Endeavor News Reports on Christian Response at Coudersport Library

Christian ‘response’ program draws large crowd, including documentary’s directors

From the Endeavor News
by Bob Hooftallen

The gay couple whose documentary created such a stir in Coudersport traveled six hours from their home near Washington, DC, Wednesday to hear what was billed as a “Bible-believing, Christian” response to their film.

Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer, directors of a pro-gay documentary that was played in the Coudersport Public Library four weeks ago, braved a hostile environment in that same location as about 60 people gathered for a program given by Dr. Robert Wagner and guest Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Assn. of Pennsylvania.

Wagner, a retired physician and an ultra-conservative Christian, told the audience his program was intended to expose the filmmakers’ “real agenda” and to question the directors’ assertion that the community should “tolerate” alternative lifestyles.

The documentary chronicles the struggles of a gay high school student in Oil City, Wilson’s hometown.

“The directors have an agenda,” Wagner told the audience. “And that is to change our whole society (by changing) our sexual mores and (encouraging everyone) to do what we want to do and ignore the word of God.”

In keeping with that theme, Wagner denounced the direction of society in general— everyone from Barack Obama, whom he called “the first honorary gay president of the United States,” and Lady Gaga, whom he tagged a “female filthy pig.”

But beyond the rhetoric, Wagner called the legitimacy of the film into question by discussing the “shady” tactics the directors used when making the film and by highlighting the special treatment gays and lesbians already get in this country and on the world stage.

Wagner questioned Gramley the way a lawyer would a witness, bringing to light some of RESPONSE the methods the filmmakers used to get footage of her.

She said there were times when the filmmakers would “hide the camera and lie about whether it was on or not.” They also tracked her down in her hometown, came to her church and even went so far as to try and stop her in traffic and film her in the middle of the street.

“You have to realize, the film is skewed,” she told the audience, noting that footage of her talking with the boy about whom the film was made was edited out because it would have shed a favorable light on her and the American Family Assn.

Wagner read through a stack of printed news reports that outlined the preferential treatment gays and lesbians get in America, including federal legislation that declares June as gay pride month and the President’s call to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. He also pointed to the gay pride parade in Washington and the many others around the country and world.

“There’s not just one gay pride parade. There’s one around every corner,” he said, noting that his web search did not turn up any family pride parades. “So are gays really suffering the way they’d have us believe they are?”

Wagner, who drew applause and “amens” from the audience as he read passages from the Bible, said the filmmakers seek more than equality; they seek to make their lifestyle choice the norm in America.

“The film dumped on the family,” Wagner said. “…Their agenda is much broader than ‘we just want to live our lives.’ We have had homosexuals living in this town for a long time and have never had issues.”

Gramley said her major concern is that the filmmakers are pushing to get their movie in schools under the auspices of it being an antibullying film.

“Bullying is very much a part of school life, whether you are a homosexual or not,” she said. “There should not be bullying policies in schools that list specific groups. Policies should read ‘no bullying, period’.”

Gramley noted that her organization focuses on strengthening families by battling for public policies that limit things like gambling and pornography and against public policies that hurt families.

She explained that public schools are becoming a place where her organization’s presence is becoming more necessary.

“We offer resources to school boards to help in policy making, so parents don’t have to undo what the kids have learned in school when they come home in the evening,” she explained. “We urge families to try and get their finances in order so at least one parent can stay home or work part-time, so they can be more involved with their kids’ lives and know what’s going on in the schools… we also recommend if it is at all possible to take them out of public schools.”

In the comment period, both filmmakers made short presentations and reaffirmed their commitment to pushing their agenda.

“I am more profoundly sad than I ever thought I could be,” Wilson told the audience. “Our film speaks for itself and I stand by everything in it… I commit myself even more heartedly now than I did before.”

Wilson and Hamer also gave a $100 donation to the library and challenged the audience to do the same. Wagner said he would match their donation.

Handing Wilson a “Bible” he made special for him that contained two pages— one with the “love passage” from 1 Corinthians and one with the “10 suggestions” from Exodus 20, Wagner said, “I rub salt in Joe’s wounds, because Joe and his group hate the Holy Bible.”

The audience for the event was strong behind Wagner and Gramley and many of them commented directly to the filmmakers, though no one got out of line.

“Jesus Christ taught love, love for all of humanity,” one man said. “Homosexuality is a sin, but it’s no more of a sin than lying or stealing. We need to love and pray for all sinners.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “Policies should read ‘no bullying, period’.”
    I totally agree.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was horribly bullied in school – I wanted to kill myself over it. Bullying is horrific to the young person who feels ostracized by their peers and should never be tolerated. But, bullying goes on in our society amongst various groups and ages. When there is even the hint of a threat of intolerance toward a particular race, ethnic or religious group, it causes an uproar socially – except when the threat is toward those who take a stand for morality and Godly principles in the name of Christianity. Every individual has certain rights – but when we push for NEW AND IMPROVED rights, demanding that things be ‘the way we want them’, regardless of whether or not it interferes with the rights of others and regardless of whether or not it may bring harm to the whole of society, then it is selfish and irresponsible. Humans tend to put their own selfish needs and wants first and that is why there must be law. On MOST states books, Homosexuality is STILL against the law – but tolerance has prohibited enforcement. So, to say that there is intolerance and bullying of homosexual practice is grossly misrepresented. Choosing to break the law without having to pay the consequences is indeed Special Treatment.
    I wonder, would it be acceptable to refer to Wilson and Hamer as ULTRA homosexuals?

    An Ultra Concerned Citizen

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