The success of Star Trek Into Darkness has stirred up a fair amount of controversy. A few months ago, there was the whole gratuitous Carol Marcus in her underwear debate that enraged the Internet for a time. Then there was the “killing millions of people in the film’s climax” melee that has been the trend with major Hollywood blockbusters this summer (for example, Man of Steel). And now it appears a preacher from Colorado feels that the sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 franchise reboot promotes bestiality. I don’t remember that scene, do you?
On his daily radio show, “Generations with Vision,” Reformation Church pastor Kevin Swanson, and his co-host Dave Beuhner, publicly denounced the latest Trek film for depicting bestiality. The scene in question happens early in the film when Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) is seen in bed with two members of what Swanson calls the “wrong species.” They have tails. Swanson explained that he doesn’t want to take his children to a movie that involves interspecies romance, which he apparently considers bestiality.
Here’s a sample of their dialogue:
“Swanson: Do I really want to take my kids to watch a movie that implicates the good guy in the film as mating with the wrong species- but not just one, but two.
Beuhner: Well you know I could understand that Christians would get upset if it was a male of a different species. No actually, I’m not sure that the bestiality and the homosexuality are really all that different.
Swanson: …. of course the whole premise of this is that within an evolutionary construct there is no real problem with speciation and cross-species mating, there’s no problem with that at all, in fact that’s how you evolve, that’s how you get evolution, and so the end result of course is that evolution has no basic problem with bestiality or cross-species mating. Okay? Now some of you are saying that I can’t believe these guys are saying this on this radio program. I can’t believe I’m saying this either. They are going places where no man has gone before. Or should.”
The whole point of the franchise is to show that, despite exterior differences, we’re all pretty much the same. And maybe that truth extends to the rest of the universe as well. Star Trek is about unity, equality, and inclusion. Episodes work as social allegories that seek to inform and enlighten audiences about social issues and awareness. One of the most iconic characters in the series, Mr. Spock, is a prime example of interspecies unification. After all, he’s half human and half Vulcan.
Swanson is no stranger to controversy. He has also condemned The Muppets and the Jim Henson Company for parting ways with Chick-Fil-A because of the fast food company’s anti-gay stance. Personally, I don’t put much stock in this way of thinking or belief structure. In my opinion, Swanson is clearly promoting hate and intolerance.
There was no place for this close-minded kind of thinking in the future Gene Roddenberry imagined, and there should be no place for it today. While Star Trek Into Darkness is far from a perfect film, it’s not particularly heavy handed, nor does it club you over the head with its message of equality and unity. Star Trek simply envisions a hopeful future, one where we can be united as a civilization, a people, and a world.