Sadly far too many voices telling people to quit judging, be more tolerant, and love more are the voices of individuals who judge the most, are the most intolerant, and full of hate. Dan Savage’s recent rant about the Bible and Christians before high school students is another pathetic example. He has been called out for his hypocrisy. Apparently he has risen to the rank of an anti-bullying guru/czar. Savage’s chosen lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to a study of the Bible based upon principles and truths that lead to a happier life.
In his strained apology about calling people names and attacking the Bible Savage relied on Mark Twain. Who said of the Bible: “It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.” Poor Mark Twain failed to see and live hundreds of principles and truths that help an individual avoid the misery recorded in the Bible.
While I’m on Twain, did you know that he visited Utah in 1861 with his older brother Orion and several others? They met and talked with Brigham Young. Twain, 26 years old at the time, said he tried to get Young to talk about federal politics and plural marriage, “But he merely looked around at me, at distant intervals…By and by I subsided into an indignant silence, and so sat until the end, hot and flushed, and execrating him in my heart for an ignorant savage. But [Young] was calm. His conversation with those gentlemen flowed on as sweetly and peacefully and musically as any summer brook. Twain then wrote: “When the audience was ended and we were retiring from the presence, [Young] put his hand on my head, beamed down on me in an admiring way and said to my brother: ‘Ah – your child, I presume? Boy, or girl?’”
What we need are more men and women that can engage in conversation and teach from pulpits in words that flow “sweetly and peacefully and musically as any summer brook.”
For the record I would rather my children read more Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain than Mark Twain. Chamberlain, a Union officer in the Civil War said of character: “Character is a firm seasoned substance of soul. I mean such qualities or acquirements as intelligence, thoughtfulness, conscientiousness, right-mindedness, patience, fortitude, long-suffering and unconquerable resolve.”
I didn’t see evidence of such character in Dan Savage’s rant. It is very troubling, especially given what he is supposed to be speaking about. He should think some personal things through before his next public speaking opportunity. Savage accused Christians of selectively reading and interpreting the Bible. Why can’t atheists be accused of the same thing?
I think one lesson we can learn from this incident is the importance to read the scriptures and liken them to ourselves for our own profit and learning. Scripture is given “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (see 2 Timothy 3:16). As evident from this public incident some people see the Bible as a threat to their lifestyle rather than spiritual guidance in mortality.