Posted by: bellissimanh | January 14, 2009

And Tango Makes Three

I love bedtime.  Some of my coolest conversations with Noah happen at bedtime.  Like the one here, and here. 🙂

Usually these chats with my youngest leave me feeling happy and amazed… Amazed at the way the Lord speaks to my children. Amazed at the way He speaks to me through them. Amazed at the way Noah’s brain works and things His imagination comes up with. Amazed that it’s possible to have this much love in your heart for one little boy.

But this particular conversation didn’t leave me with warm fuzzy feelings. It left me anxious and upset… frustrated and angry.

Noah was telling me about a story that the librarian had read to him at school. I’ll paraphrase what he told me for you:

“These penguins were all having fun and playing on the rocks. All the boy penguins found girl penguins to hang out with, but there were these two boy penguins and none of the girls wanted to play with them, so they decided to like each other. They were sad because they couldn’t have a baby penguin of their own, so the zookeepers felt bad for them and gave them an egg to hatch. They hatched the egg and had a family. They were very happy.”

I kept asking questions, sure that he must have mixed up something in the story. He told it again… the same way. I told him I didn’t like that story very much. When he asked why, I told him because it made it seem as if two boys “liking each other” and having a baby together was ok. And God’s Word says that it’s not. He explained that it’s based on a true story (which it is) and I told him that didn’t matter… that it didn’t make it ok for us to do something that God says is wrong, just because someone else is doing it. He was satisfied with that.


Here’s a little more info from Wikipedia:

And Tango Makes Three is a 2005 children’s book written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole. The book is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap Penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo who for six years formed a couple. The book follows part of this time in the penguins’ lives. This book aims to send the reader the message that it is okay to be in, or know someone who has, a “non-traditional” family.

The pair were observed trying to hatch a rock that resembled an egg. When zookeepers realized that Roy and Silo were both male, it occurred to them to give them the second egg of a mixed-sex penguin couple, a couple which had previously been unable to successfully hatch two eggs at once. Roy and Silo hatched and raised the healthy young chick, a female named “Tango” by keepers, together as a family.


The American Library Association reports that this book was the most challenged book of 2007 and 2008. Hmmm… wonder why that is? Isn’t it just a harmless retelling of a true story?   Ah, but what the book doesn’t tell you is that the supposedly gay penguin who is the star of the story later went on to mate with a female penguin. Although that fact was widely reported in national news, the author chose to leave that little detail out. Artistic license or p0litical agenda? I’ll leave you to decide that.

We met with the Principal (Mark) of my son’s school the other day to express our concerns. Joel laid out our case before him, described the book (which Mark didn’t recognize from just the title), and told him that this book directly contradicts what we believe and teach our son at home. These children are at such an impressionable age, and they aren’t discerning enough to question all of the information they receive. If a librarian reads this story to an 8-year-old boy, chances are good that the boy will simply believe the philosophies put forward in the book, because they come from what is supposed to be a trustworthy source.

We told Mark that we’re not asking to have the book removed from the library (although that wouldn’t be a bad idea either), but that we would like it removed from any “group” reading lists. We explained that it upset us that this book was read to our son without our knowledge or consent. I said to Mark, “There is so much GREAT literature out there, why can’t we pick something that’s not controversial?”

Once we gave Mark the storyline of the book, he said he did recall that it had been brought to his attention once before. He had spoken with the librarian at that time and she responded by citing all of the awards the book had won.  He said that he would address the issue with her again and told us that his personal feeling is that there are other things she could read, so why pick this battle?

He may not understand why, but we sure do.

Satan is so active in our world today. He is a brazen bandit, come to steal, kill and destroy. He is seeking to push his own agenda anyway he can.  He seeks to make the things of darkness appear harmless.

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” (2 Cor. 11:14-16)

When I reject the sinful agenda put forth in this children’s book, I am labeled as “intolerant” and “ignorant.” I am seen as a homophobe, or worse yet, a gay-hater.

Of all of those labels, only one really rings true.

