FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO (Daniel Karslake) Rating: NNN
Homophobes scare the shit out of me. I feel real fear when I encounter them, because I suspect that there’s nothing even a user-friendly lesbian like me can do to persuade them I’m not a satanic monster. So I approached this documentary about Bible-thumping believers in the essential sinfulness of queers with trepidation.
But Daniel Karslake’s exploration of fundamentalists who soften their views when their kids come out offers a hopeful perspective on the human potential for change.
Karslake interviews Christian commentators, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Harvard’s Reverend Peter Gomes, about the ways anti-gay activists misread the Bible. It’s helpful ammunition for people who have the nerve to engage Christian gay-baiters.
But the parents of gay kids are the key to the film. Among them are former presidential candidate Dick Gephardt and his wife, Jane, and the parents of openly gay New Hampshire Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson. Some come around too late – tragically – and some don’t come around completely, but that’s what makes this movie interesting. It’s not about miraculous transformations.
For The Bible Tells Me So may not mess with the genre – it’s mostly a talking heads doc – but it did mess with my assumptions about Christian rigidity. (Screens at the Bloor as part of Doc Soup, Wednesday, January 9, and opens for a run at the Royal January 11).