Fox News host Steve Doocy on Monday suggested that sex columnist Dan Savage was "bullying" Christian journalism students with a speech where he said that Bible passages about homosexuality were "bullshit."
Savage, who created the anti-bullying "It Gets Better" project, became a target for conservative websites like Fox News and World Net Daily after he spoke to the National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle earlier this month.
"We'll just talk about the Bible for a second," Savage told the students. "People often point out that they can't help it -- they can't help with the anti-gay bullying, because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans, that being gay is wrong."
"We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people. The same way, 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. We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things."
A YouTube video of the event shows several students leaving the room at that point in the speech.
Savage concluded his remarks by inviting the students to return: "[Y]ou can tell the Bible guys in the hall that they can come back now, because I'm done beating up the Bible. It's funny, as someone who's on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back."
In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Sutter Union High School journalism adviser Rick Tuttle said he gave his students permission to walk out.
"So, he was supposed to have an anti-bullying message," Doocy noted. "But it seemed like he was bullying some of the Christians, didn't it?"
"Oh, sure," Tuttle agreed. "They were basically a captive audience and he had the bully pulpit, if you would say so -- so to speak. ... This is what we teach kids to do when they are being bullied, to walk away. And that's what they did."
Towleroad's Brandon K. Thorp wrote it was "too bad" that the Christian journalism students walked out just because they didn't agree with the message.
"They're supposed to be journalists, and we in the journalism biz must often dirty our ears with others' distasteful utterances," Thorp explained. "While Savage might have profitably avoided the use of profanities (which, when used to describe allegedly sacred documents, tend to make believers less than receptive to whatever might come next), what he said was materially true, and good journalism students of any creed ought to know it."
Savage has said that he stands by his remarks, but later apologized via his blog for using "pansy-assed" to describe the walk-out as "insulting, it was name-calling, and it was wrong. And I apologize for saying it".