Dr. Dee Mosbacher thinks African-American churches should know the truth about gay and lesbian people, and she is providing it in a new documentary called "All God's Children."
The film was created to counteract the effects of a video called "Gay Rights, Special Rights" produced by Lou Sheldon, the leader of the Traditional Values Coalition in Anaheim, California. Sheldon's video has been widely distributed to African-American churches, but it portrays a distorted image of gay and lesbian people.
Mosbacher's nearly 30-minute response features a mostly black, mostly gay and lesbian choir singing gospel music and contains interviews with African-American leaders who support gay and lesbian rights. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Senator Carol Moseley-Braun and Congresswoman Maxine Waters are among the black pastors and leaders who are interviewed. Producers delayed release of the film to add comments from composer and producer Quincy Jones.
Harvard professor Cornell West is also interviewed.
"If I have one word for fellow Christians, I would ask them to keep their eyes on the love of Jesus and to not confuse the blood at Calvary with the Koolaid of homophobia in America," West said in the video. "By being open enough to everybody, it means that we have to call into question our own particular prejudices that we inherit that have nothing to do with the loving gospel of Jesus."
The images in Mosbacher's film challenge the opinions in Sheldon's production.
Sheldon, who is featured in his production, also includes interviews with former U. S. Attorney General Edwin Meese and Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed. The video defines what it calls "four myths" that gays and lesbians promote, including the "myth" that homosexuals are a minority and the "myth" that homosexuals are ten percent or more of the population.
"Gay Rights/Special Rights" also uses an interview with a register nurse who said homosexuals "lick one another's rectums" and "urinate on each other."
"The gay agenda is to have sex in any way you please," the female nurse said.
"We are on the very verge of our civilization and our culture being totally overhauled by the homosexual community," Sheldon said.
Mosbacher said it is particularly important to counter this production aimed at the African-American community to keep the religious right from dividing two minority groups who share common interests. She hopes to find individuals and groups who will "adopt-a-church" by showing the video to a congregation and presenting educational materials.
She said this kind of grassroots approach to churches can be effective. The offensive must be led "not with secular tools but with spiritual tools," she said.
"One of my hopes for the film... is to try to build some bridges and coalitions between our communities," Mosbacher said.
This is not the first venture of Woman Vision, her production company. It produced "Straight from the Heart," a 24-minute Academy Award nominated short documentary about parents who had difficulty accepting their gay and lesbian children. It tells the story of several families, including a police chief who is proud of his lesbian daughter, a Mormon family whose son is believed the first in Idaho to die of AIDS and a black woman with two lesbian daughter.
Mosbacher, a mental health physician who left practice to devote her time to film-making, is also the daughter of Robert Mosbacher, the Secretary of Commerce during the Bush administration. She is a long-time activist in the San Francisco area.
She produced the film with Dr. Frances Reid, who also coproduced "Straight from the Heart," and Dr. Sylvia Rhue, a co-founder of the National Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum.
"Words and images are powerful," Rhue said at the Dallas premiere. "They do affect our lives."
Mosbacher agreed. She said that is why she is doing something about Sheldon's videotaped attack against the gay and lesbian community.
"We can't just sit still and take whatever the religious right is dishing out," Mosbacher said.
"All God's Children" can be ordered from Transit Media Film Library by calling 800-343-5540.