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For the Bible Tells Me So

Documentary explores sexuality and religion in America

By David Wilson

For the Bible Tells Me So
Produced and directed by Dan Karslake

Literal readings of the Bible are not necessarily good readings. Homosexuality is more likely nature than nurture.

The arguments that underpin Dan Karslake’s acclaimed documentary about homosexuality and the church may be provocative for some audiences in the U.S. Bible Belt, but they’re pretty much old hat for mainstream Christians north of the border. What’s new and very moving is the reverence for family values that runs through its 97 minutes — not the rigid kind brandished like weapons by those who would exclude and persecute, but the more enduring values of unconditional love and loyalty that sustain real families through life’s changing seasons.

The film focuses on five Bible-believing, churchgoing American families with gay or lesbian adult children. The better-known among them include former Speaker of the House Richard Gephardt, whose step-daughter, Chrissy, lived in a sexless marriage before she fell in love with a woman; and the parents of Gene Robinson, the New Hampshire priest who in 2003 became the first openly gay bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Their stories, and the stories of other families who have come to accept their gay and lesbian children, are object-lessons in Christian living: for these parents and children, the challenges to their faith (and ultimately the validation of their faith) are not in some other country or state, or in someone else’s house, but across the breakfast table.

Each family has undertaken a long, often difficult journey. What’s striking is the strength of the ties that bind them once they reach a place of mutual understanding. (One of the parents had to finish the journey alone; Mary Lou Wallner’s lesbian daughter committed suicide after reading a letter Wallner wrote rejecting her.)

The movie is aimed primarily at audiences in the U.S. but it’s relevant for audiences here, too, especially those who are still unsure about the place of gays and lesbians in the church. Perhaps your Bible tells you what you need to know. After watching this movie you may find that your heart is telling you something else.

Author's photo
David Wilson is the editor-publisher of The Observer.
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