Mr. Rogers Didn’t Gay-Bash Enough?

Mr. Rogers Didn’t Gay-Bash Enough? November 29, 2019

It’s not too often that I will stray into the more misogynistic white supremacy blogs. But occasionally Lori Alexander, Larry Solomon or one of the other Quiverfull leaders will link to or refer to someone like Wintery Knight. Wintery has something rather vile up right now, a piece bashing the late Mr. Rogers, childrens television pioneer. Why? He didn’t gay bash his coworkers, and they are perceiving him as wimpily effeminate.  He claims he did not write it, but someone else anonymously authored the piece.

The crux of the matter seems to be that Rogers was a Presbyterian minister who refused to be nasty to different others. You know, sort of like Jesus himself did.

I’ve always said if Jesus came back right now these guys would be out there with the pitchforks, tar, feathers and another cross the very first time Jesus opened his mouth and ordered them to love their neighbor, or something else they would consider borderline hippy-ish.

This is what they are complaining about.

Fred Rogers offering non-judgemental friendship to Francois Clemmons, the gay man who played a cop on the show. A cop who never hinted or exhibited any hint of sexuality.

Apparently the new film release on the life of Mr. Rogers is the catalyst for this sheer breathtaking homophobic idiocy.

Oh? Why is that? Because he was not busy trying to figure out the sexuality of others? He accepted others just as they are like Christ did? Oh how very ‘evil’ that is.

How evil telling someone else they are loved! How dare Fred!

That’s because the world can see who really cares for them, and who hates them. Fred Rogers embodied more about what the ministry of Jesus was and who Jesus actually was than any amount of hate coming from Wintery Knight and his cowardly little pals.

No, that means that Fred Rogers fully understood that love is the most powerful force on earth and how to walk in that. I’m not capable of that, a lot of us aren’t, but we have sense enough to look up to those who do and can, like Fred Rogers.

These guys are truly sickening.

For more indigestion and indignation with your leftover turkey you can always go check out Doug Wilson’s ranting about how wonderful it is that the English conquered America and wiped out the Indigenous people.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Saraquill

    The worst insult I can give is how disappointed Mr. Rogers is in them.

  • Jim Jones

    > there’s no indication that he called Francois Clemmons to repent for his sinful lifestyle choice.

    Matthew 7:5: You hypocrite! First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.

  • Jim Jones

    He isn’t being the best him he could be.

  • Ingeborg Nordén

    One of the few Bible verses I can still agree with 100%.

  • Desperate Ambrose

    “[P]eople know him more for being nice than for preaching Jesus.”

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f6e30652b58ff5e3390662d7588874c1db695edfdd8d4dc54407d78e09299522.jpg

    Old vaquero saying

  • Ingeborg Nordén

    If the Presbyterian Church were in the business of canonizing saints, Fred Rogers would rank high on the American candidates’ list.

  • Ingeborg Nordén

    Wasn’t it C.S. Lewis who said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words”? (I know it wasn’t St. Francis!)

  • Dom S

    Being nice is the issue but “preaching Jesus” isn’t? I just…

    He was a nice person. He was a good person. How can you be mad at someone who is literally a stand-up and ideal human being? Isn’t that what Jesus himself was supposed to be? Christians don’t know what they want. Pick a struggle, either the religion is about being a decent person or it’s a cudgel used to beat anyone you don’t like while feeling better about yourself.

    It’s also just in bad taste to attack a man who despite being dead for years is more moral now than many of these currently living idiots2 are or ever were.

  • Dom S

    Being nice is the issue but “preaching Jesus” isn’t? I just…

    He was a nice person. He was a good person. How can you be mad at someone who is literally a stand-up and ideal human being? Isn’t that what Jesus himself was supposed to be? Christians don’t know what they want. Pick a struggle, either the religion is about being a decent person or it’s a cudgel used to beat anyone you don’t like while feeling better about yourself.

    It’s also just in bad taste to attack a man who despite being dead for years is more moral now than many of these people are or ever were.

  • Zeldacat

    The closest Rogers got to gaybashing was that early on he did advise Francois to keep his sexuality quiet – not because of his personal feelings (he was fine with it) but because of Francois’ career. It would have been unthinkable to have an openly gay actor on a children’s show and he’d have been fired instantly. It could have sunk the whole show even. I’m sure that would have made all the wrong people happy.

