I am a parish minister currently serving the Eliot Church of Natick MA. Eliot Church is a Community Church affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Any statements made and postions held in "Unity," however, are solely mine(of course, they may be used with appropriate atribution). Therefore if you disagree, please do not blame the church!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Spongebob Goes to Church

I was cruising the web today and found this interesting story from the UCC web page. I am linking it above and, of course, it can also be reached by clicking on the "UCC" link to the left.

I followed this issue casually for a few days and then with increasing interest. It appears that a portion of the religious right has accused Spongebob ( a dish sponge who, famously, lives in a pineapple under the sea) and Patrick (a starfish friend of the sponge) of being gay. They appeared recently in a video promoting tolerance of differences (including, apparently, differences in sexual orientation). The Rev. James Dobson of Focus on Family was not pleased with that at all. However, the gay rumors concerning this pair have been floating around for some time before this latest flare-up. To many of you, this is old news (my dad's blog has a press release concerning the subject from Jan. 20). Still, people are talking about it.

I have been most surprised by how seriously the press has taken this issue. There have been news stories and special interest pieces ( some of which broke in to my "school closing" watch on the morning news). Almost all of them implied that I should be concerned for my children's well being. "Spongebob Preaches Tolerance," yikes! It seems to me that the media (not really so liberal, after all) would be able to tell real news from not. However, I may be wrong--in some cases at least. I do not know if this has to do with the recent elections or not, but I do not recall Tinky Winky getting as much serious air time a few years back.

Just for the record, I love Spongebob and Patrick. I just watched them again this week and--ya know--I still cannot see them as sexual beings. Maybe that is wrong, or maybe it is because they are a talking dish sponge and starfish who live on either side of a squid who likes to play his clarinet out the window of the "Easter Island Head" in which he lives. Well, anyway, as you can see by going to the UCC page, there is a home for all of them in the UCC. Thank God for that!

PS If any of my colleagues out there are looking for work, there might be a "First Parish, Bikini Bottom" in your future...