Save Me: The Movie, and many resources for LGBT persons of faith
(For the record, this is posted on my blog too.)
I just watched this and wanted to share some of the info on the DVD extras.
Directed by: Robert Cary
Cast Info: Chad Allen; Robert Gant; Judith Light; Stephen Land; Robert Baker
2007, Drama, 96 minutes
First Run Features
From the DVD interview with director Robert Cary:
The challenges of anything that deals with this subject matter, I think is to walk a line between what could be melodramatic and exploitative, and what could end up feeling like you’re pulling punches. So you have to both go there and ring the bell, but not feel like you’re sounding a false alarm.
Review: Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide:
They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and in this look at one of the most polarizing religious and sexual debates in America, filmmaker Robert Cary attempts to reconcile homosexuality with Christianity. Mark (Chad Allen) is a young gay man who has fallen into a dangerous cycle of hard drugs and risky sex. Recognizing that his sibling may not have the strength to pull himself back from the edge, Mark’s brother checks him into the Genesis House Christian retreat in New Mexico -- a place far removed from the temptations of the big city. Genesis House is run by a deeply spiritual, middle -aged couple named Gayle (Judith Light) and Ted (Stephen Lang). After losing a battle with sin back when she was young, Gayle has dedicated her entire life to rescuing young homosexuals from their own inner demons. In order to help Mark through the process, Gayle assigns Scott (Robert Gant) -- one of the program’s advanced “fifth phasers” -- as the newcomer’s mentor. When Gayle notices that Mark and Scott’s relationship is intensifying, she sees the development as a threat and fights back in order to prevent her carefully controlled world from falling apart. The spectre of damnation looming constantly over their shoulders, Mark and Scott are finally forced to confront the truth about their own true natures.
Save Me Trailer
You can find interviews with the cast and director, here.
Director’s Note, By Robert Cary:
I felt that the challenge in telling this story would be to resist the temptation to judge Judith’s character -- indeed, to judge any of the people who enter and work at this ministry -- and to understand that the motives and mechanics of this movement cannot be reduced to generalities. In my research I was surprised to find that there are hundreds of ministries across the country devoted to this kind of work, and equally surprised to see that there is no form of official accreditation, nor any set way in which they carry out their “mission.” So my collaborators and I set out to fashion a “Genesis House” which was not a scary or extreme environment, but rather one in which operated on principles similar to those of any twelve-step program -- a place which, while rigorous and spare, was in many ways gentle and loving.
A Biblical response to the question people often ask… “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you are also gay?”
In this 24-page booklet available at SoulForce.org, Mel White puts forward these eight premises:
1. Most people have not carefully and prayerfully researched the Biblical texts used by some people to condemn God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.
2. Historically, people’s misinterpretation of the Bible has left a trail of suffering, bloodshed, and death.
3. We should be open to new truth from Scripture. Even heroes fo the Christian faith have changed their minds about the meaning of various Biblical texts.
4.The Bible is a book about God. The Bible is not a book about human sexuality.
5. WE miss what these passages say about God when we spend so much time debating what they say about sex.
6.The Biblical authors are silent about homosexual orientation as we know it today. They neither approve it nor condemn it.
7. The prophets, Jesus, and the Biblical authors say nothing about homosexual orientation as we understand it today. But, they are clear about this one thing. As we search for truth, we are to “Love one another.”
8. Whatever some people believe the Bible seems to say about homosexuality, they must not use that belief to deny homosexuals their basic civil rights. To discriminate against sexual or gender minorities is unjust and un-American.
Both can be downloaded for free in PDF or HTML form.
Background On The Ex-Gay Movement:
In 1973, when the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality form the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, religious leader, joined by a small group of mental health practitioners, broke form the organization to continue treating gays and lesbians with “reparative” or “sexual conversion” therapy. Throughout the 70, treatment centers began cropping up across the country being led by Frank Worthen’s Love in Action centers, followed by Exodus International in 1976.
Over the next two decades, there was a marked increase in funding and support of Christian-run ministries, bolstered by support from Christian-right organizations like Focus on the Family among others. The movement became spearheaded by Exodus International, an umbrella organization that oversees hundreds of Christian-based ministries and is also expanding into non-Christian organizations like PFOX, parents of Ex-gay People, and Jonah, a program for Jewish ex-gays. In 1992, they formed the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality in an attempt to legitimize the “clinical work” of such organizations. Since then the movement found new traction, bringing “ex-gay centers solidly into the on-going debate over same-sex issues.
After quietly existing in over a hundred centers across the country throughout the turn of the century, the number of “ex-gay” ministries began to increase due to an increase in funding around the 2000 elections. Focus on the Family began pouring money into the creation of additional sites bolstering their numbers to over 200 including sites in Canada and around the world and in 2003 Love in Action introduced the first structured program specifically for teenagers.
But in summer of 2006, the national debate over “reparative” therapy, in particular the teen program, broke out again over the MySpace blogs of a teenager named “Zack”. A 16 year-old boy in Memphis, Zack recently came out to his parents in the Spring to which they sent him against his will to Refuge, an intensive Love in Action program. Before leaving home, Zack detailed several of the rules for clients such as reporting sexual fantasies, no eye contact for the first three days and having their belongings searched every morning. Zack’s entries quickly spread from friends, to filmmakers, to the media, eventually leading to an investigation of Love in Action by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
In August of 2006, the American Psychological Association issued another warning about the practices of such institutions:
"The APA’s concern about the positions espoused by NARTH and so-called conversion therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish."
The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers all deny reparative therapy’s very premise. "We are finding hat the number of people claiming to be harmed by reparative therapy are increasing," says Dr. Jack Drescher, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s committee on Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues. The APA even went as far as endorsing gay marriage to help reverse the gay stigma, citing evidence that stable, monogamous relationships are beneficial for mental health.
So as the country moves into the latter part of our decade, the debate over homosexuality and religion, from gay Episcopal bishops, to same-sex marriage and the “ex-gay” movement, wages on.
Online and Community Resources:
For those interested in learning more about resources for LGBT men and women of faith, we have assembled the list below…