Discussing
Beauty and the Beast and Boycotts

Stephen Woodworth

Stephen Woodworth
March 15, 2017

We must abandon outdated rules of cultural engagement—like boycotting Beauty and the Beast—if we seek to serve a post-Christian nation.

Zrinka Peters
March 15, 2017

As the Christian worldview seems to find itself in a minority position at this time in American history, we do need a re-think. This is great food for thought. Thank you!

Rob Oleck
March 16, 2017

You are correct that a boycott is not an effective way or biblical way of "capturing the hearts and minds of people", however this is not the only intent of a boycott, in fact not even the main intent. It is also not a good idea tp make judgements about a movie without some research, and perhaps Franklin Graham already has. I tend to trust people like Franklin Graham and not other right-wing organizations. Starting around the mid 1960's there has been a growing and intentional attempt by people who embrace the post-modern philosophy of relativism to influence others by education and media to adopt their beliefs. A boycott is only one way of voicing your opinion about an issue the media (in this case Disney) is attempting to influence our children towards their philosophy. We merely vote against this media presentation by not paying for their attempt to change a child's fairy-tale into further indoctrination of their beliefs.

Aaron
March 16, 2017

In Reply to Rob Oleck (comment #30165)
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Honestly that is only correct if that isn't what Disney intended in the first place. Disney has been known to add little things that are subtle and pass by most of the audience; however, when they out and out state it they get lambasted because of it. I honestly think that people should not tell other people that they shouldn't see it; however if it causes you to stumble or if you feel uncomfortable with it don't go to see it, but don't make anyone feel as if by going to see this movie they are not Christian.

Snowy
March 16, 2017

I keep asking what would Jesus do? If I read my Bible correctly, it tells me He associated with sinners ... he ate with them, & visited their homes. It tells me he condemned the religious leaders of his day for their distorted views of religion. I am of the opinion that Jesus would be the first person in line-up to purchase a ticket to the movie. He certainly would not be standing on the sidelines protesting!

Alan
March 16, 2017

I have to wonder how the church ought to respond? If not a boycott then what? I agree that it is not very creative, but what is the alternative. Disney movies are generally geared toward family friendly entertainment. This is an obvious continuation of the artistic worlds normalization of sinful behavior. If we do not withhold our money from such things then we have nothing to combat it with.

Additionally, the idea the because Jesus spent time with people considered to be sinners he would support a normalization of sin is very odd. Or are you suggesting that to be opposed to homosexuality if to distort the view of the Christian faith?(Directed at Snowy)

Joseph Terrell
March 16, 2017

In Reply to Snowy (comment #30167)
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Snowy,

It is not wise to speculate what Jesus would do. He associated with sinners, indeed, and did so in order to save them from their sin, not confirm their pursuit of it. Disney sells a product aimed primarily at young and impressionable people. Their product has always been entertainment with some basic moral lessons. When those basic moral lessons come to include "homosexual romantic inclinations are natural and acceptable", then they are peddling a poisonous product.

However, I am not a big boycott fan but likely for different reasons than most. I simply think the church is diverted from its task when it tries to moralize society. I think it is fine for Christians to inform one another concerning such things as the homosexual element of this Disney movie. I am glad I know about. I was looking forward to seeing it and would have been profoundly disappointed to have paid my money only to discover it was going to those who promote such a wicked behavior to our children.

But, I have no interest in forcing Disney's hand. Disney may do as it pleases and I will respond accordingly by not supporting their efforts. And I would hope that anyone interested in decency would likewise not give their money to such an endeavor.

But the church, as a visible presence in this world, must cease and desist trying to change the world. That is not what we were sent to do. We were sent to preach God's gospel, and in so doing, be instruments of God in finding His sheep and bringing them into His fold. God has no intention of saving this world. Rather, His purpose is to save His people OUT OF this world ... and then He will destroy it.

Darren Sombke
March 16, 2017

I want to comment to support the author's perspective. This is an excellent piece with a conclusion that is right on the money. We need to woo the world with our stories of God's love in our lives. People can disagree with your perspectives or assertions but it's a lot harder to dispute your story.

