Tuesday, May 1, 2012

an open letter to Dan Savage following his comments at the National High School Journalism Conference

See Mr. Savage's comments below.  Warning: strong language (probably NSFW).

Dear Mr. Savage,

First, as a Christian and because I am a Christian, I condemn all acts of violence against homosexuals and all others based on sexual orientation.  I also denounce all Christians who advocate such violence.  It is sinful, hateful, and unbiblical.

I was going to start this letter by flipping the script a little bit on you and telling you that I wasn't offended by your comments, only saddened.  Unfortunately, I realized that wasn't entirely true.  I was offended at first by the way that you spoke about the Bible that I find sacred and personally meaningful, but then that offense gave way to a wave of sadness.

I must ask for your forgiveness.  When you noted that Christians were "pansy-ass" for being offended when they weren't the ones being beaten, I snidely commented to my wife that you had probably never been physically assaulted for your sexual orientation and were only playing a martyr.  I am sorry.  I have no idea what you have personally been through.  Please, forgive my rush to judgment.

My sadness, you see, stemmed from that I don't know what horrors you or people you care about may have experienced at the hands of those who claim to speak for God.  It comes from a realization that you have probably never known a Bible-believing Christian who has shown any meaningful kindness to you.  If you had, I doubt you would have spoken about their faith in such a way.

To be clear, I believe the Bible clearly calls homosexuality a sin in both the Old and New Testaments, but I also believe violence against homosexuals and other orientations is condemned in the New Testament.  I believe that the Bible condemns me as a sinner just as much as it does you, and that gives me (and every other Christian by proxy) no right to publicly elevate your sin above my own.

I am sorry that your video will probably lead many pastors to hoist you up as an example of "what we're up against."  Others will likely skirt 501(c)3 rules by insinuating that you represent a certain political party and real Christians are morally and spiritually obligated to vote the other way.  That grieves me as well.

While I must admit that I was impressed by your Biblical knowledge, I also wish you wouldn't have resorted to strawman arguments.  To compare the Bible's treatment of homosexuality to that of its treatment of shellfish or menstruation is akin to homophobes suggesting that allowing homosexuality in our country leads to soldiers dying or bestiality.  They're both cheap shots that rile up people who agree with us and do little to change minds.

Respectfully, if you advocate legislation against bullying, you're actually not that far from the mindset of an adherent to the Old Testament.  Such legislation, like Old Testament laws, creates an environment where people are legally punished for their deeply held, identity-forming beliefs for the purpose of making a better society.  I will grant that you would likely not seek the death penalty for such crimes, but still it seems the concepts are closer than you might have imagined.

May I humbly suggest that you try befriending a true Bible-believing Christian?  This is not an idle suggestion attempting to entrap you.  I would actually love to be that friend.  I'm not sure where you live, but it seems you travel a lot to speak.  My wife and I would love to have you and your husband over for dinner if you're ever in Salt Lake City.  Otherwise, I would be happy to communicate over phone or e-mail.

Again, this is not a "gotcha" move where I call you out as a hypocrite if you decline.  I will simply assume that you never made it over to my tiny corner of the internet to see my invitation or were far too busy for someone as unknown as me.

Still, I think that the world would benefit from real conversations between people of faith and people that they have wronged.  It would be an honor and a privilege to speak with you and attempt to rebuild a bridge between our communities that has been burned too many times before.

God bless you,
Raj

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(editorial note: I reserve the right to moderate all comments on this blog, especially if they are not respectful of others.)

9 comments:

  1. Love you Raj...miss you brother. :)

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    1. Love you and miss you too. I really miss the faculty and staff at Linfield. What a great group of people to work with!

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  2. Tried to comment but I was too verbose. I'll message it to you in facebook.

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  3. Amen. And well put through to the end. Love and Grace.

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  4. I find it very interesting that Christians have developed a largely unspoken hierarchy for sins. I think it basically comes down to man playing at being God. It is especially curious to me that sexual sin is elevated above almost all others.

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    1. I think there is a reason for this. The Bible definitely treats some sins differently on terms of severity of language and punishment. However it also offers the same condemnation for all sin. Perhaps I will research this a little more and blog about it.

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  5. Thank you. Very interesting. I am concerned by the structural ambiguity of your second sentence.

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    1. You're right. That could be more clear. I'll give it another look. Any suggestions?

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