The Rev. Jerry Falwell has been roundly ridiculed by gay advocates and the fellow-travelling liberal press for asserting that one of the characters on Teletubbies, the popular British TV show for preschoolers, incorporates pro-homosexuality symbolism.

The program’s producers, however, have not stepped forward to explain why, if homosexual advocacy is not their intent, the male-voiced tubby, “Tinky Winky,” carries a purse and wears an antenna shaped like an upside-down triangle – a symbol commonly worn by homosexual activists.

And if Tinky-Winky is indeed deliberately intended to portray “gay-ness” in a positive light to the “pre-verbal” set, what exactly is the point? Indoctrination? Parents of the target audience should have the right to make an informed choice about allowing their children to be exposed to homosexualist propaganda, however subtly nuanced.

The April 17, 1998 edition of the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper in Washington, D.C., reported that Tinky Winky “has become something of a gay icon among British viewers,” and quoted Kenn Viselman, president of the company that produces Teletubbies, as saying the idea behind Tinky Winky is “to break down stereotypes.”

And what stereotypes would those be, I wonder? Certainly the gay community has no difficulty identifying Tinky Winky as one of its own. “Tinky Winky is the unofficial gay Teletubby,” reads the Gay Teletubby page on the LesBiGay website, which bills itself as “the place for youth-friendly gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight sexual orientation information and resources.” According to LesBiGay, Tinky Winky’s status as a gay television character designed to appeal to children is demonstrated by “the purple triangle on his head, the effeminate mannerisms, the bag …”

The “scornful reaction to Falwell’s complaint is more evidence of the double standard conservatives are held to when they are ridiculed for pointing out what is common knowledge in the gay community,” says Steve Schwalm, a senior policy analyst with the U.S. Family Research Council.

Liberal pseudo-sophisticates think it is great sport mocking those they regard as Neanderthal bigots, and they self-righteously consider indoctrinating children in political correctness to be progressively educational. However, parents like myself who teach their kids that homosexual behaviour is sinful can do without supercilious ideologues subverting our efforts through the entertainment and news media, and then sneering contemptuously at us for noticing.

The Teletubbies issue is analogous to the misbegotten project of putting “gay-friendly” literature in elementary school classrooms. Last December, the Surrey, B.C. school board was ordered by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mary Saunders to reverse a classroom ban on books featuring same-sex parents. The school board had banned one of the books, Asha’s Mums, because one character tells a classmate it’s not wrong to have two mothers “if they’re nice to you and if you like them.” School board lawyer John Dives argued that the character is making a moral statement that may conflict with the views of some parents in the district.

Commenting on the court decision, Dr. Darrel Reid, president of Focus on the Family Canada, noted that in two recent decisions, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that parents have the right to decide important issues affecting their children, and that, in the Supreme Court’s words, they only “delegate their parental authority to teachers.”

According to Reid, Madame Justice Saunders’ ruling implies that parents cannot trust the public education system, which they pay for, to respect the values they are teaching their children in the home. “They can no longer expect their beliefs not to be violated, let alone respected,” said Reid. “Ultimately, this judgement is not about books, it’s about the basic rights and responsibilities of parents.”

And speaking of morally subversive messages aimed at children, what exactly is Mattel trying to say little girls with its latest Barbie doll, “Butterfly Art Barbie,” who has a tattoo on her belly and body piercings?

“Mattel has done well in normalizing Barbie to the mainstream,” commented one Barbie collector in Halifax. “There are a bunch of mothers out there who are not against this sort of thing.” Psychologist John Sperry was quoted by the Halifax Chronicle-Herald as saying, “There is nothing inherently bad about nose piercings … Like anything that’s popular, it sets a standard … It means that aspect is being approved of in the mass culture.”