NBC's massively popular television series "Law & Order: SVU" on Thursday shocked audiences when it featured an 8-year-old boy coming out to his parent as a bisexual. While many "woke" individuals, groups, and media companies are praising LGBT visibility on mainstream television, some religious groups are concerned that the show might be sending the wrong message to the youth.
According to the Christian Post, last Thursday's episode of "Law & Order: SVU" saw the son of Mariska Hargitay's lead character, Capt. Olivia Benson coming out as bisexual. Benson's son, Noah, played by Ryan Buggle, shared with his mother that there was a confrontation in school where a student was bullied, causing him to bring up the topic to his mother.
"I said that I was bi," Noah told his mother. "And there's no shame in being true to yourself."
"That's right, Noah," Benson replied, praising him for standing up to bullies and calling it "incredibly brave."
NBC's own "Today" show had nothing but praise for the "Law & Order: SVU" episode featuring an 8-year-old coming out as bisexual. The hosts even suggested that Hargitay deserved an Emmy Award for her reaction to her child's coming out.
According to Cinema Blend, Buggle took to Instagram to share how Hargitay helped him prepare for this new development in his character's life. He shared, "Filming this episode was such an important, incredible and exciting experience for me...I felt so involved and respected. It is incredible to see Noah beginning to discover who he is."
However, the episode was met with criticism from some Christian groups. Christian Film & Television Commission founder Ted Baehr said that the creators and writers of "Law & Order: SVU" should know better than showing a very young child coming out as bisexual.
"The 8-year-old son is in a premature stage of cognitive development, which is not advanced enough to make this decision," Baehr, who founded the nonprofit organization dedicated to redeeming the values of the mass media, argued.
"The process of maturating involves moving beyond propensities such as violence, lying, stealing, etc., which the 'Law and Order' folks should understand," Baehr continued. "People of faith understand that there is a freedom and more abundant life in living their faith!"
Meanwhile, Adam Holz, who serves as the director of Plugged In, the entertainment review site of Plugged In, said it was rather unsurprising to see wokeness on mainstream television. He remarked that the storyline was "disappointing, but not surprising."
Holz said that in the last few years, there has been "many examples of children embracing an LGBT perspective, both on kids shows and on shows and movies aimed at an older audience," citing shows such as "Arthur," "Owl House," "Blues Clues," "Doc McStuffins," and more.
Holz said this was an advocacy that reflects a worldview where "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."
Holz argued that Christians do not look at sexual expression that way, arguing that it is seen instead "in the context of marriage between a man and woman, who together reflect our creation in God's image," which "fruit" is then "marital oneness" and "the potential of new life."