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Written October 29, 2014


Background:  I was getting ready to go to bed when the radio happened to play “All Star,” a 15-year-old hit by Smash Mouth.  I’d never paid attention to the words before, so I took the opportunity to do so.  These lines caught my attention:

The ice we skate is getting pretty thin
The water's getting warm so you might as well swim

That set off my imagination.  By the next morning, I’d dreamed up the following interview.


Welcome back to IT'S IN THE BIBLE.  I'm Brother Billy.

My next guest is not actually with us here in the studio.  He’s way down south.  And I mean way down south, all the way down, on the shores of Antarctica!  By the miracle of satellite communications, we’ve arranged a special video feed for this interview.  I’m told we’re going to be speaking today with Mr. John Doe.

Are you there, Mr. Doe?  This is Brother Billy.

I’m here.  Where else would I be?

Ah, yes, I see you on the screen.  Welcome to our program.

Thank you.  But you bungled the introduction, stupid.

What’s that?

You’ve got the wrong name.  I’m not John Doe.  John is my father.  My name is Tucksey.

I’m very sorry, Mr. Doe.  I was misinformed.  What was your first name again?


Tucksey.  Uh, that’s quite unusual.

Just put it all together.

I beg your pardon?

Come on, you can do it, Billy boy.  What’s my full name?

Tucksey ... Doe?

You got it!

Like tuxe-do?


I suppose that’s appropriate.  I notice you’re very formally dressed today.

I’m a penguin, you idiot!  I always look like this.

A penguin?  My goodness.  I’ve never interviewed an animal before.

You’re calling me an animal?

Well, ahem, as you know, all living things belong to one of three “kingdoms.”  There are plants, and there are animals, and there are humans — people like me.  We were created in God’s image.  We’re quite different from animals, even though the godless evolutionists claim otherwise.  Now you’re not a human yourself, are you?

Certainly not!

And you’re not a plant.

I am not a plant.

Then you’re an animal.  You see, the word “animal” can describe many creatures:  the beasts of the field, of course, but also the fowls of the air and the fishes of the sea.

“Fowls of the air”?  Who talks like that?  “Fishes of the sea”?

It’s in the Bible.  Anyway, you and your animal friends have no soul.  Therefore you have not been blessed with the guidance from God that we Christians find in our Holy Scriptures.

That’s true, we don’t have a Bible.  But I can’t say we’ve missed it.

Don’t be flippant!  If humans lacked a moral code to direct us, we’d be out of control.  We would be no better than dumb animals.  (No offense.)  We would be free to act according to our own brutish desires.  But, praise God, we have the Ten Commandments!  Laws straight from God, whom no one is allowed to question.  They tell us what to do and what not to do.

Penguins know what to do and what not to do.

How could you know, without the authority of Scripture to instruct you?

You don’t understand, do you, Billy?  It’s simple.  Morality comes from living within a community and learning how to get along with others.

For example, when I was just a chick I discovered it was wrong to steal.  I tried to take a bit of food away from a friend, and I got a pecking you’d never believe!  Not only did my pilferage prove painful, but it soured my relations with the neighbors.  So I learned not to take what wasn’t mine.

We live in close quarters down here on the shore.  We have to make friends, not enemies.  It’s common sense.

Now you humans, you don’t have any common sense.  You’re like children; you need to have everything spelled out for you.  You think that thievery is just fine until one day God writes on a tablet “Thou shalt not steal” and you say, “Oh really?  Hmm, I never realized that was a rule.  Very well, if you say so, from now on I shall not steal, your majesty.”

Now, Mr. Doe ...

Call me Tucksey.  Another thing.  We penguins mate for life.  It’s obvious to me that staying faithful to my wife is the best policy.  If I started waddling after other females, my wife would give me a pecking you’d never believe, and I’d risk losing my best friend.

I’m a good bird because it’s the right way.  I don’t need a nagging God decreeing what should already be obvious, like “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

Do you mean you can you be good without guidelines?  Are you claiming it’s possible to be moral without a written moral code?

I certainly am claiming that!  And let me tell you, Brother Billy:  You humans who worship the Bible think you’re so perfect.  But you fool around outside marriage.  You even get divorced.  You’re envious of each other’s possessions.  You’re constantly killing each other.  Your wars never end.

And because your Bible doesn’t tell you not to do it, you burn everything you can get your hands on, from wood to coal to gas to oil.  You don’t care about what all that burning is doing to the Earth.  We penguins know what it’s doing.  The water’s getting warmer.  We’re on thin ice down here!

Now, Tucksey, there’s no conclusive proof that humans are causing global warming ...

Oh, you are.  You are.  And you’re using up all your gas and oil.  You’re never going to get it back.  Once you’ve burned it, it won’t be there for your grandchildren.  But you don’t regard this as a sin, because your precious Commandments don’t mention anything about preserving the planet for future generations.  I speak from the high moral ground here!

Uh, we seem to be losing the satellite connection ...



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Talking with Paul

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