Virtual Voices

Reaching out to gay youth

Issues

Dan Savage, syndicated sex columnist and gay activist, along with his partner, Terry Miller, have started a project called "It Gets Better." Here's the project's goal, according to its website: "Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, feeling like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens. . . . The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential and positivity their lives will reach-if they can just get through their teen years."

Perhaps you've seen some of the videos various politicians and entertainers have made in support of the project, which have been aired as public service announcements on television. So far I've seen videos by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and actress Anne Hathaway. There are loads more to be seen on the project website, including submissions by President Barack Obama and various White House staff members. There's even one by Kermit the Frog.

And if seeing one of those videos stops one young person from taking his life that is a wonderful and good thing.

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That said, this is tricky territory for Christians. Orthodox Christians (traditional evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, traditional Anglicans) believe in loving homosexuals (and everyone else for that matter). But we also believe that sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman is not acceptable according to Scripture.

Like so many anti-bullying campaigns, it's somewhat difficult to know in this case where to draw the line between protecting lives and encouraging behavior we believe to be wrong.

Savage's other projects, easily researched online, paint a pretty unattractive picture of the man. I'd say they seriously call his character into question. Savage created a website solely for the purpose of insulting former Sen. Rick Santorum. Some of it is so disgusting that I won't link to it. Same for Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, who Savage calls a "gay-hatin,' right-wing Christian bigot."

In a piece written for Salon.com, Savage gleefully describes going undercover as a volunteer for Gary Bauer's 2000 presidential campaign in Iowa. Savage comes down with a bad case of the flu and decides to try to infect Bauer and his staff by spreading germs. He licks doorknobs, staplers, phones, and keyboards to accomplish this goal. "Then I stood in the kitchen and licked the rims of all the clean coffee cups drying in the sink," Savage wrote. He recounted how he handed Bauer a pen that he's licked and gets Bauer to autograph a photo. Afterward he wrote, "I saw him run a finger under his nose. Perfect."

Should such repulsive behavior make people think twice before becoming involved in another of his projects? I guess that depends who you ask.

Marcia Segelstein
Marcia Segelstein

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