TV and film producer Daniel Karslake studies reactions of devout Christians who learn their child is gay.
In his first project since working on In The Life, Karslake said he felt a need to reach beyond an audience that already accepted partnered gays and lesbians.
Focusing on the gays-in-the-church debate – For the Bible Tells Me So features many pro-gay veterans of the theological debates.
Among them is the Rev. Mel White, the former ghost writer for the Rev. Jerry Falwell and founder of the gay and lesbian advocacy group Soulforce. So is Jimmy Creech, the former United Methodist pastor who lost his clergy credentials in the late 1990s for conducting same-sex union ceremonies. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Rev. Peter Gomes, the prominent preacher and Harvard Divinity School professor, also support acceptance.
”I made this movie for the movable middle in America,” Karslake said, before a private screening last week at New York’s Marble Collegiate Church, where inspirational pastor Norman Vincent Peale preached for decades. Karslake, who is gay and a mainline Protestant, believes that ”sincere, honorable, compassionate people” have been misled about how they should read the Bible.
The movie largely focuses on the personal stories of mothers and fathers of gays and lesbians. For example, a woman who was raised to interpret the Bible literally tells of her daughter’s suicide after her mother repeatedly said she would never accept the girl as a lesbian.
The parents of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, talk about how they knew nothing about homosexuality until Robinson came out to them. They bought some books about ”gay folks” and decided that what they had been taught was wrong.
Former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, a Missouri Democrat, and his family talk about his daughter Chrissy (pictured), who is a lesbian.
The father and daughter recently appeared on CNN, to promote the documentary.
For the Bible Tells Me So premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It opened Friday in New York, and opens Thursday in Fort Lauderdale.