“The mind of a bigot,” wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., “is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.” In other words, bigots tend to shrink in size and weight the closer they get to the truth. This appears to be the case with one such bigot who happens to be the founder of the “It Gets Better” project — an organization endorsed by the Obama administration created to provide encouragement to bullied lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens.
The organization’s founder, Dan Savage, seems to have become the very thing he fights against. Recently speaking about bullying before a group of teenage journalists, Savage went on an anti-Bible rant and said “We can learn to ignore the bulls—t in the Bible about gay people,” and then called the teens that walked out of the lecture in protest, “pansy-as-es.”
This case is not isolated. While on the Bill Maher’s “Real Time” television show awhile back, Savage said he “sometimes thinks about fuc-ing the sh-t out of” former GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum. It is one thing to disagree with someone’s religious beliefs and quite another to suggest punishing them for those beliefs by committing a homosexual rape crime.
Savage’s contempt extends beyond the Bible and Christianity to the Republican Party. It obviously makes little difference to Savage that the GOP has rejected two Evangelical Christians and currently leans in favor of a Mormon to be their presidential nominee. Savage continued, during the same teen journalist conference, with an over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek comment, “We don’t know where the GOP is going these days” — referring to the ancient practice of stoning to death sexually active unmarried women.
Much like what the Westboro Baptist extremist group does, Savage cherry picks scriptures and provides twisted, if any, context. Bullies like Savage are cowards and pick on those whom they feel they have power over. Christians are easy targets because they normally do not retaliate, unlike some in the Muslim world who still practice stoning.
Bible believers do not stone people because of the example set by Jesus. Jesus addressed the practice of stoning the time he approached a group of religious zealots that had surrounded an adulterous woman. The Bible tells us Jesus knelt down and scribbled in the sand. My guess is he was listing the names of her sexual partners, which may have included those standing in the circle. Jesus told them the only ones qualified to throw stones were those without sin. Jesus shined the light of truth and, with stones in hand, the bullies fled the scene in shame. As was the custom at the time, Jesus was within his rights to pick up a stone, but instead offered grace and mercy. Context is everything.
I don’t have to politicize this issue because the gay conservative group GOProud has done it for me by demanding Savage renounce his bigotry. According to the website, examiner.com, GOProud executive director Jimmy LaSalvia went on the record saying, “Dan Savage’s outrageous anti-Christian tirade hurts, not helps, the fight for gay rights in this country.”
The Obama administration should renounce their support for this organization that seems more like a front to vent hatred than a vehicle to advance understanding. As I write, two videos recorded by President Obama and Vice President Biden in support of “It Gets Better” still remain on the White House website and can be viewed online at http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/it-gets-better. It is good the administration speaks out against bullying, but should do so free of ties to one using his organization as a bully pulpit to assert personal prejudice.
Susan Stamper Brown is an opinion page columnist, motivational speaker and military advocate who writes about politics, the military, the economy and culture. Email Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org or her website at susanstamperbrown.com.
Photo credit: Better Than Bacon (Creative Commons)
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