Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #11

Re: Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa (2008)

I just passed by the reviews for Madagascar 2, to see if anyone else picked up on the themes of sexuality and religion. You did. Which is commendable; but I also sensed a bias against homosexuality in the review, along with a somewhat critical review of highlighting tendencies in religion formation.

I, as an admitted homosexual, did find the cross-dressing scene a bit too far. However, I enjoyed seeing people laughing at the religion theme, not noticing that they were, in fact, laughing at the tenets of their own religion.

Now, that isn’t to say I’m looking at this through the lenses of a crazed gay who’s anti-religion. Rather, think of me as the vampire in Twilight. I find guys very attractive and beautiful; especially the few who love unconditionally, and don’t require sex to share that connection. That is what I look for in relationships. Which, probably, is why I’m still looking.

I also can admit to having a bias against religion. Many paint gay people as being bad; while themselves engaging in the practices of material worship, racial-formation, and committing and supporting atrocities which show lack of said faith. I am spiritual, just not religious for that reason. To parody Mark Twain: No one is better appointed to lead our personal spiritual journeys, than are ourselves.

Thanks for writing. I appreciate your thoughts on the film and on my review.

Just to clarify my point of view: I don’t approve of “painting gay people as being bad,” and am no more sympathetic to homophobia or gay-bashing than to any other form of dehumanizing people, including materialism (which puts material things above people) or racism.

The Catholic Church teaches that every person is created in God’s image, and, due to original sin, is subject to concupiscent or disordered passions. This means that all of us, in varying ways and degrees, are drawn to things in ways that are not good for us. For me, that might mean one thing; for you, it means something else.

I’m not going to say you’re wrong for finding guys attractive and beautiful. God made men as well as women, and he made them both good, and there is nothing wrong with appreciating goodness and beauty wherever we find it.

If the way in which you find them attractive involves erotic desire, according to Catholic teaching, that is not sinful, though it is objectively disordered, and to act on such erotic desire, the Church teaches, is objectively gravely wrong.

This is in no way a slur on your sexual identity, which is good, and was set from the moment of conception: You are a man. This doesn’t preclude you from appreciating the same goodness in other men; but men and women are made for one another in a way that cannot be duplicated by two men or two women. (Since you mention Twilight, you might find more food for thought in my recent article on that film — it touches on some of this same territory.)

I can appreciate your comments on religion and spirituality. I would want to add two caveats to your pseudo-Twain sentiment. First, the accumulated wisdom of past generations often has a lot to teach us. Second, to borrow a page from Lewis, man’s search for God is all well and good, unless it turns out that God is searching for man — in which case we might be like mice looking for the cat.

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