Church, Tea Party Condemn Movie to be Shown at the Coudersport Library

Potter County Tea Party & Free Methodist Church call for  phone-in protest tomorrow

COUDERSPORT – A movie titled ‘Out In The Silence’ is slated to be shown at the Coudersport public library on Wednesday, July 28 at 6:30 pm.

The WPSU website says this about the film,

Out in the Silence is more than a movie, it’s part of the movement for fairness, equality and human rights for GLBT people. Following the story of a small American town confronting a firestorm of controversy ignited by a same-sex wedding announcement in the local newspaper, this gripping documentary will challenge you to rethink your values and help close the gaps that divide our communities.

The film, which promotes Homosexual, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender equality, has sparked a protest by the Free Methodist Church and leaders of the Potter County Tea Party.

Producers and promoters of the show say it engages the audience and opens a dialog for communities to begin embracing the GLBT lifestyle, but the Coudersport Free Methodist Church says the film promotes the destruction of Marriage and the American Family.

Pastor Pete Tremblay said in an email that the film specifically targets Evangelical Christians because, “The main character is ‘an Evangelical Pastor’ who has a conflict with his wife concerning the sexual sin of their son. The wife is depicted as the tolerant one, and the pastor as intolerant until he ‘examines his deeply held beliefs’. The purpose is a ‘challenge to rethink your convictions’. In other words, it is a movie designed to get people to give up their convictions based on the word of God and accept these practices as equivalent to God’s design for human sexuality. It is propaganda”.

The Free Methodist Church is calling for a peaceful phone-in protest to the screening of the movie at the public library in Coudersport.

Pastor Tremblay requested that people, “call the library…and in a Christian manner inform them that this event is not a benefit to our community, and ask that it be canceled.”

He went on to say that questions need to be raised as to why such ‘propaganda’ is being promoted by tax dollars and shown at a public institution.

George Brown, acting President of the Potter County Tea Party says he believes in tolerance, but does not support changing the law in regards to marriage.

Brown also said, “The group supporting this event should pay for a private location as we are expected to do in promotion of our agendas. Churches would not be allowed to show a “Pro-Jesus” and “Gospel” message in the Library because of supposed “separation of church and state”. Yet we can be attacked for our beliefs at a public library we support with our tax money. This is wrong and cannot be tolerated.”

Brown went on to say that action against the public library may be necessary:

Should this agenda be continued, we may need to ask if the Library should be defunded. Right now $1.5 million of local taxes goes to support the Coudersport Library as well as state taxes. Do you want your taxes supporting [this] political agenda…

Both the Potter County Tea Party and the Free Methodist Church have called upon constituents to peacefully phone-in protests to the showing of the movie.

Brown says they intend to make contact with the library and will be ‘kind’ and ‘tolerant’, but ‘firm’ in their opposition to the movie.

Regardless of which position you take on the screening of the film, one thing seems certain; the film will likely stir up controversy, pit neighbor against neighbor, and be heatedly debated for some time to come. Perhaps this is what promoters of the show mean by ‘engaging’.

Whatever your opinion, you can voice it by contacting the Coudersport Public Library Board President, Jane Metzger, at cellojani@hotmail.com and/or the library at coudy502@hotmail.com, or by calling 814-274-9382.


  • Concerned Citizen

    I certainly am not at a loss for words, as I have very strong feelings AGAINST this film.

    This film is out to persuade others to “rethink” the morals and values that we live by.

    Here in small town USA, we often feel safe and secure and a bit sheltered but this is no longer the case. More often then not, we Christians are faced with fighting for morals and values. We are fighting for our FAMILIES!

    It is films like this that is tearing apart the very fabric that makes families strong.

    I will contact the Library and voice my concern, if this film is showed, I will no longer support the Coudersport Library.

    ‎2 Peter 2:1-3- But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

    In his letter to the church at Rome, the Apostle Paul adds his condemnation to homosexuality, when he writes:

    “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Like…wise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”(Romans 1:26-27, NKJV)

    In Homosexuality: A Biblical View, Greg Bahnsen puts it bluntly:

    “God’s verdict on homosexuality is inescapably clear. His law is a precise interpretation of the sexual order of creation for fallen man, rendering again His intention and direction for sexual relations. When members of the same sex (homo-sexual) practice intercourse with each other…they violate God’s basic creation order in a vile and abominable fashion.”

  • Dan-in-PA

    Nice of you to invoke a biblical position as you work to ensure a certain class of American’s is excluded from the rights and liberties granted to all of us under the constitution.

    Far from promoting a gay lifestyle, the movie demonstrates clearly how fear and prejudice work together to ostracize otherwise perfectly upstanding human beings from society. This is not a movie intended to turn your children gay, that’s a laugh. Rather, this movie is intended to educate the bigoted in an effort to stop the hate.

    Seriously, when you read your promotion of the movie and then read the 1st post, would it ever cross your closed minds that NO RATIONAL HUMAN BEING would ever choose to be gay in the environment you describe? Gay is not a choice, being gay in your manufactured environment is torture.

    This movie doesn’t promote gay, it promotes understanding. You need to stop judging people, it makes you a lousy Christian and an even worse American citizen.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

  • http://www.equalitypa.org Jimmy James

    Hasn’t the Tea Party been insisting that we follow the constitution? Or have they chosen to ignore that pesky First Amendment with its protection of freedom of speech?

