Sunday, January 23, 2005

Outting a Sea Sponge

Over the weekend immediately following the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001, the We Are Family Foundation was formed & brought 200 celebrities together to re-record the song "We Are Family" in an attempt to begin the healing process. Six months later, a music video starring 100 children's television characters was filmed to bring this healing message to kids.

Dr James Dobson of Focus on the Family has issued a warning for parents that this video is published by an organization "that's determined to promote the acceptance of homosexuality among our nation's youth". That is a pretty strong statement about a video that makes no mention of sexuality, homosexuality, "two mommies", etc. So what does Dr Dobson object to? Apparently, to this "Tolerance Pledge", found on WAFF's website:
Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. I believe that America's diversity is its strength. I also recognize that ignorance, insensitivity and bigotry can turn that diversity into a source of prejudice and discrimination.

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.

The We Are Family Foundation asks, as a part of the post-9/11 healing process, that we reach deep enough inside ourselves to find a basic respect for the humanity of others. Dr Dobson apparently believes that such a basic respect is so insidious that he's spoken out against this video and singled out SpongeBob SquarePants in the process. And now groups comprising the Christian Right have established something of a track record of attacking asexual cartoon characters for their apparent "pro-gay" agendas. (Remember that purple Teletubby?)

Although I respect Dr Dobson's right to his beliefs on homosexuality, I think his reaction to this particular video is entirely disproportionate. I also think it is unfortunate that he believes that it is un-Christian to have a basic respect for those we may disagree with, because attitudes like that that led to the tragic murder of Matthew Shepherd.