The documentary drama titled An Act of Love was shown in the Wiley Auditorium on October 11 for lyceum credit. The documentary is about the Schafer family, a family fighting the Methodist Church for LGBTQ rights.
Reverend Frank Schafer is a father who performed his son’s marriage ceremony to his husband, a controversial issue for Methodist priests who must follow the Book of Discipline which lays out restrictions on actions like performing gay marriage ceremonies or even being gay and being a member of the church.
This documentary was different than your regular LGBTQ documentary, in which it showed the pain of the Methodist institution ripping itself apart over an issue that many wish would just be silent. It is easy to imagine all homosexuals as atheists, or at least agnostic to some degree, which can make us not even consider the struggles of the LGTBQ community in the Christian faith.
This movie does a wonderful job in reminding us that, while gay marriage has been passed and the nation is making strives like never before to be inclusive, the fight for LGBTQ rights is far from over. This can be seen in the one-on-one interviews found throughout the movie that were filled with so much passion that everyone who spoke was on the verge of tears.
Something that struck me was the way the Church courts were held as if they were valid, federal courts. After having a complaint formally filed on him six years after performing his son’s marriage, Frank Schafer had to appear before a court of pastors and bishops to prove his non-guilt and as one man in the documentary said, “it was set up like Law and Order.”
The way this documentary ended had me in suspense, as the verdict of Frank’s appealed trial was loomed over us until the last scene. I was very happy with the way this movie carried my emotional attention the whole way through. I do not consider myself to be religious, but An Act of Love made me care about a family wanting to and fighting to remain inside the Church.
– Jeffrey Cowart