Mainstream media is raving about an 8-year-old boy coming out as bisexual on the popular television series “Law & Order: SVU,” but Christian organizations that specialize in entertainment believe that the development is “disappointing.”
On last Thursday’s episode of the long-running NBC show, Capt. Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay) celebrated her on-screen son, Noah (Ryan Buggle), for sharing with her that he is bisexual.
A confrontation in school where a kid was bullied is what made Noah bring up the conversation with his mother.
“I said that I was bi,” Noah tells his mom. “And there’s no shame in being true to yourself.”
Benson replied, “That’s right, Noah,” and called his remarks to the bullies “incredibly brave.”
NBC’s “Today” show lauded the episode, suggesting that Hargitay deserved an Emmy Award for her response.
But Ted Baehr, founder of Movieguide and the Christian Film & Television Commission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to redeeming the values of the mass media, said the creators of "SVU" should know better.
“The 8-year-old son is in a premature stage of cognitive development, which is not advanced enough to make this decision,” Baehr told The Christian Post.
“The process of maturating involves moving beyond propensities such as violence, lying, stealing, etc., which the ‘Law and Order’ folks should understand,” he continued, “People of faith understand that there is a freedom and more abundant life in living their faith!”
Adam Holz, the director of Plugged In, Focus on The Family’s entertainment review site, said the narrative on the mainstream drama show was “not surprising.”
“The storyline regarding an 8-year-old boy coming out as bisexual is disappointing, but not surprising,” he told CP. “In the last several years, we’ve seen many examples of children embracing an LGBT perspective, both on kids shows (‘Arthur,’ ‘Owl House,’ ‘Blues Clues,’ ‘Doc McStuffins,’ among many others) and on shows and movies aimed at an older audience.”
Holz argued that advocacy of this kind reflects a worldview in which “personal and sexual sovereignty are embraced as the highest values, where boundaries between childhood and adulthood are obliterated, and where any limits on sexual identity, gender and behavior are rejected.”
The director maintained that Christians hold fast to the exact opposite.
“In sharp contrast, Christians believe that God’s life-giving purpose for faithful sexual expression is in the context of marriage between a man and woman, who together reflect our creation in God’s image,” Holz said. “The fruit of this good gift from God is marital oneness and the potential of new life.”
Following the episode, the child actor, Buggle, shared his support for his character. He also revealed that Hargitay called to talk to him about the script before it was finished.
“It is incredible to see Noah beginning to discover who he is. My feelings are the same, there is no shame in being true to yourself and no one deserves to be left out or bullied because of it,” the 11-year-old wrote on Instagram before promoting the LGBT advocacy group GLSEN.
“SVU” has supported LGBT causes several times throughout its over 20 years on television. Many networks in recent years have embraced LGBT narratives in their programming.
Many Christian denominations worldwide adhere to the Bible’s stance on sexuality and teach that while homosexuality is a sin, believers are commanded to love the sinner. However, some Christian organizations wish to keep the traditional image of the family structure in entertainment.
In 2019, Christian groups called for the Hallmark Channel to reconsider showcasing its first movie with a same-sex “wedding” theme. The family network said LGBT themes will continue to run as they work with the LGBT activist group GLAAD to “better represent the LGBTQ community across [its] portfolio of brands.”
GLAAD is calling for 20% of all television characters to be LGBT by 2025.
Also, in 2019, Disney first depicted a same-sex relationship among teens in the series “Andi Mack.”