The following is a work of fiction ... maybe.
One fine June morning, Dan told his wife, "I think I'll take Derek to the park for some batting practice." So after breakfast, the eager 6-year-old bounded off the front step, and together, father and son, with a ball and bat, headed toward a favorite downtown city park.
Two blocks away, Fran and her husband Fred guided their twins, Mark and Megan, toward the park as well. The 7-year-olds on their roller blades called impatiently to their parents, "Mom and Dad, come on - I think there's a parade up ahead!"
From another dwelling nearby, Stan and his 5-year-old daughter Hope wanted to get out and enjoy the beautiful day. Hope loved to swing as high as she could on the park swings, so that's where they headed. As they approached a busy intersection, they heard loud music. "Must be a parade this morning," Stan thought idly.
As they rounded the corner, a colorful float appeared, moving slowly toward them Adorned in bright lavender tissue paper and sequins, the words, "Dykes Rule!" was painted on the side. Atop the flatbed, four topless women gyrated to a pulsating beat.
Hope looked around at her father in horror. "Dad!" she shrieked, flying into his arms for safety. Her little body trembled as she clung to him.
"Come on, sweetheart, we'll try another way," he said as he steered her to return down the street they had just walked. His eyes desperately searched for an alternate route as inside, he fought his own anger and disgust.
As they retraced their steps, they passed Mark and Megan just approaching the corner. The twins stood and watched the next float approach. Beneath an arc of rainbow-colored balloons, men and women in leather and chains pretended to whip one another. Two men dressed only in skimpy shorts stood one behind the other and wiggled, simulating sodomy.
Mark pointed and hooted. "Ha, ha! Look at this, Dad! It's like those people on the Internet Jason showed me! " His sister froze, her mouth hanging open. Fran and her husband exchanged glances, rolling their eyes. "Come on, kids," Fran said, "let's get something at Starbuck's until the parade is over."
"But I wanna watch!" Mark protested.
Fred smirked at him. "Maybe when you're a little older, son." They guided the kids into a nearby storefront coffee bar. Fred pulled Fran aside from the kids. "Don't overreact, now," he whispered. "Let's make sure the kids know it's wrong to be homophobic." Fran nodded in agreement with her spouse.
Meanwhile, on the opposite corner, Dan and Derek saw the same float. "Da-a-ad," Derek said slowly, "what are those people doing?"
Dan bent down to his son's ear. "Son, those are grown-ups, and they are doing things that some grown-ups do to - well, to have fun."
Derek looked at his dad, puzzled. "But they're hurting each other!"
Dan shook his head. "Not really, son. When you're older, you'll understand."
Derek started to shake." Dad, I'm afraid!" He grabbed Dan's arm.
Dan shook him off impatiently. "My son's been too sheltered," he thought. "Time for him to grow up a little." "Derek! Stop whining! This is no big deal. C'mon - we're going on to the park to hit some balls."
Stunned, the little guy looked up at his dad in confusion, eyes filled with tears. But he lowered his head and shuffled along, holding onto Dan's arm. "It's time to find him a sex ed book," Dan resolved. "I don't want him to grow up repressed."
Stan had picked up Hope and jogged along a parallel alley. Thinking he had finally gotten ahead of the parade, he turned down a short street. Yet when they reached the parade route, they were confronted with the beginning of the parade. Banners proclaiming, "Celebrate Gay Pride!" were held by grinning men, women and teens, marching en masse. Several had children in strollers - one man had a toddler on his shoulders. Two men kissed for the benefit of a strolling cameraman. A man in a flowered hat and high heels danced around the marchers. Police on foot and on motorcycles escorted the group, chatting and joking along the way.
Hope stood stock still, transfixed by the crowd, the laughter, the noise. "Daddy! There are policemen there!" She looked up at him, her innocent eyes pleading. "There are other dads here! Why don't they all do something?"
Numbly, Stan shook his head. "Sweetheart, it's ... it's complicated." He grabbed her hand, hustling her across in front of the marchers. But her eyes remained on the strutting, groping, half-clothed throng of bodies. She began to cry - slow, body-wrenching sobs - and she froze in her tracks in the middle of the street.
As he bent down to put his arms around Hope, Stan remembered. All the times there had been petitioners in his neighborhood - and how quickly he'd shut the door. The times he'd been approached by colleagues to speak out against the increasing demands of "gay" co-workers - and how he'd ducked out of his office to avoid the discussion. His pastor, after all, advised against getting involved in "politics." It just wasn't the way Christians should spend their time.
"Hey, sir, you gotta move your kid outta the way!" ordered a gruff female police officer. "The parade can't stop for her!"
"No," Stan thought sadly, "No. It won't do that - until the dads do something."
"And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
- Malachi 4:6