  • Anonymous

    It is vitally important that you oppose anything you don’t already know. Since you haven’t seen the movie, you had better not take the chance. What if it gave you an idea? What would you do then?

  • Greg-In-PA

    The story on Coudy.com says that “The film promotes Homosexual, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender equality, …” As someone who has seen the film several times, it believe that statement misrepresents the film.

    While equality is something to be aspired, the film really is about promoting conversation and the exchange of ideas.

    I can think of no better place for that discourse than a public library –– a place whose purpose is to be a place for ideas, information and discourse.

  • admin

    Thank you for your opinion Greg.

    The statement that the film promotes homosexual, bisexual, and transgender equality was derived partially from reviews of the film and statements made about the film by producers and promoters.

    Since the film is ‘pro-gay’, I do feel that it promotes such equality as stated above. Even if it is merely an avenue to open a dialogue concerning such lifestyles, I believe that it does promote such equality.

    However, I have not seen the film yet Greg, and I completely respect your input and opinion on the matter.

    I will see the film tomorrow.

  • Still concerned

    Dan I never said said anything about hate. Nor did my post sound hateful at all. NO ONE should hate ANYONE who is gay. That goes against what the Bible teaches. We are not to hate anyone, but hate what keeps them in bondage to sin.

    I am a Christian and I use the Bible as a base for my families daily living. The Bible clearly states being gay is unnatural and is a sin. Of course for some who are not Christians and even some who are, find this immiscible.

    Everyone is entitled to an viewpoint and or an opinion. I am not judging anyone, merely stating the facts as I see them.

    What about the rights and liberties granted to Christians under the constitution? I’m not going to whine, but it is very clear that “some” put all of us into a catgory and view as haters of others if they do not think like we do.

    It is my right to view a gay lifestyle as sin, according to the words I read in the Bible. Period, it’s my view. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing how unchristian Christians can be. God made people are they are, including the ones who have a same sex preference. Many such people were made to be so by God, not by choice. If He didn’t love and accept them, he wouldn’t have made them.

  • Tina Ciampa

    I’m glad we have libraries & courageous librarians who support education & freedom of speech & dialogue, all of which are vital to a working democracy.

    I would encourage anyone to go and see this film.

    I learned about how a young man, his family, school and community were affected by reactions to his sexual orientation.

    I appreciate the efforts people are making to create more just and caring communities. I am glad to see people who want to build bridges across the divides of stereotypes & suspicion.

    Thank you Coudersport Library & those involved in the film “Out in the Silence.”

  • http://www.eriegaynews.com Michael Mahler

    Um, last I checked isn’t equality a good thing and one of the cornerstones of our democracy? Aren’t libraries supposed to be places where we learn?

    One of the most moving parts of the film is the growing dialog between Pastor Mark Miklos and the filmmakers, who eventually grow into a place of friendship and understanding.

    People learn things when they talk with unfamiliar folks. People learn that we are all human beings.

  • Stacey Gray

    When one actually sees this film, 2 things will quickly become evident. First it is obvious from his description that the quoted Pastor Pete Tremblay has not, and hence condemns from a point of ignorance. Second it is just that condemnation born of ignorance that is portrayed and protested against in the film.

    The film is not about homosexuality as some allege, any more than it is an attack on Evangelical Christians as Tremblay alleges. It is not in support of Gay marriage as is oft supposed, nor is it in any way an attack upon conventional marriage. It is about the Holiest of Christian values, love, as in “A new command I give you: Love one another.” (John 13:3)Yes there are people of alternative lifestyles represented, just as there are persons of various “Christian” persuasions. The film is not about them, it is about healing the rift between them. It is about tolerance of varying perspectives. It is not an attack upon your lifestyle or beliefs, it is a proposal that other people’s lifestyles and beliefs, no matter how diametrically opposed, can and do have value, and to have yours tolerated, you must tolerate the others. As so succinctly put, ”Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12).

    According to Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, “A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. The correct use of the term requires the elements of intolerance, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs. The term has evolved to refer to persons hostile to people of differing race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation and religion in modern English usage.” I warn you that you will see bigots in the film. I urge you to see the film, then decide which ones they are, and which ones the Christians are. I suggest that they are not mutually exclusive.

    I support your Library’s courage in bringing Out in the Silence to Coudersport, to present an opposing position, to promote discourse, to counter intolerance, irrationality, and animosity, to educate the people, for only through education does understanding and tolerance evolve.

    Stacey Gray, Carlton PA.

  • admin

    Thank you for your reply Stacey.

    Let me ask you this, as it seems to be the real focal point surrounding the opposition to the screening at a public venue:

    Do you feel the film should be supported by the tax dollars of those who do not support the movie or it’s message?

    Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to screen the film at a private venue?

    It is difficult to remain objective on issues that we all feel so strongly about, but we must all put ourselves in the ‘other person’s shoes’ to really be objective.

    Just imagine for a moment that the Free Methodist Church was screening a film at the public library that promoted marriage between men and women only. Imagine that the film went against your beliefs and opinions.

    Would you oppose such a film being shown at a public institution?

    Personally I’m saddened that the entire situation has been blown out of proportion and cast into such a negative discussion.

    I do agree that regardless of which beliefs and opinions we personally harbor, we should be open to respectful dialogue and discussion from both sides of the isle, and we should do our best to consider such.

    I continually try to put myself in ‘someone else’s shoes’, so that I can objectively see arguments from both sides of the fence.

    Once again, thank you all for your comments.

