Homophobia Is For the Birds

Oh my, but humans are a confounding lot. We blithely justify violence in the media and in nearly the same breath cry out to censor sexuality without realizing that we have it backwards. We put potheads in prison for decades but let violent multiple offenders out of jail after less than a month allowing them another chance to kill someone. We shop at Wal*Mart because we buy into the deceitful claims of lower prices but then use the money we saved to buy a 13mpg SUV. We shout loud and hard about giving our children a well-rounded, real-world education but then, completely ignoring the real world, we fight to remove a children’s book from library shelves because it suggests that two living parents are better than an incubator, even if they both happen to be the same gender.

A new picture book published by Simon & Schuster, entitled And Tango Makes Three, is based on a true story of two male penguins in a New York zoo that adopted a fertilized penguin egg and raised the chick together as their own. If you’ve seen March of the Penguins in its entirety, then you know what that egg means to them*. And yet, there are people so worried about the prospect of their children gaining hard evidence proving the fact (that’s right, fact) same-sex coupling appears throughout nature that they are willing to sabotage their children’s education.

Complaining about the book's homosexual undertones, some parents of Shiloh Elementary School students believe the book — available to be checked out of the school's library in this 11,000-resident town 20 miles east of St. Louis — tackles topics their children aren't ready to handle.

Topics they're not ready to handle? But explaining to them why we kill one another in droves is something they’re prepared for? Hmm. Again, something seems a bit backwards to me.

And Tango Makes Three is not some clever conspiracy by a quiet but determined Gay Mafia to recruit ‘em young, though you’d think it was based on the reactions of these ignorant boobs in Shiloh. To wit:

Lilly Del Pinto thought the book looked charming when her 5-year-old daughter brought it home in September. Del Pinto said she was halfway through reading it to her daughter "when the zookeeper said the two penguins must be in love."

"That's when I ended the story," she said.

Get that? When it turned out the two were in love, it was more than Ms. Del Pinto could abide and she ended the story. The tale was going so well until love entered the picture. Because, you see, to people like Ms. Del Pinto, romantic love is only possible between a male and a female; anything else is intolerable debauchery. I’m pretty sure my friends Myke and Kevin would strongly disagree. (UPDATE: Yup, sure enough.)

I must commend Shiloh school district Superintendent Jennifer Filyaw for showing true patriotism for the Land of the Free by refusing to move the book. She felt that would constitute censorship and she was right. Standing up to a bunch of eristically religious hens in order to defend freedom makes her a hero in my book.

I’m going to buy And Tango Makes Three and proudly add it to my library. Heck, I might even volunteer some time at a daycare to read the story to impressionable tots because I can’t think of a better lesson to teach budding young minds than the importance of the inclusive nature of love.

*The scene in which the father penguin fails to get the egg off the ice in time brought me to wailing tears. I get choked up just thinking about it.

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
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31 Responses to Homophobia Is For the Birds

  1. Kiss Me Cate says:

    How fucking stupid and narrow minded can people possibly get. There are few subjects that peeve me more than cencorship, particularly in the name of "protecting" children. My mom really did her best to shelter my sister and I from reality, which resulted in nothing but resentment of her, and both of us swinging the opposite direction as soon as we were out of her clutches in an attempt to make up for lost time. Conversely my boyfriend's parents did not attempt to shelter or restrict him, and although he may have gone through a typical irresponsible high school stage, by the time he was an adult, he acted like one. At 23, he is the most mature man I have ever dated. He has no desire to go out and get trashed with his guy friends every night or act like so many guys his age do, because he did that in high school without fear of any too severe punishment by his parents, and got it out of his system quick. When will parents learn that kids are going to learn about sex, drugs, alcohol and all else one way or another and the healthiest and safest place they can learn is at home?

