"What does the Bible really say about homosexuality?" many Christians ask their clergy on the controversial issue.
It's the main question addressed in a new feature documentary "The Bible Tells Me So," which was featured at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, last week.
The feature documentary centers on the national conversation around Scripture and homosexuality and how Scripture has been used in both good and bad ways, Daniel Karslake, director of the film, explained on the Sundance Channel. Mainly, the film relays how the religious right has used the Bible to support the "stigmatizing" of the homosexual community.
"My faith made it impossible for me not to make this film," Karslake stressed. The film's thesis is that Scripture does not condemn homosexuality.
Among the clergy featured in the film, the Rev. Mel White of Soulforce, an organization that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from religious and political oppression, says that the Bible is being "used, misused, to condemn gay people." He called it an "old trick" used by fundamentalist Christians.
While expressing regret over the misuse of Scripture, communications coordinator Jenny Noyes of the conservative Anglican Communion Network, which has yet to see the documentary, said the network disagrees with the position of the filmmakers who relayed that the worldwide Anglican body misinterprets Scripture. The film's central figure is openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire whose ordination widened rifts within the U.S. Anglican body.
"The Anglican Communion Network regrets along with the makers of this film the ways in which Scripture has been misapplied to seek to justify conduct or actions that are contrary to Scripture," said Noyes. "However, we disagree with the films makers that the theological position of the majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion on sexual orientation contained in Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and affirmed by the Windsor Report is similarly a misinterpretation of Scripture."
Lambeth Resolution 1.10 states that the communion rejects homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture. At the same time, it calls on their people to minister to all despite sexual orientation.
"Scripture is Gods Word written," stated Noyes. "Mans sinful mis-application of Scripture does not negate the authority or truth of it today.
The single most significant person who made the film happen, according to Karslake, is Robinson. Although theological disputes in the Episcopal Church go back decades, the consecration of Robinson in 2003 had triggered the departure of numerous congregations from the national Anglican body. The problem was not just homosexuality, many departed Anglican leaders have argued, but the continual drift in the church away from Scriptural authority.
Robinson recently stated that he believes there are only a small minority of parishes at odds with the Episcopal Church's liberal stance on homosexuality. He further stated that the debate over the homosexual issue seems like a waste of their time and energy when the world faces larger problems such as the AIDS crisis.
"For the Bible Tells Me So" tells the stories of five conservative Christian families, including Robinson and his parents. Karslake's approach is to reconcile homosexuality, biology and Scripture through the prism of family, according to the film's synopsis.