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Posts for March, 2008

Exodus and NARTH Review “For the Bible Tells Me So”

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2008

forthebible.jpgDaniel Karslake observed that much of the debate over homosexuality and Scripture was conducted by shouting at each other. He set out to create a documentary that would argue his position without vilifying those who disagree with him.

He succeeded admirably. The movie received positive reviews from over 90% of critics and was rumored to be on the Oscar short list.

A number of religious leaders were invited to participate in a panel discussion at Stetson University in Florida on March 10th. Among them were representatives from Exodus and NARTH as well as liberal and conservative local ministers. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports the response.

Overall, the movie won praise from both the conservative and liberal panel members.

“I loved that the core of it was families’ stories,” said Mike Ensley, a counselor with Exodus Ministries, which helps youth wanting to overcome homosexuality.

Not all response was in the form of praise

Dissenting about some of the movie’s science was Julie Harren Hamilton, a Palm Beach psychologist and president-elect of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which helps clients change their sexual orientation.

She disputed the suggestion that homosexuality is simply genetic, arguing that the causes are more complicated.

Karslake, the filmmaker, defended his research but agreed with Hamilton that everyone should study the issues for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

The movie is now available on DVD. While this is hardly a perfect documentary or the final word on the subject, it is undoubtedly a powerful and effective message. As the New York Times critic put it

But there is no denying that the film, however inelegant, fills a need. The inevitable DVD should be packaged in a plain cardboard sleeve, so that viewers can carry it in their pockets and, if confronted by a homophobe, hand it over and say, “Watch this, then get back to me.”

Sadly, I doubt it was at all able to change the views of Ensley or Harren-Hamilton.