Do not be shocked and dismayed. I’m going to criticize a
decision by NBC to strip “god” references from a kid’s show.
Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber always had a moral message in their long-running “VeggieTales” series, a collection of animated home videos for children that encourage moral behavior based on Christian principles. But now that the vegetable stars have hit network television, they cannot speak as freely as they once did, and that has got the Parents Television Council steamed.
The conservative media-watchdog group issued a statement Wednesday blasting NBC, which airs “VeggieTales,” for editing out some references to God from the children’s animated show.
Promoting a secular view of the way the world works does not mean we are obligated to censor references to mythical entities. I think “VeggieTales” is tedious dreck, and my kids were never into it, but some kids and parents are…and they should have the privilege of watching it. Reducing what children watch to inoffensive pablum, where every possible controversy and opinion is eradicated so that the boring message they all get is a toothless “be nice”, is not how we want to improve the boob tube. Let ’em praise Jesus all they want, but let’s also see more challenging fare make it to broadcast television, and let monitoring of what kids see be a parental decision, not the work of some bureaucrat at the source.
Puréeing television content is going to hurt the minority views most of all. That kids don’t get to see some talking broccoli thank God on NBC doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be saturated in religious messages in the home and church, but it does mean that spineless television executives will point to this decision as a rationalization for removing any atheist or non-Christian expression from their shows, too.
I think the fair thing to do would be to let the tomato and cucumber go ahead and babble their vegetable accolades for the nonexistent, and also let Sam Harris be a recurring guest on Sesame Street, or something equivalent. Can Dora the Explorer be a godless heathen?