Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
In mid-April in Seattle the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) held their annual Convention, “Journalism on the Edge.” Dan Savage was invited to give the keynote address on the topic of bullying.
Though the intent was to address the important issue of bullying, what those in attendance received was a model of how to bully. It was sad. Savage began the It Gets Better Project two years ago, which encourages young people struggling with same-sex attraction to embrace homosexuality now, with the assurance that it will get better as they get older. He used this lecture as a bully-pulpit to attack Christians and the Bible.
If you watch the video, be forewarned - it does contain some questionable language.
Savage shortly after this bullying tirade at this anti-bullying lecture apologized if he “hurt anyone’s feelings,” but it was stated sarcastically and was another model, this time of an unapologetic apology.
Here are some of the responses to Savage’s message.
Karla Dial, “Students Walk Out on Dan Savage,” CitizenLink (April 18, 2012)
Joe Carter, “Anti-Bullying Speaker Attacks Bible, Christian Teens” (April 30, 2012)
Denny Burk, “Who is Dan Savage?” (April 30, 2012)
Eric Metaxas, “A Savage Attack: Redefining Bullying,” Breakpoint (May 8, 2012)
I conclude with two brief thoughts.
First, this is as blatant an example of the “intolerance of tolerance” as you will hear.
Second, how we respond is critical. We are too often tempted to respond in the same manner, and we feel justified in doing so. But we must not. This does not mean we do not respond. This does not mean we do not stand firmly on truth over against both what Savage said and the manner in which he said it. What this means is that we respond in truth and we respond in the manner of having been transformed by that gospel truth. Or with Jesus as our example as the One who is full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14), we seek, by the power and through the presence of the Holy Spirit, to live and respond in like manner – full of grace and truth.