Dr. James Dobson tries to lobby the press

Gosh, you go on the road for a few days out into slow dial-up territory and you get behind on your daily barrage email and, lo and behold, you miss something truly interesting like this epistle. I did not even know that Dr. James Dobson had my home email address.

Thus, I am sure he will not mind me sharing this personal letter with GetReligion's readers. This story may have legs, so to speak.

Dear Terry,

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the controversy surrounding statements I made recently in which I reportedly accused a cartoon character named SpongeBob SquarePants of being "gay." Although I never made any such comment, the media has repeated the story incessantly, to the point that the truth of the matter has been completely obscured.

Here's what actually happened. In an address to congressional leaders last month, I briefly took the time to express my concern over a video that is being distributed to elementary schools featuring not only SpongeBob, but more than 100 additional children's characters including the Muppets, Barney the Dinosaur, Bob the Builder, and Winnie the Pooh. The video itself is relatively harmless and is devoid of any sexual content. However, it is being incorporated into a larger campaign, created by an organization called the We Are Family Foundation, to teach "tolerance" to young children. Unfortunately, rather than simply encouraging tolerance of those who come from different cultural, religious, or socio-economic backgrounds ˆ which we believe is a worthy objective ˆ the curriculum also contains material designed to encourage young children to celebrate homosexual behavior.

To complicate the issue further, soon after this story broke, the pro-homosexual resources to which we took offense were suddenly removed from the We Are Family Foundation's Web site. However, despite the suspicious disappearance of this material and the public denials on the part of the foundation that it was promoting homosexuality, we have extensive and detailed documentation showing that my original statements are still valid. It should be obvious that my concern lies not with SpongeBob or Big Bird or any of the other characters in the video, but with the way the We Are Family Foundation is hijacking those childhood symbols to blatantly promote the teaching of homosexuality to children in elementary school.

The February edition of my monthly letter, which is being released a few days early, explains this situation in greater detail. It can be accessed on Focus on the Family's Web site by clicking here. I hope you will take the time to read it and get a better understanding of what has transpired. This is especially important if you are a parent with children in public school. Now, more than ever, we must be vigilant in staying abreast of what our little ones are being taught in the classroom.

James C. Dobson, Ph.D. Founder and Chairman

Actually, this is not the first story in which embarrassing webpages have vanished once they have been sighted (or cited) by enemies on the other side of a cultural, theological or political fight. This raises an interesting question for journalists who cover the digital Culture Wars: What constitutes proof that these materials existed? If a webpage falls in the blogosphere and the mainstream press is not there, does it make a sound? I am not sure this metaphor makes any sense, but I know what I am trying to say.

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