For the Bible Tells Me So

For the Bible Tells Me So. Produced and directed by Daniel Karslake. New York: First Run Features, 2008. 98 minutes. DVD. $24.99

For the Bible Tells Me So recounts the coming-out experiences of five Christian families who have a gay son or lesbian daughter, and examines theological responses to literal readings of the Bible which condemn homosexuality.

While the sons and daughters do describe a little of their trepidation about coming out, and their evolving relationships with their parents, most attention is given to the reactions of the parents themselves. At first, these include concern, fear, confusion, and profound disappointment; over time, all of the parents engage in difficult questioning of long-held beliefs, and reach at least some degree of acceptance.

Interwoven with the families’ stories are the observations of Christian theologians from several denominations, who provide a brief introduction to Biblical interpretation that takes cultural settings and translation issues into account. For the most part, the spiritual transformation the parents experience is less about interpreting scripture and more about realizing how literal readings of the Bible threaten their child’s well-being when that child is gay or lesbian.

With the focus on the parents’ experience, For the Bible Tells Me So speaks most directly to non-gay people who are attempting to reconcile religious beliefs with acceptance. GLBT folk themselves may also find it useful; however, the experience of questioning one’s own nature in the context of religious teachings is captured more powerfully in the 2001 release Trembling Before G-d (featuring GLBTRT founder Israel David Fishman), about gay men and lesbians who are Orthodox or Hasidic Jews. Public and academic libraries should have both films in their collection.

Reviewed by Ruth Ann Jones
Special Collections Cataloger
Michigan State University Libraries

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