I used to love this show growing up. It was very influential in my early developmental years. I loved all the characters and the songs and it used to be a defining time during the weekdays when I knew my dad was coming home from work. Needless to say, I have very fond memories of Sesame Street.
I flipped it on in the morning recently to watch with my son, figuring it would be a great nostalgic moment and fun for my little man, seeing him enjoy something I used to watch. I haven’t come across it in years and didn’t think about the possibility of it changing (why I assumed this, I don’t know). To my surprise, the intro theme song has been “remixed” in the form of a pop-hop (hip-hop) song. Very disappointing. I’m all for some good hip-hop, don’t get me wrong. But leave this song alone. The original Sesame Street song has been gutted and re-contextualized. Though not conclusive, this sure is indicative of the relatively superfluous modus operandi our culture has assumed nowadays. This is saddening, and just shows how much things have changed over my short 29 years.
What makes me even more disappointed with the show is the relentless cameo’s of radical leftist (far-left) Hollywood-ites. To be sure, the show has always had a slightly liberal bent (something I became aware of later in life, obviously not knowing the difference when I was a kid). Honestly that didn’t even really bother me though thinking toward the future with my children and their viewing of the show.
However, in watching the show unfold before me with my son, some things really raised my level of concern. The show seems now to be pushing an agenda beyond mere political leftist activism. It has these far-left celebrities on not just to push leftist politics, but a secular worldview, a system of belief and thinking upon our children that is antithetical to a Christian worldview. It is done in a positive manner though, much in the same way other forms of secularist propaganda appear in the positive or “neutral” sense (though nothing is ever neutral). So it looks good on its face, if you don’t think through the implications. Something having the appearance of good can be the very face of deceit itself though.
Some major over-riding themes on the show now appear to be the impending global doom of the climate due to man’s activities (it’s subtle but pervasive), the innate goodness of humanity (defying the Christian doctrine of total depravity), and some form of secular moralistic do-gooderism (that your good works are what justify your existence before yourself and others, i.e. self-righteousness). The preaching of the innate goodness of man has always been a theme on the show. But I guess you could say it sounds like the drum beat has gotten a lot louder.
Now, I of course want my son to learn to treat others as he would have them treat himself. This is the essence of loving your neighbor as yourself. However, Secularism and Christianity come from two completely different foundations. One is based in self-righteousness, the other in grace (unearned, undeserved favor); one in selfishness, the other selflessness; one rooted in God and His Son (in the Gospel), the other rooted in ourselves and the assumed goodness of humanity. On its face, the acting out of the “golden rule” coming from these two different foundations may look the same. Yet the end effect produced gives way to two entirely different people; one resting in the promises of grace and acting out of that context, the other working to give themselves meaning by what they do and perform where none can be found.
So what you say? What does this have to do with me, a Christian? And more importantly, what should I do with the show? Well, I’m simply saying I’m disappointed in how the show has turned into a secular propaganda outlet that educates our children in how they should think about and act in the world in which they live, instead of merely teaching them their A-B-C’s and 1-2-3′s. It seems to have now become a mouth piece for non-believing secularists to educate our children in the way of their worldview. (It’s amazing how evangelistic secularists are, all the while hating Christian evangelism. Ironic. Sesame Street is a perfect case-study now for that reality.)
Believers must be careful about what their children are taking in and learning. Just one more reason why the television cannot and should not be an educator or babysitter. Obviously the show is great for teaching the rudiments of language and math, as it always has been. But since the secularist rhetoric has been turned up a notch, Gospel-believing parents must be leery and make sure their children aren’t being fed nonsense from the world. I’m not saying kids can’t watch the show at all (in fact they should for teaching them to engage the world, not run from it). We just need to be careful about the subtle messages being communicated, especially if you typically allow your child to be educated by these shows on a routine basis. Secularism seems to be gaining ground in our culture, even (and in some respects, especially) in the area of children’s education. And it is our job as believing parents to protect our children from secularism as well as educate them in the Christian understanding of reality.