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Focus on SpongeBob

James Dobson's organization says it doesn't object to Mr. SquarePants, but thinks he's being exploited.

By anyone's measure, recent speculation about SpongeBob SquarePants and his appearance in the We Are Family children's television video is a bit squishy. Last week, The New York Times reported that the cartoon character "has become a well-known camp figure among adult gay men" as well as the "new target" of "some influential conservative Christian groups." That set off a media stampede that's still growing, so Christianity Today asked some of the biggest names in children's entertainment to respond to the controversy.

Below, Focus on the Family, which was at the center of the Times article, explains where it stands on SpongeBob. In a separate article, VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer answers via e-mail some questions about the video, children's television, and what this whole hullabaloo might mean. And David Campbell and Jim Jinkins (executive producers for children's television showsDoug, Stanley, andPB&J Otter) address their efforts to teach children to love their neighbors.

From the outset, let's be clear that this issue is not about objections to any specific cartoon characters. Instead, Dr. Dobson is concerned that these popular animated personalities are being exploited by an organization that's determined to promote the acceptance of homosexuality among our nation's youth.

We applaud the ideal of championing to children the value and dignity of every human life as well as respect for our differences. What we vehemently object to is using these beloved characters to help advance an agenda that's beyond the comprehension of 6 and 7 year-old children, not to mention morally offensive to millions of moms and dads.

The video in question is slated to be distributed to 61,000 public and private elementary schools throughout ...

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