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Editorial Review and Description:
The Bible Tells Me So (In English with subtitles in Spanish) is a
compassionate and insightful documentary about the contemporary face of an old
conflict between Christian fundamentalists and gay and lesbian people. The film
looks deep into the hearts of several families--a few of them quite famous--that
have struggled with making sense of having a homosexual son or daughter.
At the same time, For the
Bible Tells Me So is a deconstruction of thin arguments that the Bible
actually condemns homosexuality in just 7 short passages including the story of
the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. With commentary by such respected voices
as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg,
Reverend Jimmy Creech, and Disciples of Christ Rev. Dr. Laurence Keene,
For the Bible Tells Me So offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone
caught in the apparent conflict between scripture and homosexuality. They
explain the cultural and historical context for Old and New Testament quotes
routinely referenced as arguments against homosexuality.
Unquestionably, the most compelling part of the film is its focus on 5 very normal, very Christian, very American families, including that of former Congressman and U.S. presidential candidate Dick Gephardt, who has a lesbian daughter for whose safety he worries. Also among the interviewees is Gene Robinson, an openly gay man who became bishop of New Hampshire’s Episcopal Church [and the first openly gay Episcopal Church bishop] in 2004, and his parents, as well as a gay teen whose folks joined him on the front line in protest of their church and Focus on the Family’s negative and destructive stance on gays. Not every story has a happy ending: there are tragedies within these tales, too. For example, one mother strongly rejected her daughter’s lesbianism leading the girl to commit suicide in her dorm room at college. It profoundly changed the mother during her grief which led her to do some intensive research into the issue and then she changed her beliefs, churches and even founded TEACH Ministries to combat homophobia. There is also an indictment of so-called cures that supposedly banish the gay drive from homosexual men and women. (Based on Original Review by Tom Keogh)
Winner of several awards including the 2007 Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary beautifully takes a strong stand against the tide of non-thinking religious fundamentalism, and brings sanity, perspective and common sense as well as Biblical understanding to this controversial issue. Archival footage is deftly mixed in, such as a 1967 CBS Mike Wallace special called "The Homosexuals", a '50s Bible movie "Sodom and Gomorrah" , a young Billy Graham preaching, as well as the infamously adulterous Jimmy Swaggart saying he'd kill a man who'd proposition him.
To see the trailer preview click on or copy and paste the following URL into your browser address bar:
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To see the Cartoon that deals with the question: Is It a Choice? which details some of the scientific evidence now available that shows that Homosexuality is not a Choice that is part of the Documentary For the Bible Tells Me So. Click on or copy and paste the following URL into your browser address bar or just click on the image of the cartoon on the left:
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To see another trailer preview from For the Bible Tells Me
So which portrays the courtship and marriage of Gene Robinson to Isabella "Boo"
McDaniel and also deals with the true biblical meaning of "Abomination" click on or copy and
paste the following URL into your browser address bar:
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To see the CNN Interview with ex-Congressman and House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and his lesbian daughter, Chrissy talking about why they decided to be a part of the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So click on or copy and paste the following URL into your browser address bar:
"For the Bible Tells Me So (documentary)"
Review by Eric D. Snider
Rating: Not Rated
Released: Friday, October 5, 2007
Many Christians say
they believe homosexuality is sinful because the Bible teaches it, but the truth
in most cases is that they believe it because it's what their churches have
taught them. Just reading the Bible, with no preconceived notions and no outside
coaching, you'd be hard-pressed to remember it referring to homosexuality at
all. Only a few verses mention it -- and mostly in the all-but-disregarded Old
Testament -- so it's hardly a major theme in the Good Book.
To hear some people go on about it, though, you'd think it was on every page! "For the Bible Tells Me So," a heartbreaking and uplifting documentary, follows the stories of several religious young people whose relationships with God and their families were disrupted when they realized they were gay. The film offers proof that religion and homosexuality need not be mutually exclusive: Good Christians can love and accept their gay brothers and sisters, and gay people can still be religious. Neither concept gets much airtime these days.
We meet Gene Robinson, now the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, and the son of an adorable old church-going couple from Kentucky. The Robinsons have been married since 1946, and the Bethany Christian Church has always been part of their lives. Are they proud of their son? You bet.
