Updated: Dobson Releases "SpongeBob" Statement
Following an article in The New York Times describing CADRE Comments James Dobson made at a black-tie dinner, Dobson’s Focus on the Family has released a online clarifying his position on SpongeBob SquarePants and the distribution of a pro-tolerance video to public schools.
The statement in full:
From the outset, let’s be clear that this issue is not about objections to any specific cartoon characters. Instead, Dr. Dobson is concerned that these popular animated personalities are being exploited by an organization that’s determined to promote the acceptance of homosexuality among our nation’s youth.
We applaud the ideal of championing to children the value and dignity of every human life as well as respect for our differences. 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. While some of the goals associated with this organization are noble in nature, their inclusion of the reference to “sexual identity” within their “tolerance pledge” is not only unnecessary, but it crosses a moral line.
We believe that it is the privilege of parents to decide how, when and where it is appropriate to introduce their children to these types of sensitive issues. The distribution of this video trumps the authority of mothers and fathers and leaves it in the hands of strangers whose standards may very well be different than the children they teach.
By calling it to light this video and its affiliation with this larger organization, we are attempting to do for parents what their busy lives often prevent them from doing themselves–connecting the dots.
Update: The “We Are Family” video can be viewed online at the We Are Family Foundation website.
Update: Dobson’s online has a further statement on the controversy: “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. … I was said to be on the warpath for my dislike for SpongeBob — who supposedly has homosexual characteristics. I said no such thing.” (via online)
Update: Dobson’s fullest statement on the controversy is now online.