May 1, 2012 ( – Columnist Dan Savage has defended portions of a speech against bullying in which he was caught on video castigating the Bible and calling Christians in the audience “pansy-assed.” Savage, the openly gay leader of the “It Gets Better Project” against gay bullying in schools, backed off the latter but defended calling the Bible “fulls*** [full of sh**],” saying the statements were “spun” as an attack on Christianity.

In a video recently published online, Savage is seen at a Seattle young journalist conference deriding the teachings of the Bible on sexuality as “bulls***” and harassing teens who left the room in protest. “It’s funny to someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansy-assed people react when you push back,” he said.

A teacher present at the event told CNN that Savage’s speech “took a real dark, hostile turn,” and was received by the audience as “a very pointed, direct attack on one particular group of students.” “It’s amazing that we go to an anti-bullying speech and one group of students is picked on in particular, with harsh, profane language,” said Rick Tuttle, who teaches at California’s Sutter Union High School.

Savage declined to comment on the story when it first broke before apologizing for the name-calling on Sunday – yet not without getting in another dig at Christian ethics, likening the insult to one of its basic tenets.

“I wasn’t calling the handful of students who left pansies … just the walk-out itself,” he wrote. “But that’s a distinction without a difference-kinda like when religious conservatives tells their gay friends that they ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’”

The sex advice columnist defended his remarks against the Bible, saying the attack was only directed against Christians who do not accept other “bulls***” in the Bible on such topics as slavery, but continue to defend normative heterosexuality.

The extreme remarks aren’t the first for Savage, whose “It Gets Better Project” promoting homosexuality in schools has won the support of President Obama and endorsement from top Hollywood celebrities.

After one conservative leader complained that her son viewed a TV ad from Savage’s campaign in primetime, Savage hit back, saying he hoped the boy would learn “that the adult world isn’t entirely populated by hateful s***s like his mother.”

In 2000, Savage raised eyebrows after he described licking the doorknobs of GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer’s staff in hopes of spreading the flu virus.

Last year, Savage joked that TV pundit Bill Maher’s comparison of congressional Republicans to late Palestinian ruler Yasser Arafat wasn’t exact enough. “Unfortunately they’re not exactly like him, I wish they were all f***ing dead,” said Savage, who later apologized for the remark.