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We meet five Christian families, each with a gay or lesbian child. Parents talk about their marriages and church-going, their children's childhood and coming out, their reactions, and changes over time. The stories told by these nine parents and four adult children alternate with talking heads - Protestant and Jewish theologians - and with film clips of fundamentalist preachers and pundits and news clips of people in the street. They discuss scripture and biblical scholarship. A thesis of the film is that much of Christianity's homophobia represents a misreading of scripture, a denial of science, and an embrace of quack psychology. The families call for love. Written by
I had good kids. We had one of each sex. When my kids were growing up I said "God, please don't let my son grow up to be a faggot and my daughter, a slut." And he did not. He did not do that. He reversed it.
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The sad thing about For The Bible Tells Me So is that the people who need to see this most are the ones who will be forbidden by their church to watch this very timely documentary. But for those who do get to see it they will be inspired and uplifted.
As a gay 60 year old man who has lived in the last half of the last century I saw many marvelous changes at how Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered people have been viewed in American society and in the world at large. Growing up as I did in the fifties and sixties it would never occur to me to do something as courageous as young Jacob Reinert, not only coming out in Mankato, Minnesota, but bringing his parents into the fight for equality.
For too many still gay is something where emotion kicks in and reason just flies out the door. Why is it so, religion and those few bible verses put down for an ancient tribe to make sure they multiplied and dominate, have become the touchstones to justify all kinds of hatred and bigotry.
A distinguished group of religious scholars talk about how this came to be in western monotheist religions. There not names you know associated with Christianity or Judaism because there not on the air and in your pocket to stay on the air. They present quite a contrast with the bible thumpers where we see video going back as far as Billy Sunday.
The man who comes in for the most scorn is James Dobson, pop psychologist and big kingpin on the religious right. Young Jacob Reinert attempts to confront him, but the most moving story in the film concerned Mary Ann Wallner who listened to Dobson's advice about rejecting her lesbian daughter who later kills herself.
For The Bible Tells Me So makes it abundantly clear the political nature of the anti-gay religious right. GLBT people are the 'other' the straw villains you create to justify why the populace should empower your crowd. As Hitler did to the Jews, so the religious right has done to us.
My favorite moment in the film was when one of the scholars challenges these religious leaders to obey Jesus's commandment to sell all you have and give it to the poor and then you can follow him. Talk about selective Bible reading, can you see a Pat Robertson doing that? It can never be forgotten that these folks place different emphasis on certain bible verses as opposed to others.
My working life consisted in large degree of working at NYS Crime Victims Board as an openly gay investigator. I saw the most manifest examples of anti-gay hate, culminating in violence with serious injury and death. The religious right who keep talking about how our sin is so horrible are the ones who give justification to those who would do us bodily harm. I wish they could see their handiwork from where I sat for 23 years.
For The Bible Tells Me So, is an excellent documentary that will hopefully win an Oscar in that category next year. And this review is dedicated to the young people from Soul Force I met and broke bread with in my city this past spring. As long as there are people like these confronting the hate and getting the message out, I have no worries about a movement or its ultimate success.
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