Syndicated columnist and anti-bullying activist Dan Savage delivered the keynote speech at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle two weeks ago. Never one to mince words (or make up new ones), Savage once again criticized the hypocrisy of justifying anti-gay attitudes with bible passages while ignoring the parts that advocate for slavery or torture or other things considered offensive today.

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.

During this portion of his address, several Christian students stormed out, to which Savage responded by saying, "It's funny to someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansy-ass people react when you push back."

Not surprisingly, this set off a firestorm in the right-wing blogosphere, with many claiming Savage was proving his own hypocrisy by bullying Christians.

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"Using profanity to deride the Bible-and then mocking the Christian students after they left the room-is obviously a form of bullying and name-calling," wrote Focus on the Family affiliate CitizenLink.

Savage has since responded by issuing an apology for his use of the term "pansy-ass" in reference to the students who left the room, but stopped short of retracting his remarks on religious hypocrisy:

I didn't call anyone's religion bullshit. I did say that there is bullshit-"untrue words or ideas"-in the Bible. That is being spun as an attack on Christianity. Which is bullshhh… which is untrue. I was not attacking the faith in which I was raised. I was attacking the argument that gay people must be discriminated against-and anti-bullying programs that address anti-gay bullying should be blocked (or exceptions should be made for bullying "motivated by faith")-because it says right there in the Bible that being gay is wrong. Yet the same people who make that claim choose to ignore what the Bible has to say about a great deal else. I did not attack Christianity. I attacked hypocrisy. My remarks can only be read as an attack on all Christians if you believe that all Christians are hypocrites. Which I don't believe.

[video via Slog]