I am not ignorant. I know what the Truth says on this topic and I believe it.

I am not afraid of homosexuals. I don’t believe the behavior that characterizes them is contagious. I don’t worry that I’ll get AIDS from hugging a lesbian. I don’t assume that they are all “out to get me” or convert my children to their way of thinking.

I am not a gay-hater. I love people and hate sin. My heart breaks for them, because I know the addiction of sin. I know what it’s like to fight my own battles with iniquity (of all kinds) and how strong and intense the pull of the enemy can be.

But I also know what it’s like to have the Light of the world shed upon my wretchedness and have my eyes opened to the darkness of my own heart. I know what it’s like to wake up and realize that I’ve spent a lifetime running from the One who has been stretching His arms out to receive me. I understand the deep remorse of true repentance and the immense joy of finding myself in Him.

But I am intolerant.

For too much of my adult life I accepted things that should not be — all in the name of tolerance.  I didn’t confront sin as I should, for fear of being seen as narrow-minded. I laughed and winked at things that should have been shunned in my life.

Thankfully, the Lord has convicted me of this sin of “tolerance”. Or I should say “is convicting me”, because it’s an ongoing process. Just when I start thinking I’ve got a handle on it, the Holy Spirit brings to light an area where I have allowed myself to be influenced by the world and have started down that slippery slope of acceptance. It’s a constant battle. I am so thankful to have the Sword of the Spirit to fight it with!

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

How else can we renew our minds but by the washing of the water of His Word? It’s one of the reasons I am as determined as ever to commit Scripture to memory this year… to be diligent about it! I need that so much!

Mark is supposed to speak with the librarian again and get back to us. Please pray with us that other children will be protected from this social brainwashing that the enemy is trying to pull over on them. Please pray for the librarian and the other staff at the school, that they would be drawn to the Lord. Please pray for us to be an effective witness in our schools and community. Please pray for the Lord to place a hedge of protection around all of our children, and to shield them from the lies of the devil, even when they are disguised as sweetness and light.

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col. 2:8)

And if your child is in public school and you have time, you may want to make a trip to the library and check on the material being presented to them. Heads up. 🙂



  1. I’m stunned, but I guess I shouldn’t be. Of course Satan wants target our kids when they are most impressionable. I’m just glad that Noah told you about the book. How many other kids just take it in and never have those thoughts clarified? Good for you for doing what you did and stick with it!

  2. Thanks for reminding us that we must stay diligent in protecting our kids. My 12 year old son told me yesterday that he must write a 95 paragraph, 8 page paper on the stages of evolution. We believe what Gen. 1 says about creation and are disturbed. Please pray with us for discernment and the actions to take as well.
    Blessings – Lisa

  3. This is such a great topic for discussion among Christian parents. My son has come home with similar stories (not that particular book), and it disturbs me to see how our schools take such a cavalier attitude about these kinds of issues.

    At least you and your husband took it to the next level and went in for a conference. Thank you for spurring me on to do the right thing. Next time my conversation with Nathan should extend to the people who are responsible to begin with.


  4. Wow, I’ve heard of kids getting hit with this kind of material at public school. I pray often for my nieces about that very subject. Praise God you and your husband took a stand and confronted the school. You handled it very well. Oh how we need to wrap our children in prayer!!!

    BTW – you are the winner for my book give-away contest – A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers! Hop on over to my blog for details. Congratulations!!!

  5. It is so awesome that you and your son have such a close relationship that he would share things with you. And praise God that you did something about it. Too often parents are either in the dark or don’t do anything about these incredible vital situations. Situations like these are one of the many reasons we have chosen to homeschool. Your family and community are in my prayers. I also, really like how you dealt with this “touchy” subject – we hate the sin, but love the sinner.

  6. That breaks my heart and stirs some anger in me for the enemy. I once was told when that happens in me to SHOUT OUT LOUD….NOT ON MY WATCH!

    I’m thankful that your son shared this with you, and your heart was prepared to listen to be able to school him in the ways of GOD. The correct way in which we are to live.


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