Dan Karslake’s award-winning For the Bible Tells Me So, released in 2007, received widespread acclaim for its examination of the chasm often found between gays and lesbians and Christianity, and its look at Scriptural misinterpretations that have allowed the Bible to be used as a tool of discrimination. Now, Entertainment Weekly is hailing the documentary as one of “5 Movies That Changed The World.”
Karslake’s film gave new hope for conflicted members of the LGBT community and advocates by offering a compelling look at the journeys of five normal, Christian families – including former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt – as they sought to reconcile their faith with the reality of having a gay or lesbian family member. To accompany the film, HRC developed a comprehensive guide for driving powerful conversations about the LGBT community and the church.
HRC’s study guide and advocacy training curriculum served to facilitate open dialogues across the country and called on LGBT advocates to use the Bible as an instrument of healing rather than a weapon. A central underpinning of the guide is that “advocates for LGBT rights have the same right to claim religious and traditional values [as the Radical Right does] as motivating factors in their advocacy.” The curriculum also contains handouts on issues ranging from gender identity and the Bible, to Scriptures on which to base the welcome and rights of the LGBT community.
In 2008, Karslake connected HRC’s efforts to strengthen the dialogue to the film’s success: “HRC heavily promoted its theatrical run and organized an extensive series of discussion groups to accompany the film showing around the country. The success of these events was truly stunning and helped to generate excitement in harder-to-reach markets.” In advance of the curriculum’s release, Karslake expressed excitement about the potential of the guide to “spark conversations in congregations that most need the film’s powerful message.”
John Young’s “5 Movies That Changed The World” is available in the October 1 issue of Entertainment Weekly, currently on newsstands. Hear more from Karslake and HRC’s Religion and Faith Program Director Harry Knox about the movie’s impact. Check out the study guide and curriculum, which remain timely and important resources. To learn more about For the Bible Tells Me So, visit www.forthebibletellsmeso.org.
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