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Commentaries on this Media!

Homosexuality and the Church

by Ethan Thompson

[commentary by Emma Demint]

The clip I have chosen as part of our group assignment comes from the segment, “All God’s Children?” an informative documentary from 1981 that depicts the difficult and often painful relationship between homosexuals and religious institutions. This particular clip provides a solid summary of the segment as a whole, as it introduces the main issues and varying opinions discussed throughout the film. The clip incorporates several interviews with various clergy members in addition to medical and psychological experts and professors that offer their contrasting outlooks on homosexuality and its place in religion. The clip cuts between each person as they express their opinions on the matter, all of which offer fairly contrasting viewpoints, which serves to present the topic and ideas to the viewer in an unbiased, purely educational fashion. Dramatization is still present, however, in the contrasts of the expressed beliefs; some believe homosexuals feeling shamed by the church are unfairly mistreated, while others insist there is no place within the church for homosexuals choosing to be open with his/her sexuality. The most ‘dramatic’ aspect of the sequence is the extreme beliefs held by a few of the included clergy members who are staunchly coldhearted and judgmental in their treatment of gays. The exposition of these contrasting views lends meaning to the program through educating the viewer on aspects of homosexuality, such as their treatment by many religious institutions. The analysis of this sector of society helps to cast a wider range of understanding how gays are treated by society as a whole—the shame they are often made to feel, the contrasting (but mostly negative) reactions they are often met with, and the struggle they must endure in order to live contently within their identities. This clip could be particularly interesting to use in analyzing how the included viewpoints and their associated arguments have changed in some ways and remained the same in others.

Homosexuality and the Church

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Townspeople and clergy members in Boston express their views on homosexuality and its place, or lack thereof, within religious institutions.

from All God's Children (1981)
Creator: WNAC, Boston
Distributor: Peabody Archive
Posted by Ethan Thompson