"What's Wrong With This Picture?" explores persistent religion-based homophobia
The controversy over whether it's possible to "pray the gay away" has once again hit the headlines with the recent reports about Michele Bachmann's husband, whose Christian therapy clinic has been caught by undercover media suggesting "reparative therapy" to reverse homosexuality. While the drama might not bode well for Bachmann as she vies for the presidency, it presents an ideal window for Rizi Timane Ministries (rizigospel.org) to debut "What's Wrong With This Picture?," a new film that exposes religion-based homophobia.
"Gay people are accepted by their Creator just as they are," says Timane, who founded Rizi Timane Ministries to explode the myths behind what the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality, and to advocate on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. "My ultimate goal is to enable all LGBT people who want to know God, but have been turned off by religion, to understand that God loves them just as they are, and also to help those who are struggling with their spirituality and sexuality."
Born in Northern Nigeria, West Africa and raised in a fundamentalist Christian home, Timane was taught from an early age that homosexuality was a sin. Yet Timane, like many LGBT Christians today, has discovered that nothing is wrong with her, and that her sexuality is a God-given trait. Her struggles and persecution from identifying herself openly as a lesbian in Africa inspire her ministry today.
"What's Wrong With This Picture?" provides a snapshot of the hypocrisy within many churches today, as well as the need for a more inclusive gospel and a greater understanding of Jesus' teachings. The film covers a weeklong journey that profiles religious leaders who vehemently advocate against homosexuality yet struggle to practice what they preach; "ex-gays" who are faltering on their paths of conversion; a bishop who condemns same-sex marriage but takes a broader view of pedophilia; and a gay veteran's funeral, which is interrupted and chastised by pastors of a homophobic church. With the film's conclusion, the key question remaining is, "What's wrong with this picture?"
"This documentary, which will soon be making its way to gay and lesbian film festivals, exposes powerful wrongdoing taking place in the United States every day," explains Timane, who holds a counseling diploma and degrees in social policy and business management and is a J.D. degree candidate. "The horrible and painful struggle associated with religion and sexuality is responsible for everything from depression to drug addiction, self-abuse, family dysfunction, isolation, suicides and much, much more. 'What's Wrong With This Picture?' is a wake-up call, as well as a call to action. We've got to put a stop to the inhumane nature of our contemporary culture that's still breeding such unnecessary, tragic consequences."