Sunday, February 08, 2009
GLBT Christians offer hope in new film
GLBT Christians, especially my own denomination Metropolitan Community Church, are the heroes of the new TV movie “Prayers for Bobby,” based on the true story of a young gay man’s struggles. Gay, lesbian, bi and trans Christians are almost never on TV, except for occasional news interviews. So I was amazed I watched the movie and saw that the gay MCC pastor had a huge, heroic role in helping an evangelical family with a gay son. And I personally knew the real-life pastor who is named in the movie, Rev. Larry Whitsell -- a gentle and caring soul. In the movie, Rev. Whitsell explains that God loves GLBT people and refutes the Bible passages that are used to condemn homosexuality. It takes a long time for his message to counteract the homophobia of conservative churches, however, and the young gay man commits suicide. Rev. Whitsell offers compassion and gay-positive theology that transforms his grieving mother, who tells about the experience in the book Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son. Sigourney Weaver does an excellent job of playing Mary Griffith, the mother who transforms from being a Christian fundamentalist suburban housewife to gay-rights spokeswoman. Filmmakers worked for more than a decade to transform the book into a movie, which premiered on Lifetime TV recently. Unfortunately, the story is as timely now as it was in 1983 when Bobby died. “Prayers for Bobby” shows that change is possible, one heart at a time.