Mar 6, 2017

Disney Intros Gay Character in Beauty & the Beast...A Response from a Children's Ministry Leader

Bill Condon, director of the new live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, made headlines last week when he revealed that the movie will have an "exclusively gay moment."

The gay undertone centers around the character LeFou.  He dotes on Gaston throughout the movie just as he did in the 1991 animated version.  But then at the end of the film, when the characters get together for a big celebration, the "gay moment' arrives.  During a group dance, LeFou starts off dancing with a woman, but then starts dancing with a dress-loving henchman for about two seconds.  The subtle overtone is that two male characters are expressing affection through the dancing.

There have already been many groups protesting the film.  The group One Million Moms said "This is the last place parents would expect their children to be confronted with content regarding sexual orientation.  Issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon, and it is becoming extremely common and unnecessary.  Disney has decided to be politically correct versus providing family-friendly entertainment.  Disney should stick to entertaining instead of pushing an agenda.  Conservative families need to urge Disney to avoid mature and controversial topics."

Franklin Graham, president of the Samaritan's Purse and son of Billy Graham, said he met Walt Disney when he was a child.  He said Walt was very gracious to him.  He went on to say he believed, that Walt "would be shocked at what has happened to the company he started."

The early reviews have definitely increased expectations that this movie will represent a significant shakeup of traditional Disney values.  Disney has built their entertainment empire on family-friendly content.  Their parks are the number one family vacation destination in the world.

While Disney has been built on family-friendly entertainment, we must keep in mind that this does not mean that all of the current decision makers of the company are committed to a Biblical worldview.  When given the opportunity, some of them will inject a postmodern message of tolerance and political correctness.  This includes pushing for equality for same-sex relationships.

This is not the first time Disney has caused a stir with this issue.  In 1997, the Southern Baptist Convention voted to boycott Disney because of their policy of giving health benefits to same-sex partners of employees, "Gay Days" at theme parks and the release of controversial books and films like "Pulp Fiction" and "Kids."

So this brings us to questions like "How should we respond as followers of Christ?  How can we navigate this?  What attitude should we have?"  As we ponder these questions, here is the posture I believe we should take.

Don't freak out.  Some will immediately begin ranting and raving against Disney.  Yes, Ephesians 4 tells us to speak the truth.  And the Bible is very clear that God designed sexual relationships for a male and female who are married.  We must declare this truth if we are going to be loyal to Scripture.  But we must not forget that Ephesians 4 says we are to speak the truth "in love."

Jesus spoke the truth to those who were far from God.  But He spoke it in love.  The words came from a heart that was overwhelmingly filled with love for people.  He spoke the words with one purpose.  To see the person restored to God.  He spoke the truth to the woman when He told her she was living in adultery, so that she could find the true love she was longing for from God.  Jesus spoke the truth to Zacchaeus when he told him to give back what he had stolen.  But it wasn't to condemn Zacchaeus.  It was to see Zacchaues restored.  He spoke the truth to the woman caught in adultery, not to condemn her, but to save her life and to help her find forgiveness.

How we respond to issues like this speaks volumes to the people around us who don't know God.  Ranting and raving without love will only push them farther away.  Standing for the truth with the wrong attitude will not further the Gospel.

Speak the truth with a tear of compassion in your eye.  Speak the truth while whispering a prayer for God to help His love shine through you.  Speak the truth with a smile on your face rather than a frown.

The truth without love will not be received.  The truth without love will not make an impact.  The truth without love will push people away from God rather than pushing them toward God.  It is like an airplane.  An airplane requires both wings to fly.  It's the same for us as believers.  It takes the wings of truth and love for us to be effective in our interactions with unbelievers.  

Stand for the truth...without freaking out.  Don't freak out on Facebook.  Don't freak out on Twitter.  Don't freak out at the office.  Don't freak out in front of your family.  Don't freak out to other parents.  Freaking out won't help the cause of Christ.  

Define what you believe.  As our culture continues to slide away from absolute truth, we must clearly define what we believe.  There has been much debate about whether Scripture clearly states that same-sex relationships are wrong or not.  The passages that do clearly define this are being scrutinized, twisted and even explained away.  Some are making the case that the verses, even those found in the New Testament, do not apply to us today.

We must clearly define what we believe about this.  Will our beliefs be based on the changing culture or the commands of God?  Will our beliefs be based on political correctness or passages of Scripture?  Will our beliefs be based on the media or the Messiah?  Will our beliefs be based on tolerance or truth?

