Adam Lee at Big Think:
Last week, as you've no doubt heard, Dan Savage gave a speech to a national convention of high school journalists in which he criticized Christians' use of the Bible to excuse mistreatment and discrimination aimed at gays. This spurred a walkout by a small group of Christian students who were in attendance, followed by a frenzy of accusations that he was "bullying" them...
So, for the professionally confused, let's clarify some things: Bullying is a form of emotional abuse which takes the form of targeted coercion, harassment, intimidation, and violence against people who lack power to fight back. Savage had no special power over the people at his talk; they weren't a captive audience. And his speech neither coerced Christians to do anything, nor harassed or intimidated them, nor called for any violence. It was, again, a criticism of bad ideas in the book they claim to believe in. When Christian teenagers are committing suicide in despair over being bullied by atheists and atheist school administrators are fighting efforts to do something about it, or when gay advocates are counseling parents to beat their children until they renounce Christianity, then these Christians will have a valid complaint, but obviously nothing like this has happened.
I think that this hysteria arises partly from cognitive dissonance. As I said, the religious right has a need to be the victims; their holy book predicts that they will be. But this clashes with the uncomfortable reality that Christians, far from being an oppressed minority, are instead a powerful and dominant majority, and are using their power to vigorously fight minorities who are seeking equal rights. Obviously, Christians don't like thinking of themselves in the role of Rome. Their subconscious awareness of that fact creates cognitive dissonance, which they resolve by seizing on any perceived persecution, however flimsy, and frantically brandishing it.