Apr 30, 2012Print This Post
By Todd Starnes
The 18-year-old from Redlands, Calif., was sitting inside a cavernous building in Seattle waiting to hear from Dan Savage, the founder of the “It Gets Better” anti-bullying campaign.
Savage had been invited to speak to several thousand high school journalists attending a national conference hosted by the National Scholastic Press Association and the Journalism Education Association.
Naman, who is a yearbook photographer at Arrowhead Christian Academy, thought Savage was going to talk about his anti-bullying campaign. But the Christian teenager soon learned that Savage had a very different message for the students.
“I hope you’re all using birth control,” Savage told the teenagers as he began his remarks. From there, he regaled the young people who stories about his husband, describing how he looked in a Speedo. At one point, Savage imagined what it would be like with his husband on stage – telling the kids that they would have to pry him off his partner.
Naman was growing increasingly uncomfortable with the tone and tenor of Savage’s remarks. There were more lewd comments, profane words and innuendo. And then, Savage said something that made Naman take notice.
“The Bible,” Savage said with a elongated pause.
“”The very second he said the Bible and paused, I knew it was going to get ugly,” Naman told Fox News. “It was about to be a bashing.”
And Naman was absolutely correct.
“We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people – the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation,” Savage told the young students. “We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things.”
Some will say what happened next took courage – but Naman said he was simply following the prompting of the Holy Spirit. And the entire moment was captured on a video that has now gone viral on YouTube.
The 18-year-old Eagle Scout and captain of the high school track team rose to his feet – and walked out – passing by hundreds of other students who were cheering the anti-bullying advocate’s profanity-laced rant.
“I felt like in my heart I couldn’t just stay there at all,” he said. “It was a really weird feeling I just had to get out. I didn’t want to cause a scene but I really could not stand to be in that room anymore.”
Jake Naman said he felt – bullied.
“If Dan Savage had gotten up there and said ‘God hates homosexuals and they’re all going to hell,’ there would have been huge outrage from that crowd,” he said. “As Christians we get the other side of that. When our faith is attacked like that – we are ridiculed for taking a stand against it.”
Naman thought that he was the only person who walked out – but when he got to the lobby – he learned that was far from the case. Arrowhead’s entire yearbook staff followed his lead – including his 16-year-old sister.
“I was shaking,” Julia Naman told Fox News. “I saw my brother pop up and leave and I took off after him.”
So did 17-year-old Haley Mulder.
“I never felt more hurt, felt persecuted,” Mulder said. “For me, my faith is what I Want to be defined by. For someone to say it was B.S. is really hurtful. I felt put down and bullied because of my faith.”
And then it got worse for the Christian teenagers. Savage directly targeted them with his remarks.
“You can tell the Bible guys in the hall they can come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible,” he said. “It’s funny as someone on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansy-assed people react when you push back.”
Naman said a number of the girls began crying. He said it seemed like such a safe environment “But then Dan Savage went off and it didn’t seem that way anymore.”
“He had a position of power as a speaker and he was using that against a group of students who had never done anything to him,” Naman said. “I would consider that bullying.”
“He was completely insulting and degrading our faith,” his sister said.
Mulder said Savage needed to practice what he preaches.
“I felt it was ironic coming from a person who was talking about not bullying,” she said.
In all about a hundred students walked out of the speech, but Naman said many others wanted to. He said some Christian teenagers felt intimidated and were afraid of what might happen if they had left.
Still, the 18-year-old said one thing was certainly obvious – “The majority of the students did not support us at all,” he said.
Savage issued a partial apology over the weekend, saying he was referring to the walk-out as “pansy-assed” and not the students. However, he stood by his profane references to the Bible.