Maria J. Velasco
The La Verne Church of the Brethren was the site of a diversity program on Sunday, which included a screening of “For the Bible Tells Me So,” a film about homosexuality and how it is perceived by various religions. The film discussed many statistics that helped to inform the audience. Graduate students Cristina Domicoli and Diane Abrams were among audience members.
The Bible is often used by the anti-gay movement as a weapon against homosexuals. That was made clear in the film “For the Bible Tells Me So,” which was screened Sunday at the La Verne Church of the Brethren.
“This film is for people who are often torn about the sexuality issue,” said John Bartlet, associate professor of education-technology and one of the organizers of the event.
“It’s to learn how we can embrace diversity, be more accepting of diversity.”
A full room of people arrived for the screening of this controversial film.
“I am deeply moved by how many people are here tonight,” Pastor Janet Ober said.
“I always knew this community was very accepting; I am constantly surprised at the openness of this community.”
The film was loaded with intense imagery of hatred. There were pictures of beaten people, signs reading “God doesn’t love gays” and a chalk painting that read “Slaughter the gays.”
The film was focused on the obsession of people who use God and the Bible as an excuse to harm homosexuals, much in the same way that the Bible has been used to justify the harming of other groups of people.
The most famed verse from the Bible that people use against homosexuality is located in Leviticus 18:22 which reads, “You shall not lie with man as one lies with a women; this is an abomination.”
In the same passage tattoos, wearing certain types of jewelry and men cutting their hair or shaving their beards are also called abominations.
Yet people single out just the one phrase that refers to homosexuality.
They cut their hair and have tattoos but cannot accept homosexuality.
“People shouldn’t be reading the Bible because usually they get it wrong,” one of the pastors in the film said.
The Bible, according to the film’s experts, should be read within the historical context.
In the age when the Bible was written, people spoke differently than how they speak now. Abomination was not as strong as a word as it is now.
“For the Bible Tells Me So” was not just people discussing what they thought of the issue; it also included a short comedic animation on the scientific facts and people’s bias of homosexuality.
Some of the information presented in this short section of the film included facts like that the odds of a boy being gay increase significantly if there are a lot of boys in a family.
The film also mentioned that homosexuals are three to seven times more likely to commit suicide, because they feel like outsiders.
The film discussed that if they were raised within a religious environment, and thought that homosexuality was a sentence to hell, they often feel that there is no room in life for God and themselves.
There are many religious organizations that claim that homosexuality is curable and that it is a choice.
Most significantly the film focused on just one of these groups, Focus on Family led by James Dobson, who has written many books on raising children.
Focus on the Family has a program called “Love Won Out,” which claims to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals, but in reality, this is highly unlikely.
One of the leading problems is that most people do not read the Bible for themselves, they have someone else tell them what the Bible says; these people only do selective reading.
One of the highlights of the night was when the whole room burst into laughter during a cartoon that showed homosexuals standing on a machine that represented the churches who claim to change homosexuals into heterosexuals. The “ after” cartoon depictions stood straighter, expressionless on the other side until one of them whispers: “We’re still gay.”
Besides the laughs, there were also tears, as a mother spoke about her daughter committing suicide.
Additionally, there were scenes in the film of people being beaten and other hate crimes being committed against homosexuals.
After the movie was over, audience members broke off into small groups to discuss the movie. Some members of the Brethren congregation had previously seen the film at a church in Claremont.
“They were deeply moved,” Ober said. “So we thought about how we might bring that here.”
The church had to get a special permit from the city in order to present the film to a large number of people.
“I am very pleased with the turnout,” Bartlet said.
Sunday’s screening of the film was the first event regarding homosexuality and diversity at the Church of the Brethren.
In April, the church hopes to present Safe Zone, an informative event regarding the dangers that affect La Verne’s LGBT community.
Maria J. Velasco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.