    The problem is that when people dis Fred Rogers I want to go all out on them, but then that’s not what he’d have wanted or done. Arrgh! I’m trying, Fred, I really am.

  • Desperate Ambrose

    Well, it shoulda been St. Francis, and that’s good enough for me! ; – p

  • Kevin Morgan

    It wasn’t Lewis.

  • Ingeborg Nordén

    Will have to have my well-read Christian friends track down the real source then!

  • Cynthia

    Reading that makes me like Fred Rogers even more.

    Does this guy think that it would have been possible for a gay man at that time NOT to know that Christian teachings didn’t approve? Fred Rogers may have been the first firmly Christian person who told him that he was worthy of being loved, and that clearly was something that moved him. Hearing condemnation wouldn’t have changed his sexuality. Hearing acceptance may have inspired him realize that a Christian could still be a decent human being, and given him an example of human decency and reason to believe that people could move beyond bigotry.

  • I’ll give you an amen on that one! What we live is our truth. Words are nothing but air expelled. And people know that difference.

  • Fred Rogers gave me something better to believe in, and God I needed that. He gave me so much hope that life could be different once I was finally old enough to leave home. I actually left when I was 16. I will always adore Fred Roger’s and want to verbally bitch2 slap anyone who goes against hum. But I won’t even give these jerks the click. Not worth it. And Mr. Rogers would undoubtedly rather I didn’t. Love you, dude.

  • Anri

    It apparently has not occurred to Knight that Rogers willingly supporting his gay friend, and refusing to shame him, was exactly and precisely the opposite of being pushed around by the world – or by the people telling him what his faith was supposed to mean.

    I wonder if it will ever occur to him.

  • AFo

    It’s probably a good thing that very few people know that Mr Rogers was a Presbyterian minister, since knowing that fact might cause most people to write him off as a judgemental ass2 before actually seeing or hearing what he did. Kind of how the fundies write off anyone who disagrees with them as “unbelievers” who have let the devil run their lives.

  • kaydenpat

    Mr. Rogers correctly figured out that Francois Clemmons had done nothing for which he needed to repent or be disparaged just because he was gay. It appears that in that respect, Mr. Rogers was ahead of his time. Some of us are still catching up.

  • Rann

    only some??? Far too many, actually!

  • frostysnowman

    I thought everyone knew that Mr. Rodgers was a Prebyterian minister. I have always known it, but I am also Presbyterian. We are pretty mild-mannered about that sort of thing.

  • frostysnowman

    I’m Presbyterian, my church is part of PCUSA (which allows ministers to perform same sex weddings if they feeled calles to do so, and that ruling has caused schims in many congregations), and the fundies and Baptists write me off all the time.

  • frostysnowman

    I guess you can always find a reason to be mad at or attack someone if you look hard enough. It’s sad.

  • Anna

    I’m reminded of the crucifixion scene in “Good Omens,” where Crowley the demon turns to Aziraphale the angel and asks, “What did he say to get them so angry?”

    “Be kind to one another,” Aziraphale replies.

    “Oh. Yeah, that’ll do it,” says Crowley.

  • phatkhat

    I didn’t know he was a minister! I do know he was a really good role model for children.

  • A holy trinity I can get behind.

    Steve Irwin: Be kind to animals.
    Mr. Rogers: Be kind to others.
    Bob Ross: Be kind to yourself.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Dude. Let me stop you right there. You are banned for violation of the comment policy and this crap2 is being moved to Jerks 4 Jesus where it belongs.

  • Saraquill

    From what I hear, insulting Mr. Rogers will get you banned on 4Chan.

  • Saraquill

    I’m familiar with that lifestyle. It involves paying bills, doing laundry and ordering takeout. I fail to see what’s wrong with clean sheets and a full stomach.

  • Zeldacat

    I like that. Even they can’t deny what an amazing human he was.

  • Michael Neville

    Actually Francis of Assisi had a contemporary reputation as being a particularly good preacher.

  • Michael Neville

    Shorter Knight: “Fred Rogers didn’t condemn people for being different, that’s not Christianity as I do it.”

  • If I were going to create a list of US American “folk saints”, people who are inspirations to people and embody ideals that are valued, Fred Rogers would be high on that list with Bob Ross and Carrie Fisher. For all intents and purposes, the people have already canonzied them, at least functionally.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    It will get you banned here too…

  • Mimc

    I’d read that book.