  2. Budd says:

    I will not go see happy feet because of March of the Penguins. It seems like it will trivialize their plight. The saddest part was when the mom was eaten by the sea lion and the narrator said, "that is two deaths, because the child will starve to death."
    I believe that homosexuality is a sin, but so are a lot of other things. We are born sinful and we all have to ask for God's forgiveness and all sin looks the same in God's eyes. That said, you can't ask the church to sanctify gay marriage. This is not saying that gay people should not be allowed in church. Church is for the sinner, I challenge you to show me one sin free person in any church on any given Sunday, or Saturday as the case may be.
    The book sounds innocent and sweet, but parents ultimately have control over their children. There are all kinds of things that I don't want my children exposed to yet. Am I a crazed right winger protesting military funerals because of it? No, I prefer to call it responsible parenting. I am one of the few who hopes to take the responsibility of teaching my child about sex and not letting the school system do it. Parents shirk responsibility a lot. Teach your child values at home and early. Model those values. Enforce those values. Do not waiver, and your child should have the same values.

  3. Kirk says:

    I should make it clear that I feel parents such as Ms. Del Pinto in the article have every right to raise their children as they see fit, even if that means teaching intolerance. It is this imposition of those beliefs upon everyone else I have a problem with. To be fair, Ms. Del Pinto agrees that censorship is not the answer. It is her lack of appreciation for all aspects of love that saddens me.Without beating the dead horse of Gay Marriage, I will say that I would never condone forcing churches to marry gay people if it goes against their canon, but I think it's discrimination that gays don't have the same civil union rights which straights enjoy.

  4. Kiss Me Cate says:

    Although I think it's sad when parents seek to shelter their children, they are their children and they have every right to do so. You're right when you say that the impostition on everyone else is what the problem is. Which opens a whole other can of worms- the people (not necssarily the woman in this article) who would like the child proof the entire world, so that they do not have to actually parent.

  5. kelli says:

    "We put potheads in prison for decades but let violent multiple
    offenders out of jail after less than a month allowing them another
    chance to kill someone." AMEN. And yeah…that's it the Gay Mafia are out there trying to recruit our youth…they've got a mission to make everyone go gay…that's it. 😉 Why don't people get it, Kirk?

  6. sdede2 says:

    Good entry Kirk. I think everyone covered it pretty good already. The fabrication of the "gay agenda" by the religious right is another example of how they try to promote the idea that they are just these simple good natured people going about their daily lives practicing their religion in peace and doing good. Meanwhile there is this group of godless monsters who intrude into their beliefs uninvited and attempt to abolish their religion by force if necessary. To promote this idea they either create or lie about; the gay agenda, evil atheists, liberals, blah blah blah…. All you need to do is bring up guys like Ted Haggard and countless others to know they are full of shit. I'm going to Amazon right now to buy the book.

