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Film promotes acceptance

As some lament and others rejoice in the wake of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's recent votes related to homosexuality, a local group hopes to help put a face on the issue.

Former Congressman Richard Gephardt's family
Former Congressman Richard Gephardt's family is among those featured in the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So," a film that looks at how Christian families have dealt with the knowledge that one of their children is gay. Chrissy Gephardt (far right), now an adult, is openly homosexual. Special to The Forum

As some lament and others rejoice in the wake of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's recent votes related to homosexuality, a local group hopes to help put a face on the issue.

Visions of Hope in Action (VOHIA) will lead a discussion following a 3 p.m. screening of "For the Bible Tells Me So" on Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead.

"This (film) kind of puts, for some, more of a personal touch to it as you watch this movie," says Terry Hagensen, co-chairman of VOHIA.

The documentary looks at how five Christian families respond to the knowledge that a son or daughter is gay. It also looks at issues of scriptural interpretation.

VOHIA is the local chapter of Lutherans Concerned/North America, a group that "works for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Lutherans in all aspects of the life of their Church and congregations."

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"I think it's going to give, hopefully, a little more understanding to the importance of this vote," Hagensen says.

At its August Churchwide Assembly, the ELCA voted to allow individuals in committed, same-gender relationships to serve in the clergy. The assembly also passed a social statement that opponents saw as contradicting scriptural teaching against homosexual relationships.

Among the families featured in "For the Bible Tells Me So" are those of former Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson. The film was an award-winner at a number of film festivals. Most notably, it took the Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize in 2007.

"It's a very compelling movie," says Naomi Franek, a member of VOHIA who is helping organize the screening. "I think it's one of those movies that really stays with you."

Hagensen agrees that the film is powerful, but he also says, "You don't get the feeling that it's being shoved down your throat."

In light of recent media coverage of those who are unhappy with recent ELCA's decisions, Hagensen hopes that the screening will provide some balance.

"With the focus (in media) appearing to be so much on the negative, this is putting the focus on supporting the vote," Hagensen says. "So far everything has been against the vote. This is in favor of the vote."

Franek hopes the event will help facilitate dialogue in the ELCA on how the church will relate to the LGBT community.

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Marsha Anderson, Trinity assistant pastor, also hopes that it fosters discussion

"In light of recent decisions (on gay clergy), it is important to keep conversation about these issues going," she says.

Those are discussions that are often passionate.

Anderson says issues related to homosexuality and the church "bring up other major issues of faith and life, such as how we read the Bible and what it means to lead a Christian life. For some, these issues are also about civil rights and social justice, which people care about passionately."

If you go

  • What: Screening of the film "For the Bible Tells Me So," followed by a discussion
  • When: 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Fellowship Hall at Trinity Lutheran Church, 210 7th St. S., Moorhead
  • Info: The screening is free. Call (218) 236-1333.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734

Related Topics: FAITHMOORHEAD
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