"For the Bible Tells Me So" is one of the most heralded gay-themed films to come along in a very long time and it is already off to quite an auspicious start. The film has been collecting awards everywhere and was screened at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 2007. The religious right has been telling gay men that we are an abomination as is the love we feel for one another and we offer wonder how the Bible, a book about love, can be used to justify hate. These are the issues that director Daniel Karslake looks at in his marvelous film. What this film does is reconcile homosexuality with a literal interpretation of Biblical scripture. The film concentrates on the experiences of five very normal, very Christian and very American families (among which are the families of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson). Through the experiences of these families we learn how people of faith handle, or fail to handle, having a gay child. We get views and inspiration from people such as Rabbi Steve Greenberg, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes and Reverend Jimmy Creech and we get words of comfort as words of scripture are reconciled with sexual identity. "For the Bible Tells Me so" is a sober theological discussion which is surrounded by heartfelt personal stories. It will open hearts and minds of those whose beliefs are founded in the Bible and give them an alternative to a literal interpretation of the holy scriptures. It takes on a loaded topic and looks at it both emotionally and intellectually and the result is a movie that proudly allows us to shed tears as it uplifts our spirits. It is provocative and heartfelt and moving and unbelievably intimate. The film is valuable in that it encourages us and others to examine our beliefs with serious examination instead of by blind acceptance as well as to recognize matters of faith and understand how they can be co-opted by politics. It also shows how the Bible is used to explicitly sanction discrimination against homosexuals. As it boldly confronts the clash between religion and sexual orientation, it confronts the fulcrum of the objection to homosexuality by the religious right. The movie hammers away at those who do not believe that homosexuality and faith can come together and it digs deeply into the divide between those who take the Bible literally and homosexuals. The results we get both break our hearts and infuriate us but also inspire greatly.
I think I have always avoided doing what I’m doing now. I’m reviewing a documentary I just watched. I know I have started some immediately following but have always stepped back and started again. Daniel Karslake directed For the Bible Tells Me So. Before I summarize and go through the normal process I need to say a couple of things. First, the documentary is not balanced and it does not pretend to be. Second, I am just finished with one set of tears and will … more
For the Bible Tells Me Sois 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 in the fold. At the same time,For the Bible Tells Me Sois a deconstruction of thin arguments that the Bible actually condemns homosexuality in a few passages and through the story of Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction. A number of clerics and scholars explain the cultural and historical context for Old Testament quotes routinely referenced as arguments against homosexuality, and point out translation confusion about the real meaning of the Sodom story. Unquestionably, the most compelling part of the film is its focus on various families, including that of former U.S. presidential candidate Dick Gephardt, who has a lesbian daughter for whose safety he worries. Also among the interviewees is Gene Robinson, a gay man who became bishop of New Hampshire’s Episcopal church in 2004, and his parents, as well as a gay teen whose folks joined him on the front line in protest of their church’s negative stance on gays. Not every story is affirmative: there are tragedies within these tales, too, as well as an indictment of so-called cures that supposedly banish the gay drive from homosexual men and women.--Tom Keogh