Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why Disney,Riordan and Roth got it right,even if you think it's wrong

Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth and the producers of Disney Channel's Good Luck Charlie have taken bold steps recently into controversial territory, and I think they should be applauded. All of them have written gay characters into their stories, and they have done so with dignity. In House of Hades of the Heroes of Olympus Series a character painfully, struggles to come out to some but not all of his friends, as he fears rejection. In Allegiant by Veronica Roth, another character is casually outed and talks briefly about how he has to keep it hidden because of society's wish to keep things pure. In Good Luck Charlie, Charlie has a friend with two mommies. In none of these stories was homosexuality a huge issue or agenda, instead it was part of life. It was a friend of a main character struggling, or just living their lives as a gay person. In the Riordan series also published by Disney, it took two series and 12 books for this issue to even be identified.I am grateful that these people have chosen to write characters into their stories that all kids can identify with, despite all the boycotters they may face. I am grateful that there is a place in kids' pop culture where kids that struggle with these things can see themselves, and where other kids can see them, and I don't think that compromises my faith, my Biblical Interpretation or the moral fabric of my family.

No matter how you feel about homosexuality, it is real, it is present, and it is all around you. People are struggling with their sexual identity and trying to live comfortably in their own skin.  Who they are attracted to, or what they do in the privacy of their bedroom, should not define them, lessen who they are as people, or the issues they struggle with. Having gay characters in children's literature and TV does not corrupt our society, it doesn't support their bedroom habits, or break down society. It creates empathy, it recognizes the pain of human existence, it sees past the superficial, and brings dignity to the person, and that helps society. That fosters good will toward your fellow man. That builds strong families.

My eight year old sings Macklemore's "Same Love". He could probably sing you every word, but if  you asked him what the "she keeps me warm part is about", he would probably say it's about how her mom loves her. He doesn't get it. He has also watched entire seasons of Modern Family, but just the other day asked if two guys could get married. These things haven't negatively infected his moral being, they haven't made him any less attracted to girls, especially blondes and redheads. It's given us the opportunity for more conversations, and him the opportunity to learn about people. It helping prepare him to be a good friend to others no matter who they are attracted to. It's caused me to show him things that Jesus said about how we treat others.  No"negative" agenda behind that song or that show, has wormed it's way into his head, instead a little bit of understanding has, and hopefully compassion. He will read the Bible on his own someday, and make his own conclusions about the world around him, and these things will be just one part of the decisions he comes to. 

When I read about Jesus, it's his love, his compassion, his refusal to let the sins of people stand in the way of his love for them that I see. It's that I want to impart to my kids. So I am thankful for great writers, and mediocre Disney Channel productions for creating an environment that accepts people, and helps kids identify with their own lives and the lives of their friends. I am grateful for their honesty. If you aren't at least you can be grateful for another opportunity to talk to your kids about what you believe, to crack open the Bible and look at Jesus together,because those things just might make your family stronger, and they will have a bigger impact on your kid than any book or TV show ever could.

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