  7. Dancing Bear says:

    Thanks Kirk. I am proud that you included Kevin and myself as friends. I would like to clarify something to everyone. We were also children. Despite every effort by society to "correct" us we are still who we are. When we are busy worrying about the children we may also want to give the "gay" children a chance to just simply exist. It isn't always evident to parents when they have gay children. They sometimes don't find out until very late in life. My parents raised me to be a good person, not a straight or a gay person. They had no previous experience. A few crazy uncles perhaps somewhere along the family path but not anything discussed or even probably acknowledged.As far as it being a sin, I have never seen any evidence that Christ believed it was. I have seen writings by some of his followers who believe that but if you are a Chrstian you believe in Christ, not the bible. Believing in the Bible is a choice. Being Gay is not. I have tried my hardest to be the best person I can be and Christ would be proud to call me a friend, a child, a follower. He would be very ashamed of many who claim to be Christian yet follow the lead of men who "believed" they were following what he taught. There are so many who claim to have the "pipeline" to God, yet they miss on so many points what the purpose of his stay with us was for. Can you imagine all the wheel spinning people who give money to fight against equal rights for humans and yet people are starving around them? There are many followers who have shown their true colors. They also have very big mouths… until they get caught doing something. To me a sin is knowing something is wrong and doing it anyway. Not accepting that someone else, someone less than Godly, tells me something is wrong and being expected to believe things contrary to my own experience and heart. What others believe is exactly that. What they believe. That does not make it true or correct. I hope, when all the pious reach the end of their journey and recieve the truth, they are forever sorry for the pain they have caused. They are tormented by the punishment they, as mere mortals inflict, and not the Prince of "Peace". God is not angry at Gay people. God only creates. People detroy. When they do so in the name of God it makes him weep and lament but he carries on knowing that one day they will find out just what the ultimate truth is. When you raise children, any children, you have a one in ten chance that they will be gay. Are they sinners or are they your children. Ask God. He'll tell you. Cannot gay children even read a book about Penguins? If you believe it is a choice I would ak all of you to turn gay. Go ahead and have sex with someone you do not wish to. Do something that is physically unnatural, repugnant, incorrect. You ask me to every day. After all, I'm only a sinner. Just on the outside chance that your children are gay do what you can to help them. Look up statistics on teen suicide. Is it because they are sinners or is it because their own parents toss them away like trash. Is it because they are immoral or is it because their parents are? Is it because they have no right to exist? To many it is. You know, like the people who thought Katrina hit New Orleans because of all the gays yet the French Quarter was left untouched. Kevin and I are both happy and proud to call you and many of your respondants friends. There is always room for debate but at 46 I am tired. Now I just want to live out what is left of my life punishment free. Especially from people. It's time to let God do his job and they can go about the misery of their own daily lives. If they spent half the time fixing themselves that they spend trying to fix me the world would be a better place. Censorship is wrong. I am glad that non-gay people take a stand once in awhile on our behalf. I would do the same. Injustice should be fought on all fronts. Freedom of Religion is a right for me also. It doesn't mean I am free to believe in your s, it gives me the flexibilty to have my own beliefs. Legislation about God matters goes completely against the Constitution. Nobody else can decide what is a sin for me.

  8. kelli says:

    And with that amazingly eloquent reply…anything else I would say would detract. I am so proud to know you and Kevin.

  9. Lauri says:

    This is VERY VERY good. Kirk, you have an incredible way with words and ideas and expressing yourself, and through that, expressing for a lot of us! Excellent post. Myke, what a terrific comment. I got chills just reading it. Between what you and Kirk have said I don't need to add anything. I just want to say that I am glad you mentioned being a child, a gay child, and being able to grow up the way you are without harrassment, judgement and the feeling that something is "wrong" with you. That is exactly what I thought when Kirk mentioned people being afraid of the gay mafia trying to "recruit 'em young".I thought, "they are not "recruited". Therefore to have the chance to read a book like that might make those kids feel a whole lot better about themselves and thier prospects for a life. Anyway, thanks, you guys for talking so sensibly, calmly, and well about a subject that many would find difficult to address. It just seems all so plain and simple when you guys express it! *Hugs all around!!!*

  10. Lauri says:

    I don't know if I dare watch March of the Penguins now….just reading about the egg is making me tear up! 😛 😉

  11. Kirk says:

    …just reading about the egg is making me tear up!It's worth watching, but it has its hard parts. Watching that penguin couple lose their only egg and seeing the obvious anguish they felt was extremely moving.

  12. Kirk says:

    Thanks for the comments, everybody. I value each and every one.Myke: Thanks for such a personal comment. I've added a link to it in the body of the post because I think it makes a wonderful supplement.

  13. Sol says:

    [ciò è buono]

  14. Roboco says:

    I commend your bravery in addressing this hypocrisy head-on, and there is nothing of value that I can add to this discussion — you all have made some very insightful comments.
    I firmly believe in the rights of parents to raise their own children, but I also firmly believe that nobody has a right to impose their personal choices on others. The lies that people choose to tell their kids are their own — those children will address the underlying issues with their parents when they grow up and learn the truth. In the meantime, however, we have the obligation to teach our children to be open-minded, to be accepting, to love our neighbors as friends and family.
    There is never an excuse for censorship. There is never a reason for destructive criticism. We should, instead, focus on improving the human race by gleaning lessons from the animal kingdom. Their instincts have proven to be much more accurate than our own.

