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More Astonishing Stupidity

09.19.2005 12:53 | DISPATCHES

The religious right has now embraced the movie "March of the Penguins." Penguins, conservatives argue, are symbos of family values, and an argument for Intelligent Design. The Guardian reports:

Film critic Michael Medved was quoted by the New York Times calling it 'the motion picture this summer that most passionately affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice and child-rearing'. Speaking of audiences in America's heartland who often feel snubbed by liberal Hollywood, he added: 'This is the first movie they've enjoyed since The Passion of the Christ. This is The Passion of the Penguins.'

As happened with Mel Gibson's Christian blockbuster, churches have block-booked cinemas and organised visits for their members. The 153 House Churches Network in Sidney, Ohio, runs a March of the Penguins Leadership Workshop after screenings of the film. Its website,, provides a form that can be downloaded and taken to the cinema. It advises: 'Please use the notebook, flashlight and pen provided to write down what God speaks to you.'

Ben Hunt, a minister at the network, said of the penguins' struggle for survival: 'Some of the circumstances they experienced seemed to parallel those of Christians. The penguin is falling behind, like some Christians are falling behind. The path changes every year, yet they find their way, like the Holy Spirit.'

A contributor to the Christian Science Monitor wrote: 'The penguins' way of life has illustrated to me some aspects of how God is parenting us.' On, a conservative website, an opponent of abortion wrote that the film 'verified the beauty of life and the rightness of protecting it'. Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, told a conference of young Republicans: 'Penguins are the really ideal example of monogamy. The dedication of these birds is amazing.'

Okay. First of all, penguins are SERIAL monogamists. They mate with a different penguin every year. That's good fun, but it aint family values. Also, if an Intelligent Designer wanted to design a nifty bird (and penguins are, no argument, nifty birds) why would he design them so that their reproductive process involved multiple 70-mile treks across a frozen tundra? Why would he design them so that they spend virtually no time with their mates? And why would he throw in the added wrench of an egg that needs to be balanced on the male's feet while said male nearly starves, and say that if the egg fell off the feet for even a few seconds it would die?

If the penguins had an intelligent designer, and they knew where he lived, they'd probably break his windows.


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