In the documentary “1946,” director Sharon “Rocky” Roggio combines personal experiences with thrilling historical exploration to uncover a great mystery that could shift understanding of the Bible.
“1946” follows tireless researchers Kathy Baldock and Ed Oxford, who trace the origins of the anti-gay movement among Christians to a potential grave mistranslation in the biblical text.
They find that the Revised Standard Version, published in 1946 was the first time the word “homosexual” appeared in any Bible, in any translation.
“1946” premieres in Los Angeles Friday at the Laemmle Noho 7 in North Hollywood.
The documentary also chronicles the discovery of never-before-seen archives at Yale University that unveil new revelations, leading the researchers to doubt any biblical basis for hating gay people.
Interwoven with the scriptural analysis is Roggio’s story.
Before her career as a filmmaker, Roggio grew up in a Christian household where her father, Pastor Sal Roggio, disapproved of her sexual orientation given his understanding of the Word of God.
Including Sal in the film shows how his daughter is caught between the trauma of anti-gay prejudice and her genuine love for her father, and her desire to keep him in her life, all while making a documentary around herself that aims to undermine his misguided ideology.
“I believe that my family and anybody who oppresses the LGBTQ community are victims of bad theology,” Roggio says in the film. “How do we undo a lie that is so ingrained in our culture?”
Rocky and Sal’s story thus turns 1946 into a film not only about history and language, but about understanding and humanity, and through it Roggio takes her place in the growing movement of LGBTQ Christians reconciling their identities with their faith – and those who would exclude them from it.
“Biblical literalism has led to the marginalization of innumerable human beings, not just within the LGBTQIA+ community. I hope this film starts the necessary conversations that rids this bad theology from the church and from our homes,” Roggio said.
“We must address this mistake with compassion and consideration as often our loved ones are our oppressors and the perpetrators of persecution because of this misinformation,” Roggio said. “This isn’t just a film for me. It’s an act of mercy, of justice, and of empathy, not only for those involved in the creation of the film, but for those we interviewed, for the audience who will watch it, and for myself as well. It’s an act of Grace.”