“Arthur”, A PBS Kids Show Under Fire For Depicting A Gay Marriage

Say what?! Mr. Ratburn on the kids tv show “Arthur” is gay and getting married? Oh, the heresy! Well, that’s at least what Alabama Public Television (APT) thought, opting to not air the episode depicting the marriage and instead airing a re-run.

While a number of conservative value-based families from Alabama and beyond praised APT for their decision, many others expressed their disapproval. For example, school teacher Misty Souder from McCalla, Alabama saw the marriage as a celebration of inclusion and was looking forward to watching the episode with her 9-year-old daughter, only to be severely disappointed when she discovered a re-run was aired instead. In response, she reached out to the APT and used the experience to teach her daughter about the importance of speaking out for minority groups.

The statement provided by APT in regards to why they made their decision was that “Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate, and inspire. More importantly, although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards, parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the “target” audience for Arthur also watch the program. Our feeling is that we basically have a trust with parents about our programming. This program doesn’t fit into that.”

Sadly, back in 2005, another episode of “Arthur” came under similar controversy when it depicted the children of two lesbians living in Vermont. Except back then, PBS, who airs “Arthur”, pulled the episode due to how much flack it received, mostly from fundamental Christian groups that said the show was no longer “clean”. Ultimately, the feeling seems to still be the same in regards to this recent gay marriage episode, at least in Alabama, with 48% of those living there agreeing with the decision.

48%! With almost 5 million people living in Alabama, that means that there are at least 2.5 million people there who are still strongly opposed to homosexuality and feel it goes against their spiritual and moral values. In light of that, I began to wonder how many also feel the same way in the rest of our country? Does half of our population still strongly oppose homosexuality and feel it goes against the will of God? Honestly, I’m beginning to feel like our country is going backwards and I often think that at some point, there’s going to be an attempt to abolish gay marriage in our country.

Frankly, all of this makes me quite sad and maybe a little angry too. It’s 2019 for Pete’s sake and our country remains strongly divided on something all because the Bible continues to be thrown at people and judgments placed that God considers homosexuals to be sinners. UGH!

Sometimes I really wish that Christ would just get it over with and return, if only to remind everyone that the two most important “laws” were to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Somehow, far too many people continue to forget that and opt to protest things like a kid’s cartoon that’s showing a gay marriage because it goes against their spiritual beliefs and the God of their understanding.

My feelings about all this? Why can’t people just let people be people. Why can’t we just live and let live for Heaven’s sake! For as long as the Bible continues to be used as a means for judgment and not love, I honestly think our country is going to go in the exact opposite direction as to where the God of my understanding would love to see us headed in.

Sometimes I think we could actually be headed for a Tolitarian society that is Biblical-based and while many fundamentalists may totally cheer the idea of that, others like myself shudder at the notion of living in a country that could become no different than back in Christ’s time when there were so many severe factions and laws, something Christ fought hard to abolish. And if Christ is nothing but unconditional love, are all those judgments that continue to fly out towards homosexuals including decisions like not airing a gay marriage episode because it’s deemed “unclean”, really depicting Christ’s unconditional love at all?

That being said, I profoundly applaud PBS and “Arthur” for creating an episode that showed an act of unconditional love between two male characters, Mr. Ratburn and Patrick. Someday, hopefully I’ll live in a world where people simply love each other and don’t use a spiritual book as a weapon for separation and disunity, rather than one for inclusion and acceptance, as maybe then, people might actually see Mr. Ratburn’s and Patrick’s marriage as something to celebrate and not to denounce.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Sad Plight Of Conservative Christians With LGBTQ Individuals…

Two people I know have now been accepted into membership of conservative Christian churches recently. While that in of itself doesn’t seem like it would be anything inspiring to write about, it’s the fact that both are also gay individuals, but are choosing to live out lives of celibacy.

