Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) took to Facebook over the weekend to fret about the upcoming appearance of Emmy Award-winning actor Billy Porter, of the FX show “Pose,” on an episode of “Sesame Street.”
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Porter is gay, an activist for LGBTQ rights, and has made a splash wearing gowns at awards shows.
Rapert is sounding the alarms. In a post just after midnight on Saturday, he asked:
“What do you think I should do about this as your state senator? Do you approve of your taxpayer dollars being used to promote the radical LGBTQ agenda?”
Rapert also commented that he may target funding for AETN, the state’s PBS affiliate, headquartered in Rapert’s district in Conway. “I can pass a bill to cutoff all funding for the rebroadcast of PBS programming through AETN and also stop all funding for AETN altogether if necessary,” Rapert wrote on Facebook. “Fiscal Session starts April 8th.”
Since 2015, the first run of “Sesame Street” episodes air on HBO and then become available on PBS affiliates such as AETN nine months later. This year’s season, the program’s 51st, will have its first run on HBO Max.
Rapert further opined: “I love a lot of the great programming we have on AETN and have been a defender and champion for them. However, if they choose to allow our state taxpayer funded platform to be politicized in this way, they are going to have to make a decision about who they really serve.”
Rapert is also promoting on Facebook an online petition expressing outrage over what it calls “Sesame Street’s decision to push drag queens on children,” and demanding that the show drop the episode featuring Porter.
One Facebook commenter asked Rapert, “Would Jesus approve of your judgment and intolerance?”
Ruffled Rapert took exception to the comment, replying, “you are totally amiss and you know it. Christians do not support anti-Biblical behavior. The Bible is clear on certain sins — including homosexuality. Romans Chapter 1 and the Book of Jude just to cite two examples are very clear about this issue. Jesus never endorsed homosexual behavior and opposed it as he referenced Sodom and Gomorrah. Speaking the truth is not hatred. If you oppose the Bible, you are not a sincere Christian.”
Here’s a promotion for Porter’s appearance, including that famous Oscars dress, from the Sesame Street Facebook page:
And more from Porter and the show on social media:
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) January 30, 2020
— Billy Porter (@theebillyporter) January 30, 2020