Beliefnet
Idol Chatter

gephardtfamsm.JPGThe new documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So” is framed by devout Christian families who tell moving stories of how they’ve navigated the challenges and ups and downs of facing their son or daughter’s sexual orientation in the context of a faith tradition that loves to shout in the streets and from the pulpit Leviticus 18:22, that those same beloved children are “abominations.”


The film also features scholars, both Jewish and Christian, among them the highly respected and well known Peter Gomes of Harvard, unpacking this same oft-quoted verse from Scripture, among other infamous biblical passages on this issue including the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. There is high-level, critical reflection about what’s behind this prejudice and “fear of the other, sex, and the feminine,” as Dr. Gomes comments, about homosexuality, as well as hard-hitting indictments of biblical literalism. And the film dutifully traces the controversial promotion of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican community, by the American Episcopal Church, one of several recent moves that have caused a rift verging on a possible schism of the world-wide Anglican Church.
But the heart and driving force of “For the Bible Tells Me So” are the diverse group of young adults and men and women like Jake Reitan, Christine Gephardt (daughter of politician Richard Gephardt), and Tonia Poteat, among others, all raised Christian (of all different denominations), who are working hard to be who they are, to have fulfilling, loving relationships, and do so without losing either their faith or their families in the process. Perhaps even more powerful are the honest words spoken by their parents, many of whom admit to feeling incredible pain, denial, embarrassment, and even despair upon first learning that their son or daughter was gay. Even years later they feel traces of this, but they are working hard to, at the very least, embrace a new attitude about homosexuality while loving their child. In some cases (that of Jake Reitan and his parents), they have taken this effort to the level of protesting and speaking out in very public ways that Christianity must change its attitude on this issue–that its un-Christian not to.
Unfortunately, I fear, this is one of those documentaries that will preach to the choir, rather than reach the audience that most needs to see and hear its message.

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