Cassie Jay is a young woman who makes unabashedly Leftist films. Back, in 2010, she made a documentary called “Daddy I Do” that attacked abstinence-only education. Even in liberal Marin, this movie caused a bit of a kerfuffle, as the local art cinema first agreed to show it, then backed off from that agreement, and then, when the liberal fit hit the media shan, finally agreed to show the movie. The debate garnered headlines, and undoubtedly drew more people to the movie than would otherwise have attended. My bet is that, at the end, a lot of people paid for tickets, not because they actually wanted to see her movie, but because they wanted to show solidarity.
Ms. Jay now contends that she’s stumbled into cultural clash, and she didn’t see this one coming at all. On its face, Jay’s newest movie ought not to have ruffled any feathers on the Left. It’s a straight down-the-line Progressive encomium for the virtues of gay marriage. The Marin Independent Journal assures readers that her latest, “The Right to Love: An American Family,” is “a compelling case for legalizing gay marriage.” Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I haven’t seen it yet — indeed, few have — so I’m not qualified to comment.
Jay claims, however, that there are those in the gay community who have seen it and they are very unhappy with the movie. You see, in addition to promoting gay marriage, which is a good thing, the gay activists watching the preview discerned a Christian subtext, which is a very bad thing indeed:
“The Right to Love,” which premieres Monday at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, focuses on the Leffew family of Santa Rosa, a legally married gay couple and their two adopted children. When the trailer was released this past fall, it included a scene of the family saying a Christian prayer at their breakfast table.
The reaction it unleashed from a segment of the gay community was angry and venomous, and caught Jaye off guard.
“It just erupted online,” she recalled. “It totally caught me by surprise. I was shocked by the backlash. All these LGBT (lesbian-gay-bixexual-transgender) people were attacking the Leffew family for being religious, saying, ‘How can you be a part of an institution that doesn’t see us as equals and thinks we’re an abomination? How can you be a member of that club?’ I never intended to include that prayer as a controversial issue, but there was a lot of hatred toward them being Christian.”
Here’s the incendiary trailer (the prayer shows up 38 seconds in):
As for me, I think this is a publicity stunt. I scrolled through the 280 comments at the trailer and found a few comments to the effect that “religions should let us marry and they’re bad ’cause they don’t” stuff, but I don’t see any evidence of the firestorm Jay claims erupted over her film — more specifically, that she claims erupted because of that two second prayer scene in the trailer. Unless Jay deleted all the hardcore anti-Christian comments as spam, they’re just not there. I also did a couple of Google searches for the name of the film along with the words “Christian” and “religion” but, aside from several dozen sites singing rapturous praises about a pro-gay marriage movie, found only a few newspaper articles quoting Jay about the claimed firestorm.
I’m willing to acknowledge that my research skills may be abysmal, and that I’ve managed to miss the dozens of comments and posts in which activist gays threaten to burn crosses on the lawns of those gay families who are stupid enough to cling to Christianity. I may also have a different idea of Jay as to what constitutes a truly controversial issue. She may think one crackpot makes a controversy. I don’t.
What’s rather amazing, though, is that Jay is promoting her film by pointing to a subject that has nothing to do with the film itself. The film is about gay marriage. There is a built-in audience for this movie. Gays will see it. Elites who want to prove their moral superiority on the issue will see it. But Jay is promoting it, not by pointing to its substantive issues, but by talking up the fact that (according to her) many in the GLBT (or LGBT or whatever other order the letters should appear) community are no longer asking for religion to change. Instead, they’re attacking religion at the root. For her, this is a selling point.
Jay’s right, too, in her assessment that, in Obama-world, attacking religion is a selling point for any movie that one markets to the Left. The Obama administration’s direct, frontal attack on the Catholic church (and other religious institutions) demonstrates as nothing else could that the Left, now that it holds two out of the three seats of power in American government, intends not to amend religion, or carve out secular exceptions, but to destroy it entirely. Under the new ObamaCare mandate, the churches are left with only three choices all of which range from damaging to destructive: they can deny their principles and provide insurance, which destroys them morally; they can refuse to provide the insurance, which will trigger penalties or lose them so many employees they’ll be destroyed financially; or they can simply shut down their outreach, which destroys their place in their community and the missions that are an intrinsic part of their doctrine.
My guess is that Jay is astutely tuning into a strong cultural subtext roiling the Left in order to market her film. Even if there is no fight between gay activists and religion, there ought to be, and she’s going to use that paradigm to broaden her audience beyond the Prop. 8 crowd. She can expect to see attendance increase as those on the Left attend the film, either to show their solidarity with religion (Christ’s gospel is good, even if the church has perverted it) or to protest the fact that anyone in the LGBT (or GLBT) community would dare to ally itself with a hate-filled, archaic institution that should be destroyed, rather than reformed.
I think the saying is that, in show business, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
What do you think?