"On the tallest mountain above the town lived a queen, the young crown prince and the crown kitty. The queen had ruled for many long years and she was tired of it. She made up her mind that the prince would marry and become king before the end of the summer."
Wilson turned to her daughter, "that's how stories go isn't it." With an "uh huh" from Ruth they continued reading aloud about the travails of the young prince, faced with introduction after introduction to princesses. The trouble is he doesn't much care for girls. Finally, there's a breakthrough.
"Presenting Princess Madeleine and her brother Prince Lee. At last the prince felt a stir at his heart. Look it was love at first sight! What a wonderful prince!"
Ruth echoed, "what a wonderful prince!"
The two princes marry and live happily ever after, of course.
I asked Ruth if she liked the book.
"Because it's nice."
Certain schools in Britain are introducing children's books that feature gay families and the result has been... ta da da da... controversy! (Really, what were they thinking?)
Of course, I think this is a great thing and that its about time.*
However, surprisingly not everyone feels this way.
In fact, some are in a right tizzy.
Take for instance the articulate (and ever-so-composed) comment made by Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice:
"They're trying to say to children that homosexuality is fine, so it's blatant propaganda … I just don't reckon school is the place for that. I just don't want children to be mentally interfered with in this way."
He just had to put the word "reckon" in there. Such a darn (or should I say 'dang'?) giveaway!
Steven, anytime we teach a child anything, it could be said that we are "interfering mentally." Teaching a child almost inevitably involves passing on to them our own personal biases and beliefs.
However, don't worry - just because a child reads a book about gay people doesn't mean they're going to become gay.* Because if that was actually the case we wouldn't have any gay people now, would we?
Anyways, I really think that the best part about this article has been the way most readers have responded to it with such incredible acceptance and humour. (It actually makes me feel slightly... dare I say it?... proud to be Canadian. Wow.)
My favorite comment is from Nathan in Moncton who says:
"If my kid can read Alice in Wonderland then why in God's name can't they read about gay parents. At least there won't be any of those God-awful cats in that."
If you want to read more comments go here.
* Yes, I'm serious. This really is a worry of many - Steven Green for one. But please, don't go to Steven's website. I promise you won't like it. His website header scrolls "The enemies of God are all having their say!" I should send it to my parents...
* It just shows how far we've come when the article mentions that "twenty years ago, gay themes were introduced in British schools and quickly thrown out."