SpongeBob welcomed by UCC

From The Gamer’s Nook,

CLEVELAND — Joining the animated fray, the United Church of Christ today (Jan. 24) said that Jesus’ message of extravagant welcome extends to all, including SpongeBob Squarepants – the cartoon character that has come under fire for allegedly holding hands with a starfish.

“Absolutely, the UCC extends an unequivocal welcome to SpongeBob,” the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC’s general minister and president, said, only partly in jest. “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.”

For that matter, Thomas explained, the 1.3-million-member church, if given the opportunity, would warmly receive Barney, Big Bird, Tinky-Winky, Clifford the Big Red Dog or, for that matter, any who have experienced the Christian message as a harsh word of judgment rather than Jesus’ offering of grace.

The UCC’s welcome comes in the wake of laughable accusations by James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, that the popular SpongeBob and other well-known cartoon characters are crossing “a moral line” by stressing tolerance in a national We Are Family Foundation-sponsored video that will be distributed to U.S. schools on March 11, 2005.

After all the hysteria surrounding TV cartoon by right-wing fundamentalists such as James C. Dobson from the Focus on the Family, it is refreshing to see a humorous, inclusive response hopefully more representative of American Christians than those who are more outspokenly misrepresenting them in the media.

Further reading:
Photos of a “visit” by SpongeBob
• Wikipedia entry on UCC
• Wikipedia entry on United Church of Canada, a similar organization in Canada
Older entry on my other blog on Clinton’s speech at the Riverside Church in NY, affiliated with UCC

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