With good humor, but a sincere message, The United Church of Christ responded to Focus on the Family founder James Dobson's accusations that SpongeBob Squarepants and other cartoon characters are crossing "a moral line." Dobson said the characters are stressing tolerance in a national We Are Family Foundation-sponsored video that will be distributed to schools this month. SpongeBob came under fire for allegedly holding hands with a starfish.
Above, SpongeBob meets with John H. Thomas, UCC general minister and president, in his office. Explains Thomas, "No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, SpongeBob, you're welcome here."
For that matter, Thomas explained, the UCC would warmly receive Barney, Big Bird, Tinky-Winky, Clifford the Big Red Dog or any who have experienced the Christian message as a harsh word of judgment rather than Jesus' offering of grace.
Thomas called Dobson's accusation one more example of how religion "is misused over and over to promote intolerance over inclusion."
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