Church Screens LGBTQ Cartoon After Alabama Bans Episode
After Alabama banned an episode of "Arthur" that features a gay wedding, a local church decided to spread the message of inclusion by showing the children's TV show. 🌈
Alabama Church Stands Up To Censorship
When an episode of the cartoon Arthur featuring a gay wedding wasn't aired in Alabama a local church decided to take action. After the controversy with Alabama Public Television choosing not to air the Arthur episode that had a gay wedding in it. Sidewalk approached R.G. Wilson-Lyons about hosting an educational screening as this was in line with their mission of the Church both in terms of offering hospitality but also his organization believe very strongly in justice for all including the LGBTQIA community.
The Birmingham First United Methodist Church had previously worked with Sidewalk Film Center to host screenings of LGBTQIA-themed films. “One of the reasons we're excited to show this "Arthur" viewing is because I have a 6-year-old and a 1 year old. I want them to see. Two people of the same gender getting married as if it's a normal thing because I will because I want it to be normal for them and I think there's opportune more and more opportunities for young people to experience that.” Wilson-Lyons gives his take on a personal level.
But Rev. Wilson-Lyons thinks the cultural stakes are much higher with a children’s show but specifically for the LGBTQIA community, a community in particular that has been harmed by the church by religious communities. “There was a time in my life when I would have you know maybe not publicly condemned an event like this but wouldn't have agreed with it and what led to my transformation was relationships with LGBTQIA people getting to know them seeing the love that they had for their partners their spouses realizing that for the most part. They wanted the same thing that I will. They wanted to be a part of a loving family. They want to be a part of a safe community.” the reverend closes with.
In 2018, only 8.8% of series regulars on broadcast TV openly identify as on the LGBTQIA spectrum based on data from GLAAD. For Wilson-Lyons, Christianity has far to go in repairing relations with the LGBTQIA community. But this is just a start.