  • otrame

    I always liked “What you have done to the least of these, you have done also unto me.”

    And of course the old favorite, Judge not, lest ye be judged. Jesus mentioned that judging people was God’s job several times. I enjoy imagining some of these æsshøles before the Seat, Jesus leaning forward and saying “What part of ‘Judge Not’ didn’t you understand?”

  • otrame

    Go away, little bitter, mean person. As for the Bible? It has some good parts. You know, the “Judge not” parts and the “love your enemies” part.

    But the Bible is never clear about ANYTHING.

  • otrame

    I hear sometimes sodomites watch TV and take walks in the evening.

  • otrame

    “Be excellent to each other”

  • Desperate Ambrose

    “[I]t’s pretty telling that in all of their years working together, with Fred knowing Francois’s sexual orientation, that Fred never saw fit to tell him where his sinful lifestyle would eventually lead according to Scripture and plead with him to repent.”
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8e3479336009a950c1a9ed1ce77e298dd0e4f55de054958814be33bf64922572.jpg

  • Desperate Ambrose
  • RachelS

    Whoever it was they were right!

  • Desperate Ambrose
  • Jennifer

    Brilliant point.

  • Carstonio

    The idea that Knight wants to “save“ Clemmons out of genuine love and concern is laughable. At best, he just wants to increase his sales figures. At worst, he delights in the thought of Clemmons getting his supposed just desserts. If he wants to convince us otherwise, Knight would condemn eternal torture as unjust.

  • Nea

    They’re mad because they worship authoritarianism, not Jesus.

  • paganheart

    Scanning through stations on the car radio while hubby and I were on our way to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving, we landed briefly on the radio show of one of the right-wing radio 2cranks, who was ranting that Mr. Rogers was anything but a great role model for children, and that we’d be better of as a nation today if we’d encouraged our sons to be less like Mr. Rogers and more like John Wayne.

    I’d argue that the problem with our country today is that not enough men are like Mr. Rogers, and too many are like John Wayne.

  • Friend

    I’ve always thought that image makes several other points. It shows an integrated1 pool. Sure, just a baby pool, but in that time and place, swimming pools were often in private clubs that happened to admit only one sort of person. Many swim clubs and country clubs only admitted white Christians. Some would not admit Catholics, and many would not admit Jews. So other clubs were set up to cater to Catholics, and a lot of Jewish people belonged to the YMHA and Jewish country clubs. In a lot of towns, African Americans had very few places to swim. This image is challenging a powerful taboo, telling children that interracial1 swimming is safe.

    The photo also (more obviously) shows an African American man as a police officer, and two men being vulnerable. Wikipedia says that Francois Clemmons first appeared on the show in 1968, a time of cha0s and vi0lence in the US.

    So very much in one picture. All of it good.

  • Delta

    Their subset of the religion operates on hatred and fear.

    Given that background, kindness and compassion must be wrong.

  • Mutale

    this really just shows that christians can complain about how awful the world is and how bad people treat each other but they really dont care because even if peope started being nicer and getting along if it aint about praising jesus it aint good enough, fred rogers was a decent man who wanted people to know they are loved and special but because he wasnt preaching jesus it doesnt matter

  • Mutale

    because christianity is about believing in jesus it doesnt matter how kind or fair you are to others if you dont believe in jesus ascrifice and dont prech the gospel you dont matter.

  • Steven Watson

    Denied his own family, said he bore not peace but a sword, wouldn’t do anything about the poor, and set out to set everyone at loggerheads with one another. Even accepting JC was more than a figment of the apostles’ imaginations; Fred Rogers appears to be the better man.

  • Steven Watson

    Read Carrie’s books also. Laught out loud hilarious, like Pratchett but totally different.

  • RainbowPhoenix

    So much for “judge not lest ye be judged.”

  • RainbowPhoenix

    Wasn’t John Wayne a draft dodger?

  • Dom S

    Then I find it both ridiculous and hypocritical they can claim to believe in someone but will do anything but follow his example or any of his commands, and Jesus made many of those. Not one of them sanctified bigotry or tells his followers to bash gay people so it serves no purpose to make the religion revolve around things he never (allegedly) said.

  • Delilah Hart

    And how exactly was Fred Rogers “effeminate”? It’s not like he wore lipstick or carried a purse!

