A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's Countdown has recently been the target of a campaign by James Dobson's Focus on the Family. It started with a "controversy" over a cartoon character Spongebob, who was being used in a video to teach tolerance to school children. Dobson decided that the video was "sinister" and launched an effort against it and Spongebob. Olbermann was critical of this effort so a campaign including e-mail bombing was launched against him.

Some things worth noting. The US senate is debating the issue of torture and the nomination of Alberto Gonzales. It's still not too late to call your senator and urge the defeat of this nomination. But Dobson's group has largely remained silent on this issue. Rather energies have been directed against this cartoon with tactics which do not reflect well on them or on our religious faith. It baffles my imagination that such groups have been able to capture the language of morals and faith.

This would have been another piece where I complain about the state of religion in this country and the media's coverage of this. But this story is different because of two players. The United Church of Christ, which deserves kudos, for responding to this "controversy" with a mix of humor and gospel. They issued a press release showing that God's welcome even includes those who are maligned, in this case a cartoon character.

Keith Olbermann deserves kudos as well in picking up the UCC response. Tonight he interviewed Katy Hawker, pastor of a UCC congregation in St. Louis, who recently held a service which honored the value of tolerance to which the cartoon character, Spongebob, had come to signify. So instead of an event which embarasses the faith both Olbermann and the UCC was able to use this as an opportunity to give an airing to a more open way of living out one's Christian faith. Cool, eh?

5 Comments:

At 10:43 AM , Blogger dave said...

http://blessourleftwinghearts.blogspot.com/2005/02/good-post-on-our-petty-little.html
That's a link to my own blog posting. This is a primative trackback. Really like your blog. Sounding like a telegraph. Stop.

 
At 7:34 PM , Blogger Drina said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I find myself trying tp picture Christ's response to the torture scandal and to Spongebob, and find so little FOF-like behavior.

 
At 9:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,
FYI, there's a brand new Olbermann fan site up, http://www.olbermann.org.
It has links with briefs to a lot of Olbermann writings that you might enjoy.
Please use the contact form to send me any suggestions!
Thanks,
Quanlin

 
At 2:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I commented on your Iraqi torture post, and now I feel like posting here. It is so wonderful to find contemporaries in this strange cyberspace of similar age and similar mind who speak as Christians about social justice and where we might find Christ in the world.

Interesting that the UCC church, and we, can see Christ in Spongebob Squarepants!

In the Lutheran church, the issue of acceptance is raging -- my mother started a blog with the premise of wanting to vent her anger about the way the church is stuck in its rut on that issue -- check out her blog at http://cynthiagustavson.modblog.com

And I did a little bit of blogging about Spongebob myself. Check out my blog at kentgustavson.com/blog

I really enjoy your writing.
Kent

 
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