Had you told me that as a grown man with two adult children that I would, for any reason, write the words My Little Pony (MLP) in an article (or anywhere) I would have advised you to seek psychiatric care. Nevertheless, here we are. The company that produces the children’s television show, MLP has announced that they are adding a homosexual couple to that television show. In the same article we learn that the children’s show Arthur already has a gay character.
Of course television production companies are adding same-sex characters and couples to their shows. The new morality demands it but this is not mere virtue signaling. It is catechesis, instruction. Catechesis is a Greek word for instruction. It is the noun from which we get another noun, catechism. Confessional Protestant churches (e.g., Lutheran and Reformed) have used catechisms since the mid-16th century as a way to instruct the children of believers. A catechism is a little book (usually, except in the case of the 1994 Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church) of questions and answers (except in the case of the 1994 Romanist catechism). More broadly, however, catechesis is simply instruction of the young and new converts.
It Is Business
To be sure, we are always being catechized. Madison Avenue (i.e., the advertising agencies) are constantly seeking to catechize us in the virtues of their products. I can recall far too many advertising jingles: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.” In the 1960s television catechized me on the virtues of cigarettes. They would make me “cool,” “hip,” and “sophisticated.” They neglected to mention the connection with lung cancer and an early death.
Today TV is selling us on the third wave of the sexual revolution. Just as they dressed actors as physicians in the 1950s and early 60s to sell us on the idea that cigarettes were good for our health, so too, now, they are trying to sell us and our children on the sexual revolution. They want to program your child to think that human sexuality is an arbitrary social convention, that it has nothing to do with nature. Of course that is absurd but sexuality is product and Hollywood knows how to move product.
To one degree or another Hollywood has long been subversive of what they saw as oppressive, bourgeois social norms. Some of the earliest films, before the creation of the Hays Office (the Motion Picture Production Code), in 1930, films were unrated. Cinema was the original “Dark Web.” Film makers immediately created graphic pornography. Conservative Christians (e.g., the Christian Reformed) in the period reacted to the new medium by forbidding it. That ban carried over to television for some years. It was relatively common for such families to own a television and even to watch it but to roll it (televisions use to be small boxes set on carts to be wheeled about) into the closet before the minister or elders came to visit. The Hays Code was eliminated in 1968 and films almost immediately became more violent, coarse, and explicitly sexual. In response, Hollywood created the current movie ratings system (G, PG, R etc).
You Say You Want A Revolution?
Those who are under 30 probably have no idea that as late as the early 1970s homosexuality was still regarded as a mental illness. In 1958 Martin Luther King, who wrote a regular column in Ebony magazine, took it as a given that homosexuality was a mental illness and unnatural. Homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973 because of political pressure from the increasingly active and influential gay lobby. To this date, there is no unambiguous scientific evidence to suggest that the earlier understanding was wrong. Indeed, the sexual revolutionaries may have a point. The new sexuality demonstrably is an arbitrary social construct that needs to be deconstructed.
Consider this public service announcement from a Southern California police department and school district in 1961:
To be sure, we might quibble. The warning is about pedophiles rather than about all homosexuals, strictly speaking. Yet, a police department and a school district were sufficiently concerned about the safety of children to produce this warning. Today, public libraries are holding “Drag Queen Reading Hours” across the USA (see resources below). Public schools and libraries have quit protecting children from dangerous and mentally ill sexual revolutionaries and have gone to recruiting for them. This remarkable turnabout has happened in fewer than 60 years.
It is not as if we, in our “enlightened” age do not worry about the very same things. After all, how often do we read in the news about a child who runs away to meet up with an adult she met online? The Centers for Disease Control has an entire page devoted to “human trafficking” and what to do about it. Laws like “Megan’s Law” in California records the presence of sex offenders so that families can try to protect their children.
Hollywood Is Religious
Hollywood is populated by all kinds of people. There are lots of normal, monogamous heterosexual people who work behind the scenes and even in front of the camera. There are Christians who, with some difficulty, work in Hollywood as actors and actresses, as assistants, and technicians. The entertainment business, however, is also populated, however, by people who have been sexually abused, who have fled from and rejected what they regard as conventional morality. It is populated, in part, by ideologues and sexual revolutionaries who hate nature and nature’s God, who especially hate the Christian faith. Perhaps above all, the entertainment business is just that: a business. It is run by people who need to turn a profit. A film critic Michael Medved observed, in 1992, in Hollywood Vs. America, the business is also run by people who want to be approved by their peers. Not to promote the sexual revolution would be déclassé, gauche.
The people who produce entertainment for your children have a point of view. They have an interpretation of the world (a worldview). That interpretation of the world is inescapably religious. Sometimes the religious basis of one’s worldview is more obvious (e.g., The World According to Garp) and sometimes less obvious. In this case, however, that children’s programming is now deliberately seeking to instruct young children in the sexual revolution, is clear evidence that it is being driven by an alien and hostile understanding of God and nature. It is teaching children than disorder is order, that what is unnatural is natural, that what is sin is righteousness.
Mom and Dad, you, not Hollywood, are responsible for catechizing your children. In a world where screens are ubiquitous it may seem quaint to think about putting the television back on the closet but perhaps what Baby Boomers derided as hypocrisy was really an expression of shame and modesty? Does not “shameless” describe our age perfectly? A 60-year old Madonna is still trying to shock us and no one cares. Is anyone really shocked by Miley Cyrus any more? When drag queens are reading to our children (and we let them) and children’s television programming is actively seeking to subvert 4,000 years of culture, we could use a little modesty. Certainly we could use a dose of good sense and wisdom.
My friend Joshua Waulk wrote today, “the world will catechize your children if you won’t.” That is exactly right. By world he means what our Lord Jesus meant when he wrote, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18–19). In John world often stands for unbelief and opposition to Jesus and to his kingdom. There is a spiritual realm that opposes Christ and his gospel. The fallen angel who, in the providence of God, dominates in that realm, goes about like a lion seeking whom he can devour (1 Pet 5:8). Sometimes he is subtle but just as often he is quite obvious. The entertainment business is proud to be trying to persuade your children than homosexuality and same-sex marriage is perfectly normal and good.
The TV has never been a particularly good baby sitter but it is a very bad baby sitter now. The executives who program the networks, the producers who storyboard children’s shows, the writers who script them, and the directors and actors who make them do not love your children. They love their jobs and approval from others in the business. Remember, this is the same business that knew about Harvey Weinstein and covered it up, because that is what was best for business.
Jesus loves your children and he gave them to you to raise in the fear and admonition of the Lord, for his glory, and for their eternal welfare.
- What Is Catechesis?
- Ursinus on the Instruction of Covenant Children
- Why We Memorize the Catechism
- Catechism and Catechesis in the Early Church
- On Catechetical Preaching
- A Simple Curriculum For Parrots, Peres, and Poets
- Dorothy Sayers On the Lost Tools Of Learning
- Parrot and Poet
- The New Testament on “Homosexual” and “Homosexuality”
- They Are Coming For Your Children
- There Is A Christian Worldview