  15. Dancing Bear says:

    Kirk, I stop by your place to clear my head and makes sense of things. I come for discussion and not warfare. I can tell by those you have selectedand those who have selected you that I am in the right place. Your character, insight, and eloquence makes for good reading, thinking, and being. To quote another person with similar class and pureness of heart I would give you "high praise for eloquent graffiti". Thanks for all the good stuff. Hope does spring eternal.

  16. Wow. Thanks Kirk, Thank You Myke, my wonderful life partner, mate, best friend, and confident. I couldn't of said it better myself. I still remember the first time I ever saw Myke and I knew right at that moment he was "the one". I told a little bit of the story in an old QOTD the first paragraph of the post is about Myke and a lot of the reasons I will always love him.
    So often Christians especially ones who have never actually studied the scriptures jump to conclusions based on what another person has told them. For example the story of David and Jonathon which is mentioned in bibical passages in 1 Samuel & 2 Samuel. It tells a story of a extremely close bond between David and Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of King Saul, and next in line for the throne. But Samuel anointed David to be the next king. This produced a strong conflict in the mind of Saul. Religious conservatives view this as a non-sexual relationship. However many religious liberals believe that David and Jonathan had a consensual homosexual relationship – in many ways, an example of today's same-sex relationships. A couple of important verses to keep in mind:
    1 Samuel 18:1

    "…Jonathan became one in spirit with David and he loved him as himself."
    "…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul"
    Most translations use the term "soul" rather than "spirit" to describe the bond. They speak of an "immediate bond of love", their souls being "in unison," their souls being "knit", etc. Genesis 2:7, as written in the original Hebrew, describes how God blew the spirit into the body of Adam that God had formed from earth, so that Adam became a living soul. This means that "soul", in the ancient Israelite times, represents a combination of body and spirit. Thus the two men appear to have loved each other both physically and emotionally.
    1 Samuel 18:2

    "From that day, Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father's house."
    David left home to live with Saul so he could be close to Jonathon.
    1 Samuel 18:3-4

    "And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt."
    1 Samuel 18:20-21

    "Now Saul's daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. 'I will give her to him', he thought, 'so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him'. Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law"
    In the King James Version, the end of Verse 21 reads:

    "Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law, in the one of the twain."
    This is important:
    The underlined phrase "the one of" does not exist in the Hebrew original. The words are shown in italics in the King James Version; this is an admission by the translators that they made the words up. Thus, if the King James Version translators had been truly honest, they would have written:

    "Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law, in the twain."
    In modern English, this might be written: "Today, you are son-in-law with two of my children" That would refer to both his son Jonathan and his daughter Michal. The Hebrew original appears to recognize David and Jonathan's homosexual relationship as equivalent to David and Michal's heterosexual marriage. Saul may have approved or disapproved of the same-sex relationship; but at least he appears to have recognized it. The King James Version highlight their re-writing of the Hebrew original by placing the three words in italics; the NIV translation is clearly deceptive.
    1 Samuel 20:41

    "After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with is face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together – but David wept the most."
    "…and they kissed one another and wept with one another, until David exceeded." (King James Version)
    In the new "Americanized" Living Bible translation apparently kissing was to much for the authors and they changed it to shaking hands like good heterosexual men would:
    "and they sadly shook hands, tears running down their cheeks until David could weep no more."
    NOW ESPECIALLY FOR Ms. Lilly Del Pinto
    2 Samuel 1:26

