It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:
When the National High School Journalism Conference invited Dan Savage to speak to students, they expected a speech about bullying. Technically they got that, although in the way they intended:
As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible and reportedly called those who refused to listen to his rant “pansy assed.”
The speaker was Dan Savage, founder of the “It Gets Better” project, an anti-bullying campaign […] was supposed to be delivering a speech about anti-bullying at the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. But it turned into an episode of Christian-bashing.
According to a 17-year-old girl interviewed by CitizenLink:
“The first thing he told the audience was, ‘I hope you’re all using birth control,’” she told CitizenLink. “he said there are people using the Bible as an excuse for gay bullying, because it says in Leviticus and Romans that being gay is wrong. Right after that, he said we can ignore all the (expletive deleted) in the Bible.”
As the teenagers were walking out, Tuttle said that Savage heckled them and called them pansy-assed.
“You can tell the Bible guys in the hall they can come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible,” Savage said as other students hollered and cheered. “It’s funny as someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansy-assed people react when you push back.”
Nicely done, Dan Savage. The Bible is a mess of contradictions, hypocrisies, and ideas that have long outlived their supposed moral value. I would hardly disagree with Savage that the Bible has it wrong on many counts or that it makes no sense to follow 2000-year-old laws created by a xenophobic community intent on keeping their ways as kingdom after kingdom conquered them.
But you do not point that out by trashing a couple of high school kids.
I know how Dan Savage feels. No one likes to be pushed around, and once you get a little power and see that your bullies cower if you stand up to them, it is oh so tempting to give them a taste of their own medicine.
But you know what that makes you? A bully.
If you want to stop bullying, you cannot do it by bullying other people. What did any of the students in the audience do to Savage? Did they beat him up? Did they call him names (before he trashed them)? Did they use Leviticus to justify anti-gay attitudes?
If your goal is to sway Christians to your side, you do not do it by calling the Bible “bullshit.” You do not do it by calling anyone offended by your comments “pansy-assed” for walking out.
All that does is make you look the fool. If you do not believe me, look at how people view feminists.
Your words have consequences, and if you lack the sense, wits, or decency to choose your words more carefully, then perhaps you ought to keep your mouth shut because you ruin your own cause every time you open it.
This is not to say that no one should call Christians on their — I think the word fits — bullshit. By all means, do so. This is not to say no one should defend themselves from vicious attacks from the Christian right. By all means, do so. Yet there is a difference between fighting back and starting a fight. You cannot beat the bullies by becoming one yourself.
That is plain stupid, and any victim of bullying should have the sense to know that.