’God Made Dad & Mom’ -- But Not Dad & Dad?
A new children’s book purports to "educate" the "next generation" about "God’s plan" for families -- a plan that, according to author Amber Dee Parker, calls for heterosexual-only family units, reports The Advocate.com in a May 24 article.
The book, titled "God Made Dad & Mom," was published on March 27 by Bridge Logos, a company that specializes in Biblically themed literature. The story centers around a young child named Michael. The publisher’s description, recounts Wonkette in a May 24 article, tells potential buyers, "This picture book for young children presents the traditional, Judeo-Christian view of the family in picture-book format.
"In school, young Michael learns that God made men to be fathers and women to be mothers," the publisher’s description adds. "After school, his father takes him to the zoo, where he learns that animal families consist of a male, a female, and their offspring."
At this point, questions arise for Michael about a classmate named Jimmy who has two fathers.
When Michael discusses Jimmy’s family with his father, the two decide that that he should pray for the boy and his two fathers, evidently because they believe God disapproves of their family. Text in the book reads, "Michael prays, ’Dear Jesus, please show Jimmy and is dads the truth about how you made them and how much you love them.’ "
Michael’s discussion with his father also leads to the revelation that Michael is adopted.
The story shows "that not only does God have a plan for his friend’s life, but God has a plan for Michael’s life," Parker says in an advertisement available for viewing at YouTube.
The Advocate article characterized the story as "encourage[ing] kids to pray for the destruction of families with same-sex parents."
Global gay news site GayStarNews covered the story, saying that "Right-wing Christians in the US are pushing a new book attacking gay families," and noting that Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, has endorsed the book. Wildmon, the article noted, has gained notoriety for his anti-gay comments and opposition to gay and lesbian family equality.
The book’s cover suggests a tone of acceptance for racial diversity, depicting a mixed-race heterosexual couple and their son.
The Advocate article includes a YouTube link in which Parker promotes her own book, calling it "great" and saying it can be "used as a tool." Parker also notes that the art, by illustrator Hannah Sequra, features "full color illustrations."
"I encourage you to go to bridgelogos.com and pick up a copy of ’God Made Dad and Mom,’ " the author adds.
The book evidently neglects several essential observations about animal "families," including the fact that in many species the female raises the young alone. Mating couples in some species, such as penguins, go to extraordinary lengths to procreate and then care for their offspring as a couple, but this does not necessarily reflect a lifelong bond; in the case of some penguin species, once the new brood has been hatched and cared for until they are old enough to fend for themselves the male and female search out new mates the following season.
Moreover, same-sex penguin couples have been noted in several zoos worldwide and even given eggs to hatch. One such story forms the basis for another children’s book, "And Tango Makes Three," about a real-life pairing of two male penguins in a zoo and the way they nurtured a penguin chick. That book has the distinction of being the top-targeted book several years running by Christian conservatives and anti-gay activists seeking to remove it from libraries around the country.
Homosexuality has been noted in over 7,000 animal species.
Responses to "God Made Mom & Dad" have been mixed and, in some cases, passionate.
"Please go to youtube, click on the video and then click on the ’report’ flag (use the ’promotes hate/abuse’ button)" one Facebook user encouraged his friends. "Keep this miserable fuck from using youtube as free promotion for this crap."
At Amazon, the listing for the book garnered 51 reviews as of mid-morning on 5/24. Of those, all but one were critical in tone.
"How do you brainwash little kids to hate gays and lesbians?" one customer review read. "Here is an example written by a pair of fundamentalist Christians. Lots of cute pictures and simple text conveying a message of hate. Sure to be popular with closet case homosexuals who hate themselves or for those screwed up parents who fear that their children might be gay."
"The authors are very unfamiliar with the Bible if they think biblical marriage is one man and one woman," another reviewer wrote. "The Old Testament has marriages between many people at once, endorsing infidelity, polygamy, and concubines. Using religion to defend bigotry is actually worse than just being a straight up bigot."
Another took issue with the book’s zoological credibility.
"Lions live in polygamous prides with 1 male and several females," the reviewer pointed out. "Chimpanzees in estrus have sex with any male they can get to mate with them. As do domestic cats. Do you have any pets? Have you ever seen a dog or cat in heat? To claim all animals live in a specific type ’family’ is ludicrous at best and hysterically sadly funny."
One review started out seeming to praise "God Made Mom and Dad," but then turned satirical:
"I have finally found the perfect book for my kids and grandkids!!" the review began, before going on to say, "I’ve been stressing over how to teach them intolerance and hate and this lovely little book seems to be just the ticket!! I can teach them how to bully their friends as well...what a bonus!"
On reviewer called for the book to kickstart a series of Biblically themed children’s literature.
"I think a charming children’s book could be made warning children of the other abominations in the Bible," the review author mused, "so they can ask parents why Daddy didn’t add on a marriage with Mommy’s sister when her husband died as is ordered, or why Daddy doesn’t have thousands of wives and concubines, or why Lot was willing to turn his two young daughters over to the raging mob demanding he give up the strangers/angels he was showing hospitality, and why then Lot’s two daughters later got him drunk and had sex with him, or why Daddy plays with footballs when they’re made of pig’s skin, or why Mommy and Daddy eat shrimp, lobster, bacon, ribs and pork chops?
"They should be taught to insist their Daddy make Mommy go outside to live in a red tent a week of every month and not touch any of their furniture that week," continued the review, which riffed on a number of proscriptions set out in the Old Testament book of Leviticus (where condemnations of same-gender sexual acitivty appear).
Though many of the reviews proceeded from a skeptical vantage, some were rooted in religious conviction.
"There are some great books for children teaching Christian values of compassion and loving thy neighbor," read one posting. "This book isn’t one of them. It is poorly written and has a mean spirited message. My church Minister would not let this judgmental book of hate near children."
The only positive review at the book’s Amazon page was put up on April 13, 2013, by "Mom4Christ," whose comments consisted solely of selected passages from the Old and New Testaments:
"Mathew 19: 4-5
"And He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death:
"For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh."
The Book of Leviticus has been widely interpreted to condemn same-gender sexual activity universally, but several Biblical scholars have pointed out that the Hebrew text calls sex between two men a "taboo" for Hebrews, rather than a sin for any and all participants. The reason for the text, scholars say, is that ancient Semitic peoples sought to distinguish their faith and traditions from those of other religious traditions that existed at the time and included sex rites.