Visit draws critics
Savage's visit to OU drew criticism from Christian conservatives both on campus and elsewhere. An online petition condemning his visit had 238 signatures Friday evening.
A.J. Stewart, an OU student, was one of those signers. He said he takes exception to statements Savage has made about Republicans and Christians in the past, including a 2011 episode of HBO's “Real Time with Bill Maher,” in which Savage said he wished all Republicans were dead.
During his speech Thursday, Savage addressed the statement, saying he'd apologized for it on a number of occasions and continues to be sorry he said it. Savage described the statement as “straight-up, no-excuses offensive.”
Despite his misgivings about Savage, Stewart said he supported his message about preventing gay suicides.
“No gay teen should ever feel compelled to commit suicide,” Stewart said. “And it's a tragedy when it happens — an absolute tragedy.”
Stewart describes himself as a Christian conservative.
He said he didn't want to see Savage's freedom of speech infringed, but he did hope to see the university invite a speaker with a contrasting viewpoint.
He noted that Savage's visit was funded by student fees paid by OU students.
“Mr. Savage has a tendency to let his controversial views bleed over into his noncontroversial views,” he said.