Love Free or Die
This is one of those documentaries which makes you want to run out and fight for the cause. In the case of "Love Free or Die," it’s marriage and civil equality for the LGBT community, not just within the Anglican Church, but everywhere.
Gene Robinson, an Anglican bishop from New Hampshire, is the first openly gay and partnered person ever to be elected to the role of bishop. This invocation does not sit well with many in the church: from members of the faith, to the bishops and dioceses that run the show. Bishop Robinson must be made of steel because the man encounters opposition at every instance, most notably at The Lambeth Conference, which is a gathering of all the bishops in the Anglican Church, held once every ten years in Canterbury, England, birthplace of the Anglican Church.
Filmmaker Macky Alston ("Family Name," "Hard Road Home") follows Robinson from his home in New Hampshire, where he lives with partner Mark, to England, where, contrary to the acceptance and familiarity that he experiences at home, he is met with callous dismissal and exclusion. Robinson acknowledges that he is in a controversial position, accepts it, but never lets it deter him from his main objective to be the best bishop he can be. One particularly disturbing scene shows Robinson at the beginning of a service at St. Mary’s Church (the only church that allows him to speak during his time in England for The Lambeth Conference). After a few minutes, a heckler rises and begins to chastise the bishop and essentially spew forth that he is what is wrong with the church. It’s unsettling, but it is a testament to Robinson’s strength and resolve that he is not swayed from his teachings or from his faith.
The film, at a relatively brisk 83 minutes, works just fine for viewing on the small screen as opposed to a theater. However, its message is no less powerful: that it’s not about being gay, straight, lesbian, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, whatever...it’s simply about equality, justice, and happiness for each and every one of us.
"Love Free or Die"