The idea of a seance is at the forefront of almost every Barney program. On one show, about Mother Goose rhymes, Mother Goose talks to the children from one of her books. Led by Barney, the children commune with Mother Goose and conduct a seance to bring her to them. As they sing and dance their little ditty, she -- poof! -- appears in their presence. The Bible calls that necromancy and says that a person who participates in such behavior is an abomination unto the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). This kind of occult activity fills the Barney material. Conjuring someone up is certainly not kid's play!
The book, Just Imagine with Barney, is also completely immersed in New Age messages. It starts with a little girl named Lori, who is crying because her family plans to move to another city. She hugs her toy Barney, her "very best friend," and says, "`I don't want to move.'" Then the giant Barney appears amid "sparkling stardust and dancing magical colors" and says, "`You loved me so much that your love made me real!'" Then he leads Lori into a world where your imagination creates whatever you desire. Barney tells Lori, "`Sometimes I imagine that I can fly like a bird and..Zoom! Up I go! Now, you try it.'" Lori closes her eyes and imagines that she can fly, too. Then Barney says the magic words, "`Shimbaree, Shimbarah! Shimbaree, Shimbarah!'" and, "Zoom! Lori flew up into the air right next to Barney."
Lori is told that she can do whatever she wants with her imagination. This is exactly what is being taught through New Age techniques known as "centering," "quieting reflexes," and "guided imagery." These programs have been labeled by sensible psychologists and psychiatrists as dangerous and misleading. Guided imagery has been rejected by almost every school district in America due to protests by parents.
At the end of Just Imagine, Lori and Barney fly back to Lori's house. Barney disappears so that her parents won't find out about him. Lori is all bubbles and happiness. Clearly, Barney has replaced her parents as the source of her peace of mind and stability. This book is one of the most subtle attacks on the family that I have ever witnessed. It certainly leaves no room for the Lord Jesus Christ to be a child's best friend.
In another book, Barney's Magical Picnic, Barney multiplies food much like Jesus. Instead of fish and loaves of bread, Barney uses a peanut-butter sandwich; with imaginations, stars, and rainbows, the sandwich becomes "magically big enough for everyone."
Barney's Campfire Sing-A-Long is a video in which Barney and the Backyard Gang go on a camping trip. Tina gets separated from the group, but she remembers that Barney told them to hug a tree if they got lost and to blow their whistles. When Tina hugs the tree, the gang suddenly hears her and returns to save her. You often see bumper stickers that read, "Have you hugged a tree today?" This is the work of the most radical ecologist New Agers in this nation. They believe that "God is all and all is God;" it is raw occultism and the antithesis of the Holy Scripture.
When you mix captivating entertainment, catchy songs, and emotionally satisfying music with a message that glorifies the creator of it all, you have the makings of a cult. Barney has become the leader of a children's cult. When Barney appears, the children joyously proclaim, "When he leads the way, everything is A-OK!" As a society, we have become more and more fascinated with wild fantasy and less and less disciplined about responsibility. We are on a mindless trip created by our unbridled imaginations. Barney is an excellent gauge of where we are headed.