    CoudyNews.com Editor,
    Tim Hallman

  • http://www.eriegaynews.com/mahlerblog Michael Mahler

    First off, the movie doesn’t really focus on the marriage issue. However, if the library did present such a film, I think that a far better response would not be to silence all debate, but show additional sides of the issue.

    Surely, you are not suggesting that every taxpayer in Potter County approves of every holding by the library? Should people only be presented with materials and viewpoints with with they are already comfortable? Is there a minimum percentage of public approval that is required for a particular viewpoint or info to be heard? If that’s the case, then how is the general public ever to be informed if only ideas that are part of the mainstream are presented. There was a time when we believed women should not have the right to vote, or that it was morally acceptable to keep other human beings as slaves. What was the required percentage of public support before materials on those could have been available at libraries?

    Would Christians willingly accept libraries that didn’t include their viewpoints if they were in an area where their religion was the minority? As a parallel example, I strongly disagree with most of the viewpoints of Sarah Palin. However, even in a predominantly politically progressive municipality, I don’t think that the majority should have the right to suppress any sort of materials in a library about her. I am confident enough that in the free marketplace of ideas, truth and reason will eventually win out.

    Consider the message that this also sends to GLBT people and their families in Potter County. Effectively, you are telling them that their existence is so offensive that it can’t be shown in a public venue. (Hmm, doesn’t strike me as what my understanding of the teachings of Jesus seem to be about, and I think that the pastor in the film and other clergy I know might conceivably back me up on that one.)

  • admin

    Thank you for your comment Michael.

    I believe that both the Tea Party and the Free Methodist Church have said they would be much more tolerant if in fact they were able to express their point of view, and the other side of the argument at the show.

    However, they have made the case that it would not be tolerated, as it would violate ‘separation of church and state’, and they feel that screening such a political movie is also a violation of this.

    I believe that is where the real issue arises. I believe the church feels that the public library is sponsoring a one-side political agenda, without any rebuttal.

    I agree with most everything you have said Michael, but I also believe that some religious institutions have taken offense to arguments that quote Jesus Christ in defense of homosexuality.

    They argue that while the Bible teaches forgiveness and treating others like you would want to be treated, it expressly says that homosexuality is a sin.

    Do we all commit sin according to the Bible? Yes. Does that make it right or acceptable? No.

    Now, I’m no authority on religion, I can only tell you what others have told me regarding that issue.

    I see that you call yourself a Pagan.

    Let me ask you this, would you approve of your tax dollars being used to promote a Christian agenda at your local public library?

  • http://www.eriegaynews.com/mahlerblog Michael Mahler

    Hmm, last I checked, there were books and materials at my library that are Christian and deal with that, so my tax dollars already are being used that way. But that’s okay, there are materials at the library about probably just about every other religious orientation, including atheism and agnosticism. So long as they all have equal access, that’s fine.

    May I point out the the word for homosexuality as referring to a mode of being as an aspect of categorizing a person didn’t exist until 1850? There were people who would very likely have chosen to identify that way if they had access to that term, and some who might not have, but

    I was at a film screening with a panel discussion several months ago that included a theology professor. A woman stood up with her Bible and quoted a passage that included the word homosexual. The theology professor (who had earned his doctorate a while back) pointed out that the language that the Bible originally would have been written didn’t have such a word. This effectively means that claiming that the Bible says something explicitly about homosexuality is akin to claiming that it says something explicitly about a representative democracy, such as we have now.

    Similarly, I can’t imagine that there is an issue extant that some religious institutions have not objected to an interpretation of what the opposing side claims that the Bible or Jesus says. I know quite a few Christians who are equally offended by those attempting to defend being anti-gay. And of course, as a Pagan, it’s all sort of moot point from my perspective. (Not unlike pointing out Hindu beliefs about consuming beef or keeping kosher to Christians.)

    I must admit to being uncomfortable that this is being represented as a gay vs Christian thing, as if all gay people and their supporters are by definition mutually exclusive from Christians. I am in fairly frequent contact with a Christian church where I live that is welcoming and affirming. It may not be my faith tradition, but I have no doubt that they are completely sincere in their religious beliefs.

    Having known gay people who assume that Christian = gay-hating bigots, I feel that it is important to represent the tremendous range (and occasional overlap) in both communities. Years ago, I was one of 2 organizers for our local Pride Picnic. A woman attending made some kind of disparaging remark to the effect of all Christians being anti-gay. As it so happened, the woman who was my co-organizer was a PFLAG mom who saw her faith and Jesus’ message as being about embracing all, including GLBT people. (So, she was there promoting a Christian agenda according to her extremely sincere beliefs.) I felt mortified that this woman, who had given so freely of her time, might have overheard this remark. So, framing this as 2 mutually and irrevocably antagonistic sides hurts BOTH sides.

  • http://www.eriegaynews.com/mahlerblog Michael Mahler

    A factual point. The article quotes Pastor Pete Tremblay as saying:

    “The main character is ‘an Evangelical Pastor’ who has a conflict with his wife concerning the sexual sin of their son. The wife is depicted as the tolerant one, and the pastor as intolerant until he ‘examines his deeply held beliefs’. The purpose is a ‘challenge to rethink your convictions’. In other words, it is a movie designed to get people to give up their convictions based on the word of God and accept these practices as equivalent to God’s design for human sexuality. It is propaganda”.