Believer
March 16, 2017

I have other issues with the underlying story:
+ It’s basically one of child abandonment and abuse: The Prince “must learn how to love before his 21st birthday”, and the servants complain “ten years we’ve been rusting”, so the prince got transformed when he was no older than 12. No parents. Being cursed because he chose not to allow a strange woman in to spend the night.
+ Belle’s captivity, even though in comfort, serving as a basis for her romance with the Beast is a really terrible message.
+ All of the male figures are flawed throughout the story (even though the Beast comes to love Belle, his motives are certainly selfish). Belle and Mrs. Potts are consistently positive.
+ If the servants have been enchanted for approximately 10 years, the existence of “Chip”, Mrs. Potts teacup son (clearly younger than that) raises a whole lot of uncomfortable questions.

All of these, added to the LBGTQ promotion, make this a movie I do not plan to pay to attend. If this is a boycott, so be it, but I need to exercise discernment in what I choose to expose my children to, and what I choose to put in my mind by watching. I'm not judging the others who choose differently -- the visuals and music are appealing, until you really start to think as a Christian.

Carl Franzon
March 16, 2017

I like the idea of "telling a better story" but am struggling with what that looks like and how to do that particularly when it comes to sexuality. How do we speak and say, "this is a better way to live" when many see it as a denial of their ability to love and enjoy lifelong companionship?

Jim Bird
March 16, 2017

My concern regarding Franklin Graham and other religious leaders is that they seem to much more convey a story of religious bigotry than Christ's command to love one another.

Darren Sombke
March 16, 2017

In Reply to Carl Franzon (comment #30172)
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I think that the only story we are needing to tell is our own and how Jesus has made a real difference. How has God worked in your life? I know it sounds simplistic but just telling the truth of our own condition and that God has saved us through Christ is a pretty awesome start. I don't see the denial of my ability to love as much as an affirmation of the value I place on the health and exclusivity to my future spouse. Great consideration!

Susan Herring
March 16, 2017

I agree with your article for the most part, but until Christians realize they cannot force unbelievers to convert, or force believers to remain sinless, they will never have an effective message to bring others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ....who while dying on a cross, forgave those unbelievers who put him there. Yes, he forgave those unbelievers who put him on that cross. As for sinners, the church is full of them every Sunday. When you begin running out all those sinners, there will be not one person left in those pews but the hypocrites...who "think" they are sinless. Only God has the power to judge the person who cheats on his taxes, refuses to help the poor, idolizes his possessions and his money, turns his back on the immigrants and refugees, yet condemns homosexuals and young girls who get an abortion. It seems some Christians have the same philosophy as many radical Muslims...to force their beliefs on others. Jesus never did that...did He? He just had a better message...a better story. It was a message of LOVE!

Gayle
March 16, 2017

I don't participate in retail boycotts because they are so complex and I don't see the effects. There are a lot of people involved with a large company who are not responsible for corporate decisions. If they have a product I desire, I get it.

But entertainment is different. It's not a "boycott." It's a personal choice about what I want to view and devote time to, and about what I want my children to view.

Perhaps this writer hasn't seen the movie, but this mom has, and provides details needed to make a personally-informed decision:

http://encouragingmomsathome.com/facts-beauty-beast-disney-movie-exclusively-gay-moment/

http://www.pluggedin.com/movie-reviews/beauty-and-the-beast-2017

Paula
March 16, 2017

So, cue the stories of miserable gay people? Trouble is those will be drowned out by a million stories of people who are happy with who they are and who they love -- some of them will be Christians and some of them won't be. You assume your stories are better, they've just not been told. What the world is trying to tell fundamentalist Christians is that their stories have been heard and rejected. We know too much about other people and their stories.

So your solution is to try to hide them -- keep families away from Beauty and the Beast. Congratulations evangelicals, way to lose 7 year old girls for a lifetime.

