Wednesday, March 23, 2005

They're getting better

Bob Chase of the UCC writes,
The following, reported by Religion News Service, more than caught my attention. It made me angry:
"Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian group, is praising the removal of references to sexual orientation from materials accompanying a children's video starring SpongeBob SquarePants and about 100 other television characters." (full story)
Can this be true? The We Are Family Foundation denies that pressure caused them to drop references to sexual orientation from the video's support materials, citing instead their desire to "shorten the guide." This would be almost amusing, if it weren't so tragic. Today's taunts often involve sexual orientation, like when I was growing up they involved religion, race or ethnicity. Of all references to tolerance, why would these be dropped?

What is really appalling about Focus on the Family's stance is that it is not only anti-gay, but also anti-family and anti-children. The purpose of these resources is to promote tolerance among children who, lest we forget, don't choose their parents. By eliminating this category in the need for tolerance in peer-to-peer relationships, aren't we signaling that it's okay - even justified - to engage in bigoted behavior towards more than one million children of gay parents under the age of eighteen?

The Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's General Minister and President, says it well:

"It is a sad day when Focus on the Family, a group claiming to speak for Christians in America, finds reason to celebrate assaults on tolerance in the name of its own version of family values. For Focus on the Family to bully groups like the We Are Family Foundation because of their efforts to teach children about respect for those who are different only leads to bullying on the playground. What's Christian - or American - about that?" (full story)

Focus on the Family should be ashamed of its wanton gloating at the expense of a safer environment for so many of our nation's children. I believe that those of us who are really concerned about a safe environment for our children say "ENOUGH" to those who would put our children's well being at risk for their own narrow political agenda.

This is an adequate response. Dobson and his crew are thinly-veiled bigots pumping up their prestige and fundraising operations on the backs of gays and lesbians.

But more is needed. We need to break out of the stalemate of "my values" vs. "your values." The problem with Focus on the Family isn't that they don't like the LGBT community. It's that they'd rather bash those people than address God's priorities: caring for the poor, the powerless, and the peace of the earth.

The UCC needs to say so.

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