    I have seen this film several times. Although Pastor Miklos is an important character in the film, it is inaccurate to call him the main character. I am not aware that there is even a reference to their son (or if they even have a son.) The Pastor and his wife do form a friendship with Joe and Dean, but that was after Pastor Miklos wrote a letter to the editor. Also, I don’t believe that it is accurate to refer to someone who is in a documentary as a “character.” Characters are written by authors for fictional works. Out in the Silence is a documentary. CJ, his mother, Roxanne, Linda, Joe, Dean, the Miklos and everyone else are actual human beings, and not scripted characters. I must admit to being puzzled that someone who had actually seen the documentary would make those statements.

  • admin

    Thanks again Michael. I am glad that you have chosen to engage in a meaningful and respectful debate.

    I would like to comment on the word “homosexuality” as the Bible refers (or does not for that matter) to it.

    I believe you are correct, the word homosexuality did not exist when the Bible was written.

    However, as I understand it the Bible addresses homosexuality by declaring that ‘A man lying with a man’ or ‘A woman lying with a woman’ is a sin.

    So, while they did not have a ‘word’ for homosexuality, they certain understood and addressed the concept.

    The one thing that I do take issue with is that when making arguments against what the Bible says, people use manipulations, such as saying that the word homosexuality did not exist when the Bible was written.

    All too often such technicalities are used to make an argument.

    As for all Christians hating homosexuals and such, I agree with you Michael. I don’t believe that any real Christians hate anyone, they simply do not agree, and feel compelled to not condone what they believe is a sin.

    I have tried to leave my personal beliefs and opinions out of the article, but the comments are a great place for them, and so allow me to clarify my personal belief on the matter.

    I am a straight man, however I have absolutely no hate or ill feelings towards homosexuals. I believe that people should be free to do as they please with their lives, and I am no one to criticize how they live their lives.

    I do however see why some Christians feel that the sanctity of marriage would be compromised by allowing gay people to be married.

    For thousands of years marriage was a religious matter, and not one of the state. Personally I believe this entire thing went wrong when the government took it upon themselves (and surely with the help of a great Christian influence at the time) to implement marriage as a state institution.

    There seems to be a simple, yet impossible, solution to the entire situation.

    Do away with marriage as a state law. Leave marriage up to the churches and various religious organizations that subscribe to the concept of marriage, and instead install a state ‘unified co-habitation’ if you will.

    This would allow Christians to maintain what they view as their religious right, but would afford those who are not religious the same rights and benefits under law that married couples receive.

    Although I feel this is not only the best and simplest solution, I doubt it would ever gain popularity on either side of the fence.

    Either way, thanks again for your input Michael!

  • Thank you

    I want to thank the Admin for words well spoken and well taken.

  • admin

    Thank you 7:25.

    I have always been of the belief that one should listen, understand, and then digest another perspective or point of view before formulating one’s own opinion.

    I hope that we can all continue to engage in a respectful debate with open minds regarding this matter.

    Thank you all for remaining respectful while discussing this matter.

    CoudyNews.com Editor,
    Tim Hallman

  • http://www.eriegaynews.com Michael Mahler

    I should point out that the film primarily deals with a student who is harassed and attacked in his school for being gay, and business owners trying to restore a building in their community who are targeted for a boycott. So, the marriage discussion is rather a sidetrack from the actual focus of the film.

    I believe that the concept of forming a lifelong romantic partnership for personal fulfillment between social and legal equals (whether opposite-sex or same-sex couples) is a relatively recent innovation and I would argue that, as far as I can tell, this is significantly different from anything that would be addressed.

    A point that I believe is missed is that there is a difference between civil marriage and wedding ceremonies performed by particular religious institutions. It has always been the case that a religious institution can refuse to perform wedding ceremonies for couples that do not meet the religious institutions’ criteria, but that in no way prevents the couple from a civil marriage and the protections and responsibilities that go with that. Obviously, 2 atheists or agnostics or inter-faith couples who are of opposite genders can be married right now under civil law without a religious institution being involved.

    There are religious institutions today (both Christian and other faith traditions) that would be extremely happy to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples as they do for opposite sex couples. The religious freedoms of these institutions are being infringed upon. (And, as mentioned previously, non-approving religious institutions are not required to perform any ceremonies.)

    I believe that there are legal issues in changing terms midstream or in selectively applying laws that most people probably haven’t thought of. As an example, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) effectively creates a route to bigamy. Consider: a same-sex couple can go to a state that has marriage equality and become legally married in that state and those states that recognize it. However, because other states are allowed to disregard that marriage, that means that both partners are free to enter into a marriage in a state that doesn’t recognize that marriage, and thus one or both partners could legally marry an opposite-sex partner in a non-recognizing state. That is one of the reasons that states have (up until 1996) always recognized marriages performed in other states, even though they might not have been able to be performed in that state.

    There are other issues as well. A few years ago, there was an opposite sex couple who divorced. The wife moved to a locale that had civil unions, and subsequently entered into one with another woman. The former husband had to continue paying alimony because the law only addressed the ex-spouse getting remarried and was silent about civil unions. (Lawyers and courts are notoriously unlikely to say things like “Whatever. Same idea.”)

    By the way, what would then happen if states didn’t enact the same term for a marriage equivalent as all other states? What happens to couples already in legal marriages if that term disappears? What happens to bi-national couples, either gay or straight, assuming that their respective countries don’t use the same legal term for marriage?

    Certainly, religious institutions are free to use whatever terms they would like, but changing every law at every level of government simultaneously is extremely unlikely and problematic at best. (To say nothing of international law.)

