So much for civilized discussion
In his attempt to speak out against bullying at the National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle, keynote speaker Dan Savage, founder of the It Gets Better Project, criticized and attacked the Bible. Savage said everyone should “ignore the bullshit” the Bible teaches about homosexuality. He also encouraged ignoring biblical teachings concerning virginity, masturbation and menstruation. This caused many students and advisers to leave the room. Savage later referred to the “Bible people’s” actions as “pansy-assed.” What happened to his anti-bully message?
This is outrageous. Savage is entitled to his opinion, but to bully others — especially at an anti-bully rally — is wrong.
One of the underlying problems with Savage’s rant was that he was not acting as a responsible adult should toward younger people. Instead of promoting civil discourse, Savage spouted off like a teenager. His argument was not respectful of other beliefs and, as a result, he offended and hurt many people in that room.
Additionally, Savage did not apologize for his remarks. According to Billy Hallowell, writer for The Blaze and the National Scholastic Press Association, Savage apologized only for his language, nothing else. Is that the mark of a responsible adult?
High school students who attended the speech are young and impressionable, and Savage’s remarks and actions will affect how they go about discussing and acting upon other controversial issues. Seeing him as a role model, students might think such “rebellion” is cool, which would be a problem.
We should encourage teens to stay away from such dissident measures and speak their minds in a civilized fashion. Savage’s apology would help achieve that goal. He would take up the mantle of responsibility by doing so and, hopefully, help encourage those and other students to be responsible for what they say and do.
This is a lesson we can all learn from. We must remember to be respectful and kind to one another, even if we vehemently disagree with each other’s beliefs. That is the way adults should behave toward one another, especially since children of all ages look up to us as role models. If we behave irresponsibly, then our children will behave similarly, and so on down through the generations. Let’s take responsibility for our actions and set a shining example for future generations.
Andrew Jenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org