A fifth grade understanding of the Bible is fine…if you’re in the fifth grade.
By Eric A.T. Dieckman
God hates fags. We’ve all heard it. We’ve all seen the protest signs. We’ve all shuddered at the thought of the unbridled violent hatred lying behind those words, waiting to attack. Leviticus 18:22 is at the heart of the confusion: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
Such a strong word, “abomination.” But do these words indicate what so many religious conservatives assume? Is the GLBT community really a nation of iniquity, a den of sinners, doomed to eternal damnation?
Bishop Desmond Tutu, Dick Gephardt, and Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg, among others, speak against interpreting the Bible as justification for persecuting gays.
“But homosexuality is an abomination,” you say—or, more likely, disapproving people around you say this ad nauseum. Biblical scholars explain that “abomination” is used in a ritualistic context in the controversial Leviticus 18:22. Look further. Eating shellfish is also listed as an abomination. Wearing clothes of two contrasting textiles, like cotton and linen, could also get you offed. (What would the Queer Eye guys say to that?) This is ritual uncleanliness, not inherent evil. As one scholar extrapolates, gay sex was considered ritualistically punishable as it didn’t promote the growth of a Jewish nation.
The lives of several homosexuals and their Christian families are examined, including Gene Robinson, the first gay man to become an ordained Episcopalian Bishop. (Robinson wore a bullet-proof vest during the ceremony out of concern for his safety.)
Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt tells the story of standing proudly behind his lesbian daughter, Chrissy, during his campaign for the presidency. (A family portrait graces the cover of the DVD.)
Mary Lou Wallner laments shunning her daughter Anna, who came out to her, which eventually led to the daughter’s suicide. Since then, Wallner founded Teach Ministries (To Educate About the Consequences of Homophobia) and preaches understanding and acceptance.
For the Bible Tells Me So (2007) was co-written and directed by Daniel G. Kars-lake. FYI: Soundtrack includes k.d. lang. From First Run Features (www.first runfeatures.com).