Thursday, February 2, 2006

Bigots of the Day

I love to see the Religious Reich grapple with such earth-shattering dilemmas like this as opposed to feeding the hungry and helping the poor — like they’re admonished to do by their putative saviour.

Christian ministers were enthusiastic at the early private screenings of “End of the Spear,” made by Every Tribe Entertainment, an evangelical film company. But days before the film’s premiere, a controversy erupted over the casting of a gay actor that has all but eclipsed the movie and revealed fault lines among evangelicals.

The film relates the true story of five American missionaries who were killed in 1956 by an indigenous tribe in Ecuador. The missionaries’ families ultimately converted the tribe to Christianity, and forgave and befriended the killers. The tale inspired evangelicals 40 years ago with its message of redemption and grace, and the film company expected a similar reception.

On Jan. 12, though, the Rev. Jason Janz took the filmmakers to task for casting Chad Allen, an openly gay man and an activist, in the movie’s lead role as one of the slain missionaries, and later, his grown son.

An assistant pastor at the independent Red Rocks Baptist Church in Denver, Mr. Janz posted his comments on his fundamentalist Christian Web site, sharperiron.org. He also asked the filmmakers to apologize for their choice.

[…]

Many evangelicals are concerned that young people inspired by the movie will look up Mr. Allen on the Web and “get exposed to his views on homosexuality, and that would cause some of them to question Biblical views of homosexuality and every other sin,” said Will Hall, executive director of BPNews.net, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has published articles critical of Every Tribe’s decisions.

Yeah, like they’re going to hand out toaster ovens at every theatre for roping in every sexually-confused kid who sees this flick. What is wrong with questioning the biblical views on homosexuality? It’s an important part of your education — religious or otherwise — to question views, and if it can’t stand the scrutiny, well, then… you’ve got a problem, and it ain’t with the queers.

We’re never going to be able to shake these bigots from equating homosexuality and sin; it’s too much of a money-maker for them when they shake down the foolish and the weak. But maybe with the casting of someone like Chad Allen they’ll begin to see that even actors — straight or gay — are people, too.

By the way, I don’t remember there being a big hue and cry in the gay community when Ang Lee cast two openly straight men as the leads in Brokeback Mountain