If we're going to point people to the truth, we better make sure we know what we are pointing at.
 
Decide what you will do about seeing the film.  Are you going to watch it?  Are you going to take your kids to watch it?  Are you going to screen it first before you let your kids watch it?  This is a decision you will have to make for yourself.  Whatever you decide to do, I would encourage you to keep two things in mind. 
  • Don't look down on someone who chooses to watch it.  Just because someone may choose to watch it doesn't make them any less spiritual than the person who chooses not to watch it and visa versa.  Don't get trapped by spiritual pride.
  • Be consistent.  Keep in mind that Disney owns ESPN, ABC, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel Entertainment, Touchstone Pictures and the Muppets.  Are you going to boycott these as well?  Often we pick and choose what we boycott based on our personal preferences.  That ball game on ESPN or that Star Wars movie we want to watch comes into play when you think about being consistent.  It reminds me of parents who condemn Harry Potter while singing the praises of the Lion, WITCH and Wardrobe.  Whatever you decide, be consistent.  
Dialogue with your kids.  If your kids are an appropriate age, it is important to dialogue with them about this movie.  I believe one reason we see kids walk away from the faith is because we avoid having conversations with them about cultural issues they are facing.

Personally, if my children were still young, I would watch the film with them at home and then talk with them about what a true Biblical relationship looks like.  Do you know how they train tellers at the bank to recognize counterfeit money?  By handling real money.  When you know what real money looks like and feels like, you are able to spot the counterfeits.  I believe when we model for kids a Biblical marriage between a husband and wife, they will be able to discern between that and counterfeit models such as same-sex marriage.  

Some people will respond by hiding their kids from the movie.  While we do have to use wisdom in exposing kids to cultural issues at various ages, I believe we do them a disservice when we don't prepare them for life after dad and mom.  Kids are going to ask questions and you want them to get the answers from you.  If you hide them away and they don't get the answers until they are sitting in a college classroom someday, they will get the wrong answers and will likely be persuaded away from the truth of God's Word.

When you regularly dialogue with your kids about issues like this, you will create an atmosphere where your kids feel comfortable bringing their questions and thoughts to you before other people.

I believe this movie presents a great opportunity for you to talk with your kids about same-sex relationships and help them grapple with why we believe it doesn't line up with God's plan for relationships and the family.

Depend on God.  Does this make you nervous about what kids are facing today?  Does it make you think the culture is sliding so rapidly that you see no hope for the next generation?  Are you worried about what seems to be an outright attack on the truth?

Don't lose hope.  God is in control.  Depend on Him.  He is still at work.  What a great opportunity to speak truth into the life of your kids.  What a great opportunity to show Christ's love to those whose lifestyle and worldview are in direct opposition to what you believe.  The darker the night, the brighter your light for Jesus can shine.

Perhaps you are a parent and the thought of all this overwhelms you.  You don't know how to navigate this with your kids.  What should you say?  What should you do?  Depend on God.  Ask Him for wisdom.  He will give you everything you need to walk with your kids through the moral drain you find yourself surrounded by.

Concluding Thoughts...

I've always been a fan of the Disney company.  I've studied how they connect with kids and families over the years and even recently released a book entitled "If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry."  The step they are taking in this movie does sadden me.  I don't believe Walt would have approved of it.  This is not the first time Disney has done something that I didn't believe was best for families.  I definitely don't agree with everything they do.  But I also know they have done a lot of positive things to promote the traditional family unit.  I will continue to learn from them with discernment and enjoy the positive things they do for families.

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  What do you think about the direction Disney has taken with this movie?  How will you respond?  Share your thoughts with us in in the comment section below.

22 comments:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts so clearly. My Facebook feed exploded with all kinds of boycotts when the news hit. While no one has asked me directly, yet, I now have a well laid out response.

thanks,

Thanks David. What a great time to be in ministry and be able to shine Jesus' love to those who don't know about Him.

This a great response to this movie. My wife and I were having this conversation just the other day and discussing what to do because our 6 year old daughter wants to see it. While we are still praying about how God would lead our family we do recognize that it could be a teachable moment. It is a good thing to have these teachable moments because I know there will be times that she is exposed to these things when we are not around. I would rather give her information now that she can use on her own at a later date.

