NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - An award-winning Jewish filmmaker is to release a documentary film aimed at offering LGBTQ+ Catholics with homosexual iconography of Jesus.
Director Yuval David, a Jew "married" to his Catholic "husband," says he noticed the absence of LGBTQ+ portrayals of Jesus in Catholicism — a faith where icons play a significant part.
The lack of visual representation of a "gay Jesus" led David to create a feature-length movie exploring the challenges and aspirations of LGBTQ+ Catholics.
"I myself am Jewish but my husband is Catholic, and he expressed to me feelings of there not necessarily being a place for him in the same way as there was a place for straight people," David told AMNY news.
David's conversations with his "husband" Mark McDermott and "a photo art project" he was working on helped the filmmaker to realize that the missing "gay Jesus" iconography and similar forms of "rejection was a significant gap in the fullness of his life."
"Recognition of this rejection through my photo art project organically turned into the idea of reimagining Jesus as a member of or supporter of the LGBTQ+ community," David told the New York newspaper.
"I think the beauty of art is when you create something, you're not just creating it for yourself, you're creating it for somebody else. And then they kind of take ownership of that. They experience the art," the filmmaker explained.
Even though McDermott identifies as Catholic, he and David are both members of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York and of Beit Chayim Chadashim in Los Angles — both well-established LGBT synagogues.
"Wonderfully Made" is the first of a docuseries titled LGBTQ+R(eligion). Each episode of the series will focus on other religious traditions and LGBTQ+ identities.
The promo for the film boasts that it "provides behind-the-scenes footage of the creation of unprecedented iconography: sophisticated photo art depicting Jesus in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community."
"When you look at the gospels," Fr. James Martin says in the film, "you see that Jesus reached out specifically to people who are on the margins."
"And so, I think if Jesus were here today, in the flesh, on earth, he would be going first to LGBT people. For Jesus, there is no us and them. There's just us," Martin stresses.
The Jesuit has often quoted the biblical phrase from Psalm 139 out of context to support sodomite and pansexual relationships.
Martin tweeted in 2018:
I hope everyone reads today's Psalm (139), and remembers that God created them as they are, especially any LGBT youth who doubt this: "It was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Martin provoked outrage Tuesday after tweeting a doctored blasphemous image of Our Lady of Częstochowa, also known as the Black Madonna, the most venerated icon of the Polish people.
"The LGBT community has few images like this. So it is not surprising that they would add their own symbol, the rainbow, in a respectful way, to a beloved image of their mother," Martin tweeted, painting the LGBT rainbow flag colors into the halos of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus.
David's movie also features Fr. Massingale "dream(ing) of a church where two men and two women can stand before the Church, proclaim their love and have it blessed in a sacrament of marriage," despite the Bible viewing "homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity" and tradition pronouncing sodomy as "intrinsically disordered."
"And that their love would be seen as divine. That God is present in that relationship. When we look at their relationship, we touch God," Massingale defiantly adds.
In the film, Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, "which aims for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer Catholics to experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality and their sexuality," insists that LGBTQ+ people struggling to be accepted need to be told, "You are holy. You have the breath of God within you."
Queer Latino host of Affirmative Reaction Xorje Olivares praises the film for including people "who are challenging what modern-day Catholicism is," and "who are challenging what it's like to be a queer Catholic and ... who [have] some idea of wanting to hold onto their faith regardless of the spiritual violence that they've undergone."
The film emphasizes that homosexual clergy are not responsible for the sex abuse crisis engulfing the Church.
"We also interview heroic nuns such as Sr. Jeannine Gramick, a formidable advocate who has been ministering to LGBTQ+ people since 1977, despite a directive from the Vatican in 1991 to stop," brags David.
"Hierarchical requests did not deter her as a true woman of faith who says in our film 'I had a conviction that God was still calling me to be a voice for the voiceless,'" the filmmaker remarks.
"We may shock some with this film, but more will be moved to better understanding, and for those who are LGBTQ+, an inclusion they may have never experienced. If that is not what the church is about, then what is?" asks David.