S.L. Woodworth
March 16, 2017

To each of you- thank you for reading the article and commenting here. The reason Think Christian exists is to spur on civil discourse and help us sharpen one another. Certainly any topic related to LGBT issues will be divisive, even within the church. How each of us responds is a deeply private matter. My articles are never intended to be prescriptive for every Christian, but they are a conversation starter- a single perspective that can help usher us into a broader dialogue about what it means to live as a faithful witness to Christ within a nation growing increasingly hostile towards him. "Telling a better story" could mean many things, not least of which could be allowing people to share their stories of hurt and enslavement within a homosexual relationship. Conversely, the church needs to celebrate stories of hope from those who have found freedom, forgiveness and lasting joy afterwards, and let those who struggle but remain celibate have center stage to give encouragement to those who want to remain faithful themsleves. If the world declares that true freedom and self-expression can only be found by embracing a broken sexual identity, the Church must declare with greater clarity the stories of changed lives and lasting freedom that can only come by way of the Kingdom. But we will never get to tell those stories if we do not enter into the lives of people who need to hear it most. Kingdom building can be messy work sometimes.

SouthTexasRed
March 16, 2017

Nice thoughts. I myself don't know what to make of these reports. Recall that the pre-release publicity said that Finding Dory would feature Pixar's first openly gay characters. That amounted to a second or two of screen time for two women with a stroller visiting the aquarium where the movie's action was taking place. The only inference that they were gay was Pixar's say-so, which was completely independent of the movie. I have not seen Beauty and the Beast, but the name of the character in question is Le Fou, French for "the fool," and he appears to be there for comic relief--and could end up being a sort-of Jar Jar Binks. If that is true, Disney may pull off the unlikely feat of offending conservative Christians and the gay people at the same time over the same content.

Susan Herring
March 16, 2017

Mr. Woodworth, I do very much appreciate the conversation, as I believe it is very much needed. I am a 66-year-old white woman about to celebrate her 47th wedding anniversary. I have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. I have taught Sunday School class and lead Bible Study groups for many of those years. I believe we are all sinners...saved by grace. Although the Bible tells us not to continue in sin, I doubt you know one person who has managed that, save for our Lord Jesus Christ. I recently read a book that I would highly recommend to you. It was written by a deeply devout Christian man who also happens to have been born gay..."Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate" (see link below). It is an exhaustive look at this very debate among Christians. For me, I choose to love...and to share Christ's love with everybody. I leave the judging up to God, for only He knows a person's heart. Thanks for your article! Peace and grace, Susan

https://www.amazon.com/Torn-Rescuing-Gospel-Gays-vs-Christians-Debate-ebook/dp/B0076DFG5S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489701285&sr=1-1&keywords=torn.

Debi Vail
March 16, 2017

I will keep my comments short and sweet. I am a Christian. On that, my only concern would be that any Children's movie maker should disclose any controversal issues in a movie and leave it up to the parents or grandparents to decide if they want to expose their children or grandchildren to what they believe in their mind is immoral. Its as simple as that

John
March 17, 2017

To boycott Disney, Inc. would be as effective as emptying Lake Michigan with a spoon. Disney, Inc. is so large an owner of products, services, studios, and copyrights that an effective boycott would be a Herculean effort. Now, as to a specific production of Disney, that can be a different story. I would recommend reading a post on The Federalist, by Stevi Knight. You can read it here... http://thefederalist.com/2017/03/15/disney-emma-watson-trivialized-beauty-beast/. She does a very good job with the material she had to work with, such as, media releases, trailers, and interviews, etc.

I was so excited about the live-action version, imagining it to be similar in content and power as the animated version. But I'm finding that the virtue of the animated version has been watered down or downright soiled with content that I as an adult would not find worthwhile or entertaining.

My wife and I may rent the movie to review it for our family. But I am hesitant to spend a dime on a production that is promoted for children and deliberately exposes the children to morally questionable behavior. "Disney" has been equated with virtue and character for so many years that it is a betrayal to hint of promiscuity in a "Disney Film".