The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe is nowhere near the same thing as Harry Potter. CS Lewis' story is an allegory for salvation where the witch represents satan. Harry Potter says that there is such a thing as good witchcraft. This article is bogus. Disney consistently undermines the family unit in everything they do and have a very clear agenda towards our children. Do not be deceived.

I agree Meghan. The whole concept and delivery behind the Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe is "Light and Darkness" from Witchcraft condoning and promoting Harry Potter.I think Disney needs to be shaken and we need to get their attention to keep their perverted agenda out of the family film market. In reality.....What GOOD or NEED is it to include this perversion in a family film UNLESS they are wanting to promote the perversion. Personally I will be boycotting ANYTHING Disney does that promotes same sex relationships. I appreciate Dale's intentions and his willingness to share a positive response and I also agree with many of hte things he said but I disagree that we should take a very passive approach. And I would like Dale's definition of "Freaking Out" .....In Love.....Dave

I chose to see it before I judge. It may have been a moment that was seen in the movie and blown WAY out of proportion. I don't have any kids but I really want to see the movie cause I loved the original. If this turns out to be true about the direction the movie went, I will just not watch it again after the first time. But I don't want to miss a great movie because of two seconds of something that is questionable.

The slant on this article seems to suggest that those that boycott the movie are hypocrites unless they "boycott all the affiliates and everything they ever made." Why do we have to judge those people and we are not supposed to judge those that choose to see it? Again, "if you decide to hide your kids" leads on to "you don't want them exposed to it for the first time in a college classroom"... goodness gracious! What type of undertone are you setting for parents who choose not to see a movie? The between the lines suggestion that these parents are irrational and overprotective... well, that is unkind at best. While children's ministry is hard enough (considering most of the kids in many areas have no parents or parents who don't care) I would think the last of the "protective parents" would be a rare supportive group in your children's ministry outreach. This attempt at being relevant marginalizes and somewhat condemns those who are simply trying not to put sinful things before their children's eyes. No one has to see any movie. Plus Disney attacked VidAngel... so... there's that. :-)

If you choose to see it, you are putting money in the pocket of people who will continue to use it for movies like this. Is that being a good steward?

Children do not need to see it before discussing it. You wouldn't show your child a movie of two people having premarital sex so you could discuss that it's a sin, ("I shall set before my eyes no vile thing.")Scripture alone is enough to describe sin.

Yes, we need to contend for the faith and share the gospel. The most important thing would be to make sure your children know the gospel and how to share it. Not the "Jesus loves you and died for you," that gets false converts who feel some guilt and need relief. The true gospel would be sharing what God says sin is, how we've all sinned, God punishes it, and how to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be freed from it.

Too much discussion in this generation, and not enough action, loving action!

Jude 22&23

My family will not skip the film; if my children have questions, it will be a good opportunity for dialogue. But at the same time, I do not think Disney is acting from a place of creative courage. They are publicizing their "gay scene" as a chance to generate hype for the movie (positive or negative press is still press). They are acting more like propagandists than storytellers. Inserting a few fleeting images at key moments acclimates people to seeing homosexual content in a "non-threatening" manner. They can then slowly ramp up the frequency and explicitness of said content. If Disney wanted to make a real statement in support of LGBTQ characters, they should feature one of those characters as a major role in their next fairytale feature and let the creative merits of that film make the case for their characters. Shoehorning a sexual agenda into a beloved children's classic as a way of scoring public image points is an act of pragmatism, not conviction.

Leviticus 25:44-46New Living Translation (NLT

However, you may purchase male and female slaves from among the nations around you. 45 You may also purchase the children of temporary residents who live among you, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, 46 passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat them as slaves, but you must never treat your fellow Israelites this way.

You know just selecting some verses. Since you preach all good things, why not talk about these. Oh yeah, you choose not to, because society has changed... right.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21New International Version (NIV)

18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid

o my gosh this is overwhelming to me i don't watch much tv and haven't been to a mover in over 18 yrs now however i do have 3 small kids 8 5 and 3 that im trying to raise in this currecpt world we live in i am a believer i try to not judge any one for any thing but i am human and have judge without thinking about it till after the fact i thank you for all your input in this issues and will pray about it if it comes up with my kids wanting to see it for one day i'm sure it will be on regular tv for them to view with me even knowing about it so yes i think it should be talked about with parents first at home

I don't like how Suttle we see these things put in place children pick up on details. I agree it's a good time to talk to our children in my case grandchildren, but I also think if we don't stand for truth we will be accountable for it. My child has a girl 5th grade that is a girl has never acted like a boy in any way but a couple wejs,ago decides she's really a boy and wants to be called rudie instead of ruby the pe teacher told the kids that ruby wants to be called rudie so now they call her rudie. This is were we are headed as a country it's wrong on every level. My child shouldn't have to change just because this little girl is confused and that's what these Suttle things being stuck here or there are causing. What has happened to what is right. God made man and he was a man and woman and she was a women. Boys have boy parts from birth and girls have girl parts from birth not from surgery.

