By Daneen Akers, Spectrum Reviews Editor
Trailer for the new documentary For The Bible Tells Me So
My first encounter with For The Bible Tells Me So, a new documentary about homosexuality and the Bible, was at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. My husband and I had taken a group of students to the festival, and we waited in line for three hours hoping to get into a midnight screening. We got in, but just barely, sitting in the very front row of the theater, watching the film at an extreme angle. Even in the “worst” seats in the house, the film moved us all.
It was a bit of an odd paradigm. Here we were in the middle of a secular film festival, the crown jewel of an industry not exactly known for its overly kind portrayal of “religious folk,” and we were watching one of the most spiritual films any of us had ever seen. This film took religion and scripture seriously. This film didn’t want to simply toss out Christianity for its intolerance and storied past of scripturally-sanctioned abuse towards gays. This film wasn’t an angry screed. Instead it was a heartfelt and passionate plea for a new attitude, one in which gays didn’t have to deny themselves or their religion. This film proposed reconciliation, to bridge the chasm between what people often think their beloved Bible says—that gays are an “abomination”, and their children who don’t seem like abominations.
Early that morning after our students had kept us up for hours discussing the film (it was crystal clear to me how to keep our youth in the church after this wee-hours-of-the-morning conversation—address real issues honestly), I wrote a blog entry about my experience with this film for the Progressive Adventism site. The ensuing outpour of responses (from a wide variety of perspectives) made it clear to me that it’s not just college students who want to discuss this issue. (To read that post with all 198 comments, click here)
After a second screening here in San Francisco (and a thorough read of Rev. Jack Rogers’ Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church), I’m even more convinced that this is the issue of our time. The Bible has been used repeatedly throughout history to rationalize all sorts of oppression and injustice (slavery and the subjugation of women most recently), and now it’s being used again to excuse discrimination and intolerance against gays.
This issue is looming large in our society and our church. An Adventist LGBT advocate recently pointed out that a newly voted document “Safeguarding Mission in Changing Social Environments,” moves the church even further in its stance against gays and is now extending its condemnation towards those who advocate for homosexual rights. “The Church does not accept the idea of same-sex marriages nor does it condone homosexual practices or advocacy.”
To start (or for some of you continue) this important conversation, I’ve asked three people to review the film. David R. Larson is a Seventh-day Adventist minister and professor of Christian ethics at Loma Linda University; Obed Vasquez is a professor of sociology at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA and has been a member of SDA Kinship International since 1978; and Jacqueline Hegarty is a partnered Seventh-day Adventist lesbian mom living in the San Francisco Bay Area who is also a member of SDA Kinship.
To find a screening near you (and please do), visit http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/screening.htm.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4078