What Animated Cartoons Mean
Animated cartoons have gone a long way since their early times when black, white, and shades of gray were the only color schemes and virtually all the characters had "pie eyes."
In a cartoon, many animals, items, or even extraterrestrial beings talk. To make things great for the mostly per-adolescent audience, most characters of the former category come in anthropomorphic forms - some of them wear at least one article of human clothing. (A good example of this is Donald Duck, who wears a blue sailor's shirt and hat.) Some animals even walk like humans and literally do human things.
Cartoons in their proper, well-known styles defy the laws of physics (“wild takes”) by having their protagonists stand on mid-air until they look down to fall or having them jump a high height when scared.
Which Children's Cartoons Deceive Their Christian Audiences?
Christians (the fundamental, evangelical ones) often limit children to which cartoons are safe for them to watch and which are detrimental to their Godly values. For the latter, the ones that have the most occultic influence often includes either magic spells, witches, crystal balls, and other things that they consider "occultic." A good cartoon, they would describe, must have good Christian values and Godly influence among its audience.
In the 1986 Christian video, Deception of a Generation, Pastor Gary Greenwald examines the influence of the dark side of certain children's cartoons. Based on the book Turmoil in the Toy Box (whose author, Phil Phillips co-stars in the video), this video makes parents reconsider having their progeny watch them. Here are three featured cartoon series in which Greenwald and Phillips deem them occultic.
#1: The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo (1985)
How can the lovable Great Dane Scooby-Doo provide a Satanic influence on children?
Greenwald shows the viewers a few excerpts from an episode of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo ("When You Witch Upon A Star," the eighth episode). In the first one, Vincent Van Ghoul sends the titular protagonist, his nephew Scrappy-Doo, the child con-artist Flim-Flam, Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, and Daphne Ann Blake to retrieve the spell book from three witches, the Brewster Sisters.
Van Ghoul sends himself to the Zone of Eternal Evil to pursue the evil mist (the demon Marcella, who escaped the Chest of Demons) via a crystal ball. In another set of excerpts, Van Ghoul meets Marcella, who came to the Evil Zone via "spectral wind." She refreshes his memory by explaining that to haunt the earth, her sisters must make a brew at Stonehenge and chant Spell 13 from the Book of Spells.
Meanwhile, the witches stir a brew to prepare themselves to chant the spell as the remaining five protagonists watch and devise a plan to stop them.
Greenwald and Phillips noted the occultic paraphernalia and actions depicted in the cartoon, including the symbolic Chest of Demons. But Landover Baptist Church digs deeper in it as well as in the other cartoons of the Scooby-Doo franchise, especially with the characters. They claim that Shaggy is a drug addict because he is constantly hungry and always scared and suggestively believes that Scooby is talking to him.
The same holds true with Scrappy, who is also a "talking dog." (Of course, the "needle marks" on his arm are actually his hairs.) They also even view Daphne as a prostitute wearing skimpy clothing, although she wears a sleeved jumpsuit with long pants in plenty of episodes in the series.
If Van Ghoul is a blatant archetype for an occultic warlock, his friend Flim-Flam is a sugar-and-cinnamon-coated magician. He communicates with his friend via crystal ball most of the time, uses a magic potion called the "Lotsa Luck Joy Juice," and cracks a magic whip to make it snow outside Scooby-Doo's parents' house.
To followers of fundamentalist Christianity like Greenwald and Phillips, a seemingly enjoyable Hanna-Barbera cartoon like The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo is spiritually hazardous to children's minds.
#2: The Smurfs (1981)
Another (shudder) Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, The Smurfs is seemingly safe for children. But to Greenwald and Phillips, they are practically zombies with a cute exterior. (They claim that when someone dies, his face turns blue and his lips turn black, but the latter that the Smurfs have are lipless mouths.)
Greenwald and Phillips falsely depict the only female of their kind, Smurfette, as a transsexual because she was magically transformed from a male to a female. They suggest viewers that most characters are homosexual because they to them, they are wholly males.