James says pure religion is visiting widows & orphans in their need, and keeping one's self unstained from this world. Jesus said to be in the world but not of it. He also said we're to occupy until He returns. Paul wrote that Christians are not even to discuss the sinful things of the world - this is to avoid giving undue glory to the world, the flesh, and the devil, and it is to prevent weaker people from becoming enticed by the sin.

Christians have no business seeing a movie or taking-in any form of entertainment which counters what Christ stands for. Disney has militated against the Godly family for decades, portraying Dads as doofs & Moms as MILFs, with kids as the only normal people, especially if they have counter-cultural family situations. It's the world's twisted way to attempt unity, tolerance, and acceptance, but it won't unify, tolerate, or accept Godly virtues. They choose money or Messiah, so we shouldn't choose them!

My comment above was supposed to read "they choose money OVER Messiah", though the choice for Disney & each of us truly is money OR Messiah as well....Choose wisely!

To the Anonymous person above quoting OT verses out of context, yes, that was the reality then, but fortunately not today, due to Jesus dying on the cross for mankind's sins.

God knows much better than we do the ravages that sin brings to 1 person, plus the entire community. Sin was more immediately judged & punished before Jesus walked the earth. In this era between His rising to Heaven & His soon return, God is being incredibly gracious to not swiftly & sternly judge our sins on earth.

There will soon come a day however when Jesus will return for His people, and God's extension of grace & hand of protection will be removed in ratification of what the lost world thinks it wants. Very rapidly the world will descend into chaos, to be "saved" by the Antichrist, who afterward will reveal his true satanic character, and evil will run its full course.

The skeptic & the unsaved can be saved from those fateful days by receiving salvation from Jesus. There is no name under Heaven by which men MUST be saved. Choose Him today, for you might not have another chance to receive His salvation, and there is no do-over after death!

Comments above from "Unknown" above are great! Today's religion of "easy-believism" is rampant in the world & some portions of the church at-large. Too forgotten is the cost of discipleship, of which a great classic book from Dietrich Bonhoeffer addresses true Christianity. Our faith does come at a cost, which ultimately yields us infinite & eternal ROI (return on investment). If someone is unwilling to part with the things of the world, but instead prefers to have 1 foot in the world & 1 in the church, there is no basis for that in Scripture, and that person might not actually be saved.

Obviously, watching Disney movies won't send anyone to hell, but acceptance or even promotion of the world's values might be due to an unrepentant spirit which isn't transformed as the Bible commands us to be.

Should we expose our children to pornogrhay because it can lead to a good teachable moment on how not to be sexually promiscuous? You can discuss with your children why you choose not to see a movie and have it be equally as effective without exposing them to sinful behavior directly. Should we really as Christians show support with our money and time to view films that push sinful agendas onto children? Yes, I agree...this DOES NOT mean you have to boycott Disney but you also do not have to see and support every film they make. The old 90's Beauty and the Beast was a great film...for me and my family, this is the version we will stick to!

Very good and wise article. Thank you!

Production companies base decisions about future films based on response at the box office. Paying money to see the film tells them society doesn't mind this type of social engineering. If your desire is to have a teachable moment, wait until it comes out on dvd before you watch it.

It is such a sad departure from Jesus that Christians forget Walts racism in order to worry about the tiniest image of homosexuality as his companys departure from either the Gospel or family values. KIDS read a book like Oranges are not the only fruit by Jeanette Winterson. It will blow your mind.

If this hadn't been pointed out as a "gay" moment would it have even been noticed. If you took a magnifying glass look at many other "family" movies I'm sure you would find more 2 second questionable moments. We need to be careful not to scare our children away from loving hugs for a good friend or in a moment of celebration. But I do realize movie makers will drop in 2 seconds and then three just to see how much we will tolerate. Watch carefully and answer kids questions. Limiting how many times children watch any movie or TV show will help inappropriate, words and actions from becoming ingrained, quotable, and common place.

Post a Comment