Over the past week I’ve seen lots of articles in regard to the upcoming live action interpretation about Disney’s Beauty And The Beast. Most of which contain an angry panic of evangelicals (like myself) complaining about the liberal agenda of The Big Mouse in the Sky, and how he’s normalizing the most horrendous sin to attack our culture today.
After reading that first paragraph you may be thinking that I myself and some crazy liberal person with beliefs such as the Scripture being fallible or something. But let me assure you, my hyperbole is strictly to get your attention. I am a Christian, a Calvinist, and a Reformed Covenant Child who grew up in a Christian home. My parents did not allow me to see all Disney movies as a child. I missed out on several including The Little Mermaid, Mulan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules.
This article’s purpose is to try and get my fellow Christians to stop for a moment and step back to look at this situation with an objective and Biblical view. I have 4 major points and some of them will spill over into tangents, but I will try to stay concise. If you are unsure of the meaning of some of my words, I invite you to contact me through my website or social media for more clarification as this is a touchy topic in Christendom today.
With that in mind, let us begin…
- Does sin in your story make the story sinful?
Homosexuality is becoming more normalized in our media every day. We see it in advertisements, TV shows, movies, news media, and more. Homosexuality is a sin by the Biblical standards set forth in every book of The Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Some people may argue this point with me, but I have a feeling most of the people who will read this article are fine with these points being the presuppositions for this argument.
In The Bible, and in all forms of Fictional literature on down through the centuries, we see this constant feature: Good Vs. Evil. Now, admittedly, in some modern stories they try to blur the lines between good and evil, but Good and Evil are constant through every story no matter what it is. Evil may not be a character or group of characters. Good might not be either. But it always exists. And it is the conflict between good and evil that compels us to not only continue writing the story, but to continue reading it too.
In stories, there MUST be a conflict. And in order to have a conflict, one must have sin. Therefore, if Jesus was right in creating fictional hypotheses to illustrate His Truth, and Nathan, Ezekiel, Jotham, and many others were as well, Then we have the ability to do so as well if God so leads us to do so by giving us talent in literary form and function, and giving us (fallible, non-canonical) inspiration for our tales.
Wow. That was a mouthful. Here’s a simple summary of what I said.
- Stories must have conflict.
- Conflict is a result of sin.
- Jesus and Christians have told stories for thousands of years.
- So it is not wrong to tell stories,
- And it is not wrong to put conflict and sin in your stories.
- Is Disney wanting to promote Homosexuality/Is Disney promoting homosexuality?
Let me be clear on one thing before I continue on to this point. There is no company that has it’s own agenda. Individual people have agendas, companies do not. If you’d like more clarification on this topic, you can contact me via my website or social media.
Higher-ups at Disney have fluctuated on their position in regard to homosexuality over the years. I say this not because individuals have changed their minds, but because positions within the company have changed so much. Many of the higher ups at Disney have (In interviews) stated a very basic personal belief that they are not a part of LGBT communities but do not mind them as long as homosexuals and their lifestyle do not affect their own. Some have been in support or largely in support. Some have stood on the Bible and their convictions and some have pressed to militarize the propagandic message of their sinful lifestyle. But just like it is in real life with many different people on many different sides of this argument, the same is true within the employ of Disney itself.
Now, Disney’s executives have decided to (more often than not) give creative control to those who would push a liberal and progressive agenda upon their audience. Telling individuals to follow their heart, promoting acceptance of despicable behavior and more. But they have also continued to promote ideas that stem from the Christian worldview, and are copied and mimicked by almost every religion on the planet. Ideas of fidelity, steadfastness, courage, and redemption.
So on a macro-level, are Disney’s executives pushing homosexuality and the normalization of homosexuality upon their viewers in a way that is contrary to Scripture?
Yes. They are.
Is Disney as a company consistent in their rebellion against God in creating stories that are pure perversions and mockeries of truth? Are they only hiring baby-sacrificing monsters who subliminally put “Hail Satan” into every frame of their movies in order to bring about a New Mouse Order?
Of course not.
- How then should we act/react?
With all of this framework, we finally reach the main question at hand. How should we react when Disney hands us a gay character and says they’re happy to promote it? How should we react to the news we’ve heard about Josh Gad’s portrayal of Le Fou in Beauty And The Beast?
