Yesterday I attended with my sister and watched this video at my church. It was followed by about an hour and a half discussion. The room was packed.
For the information of any Australians linking, the DVD is available at JB Hifi. As most will know there are problems for us buying DVDs from Amazon due to zoning.
I was most emotional at the suicide of one girl. I believe the movie from the book 'Prayer for Bobby', which I own, has recently been shown on US Television. This was another case of a mother learning too late the terrible result of parental rejection of gay people. As with Bobby the mother is now active in fighting the negativity of much so-called Christian teaching.
The other emotional moment for me was seeing for the first time the actual consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson. Oh to have been there. As a young man, my dreams of a career as a priest in the Anglican Church were shattered as I realised my homosexuality could not be cured. For me to have lived to see an openly gay man made a bishop in a church within the Anglican Communion is akin to what many black people are feeling as they see Obama become president.
This led to the only negative statement in the following discussion as one man thought the creation of a gay man as a leader in the church had provoked the possible schism. He was quickly told that the fundamentalists did not need any provoking.
The discussion was led by our Diocesan Reader, Michael Horsburgh, who opened by stating he was not impartial and had been given the DVD by Bishop Gene Robinson when he and his partner Mark had stayed in Michael's home on their visit to Sydney in 2007. When one of the priests from another parish stated he found it difficult to preach on sexuality, Michael said he had no problem. Something for which I am eternally grateful.
Michael asked that anything said during the discussion should not be repeated outside. He knows I am gay and is perhaps aware of others. However no-one made any personal statements. I am a very nervous speaker and am always afraid of becoming emotional in such settings.
Really it was a case of preaching to the converted. Perhaps some of those who said nothing may have been affected. Most spoke of Christ's example of caring for the outcast of society. There was general laughter when one person in the movie asked if the fundamentalists were closing their bank accounts and giving all their money to the poor.
Certainly much of the film does not apply to Australia. We are not a country where the church plays much of a role in politics. Less than 20% of the population claim to attend church at least monthly. However the churches which are growing are the pentcostal mega churches. There has been only a very small vocal opposition to abortion law reform and over 65% favour it. In a recent poll 71% were in favour of equal rights for same sex partnerships as for de facto heterosexual partnerships (now achieved) and 57% supported same sex marriage.
Yet, while less overt, there is certainly homophobia. My sister had to make up a story for her husband as to the subject of the meeting. Despite having known his brother-in-law is gay for nearly 30 years and having a close friend who is obviously gay (although he is blind to this fact) he will not listen to any discussion. A typical older man who believes all he was taught at a Catholic school in the 40's and 50's and will never change.
So while it is a great film, sadly I doubt that it will reach the people who should see it.
I pray that there may be some people who are dealing with gay members in their family and are able to learn more from a viewing.
Michael told us that each time he has spoken in favour of homosexuals in the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney (always rejected), people have come up to him and thanked him for his stand and told him of gay members of their family.
Sadly most are unwilling to make a stand as they are so cowed by the Jensenists. And one of these Jensen priests in a recent blog discussion could not understand why I am so angry at the Diocese.
If their evil preaching of hate leads to just one suicide (and I am sure there are many), the blood be on them.
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