'Gay Warning' Issued Over SpongeBob Video

01/21/2005 at 12:00 PM EST

'Gay Warning' Issued Over SpongeBob Video
SpongeBob SquarePants
Nickelodeon
Two Christian Conservative groups have issued a gay alert warning over a children's video starring SpongeBob SquarePants, Barney and a host of other cartoon favorites who star in a music video due to be sent to 61,000 U.S. schools in March.

The makers – the nonprofit We Are Family Foundation – say the video is designed to encourage tolerance and diversity. But those critical of the video say the cartoon characters are being used to promote the acceptance of homosexuality, Reuters reports.

Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, says in a statement: "Their inclusion of the reference to 'sexual identity' within their 'tolerance pledge' is not only unnecessary but it crosses a moral line."

Songwriter Nile Rodgers, who started the We Are Family Foundation, tells Reuters he's shocked by the attack. "That is so myopic and harsh. You have really got to look hard to find anything in this that is offensive to anyone. The last thing I am going to do is taint these characters."

This isn't the first time a cartoon character has been the focus of attacks. In 1999, Rev. Jerry Falwell declared Tinky Winky, the purse-toting purple Teletubbie, a homosexual role model.

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