Monday, December 10, 2007

Philadelphia

This film came out when I was 15. It doesn't seem like half a lifetime ago, but I guess it was. I bought it ridiculously cheap on DVD at the supermarket...

Basic plot for those who haven't seen it - a gay lawyer with AIDS (Tom Hanks) gets sacked by his law firm and sues them for discrimination. It won Oscars for best actor and best song - the soundtrack is awesome, if only for the combination of Bruce Springsteen and Callas singing Puccini in the most powerful scene in the film. Great film.

It's amazing how dated the film seems though. There's widespread acceptance of anti-gay prejudice in a way that just seems incredibly out of place now. The way I remember it, the film was important in changing my views on homosexual discrimination - I guess that was part of the point.

And it made me think - were Christians really so stupid that we weren't fighting for the rights of gay people to be treated the same as everyone else? I know Christians were at the forefront of helping AIDS sufferers (though that's been forgotten now), but were we fighting for justice for gay people, or were we opposing it? If we weren't fighting for justice, why not? And if we were, why is it that our reputation is so consistently messed up on it?

I'm not talking about a discussion of whether homosexual practice should be legal - I think there's approximately zero chance of changing people's minds on that and it's not an argument worth having. For my part, I think it's a sin in much the same way that envy or gossip or sex outside marriage is, and we're all sinners, and that means we have absolutely no excuse to treat other people worse because they are sinners too. And I don't think that people who are persistent and unrepentant gossips should be church leaders either.

So why weren't we fighting for justice then? And why do we tolerate homophobia in the evangelical church now? (it's most definitely there...) And what are we messing up today in the same way we messed up our attitude to gay people then?

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