  • Stacey Gray

    Mr. Hallman:

    Thank you for continuimg the discussion. In response to your question:

    Back in the 1960s, my mother served upon a jury called to evaluate the morality of a supposedly pornographic film per the new community standards rulings. The question was, was it pornographic in regards to the morality of the day and should it then be censored. The verdict rendered was that while the individuals of that jury personally found it to be offensive, they could not and would not cause censorship as it was apparent by the film’s popularity and certain other aspects of the community (adult book stores and theaters) that apparently some people liked that sort of thing, and were entitled to their opinions as well

    I have on several occasions found things in my public library that I personally found offensive. I did not have to read them. But on other occasions in researching other matters, I have found those same materials to be requisite to the research.

    In that perspective, were this film a book instead, would there be any question as to the appropriateness of it’s inclusion in the public library? I would suggest that that there would be no question at all. And in that scenario, would a book review where persons met to discuss that book be a proper use of the publicly supported Library facility? Again I would suggest that it would be a totally appropriate use of the facility.

    So now we have 3 sets of circumstance, the dissemination of varying perspective, the public discourse, and the question of relativity to the community. I believe all to be obviously in favor. The information needs to be available – especially in the rural communities without the resources available elsewhere -; there needs to be public discourse on the issue as evidenced by the issue being brought and the protest in your community; and it is relative as obviously there are intolerant people and their victims.

    The remaining question is intent. Having seen the film, I will state my opinion that it does not promote any position except that of tolerance and acceptance of varying perspective. That is the film’s message. I will suggest that as with any other artistic work, each person interprets differently, sees their own qualities/deficiencies and message. As with so many things, what one gets out of it depends upon what perspective one brings into it. Let me tell you mine.

    The prompting story is about a young man and the torment he suffers at the hands of society when he comes out as being Gay, how he is abused by first his school mates and then the administration, and then the community. The film then goes on to document several similar stories in the same community, and the attempts to find healing. My granddaughter attended that same school system at about that same time. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at 9, she suffered the chemo and radiation treatments that caused her hair loss and stunted her growth. She was bald and now looks like a Downs child. She suffered the merciless torment of her school mates as well, and was eventually victimized by the administration, and ostracized by the community, hence, my passion for this story. If this film was about her, would there be any question as to it’s appropriateness for presentation and promoting public discourse on healing societal attitudes towards handicapped people?

    And if it were a documentary about Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama?

    Or Betty Friedan?

    I am sure the answers to all would be that they would be appropriate. Therefore I have to say that I find this film, recognized on it’s production merits and as a recognized instrument for social change, is indeed appropriate for the public venue. The only objection I have heard so far is that it offends some people because of the perceived orientation issue. I am not aware that attendance is mandatory.

    With regards to the Church analogy you suggest I would have to take a Constitutional position based upon Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s 1994 writing for the majority, concluding that “government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion.” That being said, if one wishes to allow one Church to utilize the public building as a pulpit, then one must equally allow every other religion and non religion the same opportunity. If that is the case than I would have no issue as to the suggested use, though I suggest it would be a dangerous precedent to set, and that it is indeed not the case.

    I have, and I believe rightfully so, protested a Church group sponsored assembly in that same school system. My issues were 2; that the program promoted intolerant positions toward certain members of the community, and more importantly that attendance was mandatory, hence the other religions and irreligious were improperly subjected to that group’s propaganda without opportunity to avoid it. That clearly is not the case here. Whether you believe it to be propaganda would be your decision after viewing, whether or not to attend is your decision before.

    To be informed on the issue is an obligation though.

    Now I will ask you a question:
    In a recent decision by ”Judge Joseph Tauro of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services, declaring the denial of federal rights and benefits to lawfully married Massachusetts couples under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. Judge Tauro, who was nominated to the bench by President Richard Nixon, held in Gill that DOMA violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws, concluding that “indeed, Congress undertook this classification for the one purpose that lies entirely outside of legislative bounds, to disadvantage a group of which it disapproves. And such a classification, the Constitution clearly will not permit.” (http://www.hrc.org/14624.htm ) Do you feel that this protest is similarly based in an attempt to disadvantage and silence a group which it disapproves? Does it not concern you that the disapproval is based in irrational prejudice and ignorance?

  • admin

    Michael and Stacey I will respond to your comments as soon as I’ve had a chance to read and absorb them!

    Many thanks!

  • Stacey Gray

    Mr. Hallman:
    Following the discussion, I must say that I agree with your comments regarding the improper institutionalization of “marriage” . I think that we would all be better served if we were to focus upon the legal contract represented by what has traditionally been referred to as marriage. Call that civil union or domestic commitment or anything you like, but don’t use the term marriage. Propose instead one rule under which all couples may apply and leave their sexuality completely out of it. Provide the equality of a contract of commitment to all persons Let churches use the terms Marriage and Annulment, and decide whom they will bestow the sacrament of Marriage upon, and withdraw it from. Let us all be subject to the same State opportunity for civil commitment and the dissolution there of generally known as divorce. Allow all people the same opportunity, the same “life equality” of employment benefits and civil and legal rights, and yes, even the misery of divorce! That to me is Equality, and separation of Church and State.
    The issue is, of course, that some legally married couples have been denied rights and benefits available to spouses, but denied to them becausethey are same sex couples. Local ordinances and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law adopted in 1996, define marriage solely as the union of a man and a woman. In July 2009, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts filed a suit challenging the federal government’s requirement that in operating federally-funded programs, including Medicaid and the administration of veterans’ cemeteries, the state must treat some of its married citizens differently than others. There are over 1,000 rights, benefits and responsibilities tied to marriage under federal law, including Social Security survivors’ benefits, family and medical leave, equal compensation as federal employees, and immigration rights, among others. The fact that all those denied these rights, benefits and responsibilities are homosexual couples is clearly discrimination, hence Judge Tauro’s ruling.
    In Judaism there is a formal contract called a Kahtuba (sp.) which is the contract between the couple. They are married when they sign that Kahtuba (sp.), which is done normally in a small and private gathering of couple & witnesses. The ceremony is just the blessing of that union by the congregation through its Rabbi and by its God. I think this is a pretty good example. Let the couple – all couples – apply to the State not for a license, but to register their contract – just like we register wills and deeds and probates, and let it be official when the documents are filed. Let the congregations decide who to bless.

