Only Mark Morford can put all of this into one article and tie it all together so well. Excerpts below. The link to the left takes you to the full article at SF Gate.

…James Dobson, the cute little founder of the cute little ultraconservative rabidly Christian happily neo-homophobic Focus on the Family, actually stood up and proclaimed, to the media, to the world, with a straight face, with no sense of irony or shuddering humiliation or an overpowering sense that he was, in fact, contributing quite nicely to the overall violent oatmealy ignorance of the planet, came right out and announced that the wildly popular and much-loved SpongeBob Squarepants cartoon character is, actually and truly, probably gay. And therefore, of course, SpongeBob is a dire threat to all childrenkind and must be avoided at all costs lest the wee ones watch the cartoons and become overwhelmed with a mad desire to wax their chests and buy a new Miata and drink cocktails made with lemonade. More or less.

And why? Why is the adorable yellow sea sponge suddenly considered to be contributing to the mental and spiritual and genital degradation of millions of innocent children? Because he’s a hyperactive none-too-bright short-attention-spanned spazzball of lovable non-sequiturial nonsense who induces rabid devotion among children and gay men and straight adults alike? Why, no. Not quite.

It’s because the frantically animated sea creature is now appearing, alongside noted pagan cartoon perverts Barney the Dinosaur and Winnie-the-Pooh and the Rugrats and Bob the Builder, in a nonprofit video sent to 60,000 schools and designed to promote that vile demon called, ahem, tolerance. And diversity.

…But now, the not-so-cute part: Much like that other small-minded cluster of clenched nonbrains over at the Parents Television Council, the very tiny but weirdly vocal group that single-handedly managed to hurl the FCC into fits of hysteria regarding naughty swearwords and exposed nipples in the national media, these groups are having one helluva moment right now, one influential and dangerous time in the cultural limelight.

These are the minuscule and shrill groups that, perhaps in a period not seen since the Puritans forbade dancing and kissing and the color fuchsia and all pleasure of any kind, have a shockingly powerful pull on American society and who reputedly helped tilt the election toward Bush and who increasingly have the ear of Congress — a Congress, it must be noted, that’s increasingly crammed with evangelical Christians and homophobic nutjobs and Tom DeLay.

…All of which somehow reminds me of the Spanish Catholic Archdiocese, also recently in the news after undergoing an amazing spasm of lucid awareness in how, for a brief blip in time, the church officially allowed that condoms might be OK. Did you read that story? About how Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camin, in Spain, announced that condoms are actually pretty good for, you know, controlling disease and inhibiting the spread of HIV? Miss that one? It’s understandable. Went by pretty fast. In fact, the astounding stance lasted exactly 24 hours, just enough time for the Vatican to get a whiff of it and for the Vatican’s Archbishop of Hateful Sexless Myopia to make a nasty phone call to Spain, promptly threatening the Spanish church with nothing short of castration and excommunication and genital warts.

Whoops, nope, we were wrong, muttered the Spanish church the following day. Condoms were evil all along. Condoms are wrong and condoms don’t actually prevent the spread of HIV and we don’t care if they save lives or prevent pregnancy or STDs because condoms promote — what is it again, cardinal? — oh, yes, “immoral sexual conduct.”

…Which in turn reminds me of Bush addressing a cluster of antichoice activists a few days back, touting the vicious and degrading “culture of life,” which translates directly as, “We aging sexless white Christian males shall hereby stop at nothing to slap women’s rights back to 1955 and chip away at female procreative choice, all while preventing stem-cell research from ever saving the life of a single cancer or Alzheimer’s patient. God bless.” Ah, progress. And then, in the next ironic breath, Bush announced that his warmongering administration is ready to request another $80 billion from Congress to further the violent and treasonous and unwinnable war on Islami– er, on non-Christia– er, women– er, gays– er, decent grammar– er, dictators who control our oil– er, “terror.”

…Note the connection. Note the blood-red thread of fear and dread and homophobia, the brutal irony throughout all these stories. Shrill extremist sects and small-minded leaders with too much control, saddled with self-righteous and outdated doctrines that refuse to allow the culture to progress, to laugh, to moan in joy and sticky happiness. Note the people who look at hilarious children’s cartoons and see only sinister mind control, who look at their fellow human souls and see only an army of debauched heathens, who look (reluctantly) at their own genitals and see only a gnarled clump of pain and confusion, who look up at the beautiful blue sky and see only a massive canopy of daggers.

How incredibly sad. And, for right now, how very, insidiously dangerous.