Savagery, \ˈsa-vij-rē\, noun. An act of cruelty or violence.
Dan Savage made some comments recently which posted to YouTube. Certainly, as an American, he has the right to say whatever he pleases under the first amendment. He has issued what may be considered by many to be an apology subsequent to the public outcry against his posture to religion and adherents thereof.
Have the Scriptures been used to brow-beat others? Most certainly. Have seat belts been used to strangle people? Yes. The way an object is used doesn’t reflect on its validity. No one would argue that because someone has been strangled by a seat belt that we should eliminate them from cars.
It seems to me that by Dan’s reasoning, we would have to. If something can be abused or has been abused, that somehow invalidates the thing itself. Because slave-owners claimed Christianity and misused the Bible, that must make the Bible irrelevant or hateful. Because Christians use the Bible now to make claims on wealth and security of a nation that is NOT covenantally united to Christ, that makes the Bible imperialistic.
Ridiculous. If Dan Savage is genuinely interested in changing people’s minds on the matter, then he is going about it in entirely the wrong way. Demonizing the “other side” is dishonest and it doesn’t work. If he doubts this, he should look at the version of history he puts forth. He maintains that such backwardness in Scripture and the dogmatism of those who purport to be biblical Christians is problematic. But his dogmatism is no different from that which he rejects…with the exception of it being in line with his own opinion.
In an effort to reject the closed-mindedness of previous generations, Mr. Savage seems to have swung so far the other direction that he’s become that which he seems to hate most vehemently: a fundamentalist of the most noxious variety.
But what does Scripture call Christians to do? One answer to this question is to give an answer for the hope that is within us–giving it with gentleness and reverence. Are we to speak firmly on issues which God clearly addresses? Yes. Are we to do so with gentleness and compassion? Yes. Have we always done that as a Church? No.
Christians, repent. Turn from this sort of rhetoric that we decry from people like Dan Savage. And pray for those that persecute. Savage doesn’t hate the Church as much as the Apostle Paul did…or if he does, it doesn’t manifest itself in killing people like Paul did. Pray for him, Christian. I know I will be.
As for anything I might say to Mr. Savage, if I had the opportunity, I would want to hear about his experience with Christians and examine myself for sin in my dealings with those who don’t agree with me. Then, I’d want to tell him about the Gospel which has shaped my life, giving my answer in gentleness and reverence.
PS: I couldn’t resist the title of this post.