Dan Savage vs. the Bible Pt. 1

Dan Savage writes a weekly piece entitled “Savage Love” for the The Stranger. He is also the co-founder of the It Gets Better Project which he established to tell teenagers that life as a LGBT person will get better. Savage also does plenty of speaking and he ended up being invited to speak in front of a group of high school journalists about bullying. During that speech he said this (Be aware that Savage uses some fifthly language) :

It’s surprising that this guy is speaking to a bunch of high school kids and uses the language he does. I was also surprised to see that he bullies the kids that walk out. It’s ironic that this guy thinks it is alright to bully kids when he is the founder of a group that discourages bullying. Those things are terrible but I think the worst part of this video is the way Savage misrepresents the Bible.

When people don’t like what the Bible says they will eventually say something like Savage did:

The Bible, let’s talk about the Bible for a second. People often point out that they can’t with the anti-gay bullying because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans, that being gay is wrong. 

What Savage did, as others do, was equate saying, “Your lifestyle is sinful,” with bullying. The LGBT community doesn’t want us to simply tolerate their lifestyle choice but endorse it. When people do this we need to point out that making this equation means that they are trying to strip away our right to speak our minds. Our first amendment rights shouldn’t be taken away simply because some people get offended. Another aspect to this is that ‘bullying’ is hardly ever defined. As a Christian, I hate bullying. I think it is despicable and should be ended but making a rational and reasonable decision to not endorse homosexuality is not bullying. Savage has every right to speak his mind and so does everyone else, including Christians.

Directly following those words Savage says this:

We can learn to ignore the bulls— in the Bible about gay people. The same way we have learned to ignore the bulls— in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bulls—  in the Bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waved Bibles over their heads during the Civil War and justified it. The shortest book in the New Testament is a letter from Paul to a Christian slave owner about owning his Christian slave and Paul doesn’t say, ‘Christians don’t own people.” Paul talks about how Christians own people. we ignore what the Bible says about slavery because the Bible got slavery wrong. 

This is another common theme among those fighting for LGBT “rights”. They will use the Bible’s endorsement of slavery to criticize Christianity. What I find so offensive is that most people do not even examine their own understanding of this issue. Slavery during the Civil War was radically different from what Paul saw in his time. Obviously, Savage has either not bothered to look at the difference or he is lying. For those who want to learn about how slavery in modern times compares to slavery in Paul’s time you can check out the Christians Think Tank’s article on the subject. With that said, for the sake of argument, let’s allow Savage’s remarks about the Bible being pro-slavery to stand without making a distinction between ancient times and modern times. Even if we grant Savage’s assertion read what Paul writes to Philemon about his slave:

For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. -Philemon 1:15-16, ESV

Paul uses words to describe the relationship that Philemon should have with Onesimus (Philemon’s slave) that almost no slave owner during the Civil War would accept. Paul says that Onesimus should not be regarded as a slave but as “more than a slave”; he should be regarded as a “beloved brother”. That is radical. That is life changing.

Savage is right when he says that Paul did not outlaw slavery but this is an unfair criticism. Christianity was a small and persecuted group within the Roman Empire so to expect Paul to start a political movement would be silly. Instead, Paul taught that Christians in prominent positions should treat their slaves with dignity and brotherly love in a society that didn’t. I only wish people like Savage would realize just how amazing and radical Paul’s words are.

Come back tomorrow for Pt. 2 of my response to Dan Savage.

Thanks for reading.

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About Travis Berry

I am a blatantly honest person who loves to think, read, discuss, and write about God and theology. I have a bachelor's degree in Youth Ministry from Crown College. I work at a church in Houston, TX as a Youth Director and love every minute of it! I am married to a wonderful woman named Becky and we have one amazing child! I have a love for God's Word, and a fervor to live it out in the fullest, and I pray this blog reflects that. Thanks for checking out AnotherChristianBlog!.

Posted on May 3, 2012, in Christianity, Culture, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This guy irritates me greatly. I don’t know whether to pity him or pray for God to break his teeth.

    • Ruby,

      Yes, Dan Savage is quite irritating but it is important to not forget that we are to be people of love. I pray that God breaks down Savage’s heart of stone but I do not wish physical harm to him.

      Thanks for commenting Ruby,


      • I was paraphrasing Psalms 3:7 & 58:6. And yes, we are people of love, but sometimes it is more loving for the wicked to be punish that the naive may become wise (Prov 21:11). But, on the other hand we should not gloat over our enemies destruction. (Prov 24:17-18) So I understand what you are saying, I just like to hear the sound of my own voice. 🙂

      • Who doesn’t? haha

  2. It is sad that High school officials would even let him talk like that in front those teens. Not good.


  1. Pingback: Dan Savage vs. the Bible Pt.2 « AnotherChristianBlog

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