Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dan Savage vs. Brian Brown: The Dinner Table Debate

"We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people."

"I was not attacking the faith in which I was raised. I was attacking the argument that gay people must be discriminated against because it says right there in the Bible that being gay is wrong. Yet the same people who make that claim choose to ignore what the Bible has to say about a great deal else. I did not attack Christianity. I attacked hypocrisy." - Dan Savage

Dan Savage is one of my favorite columnists and podcast hosts. He's got a well-earned reputation for being blunt. When he speaks passionately about anything it will usually include some profanity. I have to admit I like to see people squirm when he says something mean or explicit. It's just words. He's not threatening your with harm or violence. What's more ridiculous is that most of what he's saying is true, even if it's a little rude sometimes. So after getting into some trouble for speaking about the "bullshit" in the Bible a so called "family rights" guy named Brian Brown challenged Dan Savage to a debate. I didn't get a chance to watch the debate when it came out a few months ago even though I'd heard about it on Dan's podcast, but this week he mentioned about it and I looked it up and decided to watch.

Dan knows what he's talking about. He points out the obvious contradictions in the Bible that have nothing to do with homosexuality. Early on making the argument that the Bible was never meant to be taken literally. It's pretty clear that from the get go that he's shooting a Barn door with a shotgun. It's such a easy target it doesn't even seem like a sport. When he starts talking about the passages in the Bible about slavery even I had to admit that there were one's head read that were even clearer than I remember. Not just passage about how to treat your slaces well, but explicitly saying that it was permissible to buy slaves. it's pretty clear that there isn't a defense for these passages. The Bible got slavery wrong. When you read the passages about gay people we should, and eventually and probably will come to the same conclusion that the passages in the Bible about homosexual activity are simply primitive and ugly. Admitting that fact doesn't have to invalidate the things in the Bible that are true and beautiful.

When you hear the rhetoric made by the conservative he can't really attack Dan's arguments. His only complains that he's being attacked for being a bigot. He doesn't really have much of a leg to stand on except to say that it's "your interpretation" which is, I feel, some of the biggest bullshit I hear from religious people talking about the Bible. When else do we talk about people's interpretations of Moby Dick and Pride and Prejudice or any other piece of complex witting other than a religious text? It's not as complicated as they make it out to be. There isn't always two sides to a issue. It makes sense to call someone a bigot if they choose to focus on one issue in a book when it's not the only thing in that text that's prohibited. Check out the debate. It's pretty clear what side is using logic and which side isn't.

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