World-renown evangelist Ray Comfort is well on his way to releasing Audacity, a groundbreaking film that will graciously address the biblical truths about homosexuality — a hot topic many in the Christian world have skirted around to avoid being stereotyped as “haters,” “bigots” and even “racists.“ Instead of politicizing this controversial issue, Comfort is using his first scripted short film with professional actors to share the Gospel of God’s love — not to prove a point.
Having produced award-winning spontaneous half-hour documentaries viewed by millions such as 180, Evolution vs. God, Genius, and Noah — interviewing Americans on controversial issues from every walk in life from California’s beaches, promenades and universities, Comfort switches gears with Audacity to shine a biblical light on one of the most pressing issues of our time: homosexuality.
With the legalization of same-sex “marriage” sweeping the nation, the endorsement of homosexual behavior in schools, the celebration of “LGBTQ heroes” in professional sports and the “normalization” of homosexuality in the military, some might think that this a ripe topic that Comfort couldn’t wait to address on film.
“I didn’t want to do this movie,” expressed Comfort, the founder and CEO of Living Waters Publications. “When different people kept asking for one that addressed homosexuality, I said an adamant ‘No!’ and I was deadly serious. It just wasn’t going to happen.”
He simply didn’t want to deal with all the baggage that imminently arrives when the topic of homosexuality is addressed from a biblical perspective.
“One of the major reasons for this was that to speak even slightly against homosexuality nowadays is tantamount to being a hate-filled racist,” Comfort explained. “I would be put with the ‘God hates fags’ folks, and none of us want to be painted with that dirty brush.”
Never say never
So what was the turning point?
“But something happened that changed my mind in an instant, so we have taken this contentious issue and produced a movie that addresses the subject in a very unique way,” Comfort shared.
He was referring to an unexpected interview he had with two lesbians who he noticed kissing while he was shooting footage for his last movie, Noah - And the Last Days on location at a beach in Southern California. After sharing with them, they were remarkably open to Comfort’s biblical take on homosexuality, which they appreciated and understood with no anger or defensiveness.
He says Audacity casts a powerful message into the sea of unbelievers.
“We went with actors because we didn’t want to produce the usual Christian experts and interviews with gay people who are now straight, married and super-happy … That’s a stereotype,” Comfort said.
“We wanted something that will hold the attention of an avid skeptic. So I wrote a script and sent it to Mark Spence (the head producer of most of our short movies), and he replied: ‘I cannot believe this is the first version of the script. It is soooooo good. I am so pumped. This is going to be amazing. Wow oh WOW oh WOW oh WOW!’ I think he liked it, and I believe others will also.”
Comfort wanted this script to be as relatable to everyone as possible, so he made it real — not something that will send Christians’ heads nodding in agreement, but rather something that will tune into every unbeliever. He gives us a brief glimpse into the driving action.
“Peter (Travis Owens) is a witty and unmotivated bike messenger on the brink of losing his job, who is catapulted into a firestorm after he has an unexpected encounter with his co-worker Diana (Molly Ritter),” Comfort revealed. “He’s forced into a clash between his most cherished convictions and a most volatile issue. Through his journey, one moment he finds himself caught in a robbery with a crazed gunman, and the next he is in a comedy club hearing his friend Ben perform (Ben Price, "Australia’s Got Talent" finalist).”
And the takeaway(s) Comfort wants people to extract from Audacity?
“Two things,” Comfort declares. “A clear understanding of the Gospel and the knowledge that Christians don’t hate gay people.”
The acclaimed street preacher from New Zealand then gave an example of his heart for homosexuals and the way he wants them to view God and Christians.
“Last week I flew from Germany to the U.K. and sat next to a very nice gentleman,” Comfort recounted. “When I asked him if he had a wife he said ‘I have a husband.’ I didn’t spend the rest of the flight staring out of the window. We instead chatted about his work. I also did some magic for Glen (which he loved), and I offered him a book I have written called 101 Things Dogs Do to Annoy Their Owners. He didn't take it because he liked cats. I wouldn't have chatted with him if I didn't like him, and we wouldn’t have made this movie if we didn’t care about homosexuals. Audacity doesn’t stereotype or vilify gays in the slightest.“
Should Comfort’s critics brace for any surprises with his latest film project?
”There is a reality clip woven into the storyline of the movie where I interview two lesbians (after I saw them kissing in Huntington Beach, California),” the evangelist based in Bellflower, California, divulged. “At the conclusion of the interview, they enthusiastically said on-camera that they really appreciated how I had spoken with them. This movie isn’t motivated by an ounce of hatred. It’s just the opposite. We love gay people, and that's what we believe will be the conclusion of most who see it.”
But does the Christian author and film producer expect any backlash from skeptics and scoffers over Audacity?
“When we produced 180 (a pro-life movie) they said we hated women,” Comfort recalled. “When Evolution vs. God came out, we hated science. Neither accusation was true. We are now in post-production of a movie that shows how much we love gay people, and they are already saying that I hate gays. But I’m sure that if we produced a movie called ‘God Made Cute Puppies,’ they would spread rumors saying that we secretly kill puppies and eat them. That’s because it’s not about women, evolution, puppies or gays. These critics hate any thought of God, and they think that if they can vilify me they can vilify the message — when they just confirm it with their hatred.“
With foreboding signs already in the social media world, Comfort is preparing for the worst.
“I don’t think I’m being melodramatic when I say that I think Audacity will get me kicked off Facebook,” Comfort predicted, regarding the world’s most popular social media outfit that has been quite public in its support for the homosexual agenda. “This is because Facebook has already warned me three times for ‘offenses’ that I didn’t commit.”
He is no stranger to being falsely slandered via social media channels like Facebook.
“Atheists put my name and photo with a hateful quote (supposedly from me) that they made up — saying that I would rape and sacrifice children if God told me to, that cancer is a gift from God, and another saying that I said slavery wasn’t bad, and that I thought Jesus was white,” Comfort continued. “Then they spread them over the Internet.”
Months before Audacity’s release, Comfort is already receiving backlash for his efforts to shine God’s light on homosexuality — even though it’s being done in a loving and graceful way.
“Since we announced that were producing a movie about homosexuality, there have already been Facebook comments under the profile ‘Ray Hates Gays,’ and ‘Somebody please stop this man from making this movie!!!,’ ‘Ray [is] much like the Westboro Baptist Church … He frequently is hateful about gay people …’ and ‘He preaches homophobia and hatred.’”
Likely motivated by a concerted effort of the LGBTQ community, Facebook continues to display its intolerance for any views that do not promote homosexual behavior.
“The other day I received another warning from Facebook, so we are encouraging the 450,000 followers on my Facebook page to go to [this page] and to sign up for our free weekly update, so that we can tell them where they can find me if Facebook bans me for so-called ‘hate speech.’” Comfort added.
Comfort foresees a similar reception at big screens across the nation.
“We would love to have it shown in theaters, but I don’t think that will happen,” Comfort conceded. “It will probably be painted as too hot for theaters to handle, with threats of boycotts, etc. “
Because of this, Audacity won’t be a typical movie release, the evangelist concludes.
“So we are going to release it in March/April of 2015 as a download for our supporters, and in May have a free premiere in 1,000 churches around the world,” Comfort informed. “Then (as with our other movies) we will make it freely available on YouTube. After that it will come out on DVD. We are at present holding a ‘crowd-funding’ campaign which has so far raised $115,000 in seven days. We are hoping to raise $175,000 [by October 18] to cover the cost of production.”