The Ten Things I Wish the Pope Could Have Observed on My Family’s Trip to Disneyland

ImageDuring the last few weeks of winter holidays, Pope Benedict VXI and several of his delegates including Illinois Cardinal Francis George and the United Kingdom’s Archbishop Vincent Nichols delivered lump of coal to the world’s LGBTQ communities.  It was gift-giving Mr. Grinch or unrepentant Ebenezer Scrooge style.

Like the “We Three Anti-gay Kings”, Archbishop Nichols brought the removal of gay-inclusive religious services in London’s SoHo district, Cardinal George declared same sex marriages “legal fiction” and Pope Benedict agreed calling gay marriage a “manipulation of nature” and gay people “abstract human beings”.  The Pope stated that gay families pose a “crisis” in which “the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost”.

Meanwhile, I was taking my gay family on a trip to Disneyland.  I was there with my partner, Jim, and my two 10-year old sons.  My sons have been mine since their infancy. They were adopted from heterosexual birthparents, who would have fit the acceptable image of “family” as promoted by the Pope.  Each of the four was chemically addicted, however, and certain to create devastating damage had my sons remained in their care.

On the day we went, so did 40,000 other people.    I thought about what the Pope could see if he had been there with us.  We were as any other family in the park—we were photographed together, kissed and hugged each other when moved to do so, held hands, and laughed a lot.  Here is what he would have seen:

1. Romance.   Despite gay marriage being legal in more and more countries around the globe, Disneyland is only filled with numerous Princess opposite gender oriented story lines, each proving that heterosexual romance is alive, well and not going anywhere.  There is not a whisper of same-sex romance even hinted, although some cross species romance (Ariel, Belle) has crept in.  No change is evident in the human romantic blueprint.

2. The crowds. Further evidence that heterosexuality is not experiencing a threat, let alone a “crisis”, is the massive amount of opposite sex families and their progeny in attendance.  Our same sex presence, the kiss to my partner at the base of Tarzan’s Treehouse and our posing with Disney character icons not only did not create a wave of sexual orientation defection, they were completely ignored by everyone around us.  The Pope would sleep well witnessing how uncomfortably well humans are populating the earth.

3. The joy.  We saw people in frail health at the end of their lives sharing experiences with kids who are new to the planet. Excitement and wonder exuded from all directions.  The love within my family did not threaten them, especially as a “crisis”.  Instead, there was deep inspired joy that I think the Pope would envy.

4. The diversity of real families.  We rubbed elbows with many families.  These were real families and almost no two looked identical.  It was impossible to tell if parents were biological ones, adopted ones or temporary guardians.  It was impossible to see exactly how each had come together.  Love obviously held each together however.  If he had seen it, the Pope would have to reconsider in his limited one-size-fits- all perspective.

5. Imagination.  From fresh perspective of histories and cultures to real innovations that will have human impact, the park has made imagination a pervasive theme.  The Pope needs a little of the stuff.  Seriously.

6. Popularity and relevance.  Disney characters turn parents and kids into ravenous paparazzi.  In the  minds of the families there, the Mary who is a virgin has the last name of Poppins.  Children can recognize and name every chipmunk, duck, mouse and dog character that hit the street, but would not know any Catholic saints except St. Nicholas.  This lack of relevance of Catholic lore on modern life might give the Pope a moment’s pause if he really wants to stay important to future generations.

7. Parenting,  “Finding Nemo” style.   My son, Jason, loved this ride in which a sole Dad parent shows what real parental love is all about, and that it has nothing to do with dual sets of genitalia in the home.  The Pope should have gone on the ride with him.

8. Nature vs. the world of Mickey Mouse.  Cardinal George wrote “Marriage comes to us from nature”. Team Pope harp on this theme a lot, but their concept of “nature” does not seem to reflect real nature at all.  If Mickey and Minnie were actual rodents, Minnie would go into heat and be bred by all able male mice in the vicinity.  This would make for a very different Disneyland.  In the civilized world, Mickey and Minnie are monogamous and committed.  Humanity, not nature,  is the factor that provides stability, morality, equality and higher values.  Hopefully, if the Pope and his team hung out in the house of Mouse, they would come to understand that.

9. Great words from Mr. Lincoln.    The Pope has decried “a false understanding of freedom” — meaning that only heterosexuals have family rights. He needs to listen to the words of Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln: “The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. What constitutes the bulwark of our liberty and independence? … Our reliance is in the love of liberty, which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.”

