Jan. 22, 2007 -- Much has been made of America's so-called religious divide, but few of the discussions and debates resemble Alexandra Pelosi's new film, "Friends of God."
The HBO documentary shows the Rev. Ted Haggard, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, talking frankly about how evangelical Christians have sex more than any other religious group.
Haggard resigned from the church in 2006, after a scandal linked him to drugs and a male prostitute.
Haggard served as Pelosi's tour guide through the evangelical community. In the film, he proclaims that evangelicals have the best sex lives in the world.
"You know all the surveys say that evangelicals have the best sex life of any other group," he says.
In the documentary, Haggard asks an evangelical next to him how often he has sex with his wife. The man replies, "Every day." Haggard then explains that evangelicals have a lot of love and says to Pelosi, "You don't think these babies come out of nowhere?"
For Pelosi, the scandal surrounding Haggard is hard to comprehend.
"Because Pastor Ted was my tour guide, he was so good to me. He took me under his wing," she said.
"Most people think of evangelicals as being these holy roller, Jesus freaks, and Ted wasn't like that," she said. "It was interesting for me to say, these are good people. He was a reasonable, normal everyday man. So, it was hard to stomach what had happened."
'I Felt Like I Was on a Field Trip'
Born and bred in a blue state as the daughter of the new speaker of the House, Pelosi surrounded herself with reds to find out how the "other side" lived. When she started making "Friends of God," Pelosi wasn't used to speaking so frankly about religion.
"I had made two political documentaries, and I was trying to get away from politics. And growing up, they always said two things you're not supposed to talk about in polite conversation is politics and religion," she said.
Although she only ventured a couple hundred miles away from her New York home, for Pelosi, profiling the Midwest felt somewhat like exploring a foreign land.
"When you're in the Bible Belt, it's hard to walk into the front door and say, 'Hi, I'm from New York, from HBO, and I'm here to talk to you,'" she said. "I felt I was on a field trip because they were studying me, and I was studying them."
Pelosi came away from the experience with an understanding of how evangelicals affect the political sphere, particularly the presidential race.
"Evangelicals are the largest majority bloc in America. … I don't think you can win without them," she said. "I think if you unified, you'll lose if they go against you. John Kerry learned that. Al Gore learned that, and Hillary Clinton will learn it."
Learning From Evangelicals
Pelosi also realized that it was important to expose children to religion at a young age. She wants to make sure her 2-month-old son gets in the habit of going to church.
"There's a lot of secular television that provides bad role models. It is important to expose your kid to religion, any religion, otherwise they'll become uncharged, and those are the ones who may later in life fall into more extreme religions," she said.
She believes everyone can learn something from evangelicals, even if the lesson is not religious. The group's dedication to church and its cause impressed Pelosi.
"They were so organized, and that is something everybody can learn something from," she said.