Friday, January 21, 2005

Focus on the Family at it again

Christian groups issue "gay warning" -- whatever that is

Sponge Bob is gay

Still, Dobson assistant Paul Batura told the Times that Focus on the Family stands by its complaint. ''We see the video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids,'' he said.

Leave it to the good doctor, James Dobson, to make American Christians look like a bunch of idiots.


Jack Mercer said...

Well, since sponges are asexual...

Haven't seen the video yet, so I can't pass judgement. Have you?

Kathy Schrenk said...

No. I heard (but have not been able to find reference to online) that the offending action is that of Sponge Bob holding the hand of a male friend.,1,15756,00.html?tnews

Dobson based his charge on a "tolerance pledge" found on the We Are Family Foundation Website. The two-paragraph statement seeks "respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own."

"...Their inclusion of the reference to 'sexual identity' within their 'tolerance pledge' is not only unnecessary, but it crosses a moral line," a statement from Focus on the Family says.


The group, founded by music-industry veteran Nile Rodgers, who wrote "We Are Family" onto the charts, said the offending "tolerance pledge," which it stands behind, won't even be included in the DVD package mailed to schools.

Actor Tom Kenny, who gives high-pitched voice to SpongeBob, told his hometown newspaper, New York's Syracuse Post-Standard, that producers merely wanted to "make a video that [says] it's a positive, good thing to be respectful of people different from you."

Peter Schrenk said...

I heard about this while listening to Michael Medved today. I have not seen this video or any other Sponge Bob show, but I do think that Sponge Bob is offensive. I mean, how can people tolerate his obnoxious voice?

I think this is right up there with Tinky Winky. This does more to hurt, rather than help, Dobson's cause.

Peter Schrenk said...

Since my first comment I looked into this a bit more. Kathy, it seems that it is inaccurate to say that Dobson is saying Sponge Bob is gay. In fact according to his own site, he has no beef with Sponge Bob at all. He has a problem with the "We Are Family" organization and its inclusion of "sexual identity" in their tolerance statement. He further has a problem with popular cartoon characters being used by this organization because of this. This seems pretty clear from Dobson's statements, but the reporting has been fairly sloppy.

If you disagree with Dobson's moral objection to homosexuality, then you will obviously disagree with his stance on this. I don't think that this is as reactionary and simple-minded as the whole Tinky-Winky episode. I agree with Dobson that homosexuality is immoral, and I can see his case that popular children's cartoon characters could be used to send messages that parents might not approve of.

Did Dobson jump the gun and overreact? Maybe. This is a clash that would have happened sooner or later when a video comes out in which some cartoon character explicitly advocates acceptance of homosexuality.

(By the way, if Dobson can make all American Christians look like idiots, can Michael Moore make all American liberals look like morons?)

Kathy Schrenk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kathy Schrenk said...

You're right; Dobson doesn't say that SpongeBob is gay. But he does call it a "pro-homosexual video," (and his FotF lackey says that it could "brainwash" kids, which is just perposterous) and while I haven't seen it, I haven't found any evidence that the video actually promotes homosexuality, just that the organization wants to encourage people to not treat people differently because they are homosexual. I think that is different than supporting gay marriage or saying homosexuality is morally ok.

As for Michael Moore, I don't think it's a stretch to put him in the same category as Dobson. I certainly don't agree with everything Moore says, and I bet you don't agree with Dobson 100%, Peter. Both of them are on the extreme fringe, and yet I think both feel that they somehow speak for everyone who leans in their direction. I could be wrong about that though. That said, I think they both have positive things to offer.

Jack Mercer said...

I didn't need to say another thing :)

Peter Schrenk said...

You're right that the "brainwashing" comment is way over the top. By the way, I think that this was a bad move by Dobson overall.