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I saw this documentary last night at Sundance not knowing anything about it other than the title and general subject. The film is a tremendously moving exploration of family, religion, love, and acceptance. It is an astonishing documentary. I had never felt so uplifted and hopeful that the various points of view on the issue of whether homosexuality is a choice or inborn, and whether gays should have the same rights in love and family matters as others, will now be addressed through intelligent and informed discussion rather than the black/white "I'm right/You're wrong" arguments we have been subjected to. I also learned a lot about the Biblical background of the religious arguments against homosexuality and counterarguments. The director masterfully does not attack or denigrate these religious views so that this film will appeal to a broad audience, and lets the words and actions of the various interest groups speak for themselves. The film was so powerful that when the film ended at 1:30 a.m. and the Q&A session began with the Director and two sets of the parents in the film present -- the Wallners and the Reitans -- no one left the theater until the Q&A ended some time after 2:00 a.m. If everyone in this country would see this movie and really think about its message, our country would be a much better place.
My husband and I saw this movie at the urging of our priest who strongly recommended it as a must see film for everyone. Our church is one of the few Catholic churches in our area that fully supports the GLBT community and is trying to change church doctrine. We were both glad we went. The filmmakers point out how the misuse of the Bible by Judeo-Christian leaders has created not only an environment that leads to shaming but also condones "sanctified violence" projected toward gays and lesbians. The film also addresses the real reasons why people are afraid to admit homosexuality is real and normal. I was so moved by this film I feel if everyone was at least willing to see it then it would open a dialog desperately needed in our country.
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.
A documentary that was a huge hit at the Sundance Film Festival. It
talks about the passage in the Bible where it says that gay lovers are
an "abomination". (For the record I'm gay). It introduces us to a
number of religious families who have to deal with their sons or
daughters coming out. They have to deal with accepting their children
who are not accepted by their religion.
Strong, powerful but gentle documentary. It talks to priests and other experts about what the Bible REALLY says and how it should be perceived. The movie isn't in your face. It quietly points out that the Bible DOES condemn gays...but it also says eating shellfish is an abomination too. Also it should be perceived as when it was written--hundreds of years ago.
The families introduced don't all come to accept their children's sexual orientation and there are some unhappy endings...but this is a strong and very truthful film. Everyone should see this one. Most of my audience was in tears by the end.
I only give it a 9 because all the families are introduced in a confusing manner and there's a REAL out of place badly animated cartoon halfway through the film. Still this is a definite must see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I didn't know what to expect at first from this movie. I was at
Sundance, and some friends of ours wanted to go see it so we came along
too. When I did read the quick synopsis of the movie, my expectations
dropped quite a bit. Thinking, "Great, another movie where the message
is Left Wingers = Good, and Christians = Bad." Not that I'm either, but
I hate it when people try to get their point across in such a black &
But it ended up pleasantly surprising me. The movie focused mainly around 5 families. A few of them you may actually recognize from news coverage stories. Jake Reitan who was arrested along with his parents for starting a protest outside of Focus On The Family in Colorado Springs and for trying to read a letter that they wrote to Reverend Jim Dobson. Chrissy Gephardt, who is the openly gay daughter of Congressman Dick Gephardt. And Gene Robinson, who made international news by becoming the first openly gay bishop. The movie itself was incredibly moving. Not just due to the struggle of the homosexual person themself, but because of the struggle the entire family went through.
All the families went through it very differently, but they all had the same common preconception: that homosexuality is a sin and abomination before the eyes of god. But yet they all still overcame their own prejudices, some longer than others, and it's very beautiful to watch. They also cover a number of other subjects throughout the movie such as the literalists' view of the bible, genetics, common misconceptions, and so much more. And still the film doesn't degrade Christianity in any way, and although I'm far from a Christian myself I found that to be very refreshing. In fact, for many of the families it seemed to help reaffirm their faith as well.
It did turn out to be a very beautiful and poignant documentary. The director and two of the families, Jake's family and Chrissy's family, were at our screening and ended up giving the audience a Q&A session at the end of the movie which was very cool. And I got a chance to meet the director, Daniel Karslake, afterwards as well. Got to be one of the most genuine and down-to-earth guys I've ever met, and you could really tell how grateful he was of the audience's spirited response to it. I'm so glad I gave this film a chance.
