Gay or straight, SpongeBob can educate

Editorial Board

A sponge and a starfish are gay.

At least they’re happy.

Ignore the fact that sponges and starfish are asexual in nature. And that we’re talking about cartoon characters.

Is this a diabolical scheme by the creators of “SpongeBob SquarePants “to brainwash our children and subvert our strong American moral values?

No. It’s a few extreme Christian groups responding to what they deem a threat — two “male” cartoon characters who hold hands, clean the house and cook. Pretty evil. It’s hard to believe some parents would frown upon such values.

Last week, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, had the nerve to bring up the state of American cartoons during a black-tie dinner in Washington, damning SpongeBob and its creators’ attempts to destroy our children.

So, here we go again. We’ve had allegations of a gay Bert and Ernie, a gay Teletubby and now a couple of gay sea creatures.

It’s bad enough these groups are attributing sexual characteristics to children’s icons –— individuals who become friends to our kids in the non-sexual sense. Little Rick and Mary tune in to SpongeBob, reveling in the undersea antics. There is little or no evidence that subliminal messages work, so homophobes, don’t worry about your children growing up gay or lesbian even if the show’s creators did fashion gay characters to push an agenda.

And it’s not just one side doing all the talking. In a press release from the all-inclusive United Church of Christ, the Rev. John H. Thomas entered the ring.

“Absolutely, the UCC extends an unequivocal welcome to SpongeBob,” he said. “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.”

A noble message, but a nonissue with this television program. SpongeBob isn’t the gay icon for which inclusive groups are yearning. He typically dons a tie and pines for a female squirrel named Sandy Cheeks.

But it doesn’t matter if you think he’s gay or if you think homosexuality is wrong. One of the most poignant, meaningful lessons we can teach our children is to be understanding of differences.

Sociology tells us that the more we are exposed to different cultures and different thought processes, the more we are willing to accept that they can exist alongside our own. And that is what we should be teaching our children.

If you have had any interaction with the LGBT community, you have probably become much more tolerant and understanding.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there are more than 600,000 reported gay and lesbian households in the country. This figure excludes single homosexuals and those couples who are still too afraid to answer the question truthfully. Like it or not, homosexuality is a definite facet of our society.

You may not agree with what gays and lesbians have to say, but you can accept the right they have to express and to hold their own values.

We see interracial interactions all the time on television. Forty years ago it was unheard of. This isn’t an anomaly. As more and more people have been exposed to different types of people, it becomes less of an issue.

Homosexuality is becoming more and more socially acceptable. The more we know, the less we fight, and the more harmonious our society will become.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.