Rep. Doug Lamborn
Rep. Doug Lamborn proudly displays a confederate battle flag and he has the balls to claim concern for images depicted on PBS.


Rep. Doug Lamborn represents Colorado’s 5th district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lamborn has decided that he needs to air his grievances at the religious-right Heritage Foundation’s blog. His polemic is titled: PBS Is Indoctrinating Our Kids. It’s Time to Defund Them. Fascinating I assure you:

In 2015, after the Supreme Court handed down its controversial ruling declaring same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right, President Barack Obama called for respect and tolerance between citizens who hold differing viewpoints on the issue.

In remarks following the decision, the 44th president acknowledged that many Americans’ belief in traditional marriage is deeply rooted and worthy of tolerance and respect …

Oh here we go. We are supposed to be tolerant of bigotry.

Yet just four years later, much of the left has all but given up on tolerating conservative religious views. One needs to look no further than Jack Phillips, the Christian baker from Colorado, to understand that.

Uh huh. The people’s elected representatives passed a law in Colorado which made discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal. No religious exemptions were provided for. The measure was signed into law by the people’s duly elected governor. The applicable controlling case at the Supreme Court is Employment Division v. Smith. Writing for the majority the late Justice Scalia said that religious exemptions to otherwise valid law would make every individual “a law unto themselves.”

Mr. Phillips decided that he had special rights including the notion that he was not subject to the state’s nondiscrimination law. He refused service to a gay couple. It is called Christian privilege. It was a bigoted thing to do and now Rep. Lamborn claims that Phillips — and not the gay couple that was turned away — has been victimized. Phillips refused service for one simple reason: It was a means of demonstrating disapproval.

Since the 2015 ruling, liberals have gone beyond trying to control the business sector and the speech and religious practice of individual Americans. They are also seeking to indoctrinate the next generation with secular progressive views, using public money to do it.

No one has control over, or has sought control of, anyone’s speech or religious practice. Nondiscrimination laws are not an abridgement of either. If anyone is desperate to indoctrinate others it is the religious right and not secular progressives. Most Christians and Jews disagree with literalist Christianity, Christian nationalism and dominionist Christianity so don’t try to pin this on another group of people.

Due to their tax exemptions, conservative Christian organizations are, in effect, using public money to promote their intolerance of others including LGBT people and Muslims. Many are unlawfully engaged in grassroots politicking which is expressly prohibited as a condition of being able to receive tax-deducted contributions.

A case in point is PBS—the Public Broadcasting Service—which recently aired a surprising episode of the children’s show “Arthur” titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone.” In this episode, PBS writers deemed it appropriate to preach their liberal views on same-sex marriage to America’s young children: The episode featured—and celebrated—a same-sex wedding.

“Celebrated?” When applied to marriage equality the word celebrate is always used to imply — incorrectly — that some Christian was forced to embrace same-sex marriage. I hate to break it to Mr. Lamborn but gay people do exist and they are permitted to legally wed. Shall we pretend otherwise? Shall we cause children to be intolerant bigots or is it better that they have some understanding of diversity? Where is the harm?

Some religious teachings prohibit same-sex marriage. The majority do not. A parent can teach a child that, according to their religious principles, same-sex marriage is a sin which means that their child should not enter into a same-sex marriage. That same parent would be wise to include the caveat that such beliefs do not sanction disrespect for people who have different beliefs. After all, that child might have a gay teacher, gay classmates, eventually gay co-workers and maybe a gay boss someday. Or they might be the boss of gay people. What lessons shall we pass along to them?

Religious intolerance of LGBT people is also intolerance of the tolerant religions that represent the vast majority of Americans.

After the episode, many conservatives, including Rev. Franklin Graham and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, came out in opposition. Even the state of Alabama opted against airing the program and instead barred the episode from Alabama Public Television.

Franklin Graham is an unhinged professional anti-LGBT bigot. Tony Perkins is a hate group leader. Alabama, in all its Christian glory, should be ashamed of themselves. First they were slavers. Then segregationists and antisemites. Now they are homophobes. (They keep their continuing racism and antisemitism below the visible surface of society.) Mr. Lamborn seems to share their world view. Take a look at that photo again.

When confronted with criticism, Marc Brown, the creator of “Arthur,” explained: “That’s not the kind of world we want to live in, and we want children educated so they can see there’s not just one type of family.”

That seems like a very good explanation to me. The alternative is to pretend that gay people do not form families. That would entail more make-believe than the cartoon at issue.

Taxpayers now know with complete certainty that the goal of the PBS cartoon is to impart social liberalism to children.

Enough is enough. It is time to stop sending our hard-earned tax money to support programming that is objectionable to many Americans.

That is not what Marc Brown portrayed. Gay couples — wedded gay couples — do not depict “social liberalism.” They demonstrate the reality of American life. “Objectionable to many Americans” means that it is objectionable to Rep. Doug Lamborn. He objects to the very fact that gay people exist. Lamborn, and narrow-minded people like Lamborn, are the very reason that it is necessary to display diversity on PBS.

That’s why I’m reintroducing a bill to cut off all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS.

In other words, the congressman is grandstanding by pandering to intolerant people.

To add insult to injury, public media programming is becoming more antagonistic toward conservative and religious viewpoints. Parents and churches should be the ones discussing marriage and family with their children—not PBS. To target children in this way is a complete affront to religious Americans.

Lamborn sees antagonism where none exists and children are not “targets” of anything. The Christianists trot out “parents should” whenever they feel that religion has been superseded by science, logic or just common sense. Can’t teach about Darwin in public schools. Oh no. Creationism and the flawed theory of Evolution are the responsibility of parents. No comparative cultures either. At least not if it includes understanding what Muslims believe. Hell, these people object to yoga as some sort of religious rite.

Apparently, Mr. Lamborn believes that the very existence of gay people and their marriages is a personal “affront.” I am Jewish. I do not accept Jesus Christ as lord and savior. Am I an affront as well? Suppose PBS teaches kids a bit about what Jews believe? Will Lamborn claim that is a usurping of parental responsibility? Will he claim that the network is encouraging kids to convert?

I support the Trump administration’s call to zero out federal funds over time for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But rather than dragging this out in spending negotiations year after year, Congress should act decisively and pass into law a measure removing federal funding for all media conglomerates.

Aside from the sheer stupidity of making decisions for what all children can, or cannot, watch, we are fortunate that Democrats control the House. Perhaps Rep. Lamborn will also be challenged in 2020 and sent back to whatever he did before he became a theocratic congressman.

Lamborn is famous for having called President Obama a tar baby. A coal industry hack, Lamborn attacked an environmentalist by alleging that she disseminated child pornography. Her sin, by the way, was to bring a professionally shot photo of a child taking a bath in polluted water to a congressional hearing. Lamborn should be more concerned with the impressions that he is responsible for.

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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.