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FIRST-PERSON: Putting the squeeze on SpongeBob

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP)–Dr. James Dobson has a problem with SpongeBob SquarePants. At least that’s what the media would have you believe.

In recent days, the Focus on the Family chairman has been vilified by the press for supposedly disparaging the beloved cartoon character in a speech he gave in Washington in January. Several major newspapers have even implied that Dobson believes SpongeBob is homosexual. Well I know Dobson and my two-year-old son knows SpongeBob, and nothing could be further from the truth.

I was in the audience at the pre-inaugural dinner during which Dobson allegedly made his anti-SpongeBob remarks. Contrary to the media spin, Dobson didn’t attack the Sponge. Instead, he warned that SpongeBob, Barney, Winnie the Pooh, and dozens of other popular children’s characters may soon be used (presumably against their will) to promote the normalization of homosexuality in America’s public schools.

The characters are featured in a video and educational curriculum that is being distributed to 61,000 schools across the country by the “We Are Family Foundation.” Reportedly the curriculum and its accompanying teachers’ guide will employ SpongeBob and his pals to encourage young children to accept homosexual behavior under the guise of promoting “tolerance.”

The We Are Family foundation claims there is no mention of homosexuality in their materials. But a quick check of their website found numerous references to “sexual orientation” and “sexual identity.” There was also a “teachers guide” that included:

— Suggestions on how to persuade school librarians to highlight books that are “representative of all sexual orientations.”

— Methods to initiate classroom discussion of “homophobia” and “compulsory heterosexuality.”

— Instructions on teaching students to construct a “Pyramid of Hate,” a diagram illustrating “acts of genocide” that have been committed against individuals due to (among other things) their sexual orientation.

— A section on “appreciating diversity” that encourages kids to consider what might interest them in “other sexual orientations.”

(Curiously, a few days after Dobson’s speech was mentioned in The New York Times, the We Are Family Foundation’s website was “sanitized” of most references to sexual orientation, and existing links to the nation’s major homosexual groups were eliminated.)

So what’s going on here? Are homosexual activists really attempting to brainwash our kids under the banner of “tolerance?” There is mounting evidence that they’re doing exactly that.

The We Are Family Foundation isn’t the only group pushing the acceptance of homosexuality in the public schools. That’s the stated goal of the powerful Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). In a GLSEN workshop entitled “Inclusive Kindergartens,” New York teacher and lesbian activist Jaki Williams tells other homosexual teachers that five-year-old children are “developing their superego,” and “that’s when the saturation process needs to begin.” To initiate conversation on homosexual issues, Williams has her kindergartners read from an assortment of pro-homosexual children’s books, including “Heather Has Two Mommies” and “One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads.”

Some progressive pundits may ask if there is any reason why public schools shouldn’t teach kids to accept (or even embrace) homosexuality? Here are four: according to research conducted at Harvard Medical School and cited in the journal Pediatrics, kids who experiment with homosexual behavior are more likely to engage in a variety of other high-risk behaviors. These include: 1) marijuana and cocaine use before the age of 13; 2) sexual intercourse before the age of 13; 3) sexual intercourse with four or more partners; and 4) sexual contact against one’s will.

Big Media’s criticism of Dr. Dobson shows once again that they just don’t get it — America’s parents don’t want SpongeBob, Big Bird and Elmo co-opted in an effort to persuade their kids that homosexuality is “normal and natural.”

Dobson sounded the alarm and now the liberal press is taking him to task. By distorting the facts they are attempting to marginalize him and undermine his influence. Clear-thinking Americans won’t buy it — they’ve trusted Dobson’s advice for 27 years and will see through the media’s SpongeBob charade.
Bill Maier is a child and family psychologist and serves as vice-president and psychologist in residence at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colo. He is co-author of “Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting” (InterVarsity Press, 2004), available online at www.lifewaystores.com.

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  • Bill Maier