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An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 31: GayBash SlanderPants

A tolerance-promoting video featuring cartoon characters says nothing at all about homosexuality. But WorldNetDaily is afraid that someone might discuss the issue after watching it, so therefore it must be opposed.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 2/18/2005

Conservatives not only want homosexuality to be a regular criminal-type crime, they appear to want it to be a thought crime as well -- especially when cartoon characters are involved, and even more especially if WorldNetDaily has anything to say about it.

WorldNetDaily was one of the early promoters of the contention that a tolerance-promoting video for children featuring famous cartoon characters like SpongeBob SquarePants was designed to, as a Jan. 6 article states, be used by "homosexual activists" to "surreptitiously indoctrinate young children into their lifestyle."

That's not true, of course -- there's nothing about homosexuality in the video -- but WND made no effort to contact the We Are Family Foundation, the group behind the video, for a response. In fact, WND made things even more non-factual by linking to the web site of a group called We Are Family, a "non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual, and Questioning youth" that has nothing at all to do with the video. WND eventually figured out its mistake and fixed the story with a correction note stating that "[t]his story previously linked to the website of a group that has the same name but no connection to the video."

When the story started getting wide notice -- as did the fact that the video says nothing whatsoever about homosexuality -- WND ran another article, on Jan. 26, concocting a new reason to oppose it:

The content of the video itself -- tolerance and diversity -- and whether or not SpongeBob is "gay" are not the issues, insists Stephen Bennett of the American Family Association.

"No, Sponge Bob or none of the other cartoon characters featured in the video are 'gay,'" said Bennett. "The video itself does not promote homosexuality, but no doubt will open the door to a secondary discussion of accepting homosexuality as natural and normal."

So even though the video says absolutely nothing about homosexuality, it's still offensive because people might talk about homosexuality after watching it? That's a curious, not to mention somewhat totalitarian, train of thought.

(Bennett, by the way, makes regular appearances at WND as part of his career as a "former homosexual.")

But SpongeBob is not the only cartoon character to run afoul of WND's conservatively correct mentality. In a Feb. 2 story, it distorted the controversy around an episode of the PBS show "Postcards from Buster" which features a cartoon rabbit touring the country visiting real-life children. The problem episode involves a visit to Vermont, where Buster the bunny drops in on children who parents happen to be a lesbian couple.

The story's headline misleadingly calls the show a "lesbian-promoting cartoon," and it quotes the AFA's Donald Wildmon as saying the cartoon -- wait for it -- "promote[s] the homosexual lifestyle." That's misleading, too; the show focuses on the kids, and as a New York Times story notes: "Like the grown-ups in most of the episodes, the lesbian mothers ... are mainly background." In other words, there's no "lesbian-promoting" whatsoever going on in this program.

The disturbing aspect of this is that, according to WND, apparently any mention of anything remotely homosexual in any media -- even a mere statement of fact, as apparently happens in the "Buster" cartoon -- is equal to "promotion" of homosexuality. WND's writers have consistently pushed this view, regularly spouting inaccurate and inflammatory rhetoric. A few choice examples over the past year:

  • A Dec. 31 syndicated column by David Limbaugh insists that "public schools endorse ... the radical homosexual agenda."
  • A Dec. 3 column by Devvy Kidd wants you to believe that the American Civil Liberties Union, that perennial conservative bogeyman (except, of course, when they're not), "as been on a major crusade to destroy Christianity in America, promote filth under 'freedom of speech and expression,' and of course, vigorously defend the homosexual culture of death."
  • A Nov. 12 article by WND managing editor David Kupelian observes: "Government schools [the right-wing term for what the rest of us call public schools] nationwide teach children as young as five that homosexuality is normal -- and that disagreeing with this viewpoint brands you as an intolerant 'hater.' The popular culture always portrays homosexuals sympathetically, and often as heroes."
  • A Sept. 16 story featuring James Dobson of Focus on the Family urging a boycott of Procter & Gamble products because of "its efforts to overturn a local law barring special rights to homosexuals."
  • An Aug. 3 column by Slantie winner Mychal Massie declares: "Public schools do not need sensitivity classes on homosexuality. Especially when those same classes include teaching the proper technique for 'fisting' and the enjoyment homosexuals receive from such activity."
  • The Rev. Jesse Lee "Conflict of Interest" Peterson opines in a June 18 column: "The claim that homosexual conduct is legitimate since it is the consequence of an attribute (orientation) beyond one's control is also extremely dangerous. Underlying this claim is the notion that anything someone may have an orientation or a predilection towards, no matter how wicked (rape, torturing children) is by definition legitimate, simply by virtue of his having a predilection toward it." (Italics his.)

We always knew that WND and other conservatives didn't like homosexuality, which is their right. But they apparently now oppose anything that resembles something that might, in the slightest manner, lead to anyone discussing homosexuality in public, as demonstrated by the outcry over possible "secondary conversations" after watching SpongeBob and friends in the pro-tolerance video and daring to mention that those two women standing in the corner as a cartoon bunny talks to their kids are a couple.

Coming next in this Orwellian world they inhabit: Thinking about homosexuality will be made a crime.

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