Saturday, January 29, 2005

On the Sponge Bob Controversy

My comments are in red, the article in black...

Focus on the Family founder did not criticize a cartoon character, as has been widely reported, but was warning parents that the group behind a "diversity" video may put material in teachers' hands that could prompt them to teach kids that homosexuality is equivalent to heterosexuality.

Please note the use of the word “could” in that last sentence. That does not mean it WILL. It simply means it’s possible.

Dr. James Dobson set the record straight today about the onslaught of media reports mocking him for comments he is alleged to have made about the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants.

"I've been in the public eye for thirty-something years and I have never had my words more misrepresented than they were in this instance," Dobson said on today's installment of his internationally syndicated radio program. "I was said to be on the warpath for my dislike for SpongeBob — who supposedly has homosexual characteristics.

"I said no such thing."

Now he knows how John Lennon felt back in the day when he made his remarks about the Beatles being bigger than Jesus. Or how Johnny Depp felt when he made his remarks about the US being like a big dog that can hurt you. In addition, of course, people of Dobson’s ilk were attacking Lennon and then Depp for their remarks. Dr. Dobson, you know what they say about the shoe fitting, don’t you?

What Dobson did say, in a speech last week in Washington during an event sponsored by the Family Research Council, was that Sponge Bob is one of 100 popular animated characters that may have been co-opted by an innocuous-sounding group to promote acceptance of homosexuality to children. The group, the We Are Family Foundation, has produced a video slated for distribution to 61,000 public and private elementary schools; it features Sponge Bob, Big Bird, Barney and others singing the old disco hit "We Are Family" and spreading a message of "diversity and unity."

Once again, please note the word “may” in the statement “may have been co-opted.” This is not a definite. This is a possibility.

And therein lies the rub — albeit well-concealed.

While words like "diversity" and "unity" sound harmless — even noble — enough, the reality is they are often used by gay activists as cover for teaching children that homosexuality is the moral and biological equivalent to heterosexuality. And there is ample evidence that the We Are Family Foundation shares — and promotes — that view.

Well, I hardly think this is any reason to stop using words like “diversity” and “unity” and “family” and whatnot. Although I find it interesting that the Right becomes alarmed at the very mention of these words; it indicates a certain level of power those words have. Sort of like the word “witch” or whatever. This may be a leverage point.

"Unfortunately," Dobson explained, "the We Are Family foundation has very strong homosexual advocacy roots and biases."

For example, a tolerance pledge, which the foundation says it is "pleased to provide" on its Web site, reads in part: "I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own."

What a shame that a website even has to have something like that on it. This is America of 2005; we should be far more socially enlightened than that.

And it's not the only piece of pro-homosexual content that has been posted on the group's Web site — some of it removed in recent days.

The curriculum booklet that will accompany the "We Are Family" DVD when it is sent to schools in March, for instance, is likely to contain resources for educators seeking to normalize homosexuality. Although that guide has not yet been made public, a 2003 manual, also associated with the "We Are Family" cartoon-character video, offered several exercises for educators that equate homosexuality with immutable characteristics, such as race or gender, and suggest it deserves limitless tolerance and acceptance.

Another previous curriculum posted on the We Are Family Foundation Web site, called "Writing for Change," includes exercises such as:

• Generating a Description - encourages students to discuss the definition of "lesbian."

• Talking About Being "Out" - offers worksheet questions and a discussion of "perceptions of sexual orientation."

• Uncovering Attitudes About Sexual Orientation - explores the impact of "homophobia" and "heterosexism."

• Developing definitions - presents a list of stereotypical definitions, including "compulsory heterosexuality." That is described "the assumption that women are naturally or innately drawn sexually and emotionally toward men, and men toward women; the view that heterosexuality is the "norm" for all sexual relationships."

"The institutionalization of heterosexuality in all aspects of society includes the idealization of heterosexual orientation, romance, and marriage," the guide states. "Compulsory heterosexuality leads to the notion of women as inherently 'weak,' and the institutionalized inequality of power: power of men to control women's sexuality, labor, childbirth and childrearing, physical movement, safety, creativity, and access to knowledge. It can also include legal and social discrimination against homosexuals and the invisibility or intolerance of lesbian and gay existence."

I see it happening every day. Everything the Religious Right wants to do involves all of these things; it is quite inimical to women’s rights. If the Right had their way, women would be barefoot, uneducated, constantly pregnant, unemployed, the whole nine yards. I am convinced that conservative Christian men would allow their women less personal freedom than they’d give to their dogs.

Tom Minnery, vice president of government and public policy at Focus on the Family, said reporters who have mocked Dobson for his comments have deliberately ignored these details in their quest to marginalize a pro-family leader.

I can see that happening too. I may not agree with Dr. Dobson’s attitude on homosexuality, but it also doesn’t surprise me that the media has blown things out of proportion and taken things out of context.

"The media is trying to use this Sponge Bob nonsense as a smokescreen, because they're not willing to tell the people what's really at stake," he explained. "What's at stake is the forced normalization of homosexuality in the public schools."

Ah! There's the key word: PUBLIC schools. Those PUBLIC schools are funded by the tax dollars of a diversity (there’s that word again) of citizens; it is not the job of the PUBLIC schools to cater to the moral values of a select few. Keep your moral teachings for your private schools.

Dr. Bill Maier, Focus' psychologist in residence and a guest on today's broadcast, said he didn't think the media's efforts to undermine Dr. Dobson's integrity as a national spokesman for moral values would succeed.

"Clear-thinking Americans won't buy it," Maier said. "They've trusted Dr. Dobson for 27 years and will see through the media's Sponge Bob charade."

We'll see who the "clear thinking Americans" REALLY are by the time this flap is over.


Blogger Kristy said...

Hey, Chalice. Where is the article from? Also, I put up a new comment in response to my posting on SpongeBob, if you're interested. Take care!

5:58 AM  

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