HRC Blog

Doers of the Word: Bishop Gene Robinson in Love Free or Die

Post submitted by Sharon Groves, former HRC Director, Religion and Faith Program

Often in the morning I stop by a local Catholic Church and catch the 8 am mass.  After seeing the debut of Macky Alston’s brilliant film, Love Free or Die, in DC, yesterday’s scriptural passage spoke to me in a whole new way:

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves, not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like.  But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing” (James 1.22-24).    

I believe God brings “Doers of the Word” into our midst not just to inspire but to embolden us to take risks for love.  And this is exactly what Bishop Gene Robinson is doing. He is not content to simply be “a hearer of the word” but he daily lives his faith by creating a more inclusive and loving world - the beloved community Jesus’ ministry invoked. Macky Alston’s new film, Love Free or Die, chronicles how Gene, in the company of amazing faith leaders, ignited change in the Anglican Communion and in so doing became a catalyst for a new, more honest and more loving conversation about LGBT people across religious traditions.

I was lucky to see the premiere of Love Free or Die at Sundance, where it won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for Grace Under Pressure.  HRC was also a cosponsor of the DC screening hosted by the Center for American Progress at the E street cinema in Washington, DC where it played to a sold-out crowd and received a standing ovation. The film follows Gene from his 2008 civil union, to the Lambeth Conference that same year, to Barack Obama's inauguration, to the fight for gay marriage in New Hampshire, to the 2009 Episcopal General Convention, and finally to the upcoming consecration of the second openly gay Episcopal Bishop, Mary Glasspool. 

When we encounter true “Doers of the Word” transformation happens because their willingness to live their faith gives us the courage to do the same.  At a particularly moving moment in the film, after being assaulted by an angry heckler, Gene preaches, “The opposite of faith is not hate, it’s fear. “  We see in this film how Gene confronts fear and in the process makes history—the film will inspire you to do the same. 

Macky and Gene are traveling the country currently premiering the film. You can follow them on Twitter, Facebook or visit their new web site

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