan Savage Was Right” on the website “On the Square,” Joshua Gonnerman writes: “He rejected the Bible as ‘bullshit’ in a keynote address to high-school journalists, and then described students who chose to walk away as ‘pansy-assed.’  

“His hypocrisy is painfully evident.”

“Sadly, far too many voices telling people to quit judging, be more tolerant, and love more are the voices of individuals who judge the most, are the most intolerant, and full of hate,” noted Mormon writer Ryan Jenkins.  “It is very troubling, especially given what he is supposed to be speaking about. He should think some personal things through before his next public speaking opportunity."

Gay rights proponent Andrew Kirrel adds:

“As a proudly heterosexual libertarian committed to advancing gay rights, I think Savage does a lot of good. His ‘It Gets Better’ campaign is an inspiringly non-aggressive response to the anti-gay prejudices of bullies and politicians alike. We need more hopeful messages like that.

A convention delegate walks out during Savage's tirade

“But when Savage behaves this way, he does more to hold back the equality movement. I understand he has no interest in converting Bible-thumpers to see the world his way, but when gay rights activists stoop to the same level as gay-bashers, and become religious-people-bashers, they polarize the debate even further. The word ‘tolerance’ should always be Savage’s greatest weapon.

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