I showed my older son the video, Gospel of Intolerance, by Roger Ross Williams. You can find it on this NY Times link. You can also find the video in this article. It might be a good piece to share with your children.
American Evangelicals have turned their fight against “sexual immorality” to countries such as Uganda, which are more malleable to influences tied to donations. Sexual immorality is defined as anyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Currently, those behaviors are against the law in Uganda, and there is a bill on the table again to make repeat offenders suffer harsh punishments, even death.
My son watched this video (he’s become a little cynical at this point). He shook his head and said, “Why do people care so much about other’s choices?”
I thought this video was a great jumping off point to discuss religion, politics and what it means to give. Here are some questions to get a dialogue going with children. Feel free to add more:
Evangelicals have invested a lot of money in building churches in Uganda. Why do you think they do this?
How are the “laws” of a church made? How are the laws in our government made?
What does it mean to be immoral and who defines this?
What does it mean to donate? If you tie a request or a condition to a donation, is that selfless or altruistic (a trait churches value)?
Why do you think some churches and their congregations care about the homosexuality issue?
If a person is gay or lesbian, how does his or her sexual preference affect society?
What would happen if homosexuality were made illegal in America? Do you think people would change their behaviors? What costs or benefits would be associated with changing the laws?
First, I wanted to thank everyone who reached out here to share their experiences or their views. It is very encouraging to see the kindness of strangers. I was truly moved. Hopefully, by speaking up, we can all make a difference.
Has anyone seen the movie Compliance? If you’ve never seen it, it’s about a man who calls fast food restaurants, pretends to be a cop, and asks the managers to strip search employees. (Read more here.) If you’ve never seen it, and want to rent it, I won’t tell you too much. Sadly, the film is based on actual events. I’ll just share a few things.
When told that the caller was a cop, managers followed the instructions of the “police officer,” even though the requests were illogical or immoral. There were a few who doubted and refused to follow instructions, but there were many who did exactly as asked. I’m sure you know where I am going with this.
We are trained to respect authority, not to doubt, not to question. The caller in the film exploits that weakness. The problem is that we are so conditioned to accept what we hear as true, we oftentimes relinquish our common sense. Authority does have its place, bringing order and safety to society. But we have to keep our radar up at all times; we have to keep that sense, that small voice, which tells us something is not right, no matter who is saying it. The movie is frustrating to watch–I know becuase I watched it last night. We think, who would continue to take those instructions? Would I? I suppose until we are in a situation like that, we just don’t know.
But I do know that the radar, telling us something is not right brought us here. It brought us to the place where we’ve rejected the notion of god that many of our authority figures have held as true. We were not compliant.