Christian conservatives launch a protest (see here and here) against SpongeBob SquarePants. The charge: he appears in an upcoming film that's going to be shown in elementary schools throughout the country, the message of which according to it's producers is [RED FLAG ALERT] "to foster tolerance." Furthermore, the group - the We Are Family Foundation - features on their website a "tolerance pledge" that includes "having respect for people whose ... sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own." Conservative groups, among them James Dobson's Focus on the Family, say the film "seeks to coerce children to embrace homosexuality."
Apparently, SpongeBob has for some time now been an underground icon of the homosexual community, according to CNN:
SpongeBob, who lives in a pineapple under the sea, was "outed" by the U.S. media in 2002 after reports that the TV show and its merchandise are popular with gays. His creator, Stephen Hillenburg, said at the time that though SpongeBob was an oddball, he thought of all the characters in the show as asexual..
Now, call me naive ("you're naive!") but I had no idea. I admit to being a fan of SpongeBob - I find some of the humor slyly sophisticated and clearly geared toward an adult sensability. I don't think I'd stop watching the cartoon because of these rumors - after all, you take from it what you want - but I certainly wouldn't walk around wearing a SpongeBob t-shirt in public (for those of you who don't keep tabs on these kinds of things, they do make adult SpongeBob wear - trust me). This kind of thing bothers me, because children are so impressionable, and it's so easy to imbed messages in "harmless" cartoons. Hillenburg doesn't say whether he's bothered by his creation's co-option by the homosexual movement, but if he is he certainly could have done something like prevent SpongeBob from being used in this film.
You have to think there's a special circle in Hell for people who use such means to corrupt children. To be charitable, not everyone in the foundation may be aware of this. But enough of them are for the message to be getting out. Sometimes I think adults are the worst thing that can happen to children.