By Stephanie Zacharek
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
The intolerant worshippers of a punitive deity also feature prominently in the documentaryFor the Bible Tells Me So. The picket sign reading "God hates America" could just as easily have been found in Lake of Fire (or Iran, for that matter), but in this case, the abomination is homosexuality"a sin," per Jerry Falwell, "because the Bible says so."
Although it opens with the cathartic spectacle of Anita Bryant getting a cream pie in the kisser and closes with an act of civil disobedience against Jim Dobson's re-programming outfit Focus on the Family, Daniel Karslake's movie is more human interest than agitprop. Four gay Americansincluding Anglican bishop Gene Robinson and Dick Gephardt's daughter Chrissy are profiled in the context of their accepting, religious families. One, who was repudiated by her mother and consequently committed suicide, is memorialized.
For the Bible Tells Me So resembles Sandy Dubrowski's more raw and anguished Trembling Before G-d. But where the Dubrowski film evoked a visceral, even tragic, irrationalitythe observant gay Jews who are its subjects yearn for an acceptance they will never haveFor the Bible Tells Me So is essentially positive and pedagogical. An educational cartoon amusingly explicates current scientific notions of homosexuality. Two Harvard theologians parse scripture. Some scholars deconstruct biblical text: To call something an abomination is to call it a transgression of ritual law (that is, unkosher) rather than a mortal sin. Others point out that fundamentalists are highly selective, taking the Bible literarily only when it suits them.
But mainly the movie stresses the importance of unconditional parental love (itself a reproach to the notion of a cruel fundamentalist God). For this reason, For the Bible Tells Me So will find its real audience on DVDit's a movie to give to one's folks.
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