A same-sex wedding between two rats on the ‘Arthur’ Cartoon series on PBS had one prominent minister fired up about the plotline.
The ‘Arthur’ cartoon series kicked off its 22nd season with an event that has infuriated some Christian leaders. The character of Mr. Ratburn, a teacher, got married.
In the episode, titled, “Mr Ratburn and the Special Someone,” he married another male character. Ratburn is apparently a lead character, which was enough to earn the show praise on social media and scorn among the Christian community.
If you’ve never heard of the Arthur cartoon, you’re not alone. It’s a Canadian/American series about a family of aardvarks. The title character, Arthur, is an 8-year-old. Unlike some children’s cartoon series, which rarely delve into serious, contemporary issues, Arthur is a bit different. It has tackled issues like cancer, autism, bed-wetting, asthma and dyslexia. (And now, same-sex marriage.)
Common Sense Media, a watchdog group that provides recommendations for family viewing, gave the series a five-star rating — that’s five out of five. Their review calls the show “a thoughtful cartoon for kids to grow up on.” Most reviews seem to agree, although one posted apparently just after the episode in question rated the show one star and added this:
“I am thankful that my kids watched Arthur years ago when it was normal. Now this and other PBS shows are heavily driven by political correct entities. There is same sex marriage in this show. So now I consider it smut. My grandkids will never see it.”
Nothing like open-mindedness.
GLAAD, meanwhile, praised the episode by congratulating the couple on Twitter:
And cue the uproar…
Franklin Graham recently posted to Facebook about the series.
“This PBS animated series is promoting the LGBTQ agenda,” he wrote. “In a new episode, Arthur’s male third grade teacher gets married—to another male character. During the wedding, one of the students exclaims, “It’s a brand new world!” I’ll say — but not for the better. PBS receives government funding — why should our government be financing programming that promotes behavior the Bible says is sinful? I sure don’t want my tax dollars going toward that. I think many viewers may be surprised and disappointed in this content decision. I hope everyone will rise up and clearly tell PBS that they do not want to see this kind of programming slipped in to try to influence the hearts and minds of our children and grandchildren.”
Is he calling for PBS to be unfunded? More importantly, does he think kids who see characters treating two characters who are in love and decide to get married with respect, despite their “gender problem” will suddenly turn gay themselves?
What would he (and others like him) have rather seen depicted in the situation? Should the aardvark children have brutally stoned the two grooms to death? Would that have been “quality programming” worthy of the whole family?
Former Breitbart editor and White House aide Sebastian Gorka, meanwhile, framed the episode as an example of “a war for our culture.”
On one hand, it’s easy to wonder whether the notion of same-sex marriage is something that might be a bit heavy for a five-year-old to understand. Then again, we live in a society in which norms are changing, and it’s entirely possible that children today may encounter homosexual classmates (or teachers) as early as kindergarten. There was a time when people with that orientation would have kept that as deeply-buried a secret as they could have for as long as possible.
Maybe a cartoon in which students see it and don’t react with horror or disdain isn’t the worst message they could see.
Unfortunately, they have plenty of adult role models who are all about scorn and disgust.
You have to decide whether an episode of a cartoon series known for dealing with serious issues is part of an “agenda.” You also have to decide if you think the much louder “agenda” being pushed is on the other side.