Trouble In Riverdale: Religious Right Groups Blast Gay Friendly `Archie' Comic Books
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:39:43 AM EST
I was never a big fan of comic books when I was a kid, but on those occasions when I did spend some spare change on them, I treated "Archie" comics like they were radioactive. Who cared about the tame antics of the gang in Riverdale when there were superheroes to follow?

Times have changed. "Archie" is really hot now, and it's all thanks to a character named Kevin Keller. In the "Life with Archie" series (which gets the gang out of high school and follows their adventures in their 20s), Keller is an Iraq War veteran who comes home after being wounded. During his hospital recovery, he meets a physical therapist and falls in love. In an issue that came out Jan. 10, they get married.

Have I mentioned that the physical therapist is also a man? Yep, "Archie" comics hosted a same-sex wedding. (And the mayor of Riverdale officiated!)

This is not going over well in some quarters of the Religious Right. The group Christian Response issued an alert blasting Archie for promoting "the gay agenda" and failing to "discuss honestly...the serious physical and mental dangers of gay sex."

But wait, there's more! Christian Response also pointed out that in 2010, "Life with Archie" spun out two plotlines set in separate hypothetical universes. In one, Archie married Betty, and in the other he married Veronica. In neither universe was Archie involved with both women at the same time, but these stories, according to Christian Response, introduce "the idea of polygamy to its readers."

Some of you may be familiar with Poe's Law. It's an Internet dictum holding that it's more or less impossible to lampoon right-wing fundamentalists because no matter how outrageous the parody, an actual fundamentalist somewhere has probably already said it and meant it.

No Poe here. The Christian Response complaint is, alas, real. And it's sad. You'd think that after Jerry Falwell was burned over the infamous Tinky Winky incident and James Dobson saw attacks on SpongeBob SquarePants backfire badly, Religious Right groups would stop obsessing over the sex lives of fictional characters. No such luck.

Over at the Family Research Council, Peter Sprigg was also not amused. "It's unfortunate that a comic book series usually seen as depicting innocent, all-American life is now being used to advance the sexual revolution," Sprigg told Fox News last year. "I think whatever boost in sales might come from the novelty or curiosity factors will be more than offset by the number of both kids and parents who will be turned off by this storyline and its obvious social and political agenda."

Luckily, "Archie" fans aren't listening to the right-wing killjoys. Sprigg is wrong about sales dropping off. In fact, issues are flying off the shelves. The first comic to feature Kevin was so popular it sold out and had to go into an unprecedented second printing. Subsequent issues have also sold well.

Religious Right leaders often claim that the inclusion of gay characters in books, television shows and movies is some type of plot by left-wing Hollywood types to engage in social engineering. I think the opposite is more likely true: The purveyors of media/popular culture see a trend unfolding in larger society and rush to exploit it.

Tolerance of LGBT Americans has been growing steadily. Most young people these days have gay friends and don't see it as a big deal. Riverdale may be a fictional community, but its creators know that if they want to keep it real, they must reflect the times. Thus, a gay character in Archie's Riverdale is to be expected because if the city actually existed, there would undoubtedly be gay people living in it and it's likely that Archie, being the popular guy that he is, would know them.

This is shocking only to the Religious Right, a movement made up of people who, when it comes to gays, are simply incapable of behaving rationally.

I wish Kevin and his new husband a long and happy union. I might just pick up some "Archie" comics to follow their adventures. As an added bonus, I can get an update on what Jughead has been up to these days. Whatever it is, I hope he's also annoying the Religious Right.  

The Religious Right may be flipping out over this in particular because they remember their much-beloved Spire Christian Archie comics by the late Al Hartley that cast Archie and the gang as creepy Christian right wingers. My fundamentalist in-laws have a framed, signed Al Hartley comic page hanging in their house.

by cbelt on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 02:48:50 PM EST

WWW Talk To Action

The Sour Grapes Of Wrath: Tenn. County Politician Seeks To Stave Off God's Vengeance
It has become a cliché to say that you spotted an article online that was so strange you first assumed it was from The......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
The Catholic Right Star and the Porn Star -- Revised and Updated
An international network of some of the world’s most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Banned In Boston (And Elsewhere): The American Tragedy Of Censorship
When I was kid, the phrase "Banned in Boston" confused me. I thought of Boston as a liberal, cosmopolitan city. Surely they didn't censor......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Bill Donohue Mum While Andrew Napolitano Calls Pope Francis "A False Prophet"
Catholic League president Bill Donohue goes after anyone he believes is engaging in anti-Catholic behavior, real or imagined. But as we have come to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
A Decade Of Disgrace: Marking Ten Years Of The `Values Voter Summit'
The annual Values Voter Summit (VVS), the nation's largest gathering of the Religious Right, begins today. The event, sponsored by the Family Research Council......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Looking Beyond the Francis Frenzy
Much has been and will be written about the Pope regarding his historic visit to the U.S.  But it will be important to try......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Barton Bounces Back: Religious Right Purveyor Of Ersatz History Still Going Strong
Three years ago, Religious Right phony historian David Barton published a ridiculous book called The Jefferson Lies that argued, in part, that Thomas Jefferson......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
The Papal Visit Brings Forth Ugliness From the Right
In a recent press release, Catholic League president Bill Donohue warned, "Pope Visits To U.S. Occasion Ugliness." Donohue then went on to describe the......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Coercion In Kansas?: State Worker Claims She Was Fired For Non-Attendance At Christian Service
Let's say some people at a company want to get together during lunch hour and hold a Bible study. It's totally voluntary, and they......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
Kim Davis and Southern Civil Disobedience
Kim Davis, the county official who refused to grant marriage licenses, fits the profile of a long line of civil disobedience from the South.......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
An Anti-Theocratic, Progressive Christian Leader
I recently posted a short excerpt here, from an interview I published with Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, the new General Minister and President of......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Litany Of Lies: FRC's Perkins Packs An Email With Copious Falsehoods
I realize that people may be tired of reading about the saga of Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., clerk who is in jail......
By Rob Boston (6 comments)
Kim Davis is No Jack Kennedy
Kim Davis, the embattled Kentucky county clerk who sits in jail for defying a Federal Court order to issue marriage licenses to everyone who......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Book Report: Yes, Politicians, We Know You Love The Bible. What Else Have You Read?
Real estate magnate Donald Trump says lots of outrageous stuff, but none of it seems to slow him down. His latest gaffe, however, ought......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
American Renewal Project
On my journey to the American Renewal Project in Austin, Texas, I listened to hard right talk radio out of Houston.  There was an......
By wilkyjr (7 comments)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (2 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.