A children's video starring Spongebob Squarepants, BARNEY and a host of other cartoon favourites has been slapped with a gay alert warning by Christian Conservative groups.

The music video, due to be sent to 61,000 schools across America in March (05), was made by the nonprofit WE ARE FAMILY FOUNDATION to encourage tolerance and diversity.

But Christian activist groups the AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION and FOCUS ON THE FAMILY say the innocent cartoon characters are being exploited to promote the acceptance of homosexuality.

The video is a remake of the 1979 hit song WE ARE FAMILY, featuring SpongeBob, Barney, Winnie The Pooh, Bob The Builder, the RUGRATS and 100 TV cartoon stars. It was made by a foundation set up by songwriter Nile Rodgers to promote America's healing process after the September 11 (01) attacks.

Christian groups, however, have taken exception to the tolerance pledge on the foundation's website, which asks people to respect the sexual identity of others along with their abilities, beliefs, culture and race.

Rodgers hits back, "That is so myopic and harsh. You have really got to look hard to find anything in this that is offensive to anyone. The last thing I am going to do is taint these characters."

21/01/2005 10:00