As for Christians refusing to spend money on a movie and encouraging others to do the same is taking a stand. Christians should hold up what is good to their neighbors, friends and even enemies, but they should also expose what is questionable.

Lynne Everest
March 17, 2017

Oh man, don't even get me started...
Fellow Christians, there is no greater threat to traditional marriage than that of divorce, adultery, pornography and abuse. And all within our own ranks!

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We have been digging our own graves by dwelling in the stink and death of Matthew 23...our thoughts, hearts and actions toward the LGBT community are despicable and indefensible; it is a wonder they even tolerate our existence at all for all the horror, hatred and bigotry we've foisted upon them in our hypocrisy and ignorance. And the worst part is...there really IS a better and more gracious narrative that does NOT negate the High and Holy calling of the marriage of Adam and Eve with and by God in the Garden of Eden. And also relieves the burden we ALL OF US carry for never having lived up to that ideal. Oh sweet Lord, so much more could to be said..

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we are like "whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Tjmcintire
March 17, 2017

@Debi Vail, here is the main issue. Children's movie makers have no obligation to issue a trigger warning, and they have already adapted fairly profane stories into child friendly ones.
As some one who grew up on children's movies my parents were never warned about:
Cross dressing, war, and women serving in ground combat (Mulan)
Unconsensual physical contact or rape (snow white and sleeping beauty)
Disabilities (Snow White and the Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Animal Homelessness (Oliver and company)
Statutory rape (Pocahontas)
Hunting (Bambi)
And the list goes on, not to mention Donald Duck doesn't wear pants.

Tom Sams
March 17, 2017

I find it interesting how so many people can move in the direction of acceptance when it comes to blatant or implied sin. As I read the comments, I am in shock, to say the least, that one would say the Jesus would "line up to buy a ticket". Really? I grew up with Disney movies, The Wonderful World of Disney, The Mikey Mouse Club, etc., but lately we are seeing a shift in the morals that were once the hallmark of their productions. Yes, Jesus associated with sinners of all types, but he never condoned their actions. Purchasing a ticket is doing nothing but tending the fire so it can grow brighter in the future. Some times an old adage is appropriate, in this case, "If we stand for nothing we will fall for everything". You as an adult parent or grandparent may wish to overlook these subtle social advances, but it will be engrained in the minds of those who are young and impressionable. It's time we as Christians began to use the backbone God gave us. Rethinking is not the solution, revival of Christian ethics, morals, and values are the elements that will provide the solution.

America, or more broadly Christians, have become like the Church in Laodicea (Rev. 3: 14-22). Read it, refresh your memory, do a comparison, be honest, then tell me I'm wrong.

Spy
March 21, 2017

Rob, it is a few seconds of two men dancing together. Hardly an attempt of Disney to influence their young audience to be gay.

Children are not being indoctrinated. They can learn about something without being pressured into it. It's not like going to an airshow one day and wanting to be a pilot the next day. Sexuality is a spectrum from the arospecs and asexual (who have little to no desire) to heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and hyper sexuality. I made that last one up, but it's a fitting description for me.

I grew up in a Christian household, had worldly views hidden from me yet I have always gravitated towards same sex in my attraction and fantasies. I've been transgender since I was four years old. My strict upbringing was almost able to beat it out of me (that's just a metaphor).

I read TC views on homosexuality and I'm disappointed. I once read a fairly open minded article about transgender which helped me come out, but if you think we're all just disordered people then I don't know what I'm doing here. Sure, be nice to us, accommodate us but you're treating us like we are broken sinful creatures. And you thinkt hat's ok? You think we will eventually leave our sinful ways? You're as bad as my old church.

I can't wait to read this 'better story.' Oh yes, tell me how the cisgender and heterosexual life is so much better than mine. I'm just dying to know.

LGBQTI acceptance is society progressing. Going back to old traditional ways is regression. It will never happen. It's like those alt-right freaks trying to destroy multiculturalism. Never. Going. To. Happen.

By the way, the only good reason people have to boycott this movie is Emma Watson. Just kidding. I will see it, eventually. Poor casting choice as Belle though.

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