On Sunday, The New York Times granted sex columnist Dan Savage almost 2,000 words to review a book by a gay Christian. Savage decried a multitude of “acts of emotional and spiritual violence, committed in the name of Christian beliefs.” Savage isn't exactly innocent on this front. He's the bully who pretends to be anti-bullying.
Savage announced he’d left his Catholic background behind, that he didn’t abandon his faith, he saw through it: “I was in church every Sunday for the first 15 years of my life. Now I spend my Sundays on my bike, on my snowboard or on my husband.” He began by delighting in how atheist “comedian” Tim Minchin gets everyone to sing “I love Jesus,” and then adds “I hate faggots” to make a liberal point. As Savage puts it:
Those ideas — loving Jesus means hating gay people — are proclaimed in Christian churches and on Christian television and radio broadcasts. The combined efforts of the Family Research Council, the National Organization for Marriage, “The 700 Club,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Westboro Baptist Church, and countless conservative Christian activists, preachers and politicians have succeeded in making antigay bigotry seem synonymous with Christianity.
This can cause a lot of heartache — with sometimes devastating consequences — for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children born into fundamentalist or evangelical Christian families. Such was the case for Jeff Chu, the author of “Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America.” Chu is an accomplished journalist who recently married his male partner. But Chu’s mother, a devout Baptist, didn’t attend her son’s wedding. She still cries herself to sleep every night, Chu writes, tormented by the certainty that her gay son is “lost.”
Savage was angry at Chu for being too nice to the Westboro Baptist Church and other "anti-gay" outfits. But when push came to shove, he recommended the book, if not the actual creepy Christians who address you in public:
Does Jesus Really Love Me?” deserves to be widely read. But I wouldn’t recommend reading it on airplanes or while waiting for a connection at the Salt Lake City airport. I made that mistake and was approached three different times by people who wanted to reassure me that Jesus did love me. A woman sitting next to me on my flight out of Salt Lake City put her hand on my knee, asked me if I wanted to pray with her and started praying “with” me in a loud voice before I had a chance to say no.
When she was done, I pulled my hoodie up over my head, put my earphones in and cranked up Tim Minchin loud enough, I hope, for my seatmate to hear.