I found nothing new scientifically in this film, but that is because i
love reading about science and new all the facts that were expressed.
Even though I believed I knew the Bible, I was surprised to find out that I hadn't a clue to the passages often quoted by Christian fundamentalists in their hatred of homosexuals. It turns out that they don't have a clue either.
Those passages they quote are taken out of the cultural context of the period and just knowing that there is no Aramaic, Hebrew, or Ancient Greek word for homosexual should tell you that is not what they were talking about.
As interesting as all that was, it is not the most interesting part of the film. The impact that this hatred has on the individuals involved - whether they be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgendered - and the impact on their families is what is most important in the film. The fact that some families, like the Gephardt's, can continue to love their children is a testament to their strength. The fact that other families can learn to accept their children once they learn the truth is hopeful. The fact that some families become activists for their children, even after they have committed suicide, is amazing.
The truth is there for those who want to take the time to see it. But, more importantly, the examples of families who have struggled with children of different sexual orientations is inspiring and shows that we do have some hope in the crazy world.
I also saw the film at Sundance and being a Christian, I can say that Karslake left out some of the stronger Biblical passages that were in the New Testament, but I don't believe he was shooting for a theological argument. I think he wanted to show that family is important and that gays/lesbians are people just like everyone else and deserve to be treated as human beings. To hear Karslake tell the stories that inspired this film deeply touched me and I think this film could stir a lot of good emotions in people, despite the fact that some areas of the film are a little weak. I think if Christians step away from what's right/wrong long enough to remember what love is all about and if non-Christians stop ridiculing the Christian community for the same reason, our world could be a better place.
A documentary following five families who have been touched by the
issues surrounding Homosexuality and the biblical interpretation most
often publicized by the religious right.
This movie shows what happens because of this and covers both sides of this issue in an even handed manner. I would be surprised that after watching this movie, many wouldn't change their viewpoint and be more tolerant of homosexuality. It has terrific interviews with theological scholars, Desmond Tutu, and many others.
My only concern is that those who need to see this most aren't the ones who will attend this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'For the Bible Tells Me So' premiered here at the Sundance Film
Festival. Last night I had the opportunity to see it here in Salt Lake
For the last 300 hundred years the Bible has been used to justify discrimination, repression and injustice. This movie/documentary focuses on what the Bible says about homosexuality. As I have a Master's degree in Theology which required years learning the original languages of the Bible, I was apprehensive about the movie. Would this be another superficial discussion of the key passages? The conservative religious leaders of our times point to certain passages in the Bible to pound home their argument that being gay is a sin, and that no homosexual is welcome in the Kingdom of God. The movie plainly shows them making their case. Then, the movie actually looks at the texts. It was clear to me that a careful study has been made of them.
Still, a movie like this could be really boring. Fortunately, scripture, biology, and homosexuality are all brought together by focusing on 5 American Christian families.
The story of each family is presented through interviews, detailing how they have dealt with a son or daughter being gay. The families included Chrissy Gephardt, daughter of former Congressman (and Presidential candidate) Dick Gephardt, Jake Reitan, the son of a devout Lutheran family who came out when he was 16, and Gene Robinson, the first gay Anglican Bishop in the world.
While the potential was there for the movie to drag, they combined cartoons, excellent music, and real-life situations to move it along. It followed each family's story, and not all of them ended happily.
When the movie was over it received a standing ovation. The director, producers, and three of the families (including Bishop Robinson and Jake Reitan) were present and took part in a Q&A session.
The movie has been nominated for the Grand Jury Prize here at the Sundance Festival. As with all the movies being shown here, the cast and crew are hoping for a distribution company to buy the rights. If all goes well you may be able to see this gem of a movie in a few months. I highly recommend it for anyone trying to make sense of what the Bible says about being gay.
I rate it 5 out of 5 stars!
I attended the premiere of the movie, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO, at Sundance on January 21, 2007. It is a powerful movie that opens for discussion the impact of religious teaching on homosexuals in America. It gives support to those within the American public who know and deeply care for some gays in their lives and innately feel that God loves all his children and so should they. Every church congregation and Sunday School Class should see this movie as one audience and then have their own discussion. I believe the result would stimulate an acceptance not heretofore anticipated. The naturalness and obvious commitment of the films director and participants make the impact dramatically strong.
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