10. Captain EO.  The Pope needs to see Michael Jackson’s legacy work in Captain Eo in Tomorrowland.  As Michael confronts a cold heartless tyrant, who demands a colorless world to her own suppression laden blueprint, he transforms the environment with dance, music, rhythm and style.  He literally gays up the place with beauty and love and leaves the now transformed monarch with these words, “We’re takin’ over; we have the truth; this is the mission; to see it through; don’t point your finger; not dangerous; this is our planet; you’re one of us; we’re sendin’ out a major love and this is our message to you;  we’re bringin’ brighter days … fulfill the truth”  I hope the Pope would have taken some of this Truth home to the Vatican with him.

The Pope is wrong to denigrate gay families and is on the wrong side of history.  In Disney stories, there are great transformations and awakenings.  It is my sincere prayer that the Pope gets one of these as a gift for himself this year.

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About robw77

A single gay dad who cares. His story can be read here: http://www.imagaysingleparent.com/2013/02/02/rob/ and here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/31/rob-watson-gay-family_n_4689661.html
This entry was posted in Civil Rights, Family, Gay Christians, Marriage equality, Mixing religion and politics, News, Politics, Prejudice, Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The Ten Things I Wish the Pope Could Have Observed on My Family’s Trip to Disneyland

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  11. Jessica Burde says:

    Awesome post, but I think I love the pic more – is it just me or does he even look like a Disney villain?

  12. Corinne Lightweaver says:

    Thanks, Rob! Your post reminded me of “Cinderfella,” a video by Todrick Hall who envisions a more-inclusive Disney story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9ZA7bn5ujk

  13. lovely post. The pope is the master of a religion that hates anything that isn’t of itself, and that religion is anything but family friendly. The only concern with reproduction they have is to pop out more mindless soldiers.

    • No. That’s not a fair description of Catholicism. And you insult a lot of Catholics, many of whom don’t agree with the Pope, by calling our Church a religion of hate.

      • Oh, so you don’t believe your god puts your pope into place? Seems that’s what defines a Catholic, someone led by whomever is the lineal “descendent” to Peter. You are just one more Christian, a Catholic, who wants to make up their own version of their religion when they get upset and want to play pretend that they know what their god “really meant”. You are all sure that your version is the “right” one, based on your personal desires and hatreds, just like Pope Benedict, just like Pat Robertson, just like Fred Phelps and just like *every* Christian. Your religion has not magical “truth”, it is just a reflection of the humans who have invented it. And Catholicism is a religion of hate. You hope that everyone wh disagress with you goes to hell, since that is the only thing that would validate your nonsense. You insist that homosexuals and women are less than human and should not have equal rights. You turn a blind eye to your own church’s (and god’s) failings that allow children to be abused by the priests, making up excuses on why your god fails so badly. Yours is the religion of Augustine who claimed that people, including children, who were born at the wrong place and time were damned to hell and it is your religion that had to make up Limbo since Augustine’s nonsense made everyone uncomfortable. It’s all nonsense.

    • AliG says:

      Your response to Ms. Kozisek’s comment is insensitive. I consider myself Catholic, and I don’t agree with a lot of what the Church decrees is right. As human beings, we all are granted the ability to find our own path to belief, be it through official Church doctrine or otherwise. A lot of what the Pope dictates as true isn’t presented in the Bible. Catholic faith can be based on the teachings of Jesus and his disciples; the teachings founded on the basis of love. While the Pope may decree that homosexuals will go to hell, not all Catholics share that belief. We also do not all share the belief that our God “hates” gays, women, or those of other religions. Your comments are insulting and hurtful to those of us who may practice a Catholic religion founded on love, rather than exactly what the Papacy states as true.

      • It’s insensitive? Too bad. Catholics always amuse me. You want to claim you have a direct line to god so you can feel ever-so special, but when it’s inconveneint to have that direct line aka the Pope and what he says, you pick and choose whatever you like and don’t like your religion, declaring that you must be more right than anyone else. Ali, you are just one more theist who creates her own religion based on what she likes or hates, no magical god or truth needed or involved. You are a hypocrite, nothing more.

  14. Another fantastic post. Your blog is one of my favorites (it would be an honor to be included in your blogroll) and I look forward to reading everything that you write. You are a role model in so many ways. Your family should be very proud of you. I’m glad you had a great vacation!

  15. Lyn Fairlie says:

    Love it. My family (hubby and son) and I were also just in Disneyland and saw the same beautiful melting pot mix of families of all shapes, sizes and orientation – all there spending time together and having fun. No judgements. No hatred. Unconditional acceptance and mutual respect.

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