Phillips explains the real occult in the cartoon. Papa Smurf solves problems by casting magical spells, even seemingly (to them) using the word Beelzebub many times. (Beelzebub is a demon and a Hell prince.)
At one episode, the villain Gargamel drew a five-pointed star on the ground (a pentagram), lit candles at each point, and danced in it while chanting a magical spell. Then, a book opens and gives him the powers needed to levitate off the ground and (unsuccessfully) destroy the Smurfs.
Greenwald and Phillips suggest the question: why would Hanna-Barbera put LGBT influences as well as witchcraft in a seemingly harmless cartoon?
#3: All the Media of the Care Bears Franchise!
Cute and cuddly, the Care Bears are multicolored bears who turn a callous, coldhearted person into a caring, amicable being. As well as warding off evil, they teach the world's population how to be civilized and live in harmony with one another. Their secret: the powers in their abdomens, particularly their "Care Bear Stare." (The Care Bear Cousins are non-bear animal species who do the same things as their counterparts do.)
The rays of color and light emitting from the bears' stomachs make Greenwald and Phillips deem the entire Care Bears franchise as an occultic one. The same thing holds true for the children turning to the bears when they have a problem instead of asking their parents or praying to God to rectify it.
In the first movie of the franchise, an evil spirit tempts the boy Nicholas to open a spell book and chant magic spells for gaining friends. The two pastors conclude that even a cartoon with super-cute protagonists can negatively influence a child in terms of religion.
My Final Words on the List
I grew up watching the cartoons and yet my parents raised me in a Roman Catholic household, making me practice their religion. They approve of watching any Scooby-Doo cartoon and buying Care Bears merchandise, even though Greenwald and Phillips deemed them as evil.
If you are a fundamentalist Christian, you may be likely to watch the whole tape (and read the whole book in which it is based on) and start to believe what the pastors say. Then, you would ask your children to clear out the houses of the videos and toys and replace them with wholesome media franchises (like video series of cartoons with blatant Biblical allusions and their spin-off toys).
For me, I watched those cartoons in childhood, and they didn't bother me spiritually.
Those experiences all boil down to this: parents decide which cartoons are appropriate or not. So, let them glean out toons they feel are potentially and/or morally harmful to their kids and allow them to watch what's wholesome. It doesn't matter if they are Christian, Muslim, or other religion.
Other Cartoon "Moral Panic" Hubs
- Pokémon is the Devil! (And Other Satanic Moral Panic)
Hubber thehands explains in his Hub why many Christians and other monotheist groups accuse Pokémon of having Satanic influences and how ridiculous the "moral panic" is.
More Christianity Hubs
- Sunday Service Church Clothing - What Happened to 'Sunday Best?'
"Sunday best" used to be all frills and suits. Nowadays, it's mostly denim and shirts.
What Do You Think of the List?
N B Yomi from Dallas, TX on June 20, 2016:
Despite my Christian beliefs, this crap drove me up a wall as a kid when they were spouting how Pokemon and Harry Potter were Satanic... Because to me, they were works of fiction and nothing more. But now as a 27 year old adult, crap like this makes me "LOL." Especially with how laughably wild these accusations are. I mean calling Shaggy a drug addict and Daphane a prostitute, WTF? Then accusing Smirfette of being a transexual... I mean screw the fact that she's aconstruct of Gargamel to lure the smurfs into his clutches... She's dude who became a chick.
But humor asde, this bugs me a little. Mainly because you'll note how they leave ou the facts to pray on the ignorant masses. The Devil last I checked does the same thing, and given that I've played around with the concept of "corrupt christians," in a stoy I wrote ten years ago, I tend to question if crap like this was for good or ill.
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on May 02, 2014:
I think I remember reading a book version of this video. And I get the well meaning intentions behind it, but when you look at some of these shows and compare them to what's offered now on Cartoon Network, a revised edition definitely should be produced.
