From Baptist Press:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Few issues are as controversial as the Bible and homosexuality, and a new documentary on that subject is receiving thumbs down from orthodox Christians -- and garnering its own controversy in the process.
"For the Bible Tells Me So" is a 90-minute, one-sided film focusing on five families who profess to be Christians and who have a homosexual family member. For the most part the families' stories reflect the documentary's message: The Bible has been misinterpreted over the centuries and homosexuality is not a sin.
"There's nothing wrong with a fifth-grade understanding of God, as long as you're in the fifth grade," one liberal pastor says in the movie.
Director Daniel Karslake and his film crew interviewed such notables as former Democratic House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt -- who is promoting the film and who has a lesbian daughter -- and Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual Episcopal bishop. Not surprisingly, the documentary throws in a few scenes showing Fred Phelps' infamous church of "God Hates Fags" fame, picketing.
It has won a handful of awards, including the Audience Winner for best documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, and it has the backing of the homosexual group Soulforce, which promotes so-called "pro-gay" interpretations of Scripture and which has posted the trailer on its website. The film is not being distributed widely, but media critics nonetheless are raving about it and essentially urging readers to support it. That has become part of the controversy, too.
The Seattle Times' Moira Macdonald called it an "inspiring" film about "acceptance" that "may well leave you blinking away a few tears." The documentary, she said in her Oct. 26 review, shows clergy and religious scholars "calmly rebutting literalist interpretations of Scripture."
Not to be outdone, The Tennessean's Bill Friskics-Warren wrote a 1,400-word review of the movie for page one of the Nov. 18 Issues section, asserting that "nowhere ... does the Bible say anything, much less condemn, loving and committed partnerships between same-sex adults." Scholars, he argued, "tell us that these passages have nothing to do with sexual orientation as we've come to understand it." Friskics-Warren even listed a few Bible verses he said are misinterpreted.
"The use of Scripture to justify discrimination began long before the current dispute about what the Bible does or doesn't say about homosexuality," he wrote.
Both reviews included information on when and where to watch the film.
The Tennessean's one-sided review received so much reaction that a week later it published three columns by Christians from the opposing viewpoint.
"While there may be a few idiots like Fred Phelps among us, most Christians oppose homosexuality with a degree of humility," wrote Kevin Shrum, pastor of Inglewood Baptist Church in Nashville. "... Someone asked me one time, 'Pastor, what would you do if you had a homosexual family member?' My answer is that I do. And when I see her, I hug her, love her, pray for her, talk to her, laugh with her, listen to her and long to see her 'come out' of a lifestyle that appears to be miserable, abnormal and destructive."