    "I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women."
    In this you must keep in mind in ancient Israel it would not be proper nor acceptable for a man and a woman to have a platonice relationship. Men and Women generally didn't even speak to each other in public. So what kind of love does David speak of here?
    Now let's also not forget to read the famous Letter to Louise by Bruce W. Lowe. It can be downloaded in pdf format or read directly on the site. A Letter to Louise. A very interesting and enlightening study of homosexuality by a noted theologian. One of the best things about this study is the author explains what certain words meant in Hebrew and how they have been lost in translation.
    I really wish that people would study what they hold so dear to their hearts. I wish they would show outrage at the modern day authors of the Living Bible for changing words that in essence change the whole story. If you / they believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is your saviour don't you owe it to him to know what his true words and meaning of those words meant when he spoke them. I've made it my business to understand this thing that people tell me has condemned me to hell and what I have found out… is they are wrong.
    So Finally remember Ephesians 4:16
    "This love comes from God because God himself is love, "God is love, and the man whose life is lived in love does, in fact live in God, and God does, in fact, live in him."
    I live my life in love I hate no one so I must live in God and God must live in me.
    So Ms. Lilly Del Pinto unless you are willing to accept all 8 types of marriages defined in the Bible, and I'm not going to tell you what they are, don't tell me who to love. Ms. Pinto study your book, scriptures, etc. make sure you are studying the Book and not one edited my straight, white, males who are hungry for power. I studied your book, scriptures, etc and the more I study the more I understand. Now go in love and live in him.

  17. Lauri says:

    Kevin, you said "I live my life in love I hate no one so I must live in God and God must live in me."I agree with you 100%. That is exactly what I feel deep deep down in my heart to be Truth.

  18. Thanks Laurie and I apologize for some of the bad grammar. One day I will learn to proof read my comments before posting. "I couldn't have" instead of "I couldn't of" etc.

  19. dee says:

    What a fantastic post, and amazing comments.

  20. Myke says:

    This is great, Kirk. I could have not said it better myself.

  21. Hierophant says:

    Thank you.
    I can't tell you the number of people I've had to convince that the "living" Bible isn't an unchanged document. Just the very nature of the how it was copied by hand for those first centuries…errors are going to happen. Letters will be mistakenly changed…things paraphrased…entire books lost…
    Not to mention all the different Versions we have out…just in comparing the King James to the NIV…it's sad. People are so SURE of what they "know"…
    Anyway, I just happened across this post during random browsing and wanted to give you a little pat on the back from a few hours north.

  22. Anne says:

    In speech class, I was forced to listen to a group of four mangle human rights. We were supposed to take an unemotional topic and discuss it, as well as eventually come to a decision. They decided to talk about gay rights, to decide what they deserve in a high school setting. The two boys were against…their strongest points were that they were uncomfortable with the thought that another guy could be checking them out and that morally, it's wrong. They also talked about how the two boys who recently hooked up at our school made many people uncomfortable.

    To me, morally, censoring the rights of anyone is wrong. Their assumption that all religious people are against gay and lesbian rights offended me, a devout Catholic and supporter of gay rights.

    And, just to add a little bit of humor, no self-respecting gay man would ever check out either of these two boys.

    (In case you were wondering, they made no changes to our political system anyway, so I sat through the debate for 50 minutes to just hear that they would not change anything. How's that for a huge waste of time?)

  23. IG says:

    Friggin' awesome. Thank you, Kirk, Myke, Kevin, Lauri, et. al. It makes me proud just to hear your voices. Truth light and peace, everyone.

  24. Megan says:

    Thanks for this an insightful post.

  25. devonrex says:

    gay-haters are so 1998. get over it gay-haters. you're wrong. it's over. nice post:)

  26. Bookmole says:

    Excellent post. I have added you to my neighbourhood, cos I keep stumbling over your posts. I promise not to mess in the corner, to take the rubbish out, and not play loud music. Sorry, cant manage that last one.I stumbled across a site once which set out to explain exactly what the bible actually says about homosexuality. It was not Burn Gays nor Gays Are Better – but the thing I remember is that no one single person ever changed their views on homosexuality because of reasoned debate. Now aint that sad.

  27. Dewayne says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with homosexuals. However, I am personally heterosexual, I don't find anything disgusting, odd or repulsive about homosexuals. I have many friends that are gay, and they've never even made a pass at me. Homophobia is stupid, like racism.

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