Well first of all, we should take everything we hear in regard to the upcoming movie with a grain of salt. Entertainment news sources always try to find the “juicy details” to drop into their magazines to stir up controversy. We should filter everything we hear in any context through the lens of Scripture. If something is being said that is objectively sinful, we should declare it as such and act accordingly.
I have yet to see the movie. I do plan on seeing it because the original Beauty And The Beast is a beautiful movie and one of my favorites. It was made by the likes of Glen Keane, a Christian animator who self-admittedly puts Christian themes of sin and redemption in almost all his work, and men like Howard Ashman, a raging homosexual who died from AIDS and didn’t get to see the film finished. And yet, Ashman, despite his sin was gifted by God to produce lyrics and songs that are so witty and profound that we’re still singing them years later.
As I watch the new Beauty And The Beast live-action film, I will be looking for objective (Explicit and Implicit) examples of this normalization of homosexuality. I will also be looking for those wonderful themes of sin and redemption. Whatever combination I get of these things will determine my personal opinion on the movie. The meta-textual word of actors and directors will factor minimally. In fact, they almost won’t factor at all.
With all this in mind, Le Fou is a villain. He is a bad guy. And bad guys in films are not generally portrayed as good and desirable paragons of virtue. Sometimes they are, and sometimes movies have the villains and heroes completely reversed. Sometimes they have relativistic heroes who are just a “little bit better than the villains.” What’s more, Le Fou is traditionally a comedic sidekick of a villain, and his name literally means: “The Fool.” If we are going to have a homosexual character in a Disney story, I’d say Le Fou is probably the most obvious choice.
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [f]effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
The Bible calls these people fools. Fools for not loving Wisdom and fearing The Lord.
- How should we address homosexuality in Film and Culture?
To answer this question in a short, concise way is kind of a dumbed-down Sunday School answer. We, like Wisdom in Proverbs 1 cry out to the World for repentance.
“How long, O [g]naive ones, will you love [h]being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?
23 “Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
24 “Because I called and you refused,
I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;
25 And you neglected all my counsel
And did not want my reproof;
26 I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,
27 When your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord.
30 “They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.
31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.
32 “For the waywardness of the [i]naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
33 “But he who listens to me shall [j]live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
Different people will speak this in different ways. Consumers must “vote” with their wallet. They must seek out media that promotes good things and PAY for them. They must speak well of good films and speak ill of bad films. They must accurately portray the good and the evil contained within a specific tale, and receive a piece of literature as-is before judging it. I realize this is hard, and doing your research on a film before-hand could even spoil it for some people. But remember also, The Bible says it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out.
Creators should study good works. Not just works that have an excellent moral outlook, but those who despite their moral flaws excellently execute a tale with technical finesse. And once having studied, they should seek to create the most beautiful and quality works of storytelling they can possibly accomplish, accurately and poignantly portraying all that God has given us to observe in this life.
It is not enough to boycott every movie with a non-Biblical agenda. It is not enough to simply boycott storytelling altogether. God has made us Christians to be in the world but not of it. He made us humans imitators of him who enjoy to create and to experience creation. With that said, here are some excellent Biblical alternatives for entertainment that I believe are striving to do well with their creative talents, and I would ask you to promote and consider giving to monetarily so that they might continue to serve God with their particular talents.
(I’ve included myself in this list not because I believe I am on-par creatively with all of the people on this list, but because I am seeking to do as good or better than everyone on this list.)
Burns Family Studios
IndyVFX by Benjamin Curlee
Illiad House by Phil Lollar
Phil Vischer (The Creator of Veggietales)
Rhyme And Space by Joshua David Ling
Story 2 Screen Podcast by Chris Reyes
The Nehemiah Foundation
The Rabbit Room
I’m not here to tell you if you should see this (or any other) film or not. If Beauty and The Beast is anything like the original movie, and If you decide you should see it, despise Gaston and Le Fou for being self-serving schemers and scoffers who would seek to get their own way through sinful and nefarious means. Laugh at the silliness of the side-characters and their goofy and entertaining ways, Cry and grieve at the curse and death of Prince Adam (The Beast) And marvel in the resurrection and redemption that could only be accomplished through the power of true love. A love that is a pale shadow of the vast and fantastical love we have only through The Blood of Christ.