SSU Art Professor Travels Bible Belt in Search of Fundamentalist
Self-described as "innocuous, harmless, middle class, " Jann Nunn, a Sonoma State University art professor, changed
Christian Views on Gays, Lesbians for Queer Film
from a lesbian sculptor to a model Christian wife and mother to find out how homosexuality was viewed in the heart of fundamentalist Christian America.
The voyage resulted in a 51-minute film that will be shown as part of events for National Coming Out Day on Thursday, October 11, from 7 - 9 p.m. in Darwin Hall, Room 108, at Sonoma State University.
Nunn, and her collaborating partner U.B. Morgan, traveled in a motor home as Bob and Mary Bradford for a 17-day pilgrimage that started out as a mockumentary of fundamentalist Christian documentaries that "demonize gays and lesbians," says Nunn. But it turned into more of a hybrid documentary combined with performance art.
Starting from a home base in St. Louis, Missouri, they traveled throughout the Bible Belt asking fundamentalist Christians to put their thoughts on homosexuality on tape, Stops included Bob Jones University and the churches of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Fred Phelps among others.
Along the way they talk to ordinary Christians, from snake-handlers in Tennessee and Kentucky to a retired couple in Branson, Missouri, asking them about homosexuals in general, gay marriage, gay teachers, and gays in the military. The filmmakers received their warmest reception at a tent-revival meeting and later by a group of snake-handling Christians in rural Tennessee and Kentucky.
The filmmakers will be at the event to discuss the film. Also present will be Paul Feiertag, a Lutheran minister, in order to "give a more positive voice on Christianity," says Coming Out Day organizer Laurel Holmstrom. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who have their own unique brand of religiosity, have been invited and representatives from the gay club on campus, BIGLASS, will also be on hand.
The campus is located at 1801 East Cotati Avenue in Rohnert Park.
For further information, phone (707) 664-2801. A web site for the film is located at www.bradfordstouramerica.com.
Contact information: Jann Nunn, Art Department, (707) 664-3043