Thursday, January 20, 2005
SpongeBob under attack
Dr. James Dobson, leader of the religous right advocacy group Focus on the Family, has completely lost it.
Apparently, Jerry Falwell going after Tinky-Winky, the purple Teletubby, wasnâ??t embarrassment enough for the religious right wingnuts. Now they are going after SpongeBob Squarepants, the popular childrenâ??s cartoon character.
At a recent blacktie affair that was part of Bushâ??s second term inaugural festivities, Dobson warned a group of Congressmen that SpongeBob is being used to promote tolerance of homosexuality to elementary school students.
Now Dr. Dobson said, SpongeBob's creators had enlisted him in a "pro-homosexual video," in which he appeared alongside children's television colleagues like Barney and Jimmy Neutron, among many others. The makers of the video, he said, planned to mail it to thousands of elementary schools to promote a "tolerance pledge" that includes tolerance for differences of "sexual identity."
But the charge is flatly off-base, as the article makes clear. The video in question was produced by Nile Rodgers, who wrote the disco hit "We Are Family." Rodgers said he founded the We Are Family Foundation after the Sept. 11 attacks to create a music video to teach children about multiculturalism. The video has appeared on television networks, and nothing in it or its accompanying materials refers to sexual identity.
Rodgers goes on to say that Dobson must have confused his organization with another group called "We Are Family," which supports gay youth.
But even if SpongeBob was being used to promote tolerance, what would be so wrong with that? And why would a so-called Christian organization object so vehemently to it?
This story is funny, but it is also maddening because it is another example of a right-wing nutcase promoting hatred and bigotry under the guise of Christianity. There is nothing Christian in what Dobson and his group is doing. Rather, they are the modern day equivalent of the Pharisees who were always trying to trip up Christ in Biblical times.
At the end of the article, Mark Barondess, the lawyer for the We Are Family Foundation, said the critics "need medication." I would agree with that and add that the deranged Dr. Dobson probably also needs to be placed in an institution where someone can make sure he doesnâ??t go off of his medication and start attacking cartoon characters again.