Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Christian Right AND Left vs. Dan Savage

Some interesting developments this past week in the brouhaha over Dan Savage's recent comments about the Bible and religion.

First we have the Catholic League, that staunch defender of the Catholic Church's right to hide the sexual abuse of children. It's spokes-moron Bill Donahue is spluttering with righteous indignation over yet another speech where Savage dared point out the sheer idiocy of the current Pope's position on Same Sex Marriage, and follow on impact the Pope's words have in how many Catholics view LGBT people.  (The Right Wing hate group  "Americans for Truth"  has the  'shocking video!')

Now  we have the other side of the  Ecumenical  aisle  weighing in on  Dan Savage's recent comments on  religion.    Joeseph Ward, the director of the  Episcopal LGBT group  Believe Out Loud,  penned  a recent Op-Ed in the Advocate Magazine.  Where he  opines  on and on about just how unqualified  Dan Savage is to talk about the Bible, because  he (Savage) is not a  "theologian".    Ward writes;

"Dan Savage is a self-professed atheist and sex columnist. So when he’s asked to talk about these issues, I truly hope organizers and pundits know what they are getting — an intelligent gay rights activist and journalist, not a theologian. He can be a highly offensive person, but in no way, shape, or form is he trained to speak in depth about religious doctrine."

Sigh... I am sure Joeseph Ward means well, but you know what? In this case, he is completely wrong. Dan Savage is not talking about faith, or theology here. He is talking about how the words and actions coming out of a Religious Organization, have a real impact on how members of that organization view, and treat LGBT people.

Joespeh Ward's biggest problem  with Dan Savage seems to be more of a turf issue. Ward feels Dan Savage isn't "trained" to speak about the bible or doctrine. Not to beat up on Believe Out Loud, but compared to Savage's It Get's Better Project I have to ask; "what have you done to combat the near constant attack on LGBT people by conservative religious organizations?" In comparison? Not much.

As well intentioned as Ward's critique may have been,  he  is completely missing the point.    To highlight the  hypocrisy and bigotry of a church is not attacking the faith of that church. To point out how saying from the pulpit, that Gays and Lesbians are a threat the to very existence of the human race,  has a direct effect on how people who hear those words, then go and treat Gays and Lesbians, is not a Theological argument. It is a simple statement of human cause and effect.

Dan Savage is completely correct in his criticisms of right wing organised religions, and their war on Gay people. Be it by former member of the Hitler Youth claiming that one group of people are a threat to humanity, or be it the Mormon Church in America,  hiding behind it's tax exempt status to fund anti-gay public policy.   It is nothing less than a direct  attack on the human dignity and worth of millions of people, and should never be allowed to go unchallenged.

To point out how words and actions of religious groups have led directly to the dehumanization of, discrimination against, and even the bullying to death of, LGBT people is something Dan Savage is very qualified to do, and should continue doing.  To say the 8 verses of scripture that are used to justify hatred of Gays and Lesbians is "bullshit" is NOT an attack on Christianity. It is a valid response to human bigotry.

There comes a point where LGBT people run out of other cheeks to turn. I for one am very glad to see that Dan Savage is not afraid to strike back.

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