US attack on TV gay icon

Conservative Christian groups in the United States 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”.

But 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 and other political allies.

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.

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

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


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Telegraph, UK
Jan. 21, 2005
Tom Leonard in New York
, , ,

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday January 22, 2005.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject

Travel Religiously

Whether you call it "religion tourism," "religious travel," "faith-based touring," or even "on-site religion studying," spiritual tourism (if you will) is popular.

Wherever your travel - for any reason at all - book your skip-the-line tickets via GetYourGuide


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at