by Dan Savage
on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 6:42 PM
I was listening to the radio yesterday morning and I heard your interview with Beth McDonald. I have been thinking about it a lot since then and I feel compelled to share my thoughts with you. I was saddened and frustrated with your comments regarding people of faith and their perpetuation of bulling. As someone who loves the Lord and does not support gay marriage I can honestly say I was heartbroken to hear about the young man that took his own life after being humiliated by people who should have known better. I think you need to be aware of your own prejuduces and how they might play into your thinking. At best I think your comments were hypocritical.
If your message is that we should not judge people based on their sexual preferance, how do you justify judging entire groups of people for any other reason (including their faith)? There is no part of me that took any pleasure in what happened to that young man and I know for a fact that is true of many other people who disagree with your viewpoint. Please be aware that your words are powerful and people are listening to you.
To that end, to imply that I would somehow encourage my children to mock, hurt, or intimidate another person for any reason is completely unfounded and offensive. Being a follower of Christ is, above all things, a recognition that we are imperfect, fallible and in desperate need of a savior. We cannot believe that we are better or more worthy than other people. I have never in my life know someone who loved the Lord who wished ill will on other people and certainly not death "so that [we] can perpetuate [our own] agenda."
Please consider your viewpoint and please be more careful with your words in the future.
I'm sorry your feelings were hurt by my comments.
No, wait. I'm not. Gay kids are dying. So let's try to keep things in perspective: fuck your feelings.
A question: do you support atheist marriage? Interfaith marriage? Divorce and remarriage? All legal, of course, and there's no Christian movement to deny marriage rights to atheists or people marrying outside their respective faiths or to people divorcing and remarrying. Why the hell not?
Being told that they're sinful and that their love offends God, and being told that their relationships are unworthy of the civil right that is marriage (not the religious rite that some people use to solemnize their civil marriages), can eat away at the souls of gay kids. It makes them feel like they're not valued, that their lives are not worth living. And if one of your children is unlucky enough to be gay, the anti-gay bigotry you espouse makes them doubt that their parents truly love them—to say nothing of the gentle "savior" they've heard so much about, a gentle and loving father who will condemn them to hell for the sin of falling in love with the wrong person.
The children of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way (at least when they happen to be addressing a gay person)—learn to see gay people as sinful, damaged, disordered, and unworthy. And while there may not be any gay adults or couples where you live, or at your church, or at your workplace, I promise you that there are gay and lesbian children in your schools. You may only attack gays and lesbians at the ballot box, nice and impersonally, but your children have the option of attacking actual real gays and lesbians, in person, in real time.
Real gay and lesbian children. Not political abstractions, not "sinners." Real gay and lesbian children.
The dehumanizing bigotries that fall from lips of "faithful Christians," and the lies that spew forth from the pulpit of the churches "faithful Christians" drag their kids to on Sundays, give your straight children a license to verbally abuse, humiliate and condemn the gay children they encounter at school. And many of your straight children—having listened to mom and dad talk about how gay marriage is a threat to the family and how gay sex makes their magic sky friend Jesus cry himself to sleep—feel justified in physically attacking the gay and lesbian children they encounter in their schools. You don't have to explicitly "encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate" gay kids. Your encouragement—along with your hatred and fear—is implicit. It's here, it's clear, and we can see the fruits of it.
Oh, and those same dehumanizing bigotries that fill your straight children with hate? They fill your gay children with suicidal despair. And you have the nerve to ask me to be more careful with my words.
Did that hurt to hear? Good. But hearing it couldn't have hurt nearly as much as what the boys in the photo above had to listen to—day-in, day-out, for years—at schools filled with bigoted little monsters created not in the image of a loving God, but in the images of the hateful and false "followers of Christ" they call "mom and dad."
And now a song...
P.S.: The religious right points to the suicide rate among gay teenagers—which the religious right works so hard to drive up (see above)—as evidence that the gay lifestyle is destructive. It's like intentionally running someone down with your car and then claiming that it isn't safe to walk the streets.
Which is why I argued that every gay teen suicide is a victory for the religious right. Because, you see, your side does use those suicides to "perpetuate [your] agenda." Tony Perkins and all those other oddly effete defenders of "Chrisitian values" and "traditional marriage" will point to this recent spate of gay teen suicides to argue against gay marriage, anti-bullying programs, against allowing gay people to serve in the military—basically, they'll gleefully use these tragedies to justify what they like to call the "Christian, pro-family agenda."
But right now Tony Perkins is being strangely silent. Why is that? Could it be that even Tony Perkins has a conscience? Nah, couldn't be that. He must be away on vacation.