  • persephone

    It wasn’t Lewis, and it wasn’t St. Francis. https://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/wosf/wosf06.htm

    17.—Of Preachers.

    Let none of the brothers preach contrary to the form and institution of the holy Roman Church, and unless this has been conceded to him by his minister. But let the minister take care that he does not grant this leave indiscreetly to anyone. Nevertheless, let all the brothers preach by their works. And let no minister or preacher appropriate to himself the ministry of brothers or the office of preaching, but let him give up his office without any contradiction at whatever hour it may be enjoined him. Wherefore I beseech in the charity which God is 10 all

  • persephone

    And abusive, homophobic, misogynist.

  • persephone

    I watched the documentary on Fred Rogers a while back. I don’t remember who reported this, but Mr. Rogers apparently confided in a friend that he felt people fell on a range of se9xu9ality, with some people being at either end as extremely femi9nine and extremely mascu9line. Mr. Rogers said he felt that he fell in the middle. So he may have felt himself bise9xual, or maybe he was ace. Or both.

  • Zeldacat

    I would expect as much!

  • Cynthia

    I didn’t know until relatively recently. It wasn’t like that horrible Davey and Goliath cartoon, which was an active turn-off to a non-Christian kid like me.

  • (((-MARK-)))

    Let’s not forget that they were already on the edge with him being black AND a police officer.

  • Jennifer A. Nolan
  • Friend

    The folks who call him effeminate1 don’t understand masculinity, and many are too young to have a clue about the men of the early to mid 20th century. Calmness and self-assurance are signs of strength, not weakness or effeminacy1.

    I grew up knowing many men who had fought in World War I and World War II. It was perfectly normal for American men of that era, whether veterans or not, to be quiet and gentle, especially around children. Heaven only knows what the veterans had seen and done in combat—and they did not talk about it, on principle or because of trauma. They were enjoying peace at home as best they could.

    In fact, many of today’s war veterans are not that different: kind to their spouses and children, looking forward to a peaceful future.

    The above is only about the generations of men around Fred Rogers. As a child he spent a lot of time by himself, but he would have seen plenty of quiet veterans, quiet ministers, et al. Fred Rogers himself was too young to serve in World War II (he was 17 in 1945).

  • Jennifer A. Nolan

    I remember enjoying it myself, and we didn’t go to church at all. Unfortunately, you’ve just made a very good point. TV stations and networks are closer to being an arm of the governing establishment than their executives care to admit. Christian programming should be confined to Christian broadcasting entities; there were more than enough of those, even in 1971.

  • Desperate Ambrose

    By all means!

  • Jennifer A. Nolan

    Thanx!

  • Don’t know if I’ve even got enough in my head to write one, just some lingering observations from watching the process happen to Carrie Fisher in real time as people reacted to her loss. It was like watching a time-lapse of the canonization process when it’s *not* controlled by an organization like the Vatican. Much more organic and fluid. Less about verifiable miracles and more about inspiring the hearts of those left behind. An enduring legacy of ideals and a message.

    Not sure who else to include, though, because I haven’t been aware of the process enough, I suppose.

  • Ruthitchka

    Here’s a fly in the ointment: I read somewhere that the reason Fred Rogers always wore long-sleeved cardigans was that his arms were covered in tattoos that he’d gotten during his military service. He didn’t want to frighten the young viewers. So, Fred Rogers must’ve been quite the bad@$$ when he was younger! I myself am too chicken to get a tattoo.

  • anotherangle01

    These particular types of Evangelicals are mad at Mr. Rogers because he A. Didn’t justify everything he said with a Bible verse to back it up like some out of control college research paper just to prove his Christianity, and B. Mr. Rogers didn’t follow their particular brand of Christianity, which to them is the only correct one in existence, all the other 30,000 or so other branches are in rebellion against God.

  • anotherangle01

    The only thing Jesus bashed was currency exchange tables and the religious elite of his era.

  • anotherangle01

    And we as Generation X and Millennials were the beneficiaries of Mr Roger’s teachings. Now, if those teachings stuck to us in our later years is another story.

  • Robert Serrano

    But he wasn’t leading a puppet Fight Club, Therefore, he was “effeminate.” Or something like that.

  • Robert Serrano

    I believe that was just a myth. I’m not sure of the motivations behind starting it (Misguided attempts at “butching” him up? Just a joke that got out of hand?), but that’s all it is.