Not long ago we talked about homosexual activist Dan Savage and his bullying assault on Christian kids. It was a bad moment for both Savage and the movement he helps lead, as it was a perfect depiction of the hypocritical nature of their stated desire to promote tolerance. If there’s one thing that becomes clear watching Savage’s speech, it’s that tolerating Christian morality is the last thing Savage or his cohorts want to do.
It was revealing enough that several of Savage’s media allies quickly began running damage control. Some of it was quite humorous to behold. Other attempts were just too backwards for me to avoid addressing. Take, for instance, a piece written by accomplished progressive (the name liberals use when they don’t want to be known as liberal) political writer Amanda Marcotte. Writing at Slate, she concluded that the right’s outrage towards Savage’s bullying was “manufactured.”
She blasts liberals who have not backed Savage, but have admitted that his comments were offensive at best, a total contradiction at worst. One such liberal that met with Marcotte’s ire was Daily Beast author Jay Michaelson. Marcotte rips him good:
Michaelson would be easy to write off as a concern troll, but to make things worse, he speaks a falsehood about Savage's remarks. He says Savage's remarks "represented a notable gay leader affirming that one must choose between sexuality and religion, between God and gay." This is demonstrably untrue.
What Savage was clearly saying was that it's homophobes who are presenting a false dilemma with their claims that you have to denounce homosexuality to be a Christian. He was pointing out that it's easy to reconcile pro-gay sentiment and Christianity by just doing what Christians are already doing when it comes to shellfish and slavery, which is preferring their own moral judgment over the Bible. So either Michaelson is lying about what Savage said, or he didn't bother to read the comments he's denouncing, or he has poor reading comprehension.
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That’s quite an ironic conclusion for Marcotte to make, given that she apparently is lying about what the Bible says, or she didn’t bother to read the text she’s denouncing, or has poor reading comprehension. The Bible does not teach believers not to eat shellfish, or to own slaves. On the former, the Bible is clear that those regulations were meant only for the ancient children of Israel – does Marcotte (and Savage) not know this? And the idea that the Bible condones slavery is such a warped conclusion it’s difficult to know where to start. First, understand that Marcotte and Savage read the word “slavery” in Scripture through the “New World” race-based slave system we have experienced in America. But that isn’t the lens through which the Biblical writers were looking.
I don’t have time in this post to go into all of the remarkable distinctions between what kind of slavery the Bible refers to and what we understand slavery to be. I am actually working on a new series that tackles some of these questions, and there are literally like 15-20 important distinctions that are critical to acknowledge. But suffice it to say this: we should not be using the same term for what happened to Africans in America and what was occurring in Biblical times. It’s that different. Again, did Marcotte not bother to read and comprehend this before casting judgment?
And a further question comes when you simply read the headline of Marcotte’s piece: “Accurately Describing the Bible is Not Oppression.” First of all, like we’ve already established, Savage (and Marcotte) did not “accurately describe the Bible.” That’s the point. But secondly, will Marcotte be consistent in that view? Will she acknowledge that “accurately describing the consequences of homosexuality is not oppression?” If I point out the tragic physical effects and devastating spiritual ramifications of homosexual conduct, will Marcotte and Savage stop labeling me a hater and bigot, and stop portraying me as an oppressor of homosexuality? For some reason I doubt it.
In the interest of fairness, however, we have made contact with the folks at Slate and invited Ms. Marcotte onto the show to talk about all this. We’re waiting to hear of that will happen.