Friday, December 7, 2007

For The Bible Tells Me So: C

I dragged Scott to the documentary For The Bible Tells Me So ( last weekend.

The documentary is a good primer on gay Christians. The movie started off not by profiling gay Christians, but introducing the religious backgrounds of the parents of gay Christians. It was interesting to hear the perspective of Bishop Gene Robinson's parents, Imogene & Victor Robinson. Several other parents were introduced including an African-American couple who were also conservative pastors who refused to accept their daughter's lesbian identity. I was surprised that even the daughter of former Democrat presidential candidate Dick Gephardt struggled to tell her parents. Robinson's and Chrissy Gephardt's coming out have been widely covered in the media and yet they offered many new details from their first-person accounts. I even got a little teary-eyed watching Robinson's installation as bishop.

As expected, the film included footage of the numerous outspoken, anti-gay Christian leaders. The always reliably offensive soundbites of the Fred Phelps clan were shown along side an old Anita Bryant pie-in-the-face clip and more recent Jimmy Swaggart, James Dobson, and President Bush Jr. anti-gay statements. The notorious clobber verses were covered and refuted by Christian scholars on the liberal end of the theological spectrum.

My main criticism of the documentary is that it seemed to be repetitive at times and the last third of the film seemed to wander. This was very much a Michael Moore-ish film in that it seemed like a one-sided advocacy piece instead of an objective observer. There was even a Moore-like corporate office confrontation at the Focus on the Family headquarters in which a young gay Christian man and his parents were arrested for trespassing (apparently, part of Soulforce's protest shtick). I recall only one conservative Christian scholar interview and apparently the filmmakers could not find any gay conservative Christians who live celibate or "ex-gay".

I know this may sound snotty and know-it-all, but I can't say I really learned anything new outside of the personal accounts. The movie covered parts of my personal theological journey of the last ten years. So, the documentary had the disadvantage of covering the same old territory for me. I wish this movie was available when I first came-out, but I'm glad it's is available for conservative Christians who are struggling with their sexuality.

(12/07/2007 10:30 AM PST: Reworded and revised my first draft.)

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