As for Smurfette, if I remember, she was always a girl. Except in her original version, she was just kind of ... well ... ugly and not the "sexpot " she became to be known as.
arshiacom on December 08, 2013:
Scooby dooby doo is my fav.:)
Mike on October 17, 2013:
I watched an episode of "He-Man" (as an adult) and was shocked concerning the plot: the episode's focus villain, "Mer-Man", planned to sacrifice a virgin to the Demon of the Deep." What!?! Good reminder that even kid's cartoons are created by sinful humans, and, just as Christian parents desire to instil in their kids Godly values, the enemy wants to do the same in the little ones of the world. Sit in sometimes on what your kids are watching/listening to and guide them with discernment.
MMC on September 30, 2013:
You forgot the Flintstone's Great Gazoo; a being from out of this world who does poltergeist-type things and tries to get these "dumb dumb" humans to evolve into something higher. Fred, in his moral torpidity allows Gazoo to interact with the children, who find him to be a friendly influence to be played with. Just keep moving. Nothing to see here.
westcoast20 on September 02, 2013:
What a good article. I really love it and very impressed. Please keep sharing.
Elle on August 01, 2012:
I couldn't agree with you more on your closing words for this article. As parents, if we threw out any cartoon connected to magic or other non-Christian beliefs then there would be nothing to watch. All Disney animated movies have magic of some sort involved. Any cartoon can be picked apart for magic or violence. Remember HR Puff N Stuff? just the names alone were so referenced to drugs, yet how many kids who watched that even understood what those names meant? Yes there has to be a balance, but taking away all forms of entertainment is going over the top. We can educate our children without making them feel deprived.
louromano on March 25, 2012:
Excellent post. excellent hub.
Constance on March 23, 2012:
I do suggest to parents that there is no such thing as good magic. Jesus performed miracles not magic. God through Moses performed miracles not magic. The apostles through the Holy Ghost (Jesus) performed miracles, signs, and wonders, not for their glory, but so men might believe and be saved. Satan, who has always tried to mimmic what God can do, to try and turn Gods people away. Cartoonist, directors, and the behind the scenes finances will tell u cartoons(all of them) have subliminal messages. One big company that uses these is Disney. I know innocent, right. Watch Donald in something like mathematical land on the YouTube. It alsoshows how Disney uses witchcraft in their videos. People, I Am A Christian. I do not serve Satan. God speaks of undefiled conscience, purity of the mind, set no evil thing before thine eyes. I want to raise innocent children who will preach the gospel, demons r no laughing matter, want do find out. Go to your local insane asillim, the nearest street corner where the guy would sell his babies house for his next fix. It all starts somewhere. If magic is the Devils religion then I think I'll shun the very appearance of evil, on my part. And is u love Gos with all your heart mind and soul, don't shame him. We have one life, one life chance, and not very much time left to make a difference. He is coming for a bride spotless white, not a whore who has slept with the enemy. To God be all the Glory! AMEN.
talfonso (author) from Tampa Bay, FL on November 03, 2010:
Right, shon. Parents need to feel free see what is best for their children, whether they are Christian or not.
shon joshua on October 14, 2010:
we've got to be very careful what we do to ourselves just imagine a country where everyone does as he pleasees i am sure not even the worst of us will be willing to live there since you can not be sure of sleeping well let alone waking uo better. so we need to watch wjat we feed ourselveswith else what has been taken in cannot be taken out. watch what you watch not your watch
talfonso (author) from Tampa Bay, FL on October 12, 2010:
(On the Smurfs) that's what Greenwald and Phillips left out in the video! Thanks for the info!
Oh, and I'm a Christian, thank you, and don't watch The Smurfs just because it's not interesting.
RobGems.ca on October 11, 2010:
Smurfette wasn't the only female Smurf in the Village. By the 7th Season, a second female smurf (Sassette) was added along with two other Child Smurfs. are by any chance any of these kids Considered "Evil" Or "Satanic"?If You want a real evil Cartoon That dabbles in Necromania & Death in the Underworld itself, try "The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy". That show is creepy enough To Earn any wrwth from Right-Wing extremists. Mandy alone is worth the price of admission that Lucifer is re-incarcerated As A little girl with a Mean streak.