top photo- the real Bobby Griffith on right, bottom photo-photo from the Movie-Prayers for Bobby
When I think of a Lifetime Movie, or a TV Movie of the Week, I think of something cheesy, starring a b-list cast, that I might watch when nothing else is on. Prayers for Bobby, which aired for the first time this past Saturday night on Lifetime, is nothing like that, starring a fabulous cast and carrying a big message.
This is a powerful movie, and I encourage any and all of you to watch it. I encourage you to have your parents and friends watch it. More than anything, I wish that parents with children who are gay would watch this movie, especially those parents that aren't supportive, and hopefully they will learn something.
This movie tells the true story of Mary Griffith and her son Bobby Griffith in 1970 suburban California. Bobby is gay, and his mother's strict religious views blind her from understanding and accepting him as a gay son. He ultimately is driven to suicide, and Mary (played by Sigourney Weaver) is left to learn in his absence about her faith and about the son she lost. I will tell you I cried so many times during this movie. I could relate to both this mother's confusion and this son trying so hard to not disappoint anyone.
But, I thought the most powerful parts of this movie were when Mary goes to see the pastor of a church that opened its doors to gay members. She questions this pastor relentlessly passage by passage from bible, telling him that God says homosexuality is a sin. The steps he took explaining to her that mortals interpreted the bible during different times in history and at times have twisted those interpretations to fit the times hit home to me.
I struggle with organized religion for these reasons. I think too often I see churches (and their members) standing in judgment instead of being accepting. I think anyone should feel that God is there for them, even if they have 'sinned' or done wrong...there shouldn't be anything that keeps someone from coming to a church and feeling welcome. Isn't that what it is all supposed to be about? And it shouldn't just be SOME churches. It should be all churches. And especially in the south, I just haven't found that to be the case. And I don't think the bible should ever be used as a weapon, on either side of an argument.
Also, as I think I have mentioned before, I have gay friends, and one in particular helped me find my voice in life, and really helped me believe in myself at a time when I didn't at all. I also know in talking to all of them, that the road they travel is never easy, and it is definitely not a choice. You are who you are.
Check out the Lifetime website for additional times when this movie will be showing. It is worth the time to watch it. And kudos to Lifetime for taking on edgier material, and something as important as this.