Mr. Ratburn is getting married! Arthur and the gang can’t believe it. Teachers don’t have lives outside of school…do they?

American Family Association is outraged (or feigning outrage) over a cartoon featuring Arthur the Aardvark. One of the characters gets gay-married causing considerable consternation in conservative Christendom. With their boycott of Target Corp. an outright failure, AFA needs new villains in order to raise funds:

Urge PBS to pull this kid’s program episode


Last week a PBS tax-funded children’s cartoon series featured a homosexual “wedding” for its season premiere episode. On Monday, May 14, 2019, the beloved animated series revealed that one of its longtime main characters and Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn, was gay and getting married.

Tim Wildmon simply cannot cope with the fact that gay people exist. The fact that gay people marry provokes Wildmon’s supreme indignation. Chances are that the kids get it. Perhaps Mr. Wildmon would benefit from some juvenile supervision.

Wildmon is the idiot son of AFA’s founder, Don Wildmon. Don is a rabid homophobe and antisemite. The old prick was obsessed with gay people. The next head of AFA will be Tim’s son, Walker Wildmon, who would be intellectually challenged to run a kid’s lemonade stand. Don handed down rhetorical mediocrity to Tim who will undoubtedly pass it along to Walker.

In brief, it’s always the same old hateful crap. It keeps AFA and the Wildmons at the fringes of polite society. It maintains AFA’s designation as a vile hate group.


The program is broadcast on PBS Kids, and its educational purpose is purportedly to interest children in reading. However, this episode is a flagrant indoctrination and promotion of the homosexual lifestyle upon our impressionable young children and a gross misuse of our tax dollars. Discussion of such controversial topics and lifestyle choices should be left up to parents.

Okay Timmy. In the real world most Americans dismiss this nonsense. Indoctrination means the process of teaching people to accept a set of beliefs uncritically. That activity is more applicable to evangelical pastors than a PBS kids’ cartoon.

Sexual orientation is not a set of beliefs to which someone could be indoctrinated. Sexual orientation is a continuum of attractions that is well understood by medical science. Sexual orientation is also involuntary and not subject to the influence of others.

Sexual orientation certainly does not constitute a “lifestyle.” We are as different from each other as heterosexual people. Our lifestyle is constructed from many factors including economics, education, occupation, hobbies, family, marital status and so on, ad infinitum. Sexual orientation is somewhat irrelevant to lifestyle. Being a hate group leader is a lifestyle.

Again, people in the real world understand all of this. Kids are likely to understand this. It’s all pretty basic. In contrast, kids could be indoctrinated in hate and intolerance.

There are usually only two reasons for this kind of appeal from ignorance:

  1. The belief that this cartoon will turn kids gay or;
  2. The legitimate concern that these things make it harder for people to discriminate against LGBT people.

It might be a combination but I’ll pick door #2. The engine that drives American Family Association is fueled with anti-LGBT animosity. Take that away and not much of AFA remains. AFA exists to promote intolerance of LGBT people. American society is better educated and each generation is more accepting. That is not a peril. It is not a flaw. In contrast it reflects the increased understanding of sexuality by our citizenry.

The fact that AFA has lost what they once defined as the “culture wars” does not mean that they are not dangerous. The hate group still has an appeal to a diminishing constituency. Some of those people are parents and some of those parents have LGBT children. They might be challenged to reconcile religious mythology with medical science.

AFA and its ilk are always demonizing so-called LGBT activists. They lack the introspection to recognize that activists only exist because of the anti-LGBT pressure groups.

So, in summary, if a cartoon is capable of indoctrinating kids it is teaching them to be nice. AFA is quite capable of indoctrinating people to be intolerant of LGBT people based upon a stereotype that AFA promotes. Which is more pernicious: Making kids nice or making people hate?

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.