It’s probably best I define what I mean by conservative Christians before I delve into this any further. Simply put, it’s anyone that believes the Bible is the absolute word and truth of God and 100% accurate. Personally, I stopped believing that the Bible was 100% accurate long ago when I started seeing the same persecution going on today that was going on with religious folk some 2000+ years ago during Jesus’s time.

Honestly, I’ve lost count of the number of LGBTQ individuals who have been persecuted by conservative Christians. The stories I’ve come across over the years are actually quite heart wrenching. Christians who have kicked their own children out of their homes for their sexuality. Christians that have guilted and condemned LGBTQ individuals so bad that it’s led to their suicide or them succumbing to drugs and alcohol to deal with it and choosing atheism or agnosticism as a result. It’s utterly tragic.

It’s tragic that countless Christians claim they know the truth and will of God when it comes to the 700,000,000+ LGBTQ individuals who are living on this planet and were born the way they were, individuals just like myself.

It’s tragic that countless Christians throw the few passages in the Bible as proof of how God really feels about LGTBQ individuals and saying the only solution is to either convert to heterosexuality or remain celibate, and if neither are adhered to that they’re not welcomed.

And it’s tragic that countless Christians don’t even realize how their judgmental actions towards LGTBQ individuals are only leading to a more unloving and unaccepting world, the very thing they claim they are trying to prevent.

Nevertheless, when I think of the two gay people I know who are now celibate members of their respective conservative churches, I wonder how quickly those same churches would change their tune towards them if either chose to stop being celibate and enter into a same-sex relationship with someone.

Frankly, all of this seems so not of God or Christ or filled with any type of Holy Spirit whatsoever. Isn’t Christians using the Bible as a tool towards condemning LGBTQ folk no different than how the Sadducees and Pharisees were acting two millennia ago, which Jesus spoke out so harshly against? What right does any human being have to claiming they know the absolute truth and will of God? Aren’t those who condemn LGBTQ individuals by using the Bible as their means doing just that, playing God?

It amazes me how countless Christians ignore plenty of Old Testament laws that definitely apply to them, yet still point out the ones that convict LGTBQ individuals. It also amazes me how countless Christians tend to ignore the Old Testament laws altogether and instead cite only those in the New Testament they feel apply to everyone else like LGBTQ individuals, all while ignoring the fact that plenty of other passages exist that don’t make sense anymore in this day and age.

Passages like the ones that say how women are supposed to look modest, never have short hair, be flashy, or wear jewelry.

Passages like the ones that say how women are not meant to be have a voice in church and should always remain silent.

Passages like the ones that still advocate for slavery and even talk about runaway slaves needing to be returned to their owners.

Passages like the ones that say to never be showy in prayer and worship and instead do that behind closed doors.

And passages like the ones that permanently condemn any woman who ever gets divorced.

So, while all those passages seem to constantly be forgotten about or easily tossed aside with the belief that times have changed, LGBTQ individuals continue to have Biblical passages thrown at them by countless Christians who have shunned, and even at times beaten and killed them, all in the name of God.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Christ say EVERYONE was welcomed at God’s table? And when did the word of Apostle Paul become the word of God? How do we really know that Paul wasn’t biased on his own spiritual journey? If conservative Christians say the only perfect person on this planet was Christ, then doesn’t that mean that Paul couldn’t be perfect and thus his word wouldn’t be perfect either?

That’s why I feel it’s an outright travesty when any Christian person or any Christian church denies an LGBTQ individual entrance into their life or place of worship. For me, it’s a downright disgrace to the true teachings and unconditional love of Christ.

While I would agree that my many adulterous and promiscuous actions of my past were sinful in nature, my loving my same-sex partner today and doing my best to remain devoted heart, mind, and soul to him is not and I absolutely believe that God and Christ would agree.

How can I say that? Well didn’t Christ himself say the two most important commandments were to love God with all one’s heart and soul and to love one’s neighbor as themselves? If that’s true then isn’t loving my partner unconditionally and asking God every single day to guide my relationship with my partner doing just that? On the contrary, isn’t condemning homosexuality, ostracizing countless LGBTQ individuals in the process, and citing out Bible passages as laws that support their actions not following these two most important commandments? And lastly, is telling LGBTQ individuals that their only choices in life to be fully accepted by God is to either convert to heterosexuality or become totally celibate really practicing either of those two commandments either?

