I grew up watching Disney movies. Because of my love for drawing, I obviously watched all of the animated features; but I also religiously watched some of the lesser-known live-action Disney movies (“Swiss Family Robinson,” anyone?). As a child, Disney represented fun, family, adventure, and usually a few catchy songs.
I haven’t grown up much since then (just ask my wife). I still watch every new animated Disney movie that is released (I saw “Moana” 3 times and one of those times was WITHOUT my kids), and I cheered with the rest of the world when they acquired Marvel, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones (I mean, who WOULDN’T want to see Harrison Ford at 76 years old starring in “Indiana Jones & the Escape From Shady Acres?”)
In fact, we took our 3 girls to the Disney store in the Mall of Georgia as recently as this past Monday. They enjoy looking around at the toys they can’t have, the stuffed animals they already have, and the Star Wars action figures that seem to cost more than most of my suits. The great thing about the Disney store is that we don’t have to buy anything in order to have a good time. They have a big screen TV in the middle of the store where the kids can pick their own movie clips to watch while they color on free coloring sheets. It’s a pretty great setup if you have kids. In fact, I think anyone who has experienced it would admit that Disney does a fantastic job across the board when it comes to kids and families. If you’ve ever made the trip to Disney World or Disneyland, you have probably seen this unprecedented service and attention to detail. As a matter of fact, we would probably take our family to Disney World a lot more often if it didn’t cost the equivalent of a late-model Lexus. It is one of our favorite places on the planet.
Which brings me to this…
As I scrolled through my Facebook news feed yesterday, I read an unexpected and disturbing article about the upcoming live action “Beauty & the Beast” movie (opening on March 17). This is a movie that I have been excited about for a while now. This is a movie that I had planned to take my children to see at the theater on the DAY it opens (despite my vocal and public misgivings about Emma Watson playing “Belle”…she’s so NOT Belle, but I digress…).
The article stated that the new movie, which is based on Walt Disney’s 1991 animated classic of the same name, would be including a “nice, exclusively gay moment.” One of the characters in this movie – a man named LeFou, who serves as Gaston’s loyal manservant – is going to “explore his sexuality after developing feelings for macho leading man Gaston.”
What is this going to look like? Are these two men going to kiss while my impressionable 6-year old is eating her popcorn? Will they declare their romantic love for each other while my confused 4-year old is sitting in my lap? Is my 1-year old’s first word going to be, “What??” No one seems to know, but the director, Bill Condon, has gone on record, saying, “The studio is sending out a message that this is normal and natural – and this is a message that will be heard in every country of the world…”
Why did they do this? What were they thinking? Do they not realize that this is a KID’S movie?
First of all, did we really not see this coming, Christians? Has Disney made a secret of their views on this issue lately? Not if we’ve been paying attention. Also, do we seriously think that Disney owes us our “wholesome family entertainment?” Let’s make sure that we don’t unjustly “punish” Disney for promoting sin when we should have no other reasonable expectation for a “worldly” company.
The better – more productive - question might be, “What is my responsibility, as a Christian – specifically as a Christian parent - now that I know that this ‘exclusively gay moment’ is coming?”
I suppose there are a few theories that are already circulating in my head – and around the Internet - already:
1. I should boycott this movie, refusing to buy a ticket to a children’s movie that promotes the LGBTQ agenda (which stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning”). After all, doesn’t Eph. 5:11 tell me to “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them”?
2. I should realize that the world is always going to be the world, and I have the Christian liberty to use this as a teaching opportunity. I should watch the movie with my children and then educate them about what the Bible has to say on this issue afterwards. After all, we are to be “in the world,” but not “of the world,” right? – Jn. 17 & I Cor. 5:9-13
3. I should go see this movie in the name of consistency and proactive parenting. I shouldn’t treat this movie any differently – or more harshly - than a movie that glorifies selfishness or materialism. After all, a sin is a sin, right? If I’m a good parent, I’m going to realize that I can’t shelter my children from sin; I simply show them how to deal with it GOD’S way. They are going to grow up in this world, and it’s my job to prepare them for it – Eph. 6:4; I Cor. 6:9-11
4. I should boycott Disney altogether, refusing to give them ANY money or business for the rest of my life. 2 Cor. 6:14-18 tells me not to be “unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” How can I maintain a “partnership” with such an immoral, unrighteous company?
5. I should not only boycott Disney and this movie, but I should go on a crusade to warn and convince others to do so as well. Gal. 5:19-21 and Eph. 5:3 seem to indicate that I need to “warn” others about these kinds of sinful influences, and that I need to do my part to make sure that this kind of sin is not even “named” among my Christian family!
So, what am I going to do? I’m really not sure yet. I’ve got two more weeks to think, study, pray, and talk with my wife about it.
Perhaps more importantly, I have no intention of telling you what to do about this. If you decide not to support this movie because of your beliefs, I would not be able to argue with you, and I would certainly understand that decision. If, however, you make a very different decision regarding this movie, based on your study and understanding of God’s Word, I will not judge you for it. In fact, I believe that this situation falls firmly in the realm of “opinion,” and should be handled according to the clear teachings of Romans 14. Of course, that’s my opinion…
I have to be honest; Disney’s decision makes me angry. It makes me angry to be put in this position, as a parent. It makes me angry that I now need to research movies that shouldn’t require research. It makes me angry that this agenda is now being “pushed” on my children.
But I’m reminded of the Holy Spirit’s words from the pen of Paul when He said, “Be angry and do not sin…” (Eph. 4:26). That’s what I’m going to try to do.
In the meantime, I’m going to try to remember LeFou as he was originally intended: a loyal friend who sang, danced, and drank copious amounts of alcohol in a bar. Now THAT’S wholesome family entertainment!