When “is” doesn’t mean “ought.”
First there was Silo, the penguin, at the Central Park Zoo in New York. In 2005, he left his partner, Roy, and took up with a feisty female named Scrappy.
More recently, news outlets from San Francisco report that Harry and Pepper – a “gay penguin couple” of six years – have split. Apparently, Harry’s fast-approaching seven-year-itch involved a widowed penguin named Linda.
Apparently, we have yet another “ex-gay” penguin on our hands. Or if not “ex-gay,” one whose sexual orientation is fluid and seems to have shifted in some way.
What a blow this must be for pro-gay advocates who attempt to justify what they see as the innate naturalness – and therefore morality – of human homosexual behavior by interpreting supposed examples of animal “homosexuality” through the lens of human experience, perceptions and desire.
And as these pro-gay advocates psychologically superimpose their wishful thinking upon these unwitting waddling wonders – penguin pawns in a politically correct propaganda machine – they choose to ignore an Antarctic-sized mountain of considerations that puts a frozen chill on their claims:
Like the fact that human behaviors – particularly in the realm of sexual attraction, expression and identity – are known to be much more complex than survival-based animal sexuality.
That humans pair-bond and develop romantic sensibilities, rather than simply responding on a physiological level to mating calls and sex odors.
That humans solidify their sexual orientation and gender identity through psychosocial bonding experiences – particularly with same-sex parents and peers.
That – compared to humans – scientists know very little about what function same-sex sexual behavior serves for any animal species.
That animals typically don’t have recreational sex.
That animals act primarily out of instinct – responding to aggression, fear, needs for dominance, etc. – whereas humans are uniquely gifted among all earthly creatures to function beyond our instinctual limitations as the sole image bearers of God the Creator.
That just because something is doesn’t mean it ought to be. Indeed, animals are regularly known to eat their own eggs, vomit and feces; to kill their young, their old and their siblings; and to engage in incest. Are we to understand that all of these behaviors are acceptable and desirable – let alone moral – for humans too?
To be consistent, pro-gay advocates who argue for homosexuality from supposed examples in the animal kingdom must answer “yes” to this question.
I can hear the howls of protest already.
However, if pro-gay advocates choose to ignore these logical conclusions and insist on deriving human morality from the observation of certain animal behaviors in unusual and limited contexts, then let’s be fair and allow our penguin friends to serve as examples that human homosexuals can and do change their sexual orientation.
After all, if Silo and Harry can shift away from their homosexuality, so can highly motivated humans who experience same-sex attraction.
Caleb Price is a research analyst at CitizenLink, an affiliate of Focus on the Family.
This article was originally published on 23 September 2009.