Ted and Lynn Murphy lead a simple life. They have three wonderful children, their own small business, and a good relationship with friends and neighbors.
But that life is turned upside down when Ted signs a petition advocating traditional marriage. It is a small act of civic duty in his mind, but in the minds of others in the community it is viewed as an act of heartless bigotry.
Ted and his wife become the focus of a local protest that threatens not only to destroy their business but suffocate their religious freedom as well.
AFA Journal interviewed Vitagliano about his “friendships with people who are homosexual or have been, and have left that lifestyle when they became Christians.”
Vitagliano laments that a gay person, even the “the ordinary homosexual non-activist,” for some reason may not want to maintain a friendship with someone who opposes his or her right to marry: “I don’t know how many homosexuals would want to be friends with a Christian who signs what we would call a pro-marriage petition.” He says he wants gay people to “see that in the culture war, Christians are victims as much as they see themselves as victims.”
What happens when an ordinary Christian family is “accidentally” thrown into the fires of a heated culture war battle?
American Family Association’s new movie, Accidental Activist, follows the trials of Ted Murphy and his family as their reputations, friendships and even livelihood are threatened after he signs a petition supporting traditional marriage.
The story is propelled by the friendship of Ted who, along with his wife, runs a custom T-shirt business, and Ron who owns a nearby popular coffee shop. Ron is a homosexual.
Ed Vitagliano: I tried to portray Ted as an ordinary Christian who reacts in a very human way to his trials. Ted wants to know where God is in the midst of his troubles. Earlier in my Christian walk I sometimes felt like that. I wasn’t yet at a place to understand that stressful circumstances are often used to glorify His name. As I grew older and more experienced with my walk with the Lord, I realized that God doesn’t have to explain to me what He’s doing in my life. Ted faces the same dilemma.
Over the years, I've had friendships with people who are homosexual or have been, and have left that lifestyle when they became Christians. Some still struggle with it. For me, those relationships humanize the struggles of gay men and women. Admittedly, I’ve had limited experience; however, I realize they are human beings made in God’s image.
I wanted to make sure that Ron represented what I think is the ordinary homosexual non-activist who is just trying to live his life and find happiness. I wanted him to be seen as someone with whom a Christian could have a friendship. At the same time, I wanted to make it clear that there was an important disagreement between Ted and Ron.
AFAJ: Do you think such a friendship is possible?
EV: I think Christians would want to maintain friendships with people who have beliefs that are outside Christian belief – atheists, for example.
On the other hand, I don’t know how many homosexuals would want to be friends with a Christian who signs what we would call a pro-marriage petition. But if there are homosexuals who watch the movie, I hope they might give Christians a chance.
On the other side, I’d like for those in the homosexual rights movement to see that just because we Christians see marriage in a way that excludes homosexuals, that doesn’t mean we are motivated by hate. I want them to see that in the culture war, Christians are victims as much as they see themselves as victims.