Love Free or Die

Community Cinema ~ Love Free or Die

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
  • Library Hall

A  free preview screening of the PBS Independent Lens documentary Love Free or Die a film by Macky Alston and Sandra Itkoff.

WINNER! 2012 Sundance Film Festival – U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for An Agent of Change

Love Free or Die is about a man whose two defining passions much of the world cannot reconcile: his love for God and for his partner Mark. It is about church and state, love and marriage, faith and identity — and one man's struggle to dispel the notion that God's love has limits.

Gene Robinson was the first openly gay person to be elected bishop in the high church traditions of Christendom. Bishop Robinson's elevation in the sleepy New Hampshire diocese in 2003 ignited a worldwide firestorm in the Anglican Communion, one that has become so heated that there is still a chance of a schism. One year after being muzzled by the Archbishop of Canterbury, he finds himself speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at Barack Obama's Inauguration. Gene Robinson confronts those who use religion as an instrument of oppression, and claims a place in the church and society, not just for LGBT people, but for everyone.

The Anglican Communion, a global church body of 80 million, is led by approximately 800 bishops. According to church history, Gene Robinson, the Bishop of New Hampshire, is the only openly gay bishop ever to be consecrated since the time of Christ. The Anglican Communion, like the Catholic Church from which it emerged, believes that its bishops are the direct spiritual descendants of the twelve disciples of Christ. In 2003, the Episcopal Church in America, an arm of the Anglican Communion, made history when it installed Gene Robinson as Bishop. Gene wore a bulletproof vest to his installation and, every day since, the local police have driven by his rural New Hampshire home to provide him and his loved ones protection in the face of a steady stream of death threats.

There is an unofficial church history of bishops, popes, priests and monks living one kind of life for the history book and another off the record. It is an open secret that in the Anglican Communion today Gene Robinson is not the only gay bishop – not by a long shot. What does it signify that the Church can flourish knowing that it is rife with deception, but threatens to shatter when it affirms one man who chooses to be honest about who he is and who he loves?

Love Free or Die follows the Anglican Communion in arguably its most historic chapter since Henry VIII broke from the Roman Catholic Church for the right to divorce in 1538. From Gene’s civil union in New Hampshire, to the once-a-decade global bishops’ gathering in Canterbury, to the current fracture within the Church that’s inching toward total schism, to the biennial gathering of the Episcopal Church in America, watch the inner workings of this global moment of change from Robinson’s perspective.

RUN TIME: 88 min.

Community Cinema is a groundbreaking public education and civic engagement initiative featuring free monthly screenings of films from the Emmy Award-winning series Independent Lens and other PBS presentations. Community Cinema is on location in more than 95 cities nationally, bringing together leading organizations, community members, and public television stations to learn, discuss, and get involved in key social issues of our time.

The Independent Television Service funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Monday nights at 10:00 PM on PBS. Mandated by Congress in 1988 and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ITVS has brought more than one thousand independently produced programs to date to American audiences.

Made possible by a partnership with Rocky Mountain PBS.