American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel | Chicago Reader

American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel

A documentary that calmly disassembles the fallacies of the religious right skirts despair by focusing mainly on an uplifting church congregation in deep-red Oklahoma City that dares to call itself “liberal.” Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ is an outlier in the Bible Belt; its ethos mirrors Christ's example of loving and welcoming all people, including refugees seeking asylum. Left-leaning viewers might find comfort in seeing an open-minded reverend—whose church has long performed gay weddings and embraced female church leaders—consider making the Mayflower an official sanctuary for immigrants. Meanwhile, conservative Christians may bristle at a seminary professor explaining how the Bible has been misused, misinterpreted, and cherry-picked for centuries (if they hadn't already stopped watching by this point). Though director Jeanine Isabel Butler is measured in her approach, those who should watch this film—which includes anyone who would feel hot around the collar to hear a reverend say, “No one has the absolute truth . . . that would be idolatry”—probably won’t.

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