FIRST-PERSON: In the gay debate, let's leave Bert & Ernie alone

Baptist Press
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Posted: Aug 12, 2011 4:52 PM
FIRST-PERSON: In the gay debate, let's leave Bert & Ernie alone
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)--"It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail," Abraham Maslow is credited as having said. While the American psychologist's observation has many applications, it aptly sums up the reality of a person who has a very narrow and unyielding view of life.

Lair Scott is a man who, it seems, hefts the hammer of homosexual rights. Hence, it appears, he sees homosexuality anywhere and everywhere. As a result, he has initiated a petition on the website Change.org that seeks to persuade the children's program "Sesame Street" to "let Bert and Ernie get married."

For the uninitiated, Bert and Ernie are two of the more recognizable puppets who appear on the PBS children's program "Sesame Street." The pair has been a staple on the program since it first aired in 1969.

Change.org is a website that describes itself as "an online activism platform for social change that raises awareness about important causes and connects people to opportunities for powerful action." It is utilized primarily, though not exclusively, by liberal causes.

There are a variety of problems with Lair's petition, which has more than 7,500 signatures.

First of all, it assumes Bert and Ernie were created and/or intended to project or promote homosexuality, an assumption Sesame Street strongly denies. In a statement on its Facebook site, Sesame Street insisted its puppets are not intended to have a sexual orientation.

"Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have sexual orientation," the Sesame Street statement read.

The assumptions we make, the conclusions to which we jump, reveal much about our perspective on life, or if you will, the hammers we haul around. People who sit around and contemplate the sexuality of puppets have way too much time on their hands.

Another reason the petition is problematic is it seeks to portray homosexual "marriage" to preschoolers. Sesame Workshops, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, indicates on its website that the program's target audience is 2 to 4 year-olds.

Preschool children have no awareness or understanding of sexuality. The only reason to emphasize sexuality of any kind in a program geared to preschoolers (especially one that is primarily about the building blocks of learning), is a desire to indoctrinate.

It's not enough that some homosexual activists want to indoctrinate kids in public school. Now they want to infiltrate "Sesame Street" and try to sexualize preschoolers?

A summary of Lair's petition is provided on the Change.org web site. In part it states:

"In this horrific age of LGBT kids taking their own lives, they need to know that they ARE BEAUTIFUL and their lives are worth living. Aside from those that are committing suicide, the bullies that facilitate these tragedies need to learn that homophobia is NOT okay.... We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful. Only that they allow Bert & Ernie to marry or even add a transgender character to the show...."

There is not an epidemic of preschoolers committing suicide because they are struggling with their sexuality.

While bullying among preschoolers is a reality, it is usually over who is going to rule the sand box or be first in line. It is not about the fact that little Timmy seems a tad bit effeminate. The aggression and bullying among preschoolers is based on selfishness and not sexuality.

"Sesame Street" is for helping preschoolers learn the basics: numbers, counting, the ABCs, how to share and how to get along. Assigning sexual orientation to the puppets that help to facilitate learning on the program is ludicrous.

Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

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