We meet the Poteats, a Baptist family from North Carolina with a gay son and daughter. Then there are the Reitans, from Minnesota, whose son Jake comes from a long line of Lutheran pastors. When Jake came out of the closet, some of the locals threw a brick through their windshield and wrote "fag" in chalk outside the house. This was in the 21st century, in a civilized nation.
There's Mary Lou Wallner, a Christian fundamentalist who rejected her lesbian daughter and whose story will break your heart. Finally, there's Dick Gephardt, the Democratic congressman from Missouri (and a Catholic) whose gay daughter helped him campaign for the presidency in 2004.
Director Daniel G. Karslake lets these families tell their stories, interspersing them with comments from outside sources: theologians, biblical scholars, and even Desmond Tutu. The point is made repeatedly that the Bible simply doesn't have much to say about homosexuality -- and when it does seem to address the topic, it's far from crystal-clear what its meaning is.
The Rev. Dr. Laurence C. Keene, a wise, soft-spoken theologian, gently points out that there's a difference between what the Bible reads (i.e., the words on the page) and what it says (i.e., what it means). This notion of biblical literalism -- where you take the Bible at face value and don't consider the context, the original manuscripts, or anything else -- is a 20th century phenomenon. Before that, it was understood that you had to do some work to get at the Bible's meaning.
Several people point out the silliness of discarding the entire book of Leviticus -- which is what most Christians do -- but retaining the two verses that refer to homosexuality. If you keep those, shouldn't you have to keep the verses in the same book that talk about the "abomination" (or "abomb-nation," as Jimmy Swaggert keeps saying) of eating shellfish and having sex with a woman who's on her period?
Biblical literalism is just as selectively applied. Plenty of people say, "Well, the Bible says a man lying with a man is sinful, so that's all there is to it." But do those people also sell everything they have and give it to the poor, as Jesus instructed in Matthew, Mark, and Luke? Well, no. Why not? "Well, you have to take into account who he was talking to, and the society of the time" -- and literalism is replaced with the more reasonable contextualism. [Click Here to read more about Biblical literalism]
But most people, even Christians, don't read the Bible extensively at all, let alone work on interpreting and understanding it. They're content merely to repeat what their pastors tell them, which may or may not be based on careful study of the Bible's history, doctrines, and origins. This shouldn't be. As Keene says in the movie's most quotable moment, "There's nothing wrong with a fifth-grade understanding of God -- as long as you're in the fifth grade."
The idea of the Bible NOT being as anti-homosexuality as generally believed sounds heretical because it's been repeated constantly for decades. As the film points out, however, the Bible has been used throughout the ages to justify racism, slavery, subjugation of women, and persecution of the Jews. People who clung to those beliefs probably had a hard time accepting that the Bible didn't really endorse those things after all, too.
But here I am telling you what the movie says instead of telling you whether I agree with it, or whether it's a good movie. It is a good movie. Karslake (who wrote the narration with Helen R. Mendoza) maintains an even mix of reason and emotion. The talking heads give us the former, while the individuals whose stories are told provide the latter. Their faith is inspiring, as is the love demonstrated between the parents and their children. It seems like a very sharp line has been drawn -- either you can be gay, or you can be religious -- and these brave souls show the wrongness of that thinking.
Church is so confusing for Zack. His new pastor preaches nothing but hate and condemnation of gays and lesbians, but no matter how carefully he reads his Bible, he can’t find where it says God hates him. Will things change when Zach's boyfriend Billy suggests that they all go to his church instead? Click Here or on the icon to read the story.
Proof that Homosexuality is Not a
Choice - Try the Test On Yourself!!
So Click Here to see what the test involves and also see the scientific and medical evidence that confirms that homosexuality is not a choice. Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture? (Part 1 of 5). Also On The Same Page "Realizing That You're Different From Others, What a Gay or Lesbian Teen Goes Through"
below to go to:
The Anti-Gay Religious Right's Really Cruel and Idiotic Argument
Their Message to a Gay Person is: Be alone. Live alone. Die alone.
Click for Homosexuality is neither a Choice nor a Sin - table of contents
Click for A Bisexual's Beliefs About God and Religion at The Present Time - Gary Lynn
Click for Gary Lynn's Home Page