    With regards to the Christian aversion to “sin”, how is it that “sin” is so oft manipulated per the then issue at hand? Shellfish are a sin, except of course when served in cocktail sauce. With regards to the Christian Church’s stand on homosexuality, I do not understand how a Christian religion based in love can turn its back on love. While I do not see anything referencing sexual orientation in the original 10, I do see that Commandment 9 says “Thou shalt not bear false witness”. As far as I’m concerned those are the universally accepted words of God, any dogma of any Church are the words of man. So how do they suggest that the words of man should override the words of God? Or the words of a Congressional ruling take precedence over the word of God? Lying is a sin, except of course when required by the Military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell mandate. How can anyone sponsor anything that demands one bear false witness? How can anyone be opposed to ending such a directive to sin? But we see that opposition as well. Why? What are people afraid of? Equality?

  • Stacey Gray

    I have seen Out in the Silence many times, most in libraries and other public buildings around the region. Why has this become a tempest in the teapot of Coudersport? As much as I am enjoying the discussion, it really is a shame that whoever wrote this article did not first see the film in question. As has been pointed out, it would not appear that any of those quoted had.

    “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment”. [John 7:24]

    It has been noted in this discussion “that both the Tea Party and the Free Methodist Church have said they would be much more tolerant if in fact they were able to express their point of view”. Point of view on what, that respect for each other is a good thing? That social tolerance and acceptance of other’s perspectives is preferable to hate and bigotry? That it is not acceptable to torment and terrorize people that you do no agree with? That it is OK to disagree, but hate and violence are unacceptable? I wish they would! I would be willing to bet that ”they”, as individuals, like every other citizen, will be welcome to attend. In every presentation I have been to, everyone has been encouraged to enter into the discussion following the film. That is after all what public discourse is, I’ve not seen anyone silenced, berated or in-tolerated. I have seen people express very different attitudes than the one they came in with. One woman sobbed “After watching this, I am ashamed to admit to being straight.” Leave your prejudices and closed minds at home, go see the film. “…..judge righteous judgment”

    The writer’s adversarial comment that “Regardless of which position you take on the screening of the film, one thing seems certain; the film will likely stir up controversy, pit neighbor against neighbor, and be heatedly debated for some time to com.” is 180 degrees opposite the real intent of the film It is not designed to pit anyone against anyone, but to heal the current rifts; to open minds and hearts, not polarize people; to bring people together, not drive them apart. Anyone who saw the film would know that

    The reported comments “Brown went on to say that action against the public library may be necessary: ‘Should this agenda be continued, we may need to ask if the Library should be defunded. Right now $1.5 million of local taxes goes to support the Coudersport Library as well as state taxes. Do you want your taxes supporting [this] political agenda’” is the really scary part. Picture the book burning they could have if they do close down the Library. But then again, those people will not miss the Library, they already know everything and their minds are made up.

    “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”
    attrib. various sources, predominantly Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

    Reply from the editor:
    Once again thank you for your input Stacey. Let me first say that I must limit my commentary on this article or I’ll not have time for any other news ;)

    First, let me say that my statement regarding the controversy that the showing of this film has stirred up is merely the reality of the situation in our current events, whether we like it or not. This IS a news blog and I report the news. Also, likening the statements made by Tea Party leaders to a book burning is a bit inflaming in itself ;)

    I would also like to point out that statements such as, “One woman sobbed ‘After watching this, I am ashamed to admit to being straight.'” is why I believe some people take offense. That statement says it’s not normal to be heterosexual, and that heterosexual people should somehow feel ashamed.

    Can you see the irony in such a statement coming from a group whose purpose is to promote the fair treatment, rights, and tolerance of a group of people who subscribe to a specific sexual preference?

    I believe this is why many people feel threatened by your movement, and therefore the movie.

    To address your statement regarding hate and bigotry, as I said before I do not believe that most people are hateful, or that they condone torturing or terrorizing those that do not share their beliefs. Most of the Christians that I spoke to today condemned such behavior. In fact there seemed to be a general consensus among all of those I spoke with that people should be treated kindly regardless of their sexual preference. Most simply argued that they should be entitled to their beliefs and that others’ beliefs should not be forced upon them. Again, I refer to the quote above, as such words only further the fear that a alternative sexual lifestyle is being forced upon those who disagree with it.

    I would like to say that I do believe that the library should have a varying array of material covering every subject. The purpose of our libraries is to amass a wealth of all kinds of information, on every subject, for the minority and for the majority, and to make it available to the public. However, the question of whether or not a film promoted by producers, advertised in commercial media, and serving a political agenda (lets be honest here) should be given the same privileges as works of writing still remains, at least in my mind.

