Thursday, January 20, 2005

Squeezing Satan Into Square Pants

Over the past day or so, I've been having a back and forth discussion with Laura Moncur who writes the blog Pick Me!

It started with the post I wrote about Rolling Stone rejecting an ad for a new Bible translation aimed at "young people" (by the way I despise the realization that I am now way outside of that demographic). Many of you may have missed the discussion since the dialog took place in the comments section, but you can go back and read through our banter if you like. Laura also wrote about it on her blog.

Before I read her offerings today, I was thinking about that discussion and how narrow minded Christians have despoiled so many ripe and fertile opportunities to truly share the love of Christ. Then I read an article in today's New York Times - I'm going to reprint a portion of it since the Times on line requires all that registration stuff with which you might not want to bother.



WASHINGTON -- On the heels of electoral victories to bar same-sex marriage, some influential conservative Christian groups are turning their attention to a new target: SpongeBob SquarePants.

"Does anybody here know SpongeBob?" James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, asked the guests Tuesday night at a black-tie dinner for members of Congress and political allies to celebrate the election results.

In many circles, SpongeBob needs no introduction. He is popular among children and grownups as well who watch him cavorting under the sea on the Nickelodeon cartoon program that bears his name. In addition, he has become a camp figure among adult gay men, perhaps because he holds hands with his animated sidekick Patrick.

Now, Dobson said, SpongeBob's creators had enlisted him in a "pro-homosexual video," in which he appeared alongside other children's television characters such as Barney and Jimmy Neutron, among many others. The video's makers, he said, planned to mail it to thousands of elementary schools this spring to promote a "tolerance pledge" that includes tolerance for differences of "sexual identity." He urged his allies to stand against it as part of a "spiritual battle" for the country.


SpongeBob SquarePants is being used as a tool of evil in a "spiritual battle" for our country?

This cartoon character!

How often must Christians get sucked into these "causes" before we learn to stop and think?

This by the way is not a new debate. I mentioned it in August of 2003 and those comments were based on a BBC article written in 2002!

I read the Times article and felt like sending Laura a white flag with a little note reading: "You win...we all lose."

How absolutely ironic it is that James Dobson is denouncing a video promoting tolerance.

I don't want to embark on a debate over homosexuality, but for the record, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality during His ministry ever...or at least not in any account recorded in the Bible. Never. Not once. There are two references in the New Testament that I know of, the most frequently cited and most damning is Romans 1: 18-29. That was written by Paul, not Jesus, and I personally believe it can be interpreted any number of ways - again none of which I wish to debate. I'm not a fan of homosexuality...I believe some gays are being used to further a political agenda which I find troubling, but to preach against tolerance? Huh? Where does that come from? The Jesus I know sought out the very people society didn't collectors. He seemed like a pretty tolerant guy to me.

I believe James Dobson has done some wonderful things. I know he was instrumental in influencing a dear friend of mine whom I pray that I will one day be one tenth as Christ-like. However I also believe that it's not my job to judge. I don't care what you think of homosexuality. I am not here to judge you...or homosexuals. I was freed from that burden by Christ.

When are we going to understand that we are "saved" not only from our sins, but also from having to judge anyone?

God wants us to worship Him...have a relationship with Him...not spend our time finding flaws in His other children.

Don't get me wrong, I do believe in evil.

I believe satan is at work in this world. Really...I do.

I believe satan is responsible for great acts of horror that cause us to scream and tremble, but I also believe he uses devious subtleties as well.

Maybe it's a light bulb flickering during a church sermon that takes your mind away from the message being delivered from the pulpit, maybe it's a minor argument you had with your spouse or kids in the car on the way to church which you can't get out of your mind, maybe it's a ray of sunshine streaking through the church window that causes you to daydream instead of listen...or maybe it's pushing us to get our knickers in a knot over a cartoon character.

In that sense maybe James Dobson is right...SpongeBob SquarePants is a tool of satan....but only because we allow him to be.

Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of Your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name's sake. - Psalm 79-9