(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
Controversial gay activist and columnist Dan Savage was recently given an honor by a Wisconsin-based atheist organization at a convention held over the weekend.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation gave Savage their "Emperor Has No Clothes Award" for his expressed views on religion.
FFRF Co-President Dan Barker told The Christian Post in an interview last week that Savage receiving the honor both for his views on religion and for his work with the anti-bullying campaign "It Gets Better."
"So we're giving him an award for being outspoken about religion, but also because we really are impressed that he's saving lives," said Barker.
"Whereas before, young men and some women who were conflicted over their sexual identity, some of them killed themselves. And I think what he's doing – his concern, his care, his love for humanity to start this, is really worthy of recognition."
Past recipients of the FFRF's "Emperor Has No Clothes Award" have included pundit Ron Reagan and the-late comedian George Carlin, added Barker.
"Like Dan Savage, we realize that these kids who are struggling with their identity, especially in the South, where churches are railing against them and telling them they're sinners and are going to hell," said Barker.
"They need to know that it does get better, and that there's another way of seeing the world than through the narrow religious glass."
Savage was honored with the award at the 36th annual FFRF national convention, which took place at the Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wis., Friday through Saturday.
In addition to Savage, the convention also featured "Saturday Night Live" alumnus Julia Sweeney, singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, and Ellery Schempp, plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Abington School District v. Schempp.
Savage has been frequently criticized for being hypocritical regarding his efforts, with some arguing that the anti-bullying campaigner does bully those he disagrees with.
At a conference hosted by The National Scholastic Press Association, Savage bashed the Bible and verbally attacked some Christian students, who walked out in protest. The NSPA would dub the actions "inappropriate" and Savage would later issue an apology.
Savage has become a bully, argued columnist Chris Selley, for the Canadian publication The National Post in a piece documenting various personal attacks the gay activist has launched against ideological enemies.
"He's free to speak his mind, of course, and is likely doing more good than harm. But one has to wonder how much longer the obsessively touchy-feely mainstream of the anti-bulling movement can consider Mr. Savage a champion," wrote Selley.