Dignity USA, a nominally Catholic gay-rights advocacy group, has invited sex columnist and LGBT activist Dan Savage to give a keynote address at its 2015 biennial convention.
Most recently, Savage made news for his open letter to political commentator Dr. Ben Carson after Carson declared that homosexuality is a choice.
Savage challenged Carson to prove his point by performing oral sex on him before a camera crew.
Savage also organizes an annual amateur porn festival called “HUMP!” that seems aimed at challenging people to move outside their sexual comfort zones.
At HUMP! Savage says:
straight people watch gay porn, vanilla people watch kinky porn, gay people watch lesbian porn. And people laugh, they gasp, sometimes they cover their eyes. But at the end of every ﬁlm people clap and cheer. It’s moving and wonderful and newcomers don’t expect it. The whole festival is a celebration of sexual diversity.
Dignity USA’s executive director Marianne Duddy-Burke defended inviting Savage, calling him “an important, provocative, and sometimes controversial figure in the LGBT community and the broader culture.” She also told the Catholic News Agency that Savage would speak on how his “Catholic roots have influenced his advocacy and his actions.”
Whatever his roots, Savage is more recognizable now as an “anti-Catholic zealot” who never misses an opportunity to slam the Catholic Church.
When Pope Benedict announced his retirement in 2013, Savage responded with the headline: “That Motherfucking Power-Hungry, Self-Aggrandized Bigot in the Stupid Fucking Hat Announces his Retirement.”
Savage described how he lost his faith in his acceptance speech after receiving an award from the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Unsurprisingly, Savage notes that it was “my sexuality that brought me into conflict with my faith.” “If I hadn’t been gay,” he said, “I sometimes wonder if I would’ve questioned my faith.”
“But my sexuality was the thread that — once I began to pull on it — ultimately unraveled the garment of faith and irrational belief,” he said.
If sex was the original wedge between Savage and his childhood faith, the differences don’t end there. He also supports abortion rights and marital infidelity.
In 2013, Savage said that “population control” was the key for a better world and suggested that “abortion should be mandatory.”
Catholics are not alone in drawing Savage’s fire. He has attacked Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, saying that his opposition to homosexual behavior contributes to gay suicide.
“Every dead gay kid is a victory for the Family Research Council,” he said. “They argue that the gay lifestyle is sick and sinful and dangerous and they point to the suicide rate, and then they turn around and do everything in their power to make sure that suicide rate does not come down and to drive it up.”
“Tony Perkins sits on a pile of dead gay kids every day when he goes to work—and he calls himself a Christian,” said Savage.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome