Saturday, September 17, 2005

Symbols of virtue, whether they like it or not

March of the Penguins has become a major hit among conservatives who say that the film offers lessons on monogamy and intelligent design. One reviewer said it was the best movie he’d seen since The Passion of the Christ.

On the right-wing Web site, an opponent of abortion wrote that the movie “verified the beauty of life and the rightness of protecting it.” And at a conference for young Republicans, the editor of National Review urged participants to see the movie because it promoted monogamy.

In Sidney, Ohio, Ben Hunt, a minister at the 153 House Churches Network, has coordinated trips to the local theater to see the film. "Some of the circumstances they experienced seemed to parallel those of Christians," he said of the penguins. "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." Mr. Hunt has provided a form on a Web site that can be downloaded and taken to the film. "Please use the notebook, flashlight and pen provided," it says, "to write down what God speaks to you as He speaks it to you."

In an interview with the French daily Le Monde, the film director Luc Jacquet expresses his surprise. "Je suis de formation scientifique, élevé au lait darwinien. Je suis contre toute forme de prosélytisme, et je rappelle que ce film n'est qu'une histoire de manchots. L'analyser en termes religieux, c'est un peu comme si l'on analysait Superman en termes de défense et de stratégie." [I had a scientific education; I was raised on Darwinian milk. I am against all forms of proselytism and I would like to stress that this film is just a story about penguins. To analyze it in religious terms is a bit like analyzing Superman in terms of defense and strategy.] He considers this recent craze as «ridicule et dangereux», quoting from the French magazine Science: « On devrait emmener les partisans du créationnisme voir La Marche de l'empereur pour leur prouver qu'ils ont tort. » [We should take the followers of creationism to see March of the Penguins to prove to them that they’re wrong.]

Of course, whatever Mr. Jacquet may say about his film is irrelevant. Numerous commentators have also pointed out the high percentage of «gays» among penguins. It doesn't matter, lalalala, we can't hear you. The religious crazies have decided that the film encapsulates the main tenets of their faith and nothing, but nothing, will change their mind.

My question is this: does religion make one stupid or is stupidity a requirement for religion? I guess it's the eternal mystery: which comes first, the egg or the penguin?

No comments: