This compassionate documentary by Daniel Karslake looks at family, homosexuality, and religion with insight.
For The Bible Tells Me So has much to say from how religious teaching has influenced attitudes that have brought on intolerance in such an oversimplified way. Perhaps the goal for Karslake and the film's backers is that it will find an audience beyond its preaching to the choir.
There is an amusing cartoon linking sexual orientation to biology while Scripture has a few passages which reflects the views about same sex relations (reference to Sodom).
Radio and TV snippets from the likes of Jimmy Swaggart and James Dobson underscore what the Bible sees as an abomination. Retorts from talking heads like Desmond Tutu indicate that the passages have been misinterpreted and not been put into the right cultural and historical context.
A poignancy comes from families dealing with the fact that a child of theirs has come out of the closet. One well known case is Chrissy Gephardt, daughter of once Missouri Democratic Congressman Richard Gephardt whose presidential bid failed. Minnesota Lutheran couple Phil and Randi Reitan become active in son Jake's coming out, so much so that they are corralled by authorities on Dobson's property headquarters.
Tonia Poteat's lesbian lifestyle is hard for parents David and Brenda to accept, and a wrenching interlude occurs from the recollections of one Mary Lou Wallner whose condemnation of daughter Anna brought on a rapture, and subsequently turning on her homophobia through TEACH in the wake of Anna's suicide.
Maybe the most inspiring, and dominating figure of this engrossing cinema verite is Episcopalian priest Gene Robinson who went through so much to achieve confirmation as a bishop. His Kentucky background, including strict parents, were influential to someone who rose against the odds.
Karslake, for some, may reiterate his chief points, but there is something beyond the message of what Scripture has done for its very devoted, and those devastated as a result. This cinematic document may not reach out to those who really need it, but it avers a humanity with commitment and integrity.
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