    And here is why I still have questions. Will this film ever be commercialized? Will it air on HBO someday and make the producers profits? If so, then I believe that a theater or other such private venue may have been more appropriate.

  • http://thomascwaters.com Thomas Waters

    I’d like to make 2 comments. The dialogue generated here has been awesome and good to read people share ideas back and forth. I’d also like to comment more directly to Mr Hallman’s question about the use of tax dollars and the use of a public library. Sir, I am a gay man, and I’ve paid my taxes for as long as I have been old enough to work. Why shouldn’t MY tax dollars go to support the free exchange of ideas and dialogue? Isn’t that a cornerstone of our democracy. In fact, I can think of few uses of OUR taxes that are better spent. The same holds true for the use of a public library. It should be open for the free expression of ideas by all of the public.

    I would feel differently, if this was a “gay film” of either fiction or non-fiction possibly, and if it had the intention to serve as propaganda. But I honestly don’t think it is or does. It is a documentary- it documents real people and their real lives. As someone who has made some film, I actually think Joe and Dean did a very good job of showing multiple sides of the issue, and trying to allow differing viewpoints and attitudes to be expressed, including those of folks like Diane Gramley, who chose not to speak when given a chance.

    I’m glad to read that you will be seeing the film. I look forward to reading what you have to say, after you have seen the film.

    Editor’s response:
    The question raised about the tax dollars isn’t so much about the GLBT issue at hand, but whether or not a promoted film that could possibly become commercialized should be shown at an institution that is paid for by tax dollars.

    You say the film is merely a documentary, but it has been promoted commercially. When the library receives books and other material, it does not take out newspaper ads to sway the public into reading that material.

    I believe this is the difference, and why people have taken exception to the film. One cannot simply argue that the film should be treated exactly the same as typical material at the library, if it is promoted differently.

    There are many people who believe drugs should be legalized. There is an entire sub-culture of drug users, probably larger than the GLBT community. If drugs are legalized, and it seems that it may actually happen someday, people would still take offense to a movie being shown at the library that promoted the use of drugs. Especially if that movie were advertised to people’s children.

    You may say, “hey wait a minute how dare you compare drug users to the GLBT community”, and to that I say ask a long time drug user if they don’t feel the same about their lifestyle as you do about yours.

    As for the film not serving as propaganda, then I ask why was the film advertised and promoted so much? Propaganda can be defined as the spreading of ideas or information to influence or introduce others to a cause. Certainly there must be some type of cause, or no one would have reason to promote the film.

    Thank you Thomas :)

  • me myself and my opinion

    I personally am against being gay. As states in the bible it is wrong and is a sin. I however did not watch the movie, so thereforE i can not say anything about the movie. It has basically been accepted by most of society that 2 women being together is fine. That has been brought on and accepted because of the thinking of 95 percent of males. The majority of mens dreams are of being with 2 women at the same time. And that led to men thinking that it’s just fine for 2 men to be together. And all of the people that fight for right’s of people for the wrong reasons and not for the rights that are actual rights that are being taken away from man, are responsible for this to. And by this i mean letting society believe it’s alright to be gay. 2 guy’s, thats just disgusting…. And that’s just my opinion. Well it’s a fact in my head. I don’t think my tax dollars should be used to show that movie or any other movie unless it is educational in a constructive way. I think that there is much more important things that tax dollars should be spent on. But that is a whole other issue. I do want to state that coudynews.com is getting very popular and I personally stopped going to solomon’s because of the gossip and bickering that goes on in the comment posts. It was just too much drama. I really would hate to see coudynews.com going in the same direction. I know there is a comment section to voice your opinions, but it shouldn’t be a spot to sit and argue with people. You should voice your opinion about the posted article and that be that. It’s not a place for people to argue. But anyways, back to matter… If the movie does promote gay’s, then no it deffinately should not be played at a public library. Ask your fathers and grandfathers if when they were younger if such things would be tolerated. I doubt it. Was our founding fathers of this country getting reacharounds from other dudes? I don’t think so. Interpret the constitution and all however you want, but i know damn well it doesn’t say you have the right to be gay….. If i may ask, what do they say when someone gets married???? I believe it’s I PRONOUNCE YOU HUSBAND AND WIFE. Not husband and husband. People are trying to rewrite what was placed in history. While your at it, you might as well rewrite the constitution. Right? No… wrong! I do have to say. as in the yes of a christian, whether someone is gay they should not be hated. They should not be tortured. They can live their lives as they want. But to go and advertise such sin is outright ridiculous. Just because it’s ok in some peoples eyes doesn’t make it right. Being gay that is. What’s next? Since we are in podonk potter county, are we going to allow sex with animals? That’s just as bad as being gay in my opinion. Just because a number of twisted people (gay’s) think that something is right, doesn’t make it right. And if someone was to put into my children’s heads that it’s ok for them to be gay would bring out my anger very much. There was man and there was women… for one reason they were made differently, and that is to reproduce and bring life into this world. If all were gay, that would be the end of civilization. And for people to bring young ones up believing thats ok is just wrong. More people are gay because a percent of society is teaching that it’s ok whe it’s not. And to dan in pa, yeah whe people are taught being gay is fine then yes that does change them and encourage them to be gay. As far as christians hating gays. well christian should love everyone and forgive them of their sins. BUT IT’S STILL NOT RIGHT TO BE GAY!!!!!

