Nation Crucifies SpongeBob

If certain members of the religious right aren’t already angry with SpongeBob SquarePants, they might be when they see the Feb. 21 issue of political mag The Nation. We got a sneak peek at the issue’s cover, which has the yellow bath accessory wearing a crown of thorns and mounted on a cross.

SpongeBob may be a lot of things to different people, but Christ figure is a bit of a stretch. The cover is meant to lampoon the recent attacks on the cartoon character, whom some see a shill for a homosexual agenda. The cover story, written by Richard Goldstein, examines "why cartoons get under our skin" and appears to explore the post-wardrobe malfunction, somewhat MaCarthy-esque political atmosphere in which Saturday morning characters aren’t even safe from public stonings.

Last month, Dr. James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, came out against a new video featuring SpongeBob, Barney the dinosaur and Jimmy Neutron, which was to be distributed to elementary schools around the country. Dobson claimed that the video about tolerance was "pro-homosexual" in nature. Nickelodeon issued a rebuttal accusing Dobson’s organization of using SpongeBob’s popularity to attract attention to its agenda.

That same week, actor Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob, hosted the Annie Awards in Los Angles and had this to say in response: "First of all, he’s imaginary. Secondly, he’s a kid and thirdly, he’s a sponge–he’s asexual, which you would know if you ever watched the Discovery Channel."

Billed as "America’s oldest weekly magazine", The Nation was established by abolitionists in 1865. The publication was founded to "make an earnest effort to bring to the discussion of political and social questions a really critical spirit, and to wage war upon the vices of violence, exaggeration and misrepresentation by which so much of the political writing of the day is marred."