Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dan Savage and My Old Girlfriend Cheri Duncan

When I lived in Chicago, a column I often saw in the Chicago Reader was one called Savage Love. Written by a gay man named Dan Savage, it seemed to have been created for the express purpose of offending heterosexual people, particularly conservative Christians.

In response to politician Rick Santorum, who had compared gay sex to pedophilia and bestiality, Savage decided to "Google bomb" Santorum, by associating his name with the frothy anal substance associated with gay sex.  I remember reading the specific column in which Savage wrote that, and I seem to recall that it so offended me that I send him an email, via The Chicago Reader, about that subject. (He replied that he couldn't imagine why any Christian would read his column at all. I sent him a reply saying that I thought that people should know their enemies intimately, on order to effectively combat their erroneous ideas.)

While one might have argued that Santorum's comparison was unwise, since sex with other men is neither sex with children nor sex with children, I thought that Dan Savage's retaliatory campaign against Rick was truly vile. Santorum was quoted as saying, "That’s Dan Savage. You know, it’s the lowest debasement of public discourse. It’s offensive beyond anything that any public figure or anybody in America should tolerate, and the mainstream media laughs about it." (To read more, click here.)
Recently, I was Google searching for an old girlfriend, with whom I was passionately in love before she broke up with me, named Cheri Duncan. Cheri appears in a YouTube video, speaking in support of a group calling themselves the NALT Christians. NALT, as in "Not All Like That". The group consists of  Christians proclaiming their belief in full LGBT equality", and seems to equate bias against gay people bias against people based on characteristics such as skin color, height, gender and other things of that nature.

Wow! Talk about obtuse.

Essentially, such people are believers in biological determinism, and in the idea that sexual preference is a matter of genetic programming, not a matter of free will decisions. They argue that the biblical texts which refer negatively to homosexual acts are not talking about the kind of thing done by modern gays, since the gay rights movement is something that got its start only in the 1970s in America.

Like many of the things said by gays and their defenders, I find such an argument to be disingenuous and unpersuasive.

On the web site for the NALT Christians Project, 3 names are listed on the Contact Page, with email addresses: Wayne Besen (, John Shore ( and Dan Savage ( That's right, the same Dan Savage who demonstrated the limits of his tolerance of differing opinions by choosing to "Google bomb" Rick Santorum with an insulting and truly puerile round of name calling.

Cheri Duncan and I broke up because I had unwisely tried to be her conscience, by constantly bugging her about her decision to do a monologue presentation from the play (later turned into a movie produced by Paul Newman) entitled The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds. In that monologue, she said the word "shit", which bothered me because I'd been taught that Christians ought to keep their speech free of profanities and crude words. (In hindsight, I have used words considerably worse in my life, including the "f bomb", in anger.) I should have dropped the matter, after expressing my opinion on the subject while talking with Cheri. But I was young, and I did not yet realize just how fragile relationships could be.

The issue of homosexuality never affected my relationship with Cheri. And I later came to deeply regret the manner in which I'd treated her with regard to her speech monologue. But I think that good relationships ought to be able to withstand disagreements about matters pertaining to morality, politics, etc.

I do not regard my opinions about homosexuality as nearly as important as my opinions about abortion. Abortion has millions of helpless victims. whereas homosexuality does not. But I do think that people ought to take responsibility for the choices they make, instead of speciously blaming genetic programming.

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