SpongeBob SquarePants has made a dirty video.
Did he get himself stuck in a cervix, you ask? Why, no. He’s way too young and square for that.
And besides, I’ve heard he’s gay.
But that isn’t exactly why two Christian groups are complaining that the music video in question, whose goal is to teach tolerance to elementary school students, has “enlisted” SpongeBob and his pals in a “stealth effort” to advance the nebulous and nefarious homosexual agenda. It’s because the publisher endorses tolerance of people with “sexual identity” differences.
The music video, which will be released on DVD, contains a rerecording of the song “We Are Family” by over 100 children’s television characters. It also includes wrap-around comments by some of the characters, as well as cameos by Bill Cosby, Diana Ross, and Whoopie Goldberg.
I know. It’s just too horrible to comprehend.
The video is a remake of the 1979 hit song “We Are Family” using the voices and images of SpongeBob, Barney, Winnie the Pooh, Bob the Builder, the Rugrats and other TV cartoon characters. It was made by a foundation set up by songwriter Nile Rodgers after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in an effort to promote healing.
Christian groups however have taken exception to the tolerance pledge on the foundation’s Web site, which asks people to respect the sexual identity of others along with their abilities, beliefs, culture and race. [Emphasis BHW]
No complaints about the actual video so far — just the text of a tolerance pledge on the publisher’s web site. Here’s the offending part of the We Are Family Foundation’s tolerance pledge:
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.
That’s it. It’s a pledge that asserts having respect for people who are different from you. Wouldn’t that be the Christian thing to do?
Ah, never mind.
In his complaint, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, doesn’t mention any specific problems with the video’s content. He just doesn’t like that the producing company has endorsed — in other media — tolerance of sexual differences. So I’ll assume then that Dobson has either not seen the video or hasn’t found any of the video’s specific content objectionable. At least Jerry Falwell had some evidence: he’d seen Tinky Winky’s lavender purse. And it offended him.
The other Christian group, The American Family Association, appears pestered that those pesky, permissive Jews have a hand in the video: the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] has created educational materials to complement the DVD. The ADL has a history of promoting tolerance and understanding of homosexuality.[Jesus, didn’t those guys write “Leviticus”?]
Focus on the Family’s Dobson writes:
What we vehemently object to is using these beloved characters to help advance an agenda that’s beyond the comprehension of 6 and 7 year-old children, not to mention morally offensive to millions of moms and dads. The video in question is slated to be distributed to 61,000 public and private elementary schools throughout the United States. Where it is shown, schoolchildren will be left with the impression that their teachers are offering their endorsement of the values and agenda associated with the video’s sponsor.
Well, they would be offering their endorsement of the values promoted in the video. That seems to be the point. But what about values not addressed in the video? How would young children know they existed if nobody said a word about them? We still don’t know if sexual identity is covered in the video or how/if any teachers will discuss it after showing the video. And if it’s absent from the video, then the Christian groups’ complaint is that teachers would be endorsing everything the publisher espouses, even things they don’t talk about.
But these logical flaws don’t seem to matter to Dobson or the folks at AFA. It doesn’t matter if sexual identity is addressed in the video or not: even though it’s only one of many differences the organization mentions on its web site, it’s enough to make this video bad news.
If the producers have included sexual identity in the video, then I’m hoping for a skit in which Ernie and Bert finally admit their dark secret. Too obvious? Then I’ll take a surprise event, where all the sexually ambiguous characters — and that’s most of them — share a big, group … hug.
Either way, as the parent of a kindergartener, I’m not too worried about the video showing up at her school, nor am I surprised by the sight-unseen objections to it.[P.S. Yes, I proclaim my intolerance of religious prudes who would have schools teach a creation myth in place of science, while rejecting a message about respect for all people. Oh, the irony.] Powered by Sidelines