Beliefnet
For the first time in Beliefnet Film Award history, the Best Spiritual Documentary category received the most votes from our community members, and they left no doubt about their favorite nominee: "For the Bible Tells Me So" captured the most votes by far. Our panelists, however, went for the meditative "Into Great Silence" by a similarly wide margin.
For the Bible
Tells Me So
Into Great
Silence
Nanking

War/Dance

What Would
Jesus Buy?

The widespread hatred of homosexuals within some Christian communities is the most lamentable thing imaginable for a religion based on the inclusive approach of Jesus and the compassion of God. But in the same Bible that emphasizes these loving motifs are passages which fundamentalists have used as weapons against gays and lesbians.

In this thought-provoking documentary, an interfaith group of clergy, including Peter Gomes of Harvard University and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu, cogently explain that all the scriptural passages used to condemn homosexuality must be taken in context and read as cultural norms of a different time and place. For example, just above the Leviticus text in which Moses says that a man being with a man as with a woman is an abomination, Moses also says it is an abomination to eat shrimp or rabbit. The theologians make a convincing case that Bible literalists are getting it wrong and are misusing texts as weapons in the culture wars.

By far the most moving sections of this documentary are its portraits of families with gay or lesbian children. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop to be consecrated by the Episcopal Church, discusses his coming out to his parents. A more traditional minister couple--Brenda and David Poteat--have a much harder time accepting their lesbian daughter Tonia. Former U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt and is wife Jane are very supportive of their daughter Chrissy. Randi and Phil Reitan, Lutherans from the Midwest, stand by their gay son Jake and even deliver a letter of protest to the leader of a fundamentalist Christian group in Colorado. And following the suicide of her daughter Ana, Mary Lou Wallner becomes an outspoken opponent of homophobia.

Daniel Karslake has done us all a great moral service by presenting the tolerant and loving point of view of open-minded Christians, a group that doesn't get a lot of press and so some people think they don't exist. Christianity in America is in the midst of important discussions about God, faith, and sexuality. This movie is an important contribution to the conversation.
-- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

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