Love Free or Die (http://www.lovefreeordiemovie.com/) is the widely acclaimed film that depicts the story of Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal Bishop whose experience has ignited both church controversy and a call for faith communities to examine their own dogmas and attitudes. Twin Cities area public libraries, in partnership with tpt (Twin Cities Public Television), will host a free screening of the film on Monday, June 3, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Avenue, St. Paul.
The film is one in a series of films produced by PBS as part of the Independent Lens initiative, a national engagement program known as Community Cinema that pairs independent films with public discussions moderated by hosts from public television systems.
David Gillette of tpt will moderate a panel discussion featuring panelists Reverend Anita C. Hill, Regional Director of Reconciling Works (formerly Lutherans Concerned North America) and Reverend Bradley Schmeling of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.
The documentary is “about church and state, love and marriage, faith and identity – and openly gay Bishop Eugene Robinson’s struggle to dispel the notion that God’s love has limits.”
In a unique and superb support guide the filmmaker, Macky Alston, offers keen insights into life as the gay child/grandchild of clergymen who struggled to open their minds to GLBT lifestyle. The guide itself offers a robust introduction to the film, to Robinson and to difficult topics including Religious Teachings and Homosexuality, Changing Attitudes Over Time, Genetic Explanations of Sexual Orientation, Supreme Court Cases, What Science Tells Us, and much more.
The guide also includes suggestions for action that are particularly timely for the faith community. Each of the topics covered is replete with links to additional resources for individuals and groups, including young people, who seek information and ideas within a faith construct. The resource guide stands alone as a powerful tool. It’s readily accessible on the Love Free or Die website.
Though I have not seen the film, I have immersed myself in the supplementary resource guide. Based on that introduction I am totally impressed by the thought and study that imbue this project. The background guide is a well-written, fair-minded treasure trove of issues and links for further study and discussion. It is a readily accessible tool for any individual or group struggling to learn, discuss or simply come to grips with the complex dimensions of one of today’s most challenging social issues . Bishop Robinson’s personal struggle reflects and informs the answers sought by virtually every faith community.