Christian right against ‘pro-gay’ sea sponge – World –

See, this isn’t even a little bit out of character for James Dobson. He really is that batshit crazy.

Christian right against ‘pro-gay’ sea sponge – World –

Christian right against ‘pro-gay’ sea sponge

By Tom Leonard
New York
January 22, 2005

Conservative Christian groups in the US have found a new sinner to rage against: SpongeBob SquarePants, a children’s cartoon character.

To his young fans and Nickelodeon, the television channel that broadcasts his escapades, SpongeBob is a sea sponge who lives with his pet snail, Gary, at the bottom of the sea. According to Nickelodeon, his “enthusiasm about just about everything makes him downright irresistible”.

Not to organisations such as Focus on the Family and the American Family Association, which insist that the character is spearheading an insidious campaign to spread homosexuality among children.

“Does anybody here know SpongeBob?” Dr James Dobson, Focus on the Family’s founder, asked guests this week at a dinner in Washington for Republican congressmen.

Dr Dobson accused SpongeBob’s creators of enlisting him in a “pro-homosexual video” in which he appeared alongside fellow children’s television characters such as Barney the purple dinosaur and Jimmy Neutron. The makers of the video planned to send it to thousands of primary schools to promote a “tolerance pledge” that includes tolerance for differences of “sexual identity”.

But, as far as his critics are concerned, SpongeBob’s complicity in the spreading of sin is proved by the knowledge that he is already a well-established gay icon – supposedly because he holds hands with his sidekick, Patrick, and they like to watch an imaginary television show called The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.

Nile Rodgers, the video’s creator, argues that objections to the program are based on a misunderstanding.

He insists that the video, which has been shown on network television, carries no reference to sexual identity and the tolerance pledge is mentioned only on his group’s website.

SpongeBob was “outed” by the US media in 2002 after reports that the TV show and its merchandise were popular with gays. His creator, Stephen Hillenburg, said at the time that he thought of all the characters as asexual.

It is not the first time that children’s TV favourites have come under the critical spotlight of the US Christian right. Tinky Winky, the purse-toting purple Teletubbie, was in 1999 declared a homosexual role model by the Reverend Jerry Falwell.

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