Teaching Children How To Treat Others With Whom We Disagree

Our blog post last Friday was about the same-sex marriage scene in the PBS children’s cartoon show Arthur.

One of our regular readers very kindly responded that he didn’t see the show “advocating a lifestyle of homosexuality. Instead, he offered “a completely different picture.”

“I see a picture of civil society, he wrote, “tolerance of people who are gay. What better time to teach about not hurting people, not being a bully, not being someone who grows up to discriminate toward someone?”

I appreciate the spirit and sentiment of the writer. I would agree that children ought to be taught to be kind, compassionate and caring toward others. Even those with whom we disagree. Insulting other people with unkind slurs or hurling hurtful and harmful epitaphs violates both the Golden Rule and the Second Great Commandment (Matt. 7:12; 22:39).

However, I’m not in favor of Hollywood, the public schools, or the media indoctrinating my children or grandchildren with views that violate the most fundamental teaching of the Bible. Teaching moral values should be the prerogative of the parent.

The Bible commands, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). This would include God’s teaching on moral purity, the arrangement of the home, and the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman.

Children’s shows that display a same-sex wedding are doing more than teaching kids to be tolerant of others views. They are endorsing a perverted lifestyle. Celebrating a sinful union. And giving apparent approval to something that God clearly says is “shameful,” “degrading,” and “unnatural” (Rom. 1:20-28).

Without proper spiritual guidance from their parents, little children left to themselves will fail to make a distinction between issues of right and wrong, and the importance of treating others who are different with kindness.

If the creators of Arthur were just concerned about teaching tolerance and basic respect for human dignity, there are plenty of illustrations that could be used that we agree are right and moral. The principles of Christianity reach across ethnic, racial and gender differences. The command to “love your neighbor” and even “love your enemies” has many applications.

Children can be taught not to be cruel, and to refrain from bullying other kids without celebrating a sinful lifestyle. In fact, we need to teach our children both in our homes and our Bible classes how to righteously respond to people whose values violate God’s law.

Regarding our interaction with non-Christians, the Bible says our speech should be “with grace, as though seasoned with salt” (Col 4:6). This can be accomplished without showing approval of or glorifying behavior that God identifies as “dishonorable,” “depraved” and “debased.”

My parents taught me to be tolerant of people with different religious beliefs. To be nice. Respectful. And charitable. A self-righteous attitude is not the spirit of Christ.

However, tolerance has changed it’s meaning in our culture today. It once meant respecting people with whom we disagreed and treating them with dignity. Now it means I must accept that every idea is equally valid, equally true, and every lifestyle is equally right.

We are in a culture war that mocks God, denies Jesus as the Christ, and rejects the teaching of the Bible. In fact, many today are even seeking to justify their ungodly conduct, as something that God accepts and approves.

Finally, isn’t it ironic that a culture that is calling for tolerance, is not very tolerant toward Christians who espouse Biblical values.

Preachers, pastors and parents, we are in a battle for the minds and hearts of our young people. We must “fight the good fight of faith,” unashamedly wield the sword of the spirit, and stand against Satan’s sinister schemes.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Relationships, Values

3 responses to “Teaching Children How To Treat Others With Whom We Disagree

  1. Ed Williams

    Thoughtful and true comments. Tolerance has been highjacked and its meaning “redefined” to mean affirmation, approval, promotion. That is not it’s true meaning. Those who scream the loudest for tolerance today have very little true tolerance.


  2. Ken Green

    One of the very few absolutes of our so-called progressive society is tolerance for their digression. We must never indicate that any of their practices are sinful. Wrong. So absolutely wrong we can have no part of them. We can give no support to them. “I love Your law therefore I hate every false way.”


  3. Stephen Segrest

    Before I comment, have you or others watched the Arthur episode? You might especially want to listen to the theme song “Its a wonderful time of day to work and to play and learn to get along with each other” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-C6ZzMTgOAY


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