In late January, when the porous-but-popular SpongeBob SquarePants was under heavy dousing from James Dobson's Focus on the Family and other groups for promoting tolerance, United Church News facilitated a light-hearted, yet serious response to the controversy. Within a month, hundreds of thousands from around the world had viewed the online release and accompanying photo diary. Here's a tiny fraction of the responses we've received.
I first read about the UCC's welcome of SpongeBob in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's "Lutheran" magazine.
God bless your reflection of Jesus' unconditional love. I pray as a country we grow stronger in our reflection of that love and that all of us strive towards less and less judgment in our own lives. Thanks again for the important message!
Dawn Svenson Holland
Cedar Rapids, IA
Bless your hearts! I'm an old "lefty" Jew who has nothing but respect and admiration for the UCC!
I need to say thank you to someone. The strength and character of the statements from the Rev. John H. Thomas thrilled me. As a political consultant, I am always trying to get candidates to speak exactly this way - clearly, from the heart, but strong, fi rm and no-nonsense. Such a needed message. All involved have my gratitude.
Give them a raise, or at least a day off! I don't know who thought up the SpongeBob piece but whoever it was is not only theologically wise but adept at wonderful sarcasm. Please tell who is to "blame" so I can send them a prune danish or something. A part of it is going in this Sunday's bulletin. I love it! More, more! Author, author!
The Rev. Bill Mulford
Hooray! Hooray! I love SpongeBob too! How absolutely wonderful that you have welcomed him!
You folks are brilliant. You brighten our days. Keep up the good work.
Communications Officer, Anglican Diocese of New Westminster
Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)
A friend of mine forwarded the link to the SpongeBob visiting the UCC headquarters in Cleveland, where he received a warm welcome. I was absolutely delighted. What a wonderful way to counter those who rob childhood of joy and teach intolerance by offering good humor instead. You are to be commended.
The Rev. Donald Lowery