Date: Mon, 4 Nov 1996 23:57:54 -0500
Subject: All God's Children video review
Please post this in the Religion section of your directory.
Thank you, Allen Harris
Review of "All God's Children" written by the Rev. Allen V. Harris A video produced by Woman Vision, The National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Producers/Directors: Dr. Dee Mosbacher, Francis Reid, Dr. Sylvia Rhue Running Time: 25:40, Copyright 1996
All God's Children, a new video produced this past summer and directed by award-winning filmmaker Dee Mosbacher, is set to transform the discussion regarding homosexuality and the Church. Interspersed with music by Lavender Light, The Black and People of All Colors Lesbian and Gay Gospel Choir, are compelling personal testimonies. Here, in this timely video, are gathered some of the most important figures in American politics, religion, and society including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Senator Carol Mosely Braun, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the Rev. James Forbes, and Linda Villarosa, executive editor at Essence magazine. Their voices, as well known as they might be, become stronger and more vibrant because they are also woven together with stories of lesser known folks who are simply mothers, fathers, sisters, friends, and lovers.
Why all of these persons have allowed their images and their words to be brought together is obviously of great importance to them, for their passion and their clarity conveys much. They have come to answer the question, "How can one be Black and Christian and also celebrate the lives and loves of lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons?" Their confident answers offer enormous hope for many who yearn to have their sexual orientation, their spirituality, as well as their ethnic identity interconnected as a whole.
The Rev. Dr. Cecil L. Murray, Senior Minister of the First AME Church of Los Angeles sets the tone for the film. "If you can reason with people, reason with them. If you can love it into them, love it into them. If you can rhapsodize it into them, rhapsodize it into them. But you have got to get it into them: We have no option. The Church exists for all God's children." Again and again this message of certainty pervades the language of all those who offer their witness to the anticipated wholeness of the Church.
"Quite frankly, I came out because of the lessons that I learned in that Black Church, about truth, about honesty, about being sincere." Phill Wilson, founder of the National Black Gay And Lesbian Leadership Forum, puts the onus of the burden of inclusivity right back on the community of faith which imbued him with such values. It is delightful to watch Phill celebrate his openness abou= t both his faith and his sexuality with his parents, Ina and Tebo Wilson, who also share their perspectives in the video.
There is no mistaking the message of those who have been gathered in this unique presentation. "God loves me just as I am, because that is how God made me. God made me African-American. God made me 5'10 and three-quarters. God made me a lesbian." Thus proclaims Dr. Marjorie Hill. Dr. Hill is on the national board of Unity Fellowship Church, a predominantly lesbian and gay African -American Christian denomination.
Even though a deep faith is the overwhelming foundation for these folks, there are other points of reference which compel an openness to the fuller inclusion of lesbians and gay men. In particular, several speakers remind us that there are political realities which need to be addressed. Congresswoman Maxine Waters admits, "The idea that you will be fired from a job because one discovers one is gay or lesbian is outrageous and ridiculous. I do think that government has a responsibility to outlaw discrimination of gay and lesbians."
All God's Children should quickly become an essential part of most presentations about the Church and homosexuality. Its professional quality and concise focus make it an excellent resource for individuals and congregations who wish to address issues of homophobia, heterosexism, and racism. The video's low price will allow it to be seen by many more people. For this new offering to the Church's continuing dialogue, we offer our thanksgiving.
The Rev. Allen V. Harris is a Pastor at Park Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in New York City. He also serves as the Developer of the Open & Affirming Ministries Program of the Gay, Lesbian, and Affirming Disciples Alliance.