Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Sponge Bob Roundup

By now, we've all heard about James Dobson's objection Sponge Bob's appearance in a video promoting tolerance for, among other things, different sexual orientations. (Give the man his due: he was not implying that SB was gay.)

Jesus Politics fills in some of the details here:

Here is the tolerance pledge at the We Are Family Foundation:

Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. I believe that America's diversity is its strength. I also recognize that ignorance, insensitivity and bigotry can turn that diversity into a source of prejudice and discrimination.

To help keep diversity a wellspring of strength and make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own.

They also point us toward this helpful Q&A from Michael Berube:

Dear Mister Answer Man: I am confused about the correct usage of the term "bait and switch." Specifically, I am unclear as to how Paul Batura of Focus on the Family can object to a SpongeBob SquarePants video on "tolerance" as "a classic bait and switch." In a bait and switch, doesn't something have to be switched for something else? Or is it possible, given Dr. Dobson's well-documented obsession with physical punishments for small children, that "bait and switch" has a special meaning for Focus on the Family employees? --D.P. Schreber, Dresden


Mister Answer Man replies: You have no basis for confusion; Mr. Batura is using the phrase correctly. What Focus on the Family is objecting to is the fact that songwriter Nile Rodgers created a music video ostensibly to teach schoolchildren about multiculturalism and inclusiveness, but, through characters like SpongeBob SquarePants, is actually helping to spread the homosexual agenda to our children. The "bait," then, is the promise that the video promotes tolerance. Christian conservatives have nothing against tolerance; they have long argued, for example, that liberals should be more tolerant of Christian conservatives. However, they draw the line at tolerating individuals whose lifestyles are in conflict with God's word. It is literally a sin to "tolerate" people who, in satiating their own lusts, have chosen eternal damnation. Therein lies the "switch." Therefore, Dr. Dobson and his group are correct to complain that an apparently innocuous music video about "tolerance" is secretly suggesting that we should tolerate not only groups who deserve tolerance but also animated gay male sponges who often hold hands with their male sidekicks.

Other folks are chiming in as well. Jake Young of the Witherspoon Society concludes a sermon on the inauguration and the Sermon on the Mount with a prayer:

Almighty God, forgive our nation for violently attacking others pre-emptively, selfishly taking from the poor and giving to the rich, and senselessly berating a cartoon character for innocently preaching your message of tolerance and acceptance to children.

And Chuck Currie provides a handy link from Dobson's own Focus on the Family for you to send a message of support to the broadcasters FotF would most like to hold accountable.

You may also have heard about the UCC's tongue-in-cheek response to Dobson's statement; growing out of that is the suggestion that Friends of Sponge Bob take him (and a digital camera) to church, and post the results. RNR will try to get the UCC's attention on this--and we'll also gladly accept any pix you might want to send our way.

The story continues. Dobson's heavily-tattooed son Ryan has a new book out: Be Intolerant. Apparently, the message has spread to new Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. She's taking PBS to task for airing a cartoon show about a trip to Vermont that includes a visit with a lesbian couple. Click on the picture below for the full story:

And don't forget the senseless berating!

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