Gracious God, I so live for the day when all of Your people are actually allowed to be their true selves on their individual walks with You, where the Spirit guides each of us individually, where our sexuality isn’t a criterion for acceptance and membership into Your kingdom, and where your son Christ’s true teachings of unconditional love finally become the reality for all of us on this planet, and not just some of us…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

What Are Your “Must’s” In A Relationship?

What are your “must’s” in a relationship? What attributes do you seek in a partner? I asked this very thing recently to a good friend of mine who really struggles being single for as long as he has, and it ended up landing me in somewhat of a heated discussion. Why my discussion became heated was due to a belief I hold that many of those who seek relationships that have been single for a good while often have too conforming of a box, a box that leaves them in a very small pool.

Case in point, my friend is quite adamant about not ever wanting to express any sort of public signs of affection whatsoever with a partner, even if the mood struck. So, say for example, if you were ever sitting on a park bench somewhere with someone you had feelings for and the mood suddenly struck you, maybe because of a beautiful sunset in front of you, or just because, that you decided to lean in for a brief kiss. While that would be a no-no for my friend on every level, it would be quite welcome with me. For him, much of that relates to him being gay and the prejudices he feels still remain out there, but for me, I decided long ago that I wouldn’t let fear control me like that, mainly because I don’t want to ever miss out on an opportunity to share a special moment that I will never get back. While I can’t speak for the rest of the world, I can speak for myself and say that showing signs of affection is a must for me, whether that’s holding hands, or a quick kiss on the lips, or a wink, or a silly tickle to make a person laugh, or resting a hand on the other’s leg, each being things my partner Chris and I have done over the years that I’ve come to treasure immensely.

A few other qualities that are must’s when it comes to me being with a partner are things I’ve come to understand about myself that are important to the growth of my spiritual journey in life. The first of which is the avoidance of anyone who is dependent on alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, or anything of the sort. Basically, anyone who has a severe addiction that rules their life. Because for anyone who is living with an active addiction that rules their life, there is no room for a romantic relationship, given their first love will always be the substance of the addiction itself, where the importance of everyone and everything else becomes a distant second or far worse. Any attempt I ever made to prove that wrong has only ever led to me becoming very sick and toxic myself.

The second deals with negativity. I work so hard to be a positive person in my life because of my health issues and I’ve seen how negative energy easily affects it. It’s precisely why I don’t like being around negative people nowadays and would rather spend time alone if need be. Because people who seem to complain about everything that doesn’t fit into what their ego thinks should be happening, like how drivers are driving, or how this person shouldn’t be doing this or that, or how crappy some politician is, etc., is totally draining to my spiritual self, and eventually leads to affecting my mental, emotional, and physical states as well.

The last one deals with God. It probably is the most important thing I seek in a partner these days, as I truly desire to be connected to someone who enjoys praying with me, worshipping with me, and talking with me about spiritual things that expands my views on God rather than limits them. Connecting to God has become the sole drive in my life and to not have a partner interested in being a part of that would leave a very gaping hole in a relationship for me. While I never expect my path with God to be the same of my partner, I do believe it’s important for those paths to intersect regularly in a partnership.

Regardless, there are plenty of other attributes I seek in a partner, but many of them have shifted over the years. Beyond those I already mentioned as must’s, I do my best to remain open and not place my partner in a very close-minded box. To make a partner conform to what’s comfortable for me is a very limiting thing indeed when it comes to a relationship, and it’s something Chris has really helped me to see over the past few years.

So, if you happen to be someone who’s single and longs to be in a relationship, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having your own “must’s” for the partner you seek. Just realize that some of them could end up being so limiting that it might leave you in a very small pool, one that could very well leave you single in the long run, rather than partnered…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson