Pros:Intelligent, empathic look at the intersection of Gay Rights and Faith.
Cons:Not balanced; has a pro gay bias.
The Bottom Line: This should be required veiwing at churches and counseling centers. Wonderfully helpful to the families of gays and lesbians.
For the Bible Tells Me So (2007) Directed by Daniel Karslake
Recommend this product?
Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. --Romans 14:13-14
This documentary is a look at the intersection of sexuality and faith. As such it is controversial, especially as it is an examination of Homosexuality, and how homosexuals are impacted by the Bible. You can safely assume that this is a positive, inclusive program, seeking to bring the lesbian and gay children of the Church back into their folds.
Yet it is not a "This is why the Bible is Wrong" video. It instead is a look at five families, all people of faith, and how they dealt with their gay or lesbian child. These include Imogene and Victor Robinson, whose son, Gene, grew to be the first ordained openly gay Bishop of the Anglican Communion. It also featured Isabelle "Boo" McDaniel, Gene's ex-wife, who shared their story of why they got married, and ultimately how they decided to give back their marriage vows, and live lives of honesty.
David and Brenda Poteat are a black couple who share a ministry. When their children were growing up, David prayed his son would not be a f*ggot, and his daughter would not be a slut. His prayers were answered, sort of; instead, they reversed it. Tonia is a lesbian, and while her parents are not accepting of her sexuality, they are accepting of her partner as the person who makes their daughter happy.
Phil and Randi Reitan were good Lutherans, so when their son Jake announced he was gay, they tried to ‘get him the help he needed' going down the path of reparative therapy. The Reitan's are particularly critical of Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family, and their belief that homosexuality is a choice, and something that can be changed.
Our fourth family is deeply religious, but their life is not in the church, but in Politics. Dick Gephardt was the Representative for St. Louis in congress from 1977-2005. His daughter Christy is a lesbian. Sadly, she was not aware of this fact until she was already married. Can a families political aspirations survive a child's homosexuality revealed?
The fifth family is represented by Mary Lou Wallner. Her daughter Anna came out to her mother in a letter, and Mary Lou was not able to accept it. She wrote back saying she would never accept it, that she loved her as her daughter, but she hated this thing that she, Anna, had brought into their lives. Anna's response was as harsh, disowning her mother. Sadly, ten months later, Anna took her own life before Mary Lou could apologize or reconcile with her. Now Mary Lou Wallner works tirelessly to prevent the kind of pain she caused her daughter, and that her daughter caused her.
Interspersed through the film are the opposing viewpoints; from Anita Bryant's pie in the face ("Well, at least it was a fruit pie!") to Jimmy (I have Sinned!) Swaggart's fire and brimstone condemnation of homosexuality. They have the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka out protesting Gene Robinson's ordination. And they have a skinny little punk describing why gay bashing is so fun. It is not a fair and balanced handling of the issue. That, however, is not entirely the fault of the film makers, since the opposition has no real science to back their position.
There is some examination of the doctrine of the church, and the few Bible verses that specifically mention homosexuality, once again interpreted from both points of view. It is in no way exhaustive, though there is an excellent cartoon about the genetic, hormonal, and birth-order links to homosexuality, and a great clip from the West Wing where the president takes down a homophobic reporter.
I don't feel this documentary was written so much for homosexuals, as it was for their families; I think that there is great comfort in seeing other families that faced the same crisis, and how they handled it. The Robinsons went on to see their son ordained a Bishop of the Episcopal Church, igniting great controversy. The Poteat's are not through the process yet; still unable to free themselves from the passages of Leviticus, yet their family is still strong, and loving. And then there is sweet Mary Lou Wallner, a tragic object lesson of the stakes in this game.
I think it is a wonderful film, and should be watched by everyone; if you are gay or have someone you love who is gay, it can be positive and life affirming. If you are opposed to homosexuality, I think it is even more important; you should know why, and what your beliefs are costing your fellow human beings. Either way, watch this.
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