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Passion of the Penguins

The Science Times section of the New York Times ran a story yesterday describing how the increasingly popular documentary ?March of the Penguins? is being used by conservatives to justify their positions on abortion, monogamy and intelligent design. One conservative film critic is calling the film ?Passion of the Penguins.? Huh? I?ve seen this movie, and what are these people talking about? Here?s the evidence the article presents: A writer for World Magazine, a Christian publication,

By | September 14, 2005

The Science Times section of the New York Times ran a story yesterday describing how the increasingly popular documentary ?March of the Penguins? is being used by conservatives to justify their positions on abortion, monogamy and intelligent design. One conservative film critic is calling the film ?Passion of the Penguins.? Huh? I?ve seen this movie, and what are these people talking about? Here?s the evidence the article presents: A writer for World Magazine, a Christian publication, argued that the images of starved penguins sludging through sub-freezing temperatures on the hopes that their fragile offspring will survive present a ?strong case for intelligent design,? tempered with a "some might suppose." Rich Lowry, editor for the National Review, told attendees at a conference for young Republicans last month that the movie, and its avian stars, endorse monogamy. One Ohio minister has organized theater trips to see the movie, saying it represents Christian living. ?Some of the circumstances (the penguins) experienced seemed to parallel those of Christians,? he told the New York Times. ?The penguin is falling behind, is like some Christians falling behind. The path changes every year, yet they find their way, is like the Holy Spirit.? First off, anyone who?s watched a penguin waddle on stubby legs and unintentionally belly flop onto jagged ice could argue that their design is not entirely intelligent. Add to that their tendency to tough it out in one of the world?s harshest environments, and frequently die of starvation or cold, or at the hands of predators. And monogamy? As I recall, the movie says that penguins are monogamous only for one season, and when it?s time to breed again, all bets are off. So if we?re using the penguins as a model for humans, this type of behavior appears to advocate finding a new partner every month. Furthermore, I seem to recall a famous pair of gay penguins, Roy and Silo, who celebrated their love at the New York Central Park Zoo. (Sadly, the latest news is that the pair has ended its six-year romance.) And what movie doesn?t include the story of a character who loses his or her way temporarily, only to return, enlightened, by the closing credits? Is every movie in the Teen Drama section of the video store a metaphor for living as a Christian? The film?s writer said he was surprised to find that the movie has been heralded by people who say it supports Conservative values. This is a statement I can agree with.
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