Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Monday, November 05, 2007

    After two of the best films in 2007, Sicko and Things We Lost in the Fire, I had no cinematic expectations for the rest of the year. My standards were high, especially for documentaries. Then, I received a promotional copy of the documentary For The Bible Tells Me So. The film is a chilling, educational and powerful look at the spiritual assault on the lives of gays and lesbians in America.

    Through personal stories and scholars, For The Bible Tells Me So manages to deliver an informative, but yet personal glimpse on what religion does to human spirits who are "others". While it doesn't take much to convince me religion is a money making machine that people blindly fall for, as a critic, I was a little concerned the film might end up being a didactic documentary with no balance. Yes, many people are abused by the Bible, but if you are going to offer a documentary both sides of the spectrum must be given to the audience, not just the pro-gay side, which is what I was expecting. I was completely wrong.

    For The Bible Tells Me So isn’t an assault on conservative Christians, it’s a panoramic view into the structural underpinnings of religion being used as a tool of oppression. Therefore, the viewer is not only emotionally invested in the gay stories, but also the devoted Christians, who are equally a part of this oppressive fabric. Meaning, not everyone who is anti-gay or against equal rights for LGBT people are hateful people.

    Unlike any book, film, or discussion I have ever read/seen For The Bible Tells Me So effectively shatters the misconceptions of the Bible with tact and an easy to digest point of view. In the first twenty minutes Reverend Peter Gomes, African-American professor at Harvard University says, “You have to think when you read the bible. Perhaps the Roman Catholics were right saying ordinary people shouldn't be reading the bible because usually they get it wrong.” Gomes adds: “They are failing to read the Bible within the context of its author and its original culture."

    The film explains the audacity of Biblical literalism and how misguided it can be, especially with the idea that homosexuality is an “abomination”. Reverend Dr. Laurence C. Keene, Disciples of Christ says: "When the term abomination is used in the Hebrew Bible it’s always used to address a ritual wrong, it never is used to refer to something innately immoral. Eating pork was not innately immoral for a Jew, but it was an abomination because it was a violation of a ritual requirement." The film points out in the same section it is also an abomination to eat shrimp, rabbit and plant two different seeds in the same hole. It’s almost as if the ruling class does not want Americans to truly be informed on the “holy document”. Sadly, people do not realize that preachers in their local churches are just preachers, not historians.

    For The Bible Tells Me So presents the scarring residuals of spiritual violence, which I could write a book on myself with the many LGBT people I have met who do not value their lives because they believe they are going to burn in hell. The film is also incredibly diverse, it is not a white gay male story, there are accounts from blacks, whites, straight, gay, older, younger—all demographics are covered. If you were even remotely raised with your religion in your life, this film will undoubtedly touch your spirit.

    I encourage every person to see For The Bible Tells Me So for themselves. It’s an enlightening film that I hope receives the acknowledgement it so deserves.

    5/5 Stars (The only film I have ever given five stars!)

    Below are some quotes from the movie and a link for screenings in your area.

    Reverend Dr. Joan Brown Campbell of Chautauqua Institution explains the hypocrisy of Biblical literalism: “One of my examples of Biblical literalism is that you must take all you have and give it to the poor. I don't know anyone who says I believe that to be God's word and therefore, I will close my bank accounts, I will give all my money away and I will give it to the poor."

    Reverend Richard Holloway adds: "Most of the literalists in America are also capitalists, they're making money being a biblical literalist. You don't take interest, you couldn't possibly have investments because usually it's condemned in the Bible."

    Reverend Susan Sparks, American Baptist Church on the procreation argument: “The particular section on a man lying with a man, it is about a nation trying to grow. At the time the Hebrew people understood that women had nothing to do with the birth, except for incubation. So that particular section was about saving seed only to procreate so the nation could grow.”

    "You can have a fifth grade understanding of the Bible -- if you're in the fifth grade." - Reverend Dr. Laurence C. Keene

    CLICK HERE for screenings!

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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 5 comments

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