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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: Sponge Bob Gaypants?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Sponge Bob Gaypants?

Sponge Bob Squarepants has become the latest target of the Christian Right? I listened to this news on the Today Show with disbelief. As the report unfolded, it became abundantly clear that Sponge Bob was not the primary target of the Christian Right; the real ‘villain’ was an organization called the We Are Family Foundation. The foundation was created shortly after the events of September 11, 2001 to promote tolerance. Nile Rodgers, the founder of this foundation was interviewed on the Today Show puzzled about why anyone would object to his message but believed his organization was confused with a gay rights organization with a similar sounding name (I discovered that World Net Daily made the same error but corrected the mistake). Even though that may be the case, Christian organizations such as Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family find the WAFF tolerance pledge offensive because it supposedly promotes homosexuality. You be the judge:

Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. I believe that America’s diversity is its strength. I also recognize that ignorance, insensitivity and bigotry can turn that diversity into a source of prejudice and discrimination.

To help keep diversity a wellspring of strength and make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own.

Every person is a treasure even gay people? We can’t have that! Respect others who have a different sexual identity from my own? Not my children! They must learn to be intolerant of those who do not believe my version of the Christian faith!

Is this your message Dr. Dobson? How about you Dr. Laura? Reverend Farwell? Pat Roberson? I know you all have a difficult time understanding this but this country is a FREE country and it does not just belong to you! Believe it or not some of us believe that tolerance for others is a moral and good thing and morals are not the express property of the Christian Right. Being tolerant does not mean you have to agree with those beliefs different from your own. You are the very people who cry ‘persecution’ by the media. Why do you think this is? Is it at all possible that this persecution is a backlash against you for pushing your beliefs on the rest of us through public policy? You really give Christians a bad name and some of your brethren are certainly not pleased!

So where does Sponge Bob fit into all of this? The WAFF made a music video featuring Sponge Bob, Sesame Street, Barney the Dinosaur, the Teletubbies (Reverend Farwell already outed Tinkie-Winke several years ago), and an assortment of other characters kids love. The song that goes with the video is the song ‘We Are Family;’ the popular characters dance and sing along. The video is being distributed to elementary schools across the country. The video itself doesn’t seem to be the problem other than the fact that WAFF is behind it.

For some reason, some people think that the idea of tolerance is politically correct. Maybe it is, I don’t know. What I do know is that intolerance is the cause of the vast majority of the past and present wars and injustices. Some Muslims are intolerant of the Jews, Christians, non-theists, and other ‘infidels’. Some Christians are intolerant of those who believe anything other than their faith. These are only a couple of examples.

The intolerance itself is not the problem in a free society; it’s the actions that follow the intolerance. We all know the history of the Jim Crow South, the killing of Mathew Sheppard, and the school teacher who was put on trial, John Scopes, for teaching evolution. All of these were results of intolerance. Intolerance continues to plague our culture. The military’s intolerance of gays in the military has cost valuable resources in the war on terror. The military desperately needs individuals who can speak Arabic; however, some of these highly valued individuals are being discharged because of a personal lifestyle choice.

In a free society, tolerance is crucial because with a free society there is always a diversity of opinions. Tolerance is perhaps the greatest challenge for all of us. WAFF is doing a great service by educating children while they are young. Until everyone learns how to respect each others differences, the dream of ‘liberty and justice for all’ will remain only a dream.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The core hard physical facts reason for tolerance is that no two people are or can be the same. Our biology makes us similar but never the same. Identical twins or even clones cannot have the same identical minds because it is impossible for them to have the exact same experiences. Two people, watching a movie together, don't even absorb the same photons bouncing off the movie screen so they cannot have the exact same set of experiences. If they cannot have the exact same experiences even in the same room doing similar things they cannot, of necessity, have the exact same programming of the flexible parts of their memories.

Intolerance rests on the false assumption that people can be identical or even similar. Because nobody has the exact same inner programming they cannot be identical to others. Because nobody can be identical to each other then the claim that any particular system of behavior can be applied equally to all is false.

Even among Christians, most of them believe it is perfectly OK for their wives to kill a rapist that is attacking them but that it is not OK for her to kill his foetus at the abortion clinic down the road. Also most conservative Christians want more state executions and that seems to fly in the face of their own mandate in the very simple commandment, "Thou shalt not kill!" There is nothing fuzzy or unclear about this commandment and yet no two Christians seem to have the same understanding or desired implementation of this commandment.

But, the reason for this is that no two people are the same or can be the same means that no two interpretations of the bible will be the same, either. This fits the observed facts about the Conservative Christian churches. The individual members of all these churches have a slightly different interpretation of the bible because they all read the bible for themselves. The protestant faiths do not have a mandated interpretation of the bible like the Catholic church does. Even among the Catholics, most ministers have to interpret the churches madates for themselves and not two Catholic parishes will be identical, either, because of this.

Since it is impossible to be identical to others then we have to be tolerant of them. But that tolerance in no way implies that anyone has to ever believe anything other than what they are comfortable with. But, the real world cannot be wished away or belived away.

The fundamentalist churches that stand upon the literal interpretation of the bible cannot change the way the real world works. People with a secular world view know very well that the very science that is changing the lives of us all for the better, including the very long lives we now live, cannot be wished away or changed by faith or belief to the contrary. People cannot wish away gravity, either. It may amuse the rest of us when you try to flap your arms to fly like a cartoon character when you leap off a tall building but no amount of faith, belief or hard headedness is going to change the fact that you will be accelerated by gravity to a crushing death at the end of your fall.

We secular people are not at war with the religious. They are at war with themselves and with reality itself. They spend a huge amount of time and money lying for Jesus. Any creationist book or ID book or any book that tells them that the literal interpretation of the bible makes it true is simply indulging in self deception. Is it proper to ignore those that do this? No. It is not. They need to be educated and shown how the real world works for their own safety.

Give them no slack. The Christians have had over two thousand years now for Jesus to do as he promised, return. He has not and never will because it is just wishful thinking.

12:13 PM  

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