As Evan mentioned last week, Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage Discrimination challenged Dan Savage to a duel in a revealing moment of compensatory bravado. Brown’s challenge, written in a breathless blog post, came in response to a speech Savage made last month to attendees at a high school journalism convention in which he said that the Bible contains “bull***t. . . about gay people.” He noted (correctly) that Christianity’s holy book is chock full of authoritative pronouncements on a plethora of other topics (shellfish, dinner, farming, menstruation, virginity, masturbation. . .) that are emphatically rejected by every person, Christian or otherwise, living in the 21st century as opposed to the Stone Age. Savage also accurately pointed out that turning to the Bible for questions of morality is a dubious exercise at best, due to the fact that the Bible is “a radically pro-slavery document” that “got the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced wrong.”
Savage’s point — just in case it isn’t already abundantly obvious — is that it’s absurd to suggest that the Bible is infallible on the issue of homosexuality when it is so demonstrably fallible on a host of other issues. And he made that point, without disrespecting or slandering any religion, by simply describing what the Bible actually says.
According to Brown, though, accurately describing what the Bible says is tantamount to bullying. And he won’t stand for it:
Let me lay down a public challenge to Dan Savage right here and now: You want to savage the Bible? Christian morality? Traditional marriage? Pope Benedict? I’m here, you name the time and the place and let’s see what a big man you are in a debate with someone who can talk back. It’s easy to make high-school girls cry by picking on them. Let’s pick on someone our own size!
. . . I’m here, any time, any place you name, Dan Savage. You will find out out how venal and ridiculous your views of these things are if you dare to accept a challenge.
So yeah. Brown is man, hear him roar. Blah blah blah. Incidentally, if you’re currently unoccupied and have a couple minutes to spare, read Brown’s post in its entirety. It’s rather entertaining — what starts off as an indignant letter to NOM’s “marriage supporters” ends up reading, by the time the screed concludes, like a half-hearted mélange of great moments in presidential speeches: “With charity towards all, with malice towards none, we will fight for the right, as God gives us the power to see what’s right. God bless you and may God bless America.” I can’t tell if Brownie intended to re-purpose Lincoln’s Second Inaugural or deliver the State of the Union Address. . .
But anyway, lo and behold, last Friday Savage responded. His message to Brown? It’s on.
I will name the time and the place, per your offer, as soon as possible. Looking forward to it, NOMnuts.
Color me thrilled. As an LGBT activist and media-consuming American, I’ve seen a lot of both Dan Savage and Brian Brown on TV, YouTube, and the like. As such, I’m more than a little surprised that Brown challenged Savage in the first place, since I’m willing to bet NOM’s Bigot-in-Chief would get his you-know-what handed to him in any serious debate. Perhaps Brown, too, recognizes this: as of this writing, he’s made nary a peep in public about Savage accepting his offer. Stay tuned, folks; we’ll see what develops.
Oh, and in case either Dan or Brian happen to be reading: consider this my formal request for two front-row seats. I don’t want to miss a thing.