  • Dan

    Welcome to the 18th century, Coudersport.

  • My thoughts

    Not agreeing with something a person does, does not mean they are hated. Hate the sin and love the sinner. My kids might lie and yes it is wrong. Do I hate them? NO. I love them. Do I tell them that lying is bad, why it is bad and what can happen if they lie? YES. There are many examples I can post here but I am sure you all understand.

    It is a fact today that just about anything goes as long as some see it as acceptable, then it is ok. Everyone has a free will and can do as they please. It does not mean that what they do is right! It does not mean that others will agree with their choice.

    It is not natural to be gay and I do not think people are born this way, it is NOT proven.

    Also I have been online for some time and the kids today think being gay is cool, it’s neat and nothing to be ashamed of. They love the idea of it and even flaunt it. I think this explosion of the gay lifestyle is a fad. I really do not think all those kids are “born” gay. I do not think anyone is born gay. This is my viewpoint on it, if God intended it to be this way he certainly would of included them in the Bible under marriage.

    I now have to explain to my children what being gay is, why and why it is so wrong… My parents NEVER had to explain it to me, I had no idea what it was until I was older~! Never heard of “gay”.

    But all in all, if others want to live their lives in that way , let them, but it does not mean I think it is right and it does not mean I don’t view it as a sin. The Bible tells me otherwise.

    We work hard for our money and it is NOT fair we have to fund things that goes against what we believe in. I don’t agree with paying for abortion (another issue I know) but I feel just as strongly about where my money goes. I know that there are gays who pay taxes too, but if they had their taxes going to something they felt so strongly about, would they sit back and just let it go? Not only that but I feel this is a moral issue and it ALWAYS has been a moral issue.

    Sin is Sin. I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, I expect the opposite to be honest. I’m not a writer and I don’t talk with a forked tongue or dance around your brain cells with big fancy ideas and words. I will not write things to be politically correct or to make things more complicated then they have to be. I am simple a person who reads her Bible and see the gay lifestyle as a sin. I never hated gays nor made fun of them but I don’t think it is right for my tax dollars to go to promote something I see as wrong.

    I challenge the library to run a film promoting Jesus Christ and the Bible, because if you look into this deeply, you will see it is a issue of the Church.

  • Jody l serkes

    Screen the film, what are you afraid of. This is America. Free speech and EDUCATION. People have a right to make up their own minds. Stop the bigotry. Really, find something else to be pissed about. Not love.

  • Stacey Gray

    I too will be interested in your comments after you see the film.

  • Bill in PA

    Having been reared in rural PA and attending the Free Methodist Church while growing up, and all the while knowing that I was gay but remaining silent, is not something that any other human being should ever have to endure or tolerate. The pain that one suffers either internally by remaining silent, or externally by coming out and facing bigotry has finally got to come to an end. Being gay is not a choice. I did not choose to want to be called names and threatened by others while growing up. I sincerely hope that those of you who saw the film, walked away with an understanding of the torment and anguish that one who is gay must live with everyday.

    That being said, I have read the articles and comments posted and I am actually finding myself deeply missing my rural PA roots. Everyone there should be proud of the dialog this has evoked among the community. I wish you all well on your journey towards understanding and tolerance. God bless.

    Editor’s Response:
    Hi Bill, and thanks for sending in your comment! I completely agree with you in that NO ONE, especially young people, should ever have to endure torment or heckling for any reason whatsoever.

  • Ann
  • Anonymous

    Jody on July 28th, 2010 12:51 pm

    Screen the film, what are you afraid of. This is America. Free speech and EDUCATION. People have a right to make up their own minds. Stop the bigotry. Really, find something else to be pissed about. Not love.
    …………….

    Yes Jodi (I am sure it is NOT your name) we do have free speech and here is mine, Shut up!

  • Ben Hennessy

    Pastor Pete Tremblay has clearly never seen this movie. Nothing he said was in the film at all.

  • Anonymous

    Who cares? The POINT in the whole matter was this.

    Why should we pay for ANYTHING that we do not morally agree with?

    We do NOT have to agree with the gay lifestyle and for anyone’s information, for some of us, it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to agree with it. Something deep inside our souls say it is ABNORMAL and is a MORAL issue!

    This is not a issue of civil rights or equality, you all can live your lives the way you want to, it does not mean I have to accept it or PAY FOR IT

    You can not force individuals to have certain beliefs, so get over it! I am also against abortion, I feel it is wrong to kill and baby and NO ONE can force me think think otherwise.

    I don’t care if these issues are accepted by some in society but the fact remains, they are not accept by everyone. SO pushing the gay lifestyle onto those who could care less how you live, it over kill.

    Get over it. Live your life the way you want and STOP accusing others of hating you!!

  • Christopher

    Pastor Tremblay’s brief synopsis of the film, about it having to do with a conflicted pastor, his son and wife, indicates he has not seen it. The movie is not focused on the sexual sin of their son. The pastor in the movie is only one of a handfull of central figures representing the community of Oil City, PA.

    Ultimately, all of our experience can eventually be seen as belonging to one of two states of being: love, or fear. What moves you in the way you choose to be in the world? If you consider yourself a thoughtful person with half a heart, I don’t see how you cannot be touched by this movie.

  • woodworking

    I do not know want to say because i have strong feelings to wards this type of film!

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  • Anonymous

    Poster above, so what is your point? Ya like diggin up bones?