Queers in the Kingdom | Chicago Reader

Queers in the Kingdom

Wheaton College, in the western suburb of the same name, is one of the most prominent evangelical schools in the country and the alma mater of Billy Graham; it's also the alma mater of numerous gay Christians who've banded together to proclaim themselves, renounce the shame and isolation they felt as students, and offer their support to young people at Wheaton now wrestling with the same feelings. This documentary by Markie Hancock suffers from a scrambled narrative that attempts to trace the history of evangelical education in the U.S. even as eight Wheaton alumni (from the class of '54 to the class of '06) recount their experiences at the school and their personal journeys since then. The latter material is engaging and often moving, yet the movie keeps building to a spiritual confrontation that never really arrives: no one from the administration or faculty comments, and a 2011 action in which gay alumni returned to campus to distribute leaflets is represented only in still photographs. What might have become a penetrating social documentary settles instead at the level of a pride exercise.

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