Dan Savage, the man behind the It Gets Better campaign, doesn’t like bullies. Well, he doesn’t like bullies that disagree with him. He is more than willing to bully others, and using the crudest and most shameful of means. A few months ago, Savage unloaded on masses of students at a journalism conference. Offended students walked out and were repeatedly heckled, called “pansy-a**es,” etc.
This post isn’t about Savage. Commentaries about him are readily available. I want to note the reaction against the students that left his talk. Note that this was a journalism conference where he launched into a tirade against all the “bull sh**” in the Bible. Offended students, ones that had no reason to expect such treatment, walked out quietly, quickly, and peacefully. It offends them; they left.
Now, let’s consider a recent talk Douglas Wilson gave at Indiana University. From the description (you should watch all 3 videos in their entirety):
Douglas Wilson, of Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho, was invited to Indiana University by Clearnote Church to talk about sexuality from a Biblical perspective. Bloomington Indiana is home to the Kinsey Institute, started by Alfred Kinsey who is famous for his experiments in sexuality. The videos below are the full lectures, as well as the very long Q&A that followed. A large crowd of “dissenters” gathered to demonstrate their disapproval of Wilson’s message in word in action.
It wasn’t a secret what Wilson would speak about, though as I’ll note below, what he actually did say is still a mystery to many present. This was a voluntary lecture that had an established topic. What did the mature student body of the university do? They demonstrated all the maturity of my three year old throwing a tempter tantrum.
Calm the entire time, Wilson gave his 2 talks and endured a 2 hour Q&A session full of students screaming, interupting, organizing chants, shouting him down, interuptions, messing with the lights, holding signs, F-You bombing, libeling him as a racist, and all other mature and dignified demonstrations of what Wilson called the tolerance buzzsaw.
Wilson rightly noted that the tolerance lobby has 2 fundamental principles. First, an absolute adherence to the right of free speech (you can see how they use that by reading the previous paragraph), and second, to anyone that disagrees with them—shut up! When offended at the content of a lecture that was known, that they voluntarily attended, these students were not willing to just leave, as the journalism students were. No, they had to make sure no one else could listen, either.
Now, why the difference in reaction? This isn’t isolated. Christians, conservatives (religious or political) are routinely subjected to such tolerant treatment by liberals (religious or liberal), yet the inverse is almost unheard of. Dan Savage isn’t shouted down by Christians. Pro-homosexual advocates (and apostates) like Matthew Vines are permitted a voice, no matter how ridiculous or wrong the message is. Conservatives just don’t behave like this—we don’t chant people down, we don’t throw paint on people, we just don’t. Well, perhaps a few that would consider themselves conservative like the WBC do ridiculous things like this—but we loath their behavior, too.
Why the difference? I would posit that it’s because that the Bible’s diagnosis of the human condition is accurate. Man is a beautiful creation, being capable of such wonderful and grand creations and actions. And yet, something is wrong. We’re capable of the worst and most ugly things as well. We’re fallen and broken. By nature we loathe our creator, and we despise both anyone that might hold and authority over us and, most of all, we hate those that show us own sin. And when God removes his restraining power on us, when he gives us over to be consumed by our sin, ugliness, not beauty results. Consider the description given by Paul in Romans 1:18–32:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
And how does one not see this played out, not just broadly in the world, but especially in the pro-homosexual lobby? It’s a lobby that wants not equal rights, but super rights: the right not to be criticized, the right not to be convicted of their own sins. The reaction of the students above to Wilson looks a lot like those in Genesis 19:9, changing him saying, “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.”