by Ryan Stevens
Recently, a movie was shown in Whitworth’s multipurpose room called “For the Bible tells me so.” This film, during a week-long set of programs to draw awareness to the issue of homosexuality, was not only offensive, but detracted from the most important component of the controversial subject.
Initially, the film sets out as a documentary, in order to explore the religious community’s differing beliefs about the morality of homosexuality. What could have easily been an unbiased effort to explore ideas and invoke critical thinking quickly turned into an assault on a particular belief system with misrepresented stereotypes. The film begins by showing shouting preachers condemning gay activities as “abominations” and showed protesters with derogatory signs shouting hateful calls to violence. This theme of violent and ignorant Christians was pervasive throughout the film. The belief that homosexuality is against Biblical principles is placed in direct contrast with intelligence. Those against homosexuality were shouting preachers in outdated churches, random and uninformed street pedestrians, hicks and even a teenager who claimed that “gay bashing is fun.” In contrast, interpreters of scripture who condone gay lifestyles included several Harvard graduate pastors, a reform Rabbi, several bishops and even a Nobel Prize winner, all of whom were placed in churches, libraries or offices. Those against the idea of Biblical homosexuality were even compared to ideas in times of primal humanity.
One of the more blatant portrayals of “traditionalist Christian ignorance” was a cartoon, in which the ideas of a character subtly named “Christian” were shown as contrary to science, misinformed and childish. Traditionalist churches were shown without any attempt at discretion as anti-gay factories in which homosexuals were placed on a conveyer belt and processed to appear straight. The church factory was accused of using shame and guilt-based tactics to manipulate and directly oppress anyone with a homosexual tendency. The film missed the most important aspect of this issue: the actions Christians should take toward those with whom they disagree. Jesus even said that one of the greatest commandments is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Christians, regardless of their beliefs about homosexuality, are called to love their neighbors. Christ did not say “Love your neighbors unless they’re gay,” he simply said to love them. Christians should love their neighbors, just as God loves them. The movie spent an entire hour and a half demonizing a theological group for the opinion that homosexuality is wrong, when it should have used its time condemning acts of violence against those whom Christians are called to love.
I happen to believe that homosexuality is wrong, and despite what the film portrays, I am not the only intelligent person who believes this way. I also believe that Christians are not called to condemn, but to love. I regard discrimination, prejudice, bullying, violence and any act of hate toward someone simply because of their sexual preference as wrong and contrary to Christ’s message. It is this message that should be emphasized today: In spite of differences, God’s love for his creation is unconditional. There are valid objections to homosexuality that originate from the Bible, but these should not be the focus of church emphasis. Many of the believers I know who are against homosexuality argue that we are called to love, respect and care enough to understand those around us. Perhaps if “For the Bible tells me so” had focused on this aspect of theology, it would have been a more powerful and a less controversial message of hope.
Stevens is a sophomore majoring in English and French. Comments can be sent to email@example.com.