Opinion: Boycotting “Beauty and the Beast” and accusations of hypocrisy


I try to stay out of the political/cultural battles but I’d like to chime in on this one.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” opened at movie theaters on March 16th and immediately created a lot of controversy because the movie featured the first gay character in one of the company’s feature films. When I heard the news I just shook my head with sadness. Today’s young children are being inundated with situations and behaviors that I didn’t hear about until I was in my teens back in the 70s. Some evangelical leaders, most notably Franklin Graham, called for a boycott of the film because of the gay character.

In the article below, openly-gay writer and pundit, Jonathan Merritt, accuses evangelicals of being raging hypocrites. He states that many of them will boycott the Disney movie but noted that in last November’s presidential election, 81% of white evangelicals voted for a “thrice-married serial liar (Donald Trump) who has bragged about bedding married women and has admitted to grabbing women’s genitals without permission.” He suggests that rather than boycotting the film and other such endeavors, Christian parents should focus on teaching their children to “understand and coexist alongside people who might not share their beliefs and practices.”

My wife and I were members of a fundamentalist church back in the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic was breaking news and the pastor attacked homosexuality from the pulpit frequently and with ferocity. That was at the peak of the Jerry Falwell/Moral Majority-led culture war battles. How successful were Falwell and his supporters? As we now know, American society has become increasingly secularized since then. Professing evangelical Christians make up maybe only 15-20% of the population and that number dips far lower up here in the Northeast (5% here in Rochester, NY).

Are Christians hypocrites for supporting Trump and boycotting Disney as Merritt claims? I could understand why it might appear that way. But evangelicals could justify their support for Trump by claiming he was the better of two very poor candidates and that his public platform was much more in-line with their values than Hillary’s. Also, it’s somewhat an apples to oranges comparison. Christian parents aren’t bringing their young children to theaters to see movies about Trump’s adulterous affairs but they are concerned that sinful “lifestyles” are being presented to their children from an increasing number of sources as legitimate alternatives to the traditional family.

The widely-accepted myth of America as a “Christian nation,” as if it was in a special covenant relationship with God like ancient Israel, was without any foundation. Nations can’t become Christian, only individuals can. We still see the remnants of the mingling of religion with national patriotism but only a small minority of Americans believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 2017. At this point there’s no pretending that American society is anything other than largely secular and even anti-Christian. Given the current realities, I’m convinced Christians in America should focus on spreading the Gospel in this country rather than trying to defend a former political/cultural status quo that was never really what it was trumped up to be anyway.


Flaming hypocrisy in evangelical Disney boycott

25 thoughts on “Opinion: Boycotting “Beauty and the Beast” and accusations of hypocrisy

  1. I think that if America is a “Christian nation,” it’s one that we have designed and built for ourselves. I remember several years ago when there was a law of some type or another that politicians were trying to get passed. The main argument was that it needed to be passed because we need to be good Samaritans and take care of our neighbors. That just struck me as using the government to take the place of the church. It’s sort of like we as a nation have taken the principles that Christ taught us, but warped them in such a way that they have been incorporated into our laws, but not in a good way…in a way that tries to make the work of the church into the work of the government. (As a result, we can say, “I’m not helping that poor person. I’ve paid my taxes. Let the government help them.”) Maybe another example is sort of like “changing hearts and minds” for a democracy similar to the U.S.’s rather than changing hearts and minds for Jesus Christ. I’m not sure if that makes a great deal of sense or not, but thanks for a thoughtful post!

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  2. In other words, not reflective of Christ, just the way we want Christ to be for our own desires. Maybe that makes a little more sense?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the comments, John. I agree with you. Colonial America started out with numerous local and state theocracies but an abstract “belief in God” soon replaced saving faith in Jesus Christ. As you say, faith became institutionalized.

      This is a very touchy subject for many American Christians who still cherish the concept of America as a “Christian nation.” A democratic government can’t legitimately sanction the religious beliefs of one particular group over the beliefs of others. We need to focus on spreading the Gospel rather than getting tangled up in political battles.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “The widely-accepted myth of America as a “Christian nation,” as if it was in a special covenant relationship with God like ancient Israel, was without any foundation. Nations can’t become Christian, only individuals can.”

    Hi Tom

    We are teaching this quarter on God’s judgment of Israel in the OT, and often mention the covenant relationship He had with them. As I was trying to take the lesson from our quarterly and apply it to us today, I decided to toss that very hand grenade in the room during my class. I think some people found it rather shocking to hear, but it led well into my point which was that today God’s relationship is with each of us as individuals, and not our nation as a whole.

    FYI, I didn’t vote for Hillary OR Trump LOL. I found either one of them beyond the pale of my conscience even if wanted the “lesser of two evils.” I was a Darrel Castle guy! Not looking for a political discussion there, just tossed it in for the heck of it really. But, I did use our president as part of the application to personal action based of faith and discussed that Trump will never save us….but his being in office might actually be a chance for us to work freely for a few years, and we really ought to take advantage of it.

    LOL…I did about as much “preaching” that morning in class as teaching. I have habit of that, actually.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Wally. Yup, Americans really cherish the “God & country” tradition but they generally don’t want to hear about Jesus and the Gospel. I appreciate a brother who shares the same view because I think most Christian Americans would consider this post blasphemy.

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      1. Well..and please don’t misunderstand. I am actually extremely patriotic.I love this country, literally was willing to take a bullet for her…but it’s not necessarily part of my faith. I sort of tread easy on the subject, because it is dear to many people. If I raise it, it is because it fits with a lesson, and I make sure my teaching is sound and Biblically based.

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      2. No problem, Wally. Yes, I understand your views on patriotism from our previous discussions. I just meant that we share a similar view on mixing faith with patriotism.


      3. LOL! Yes, 40,001! But ours will no doubt be the closest to the pure doctrine of the 40 AD New Testament church!!! So where do we incorporate? New York or Arkansas?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oddly enough, our own fields are pretty ripe too, but the problem is people don’t know it. EVERYBODY down here would claim to be Christian for the most part, and most probably belong to some church. Joining the family church is almost a rite of passage in this area, and is often quite meaningless.

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      5. Up here, you’re an “oddball” if you go to church. Down there, you’re an “oddball” if you don’t go to church but personal faith in Christ may be missing. Yeah, there’s the danger of church life being so familiar and comfortable that a person may miss their own need for Jesus completely.

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      6. Yep..and honestly that person is a tougher conversion endeavor than the raging heathen is. Even when I was one of those raging heathens I knew that, if there was a God, He would sure reject me, and I didn’t care honestly. The person who thinks they have become deserving somehow…that can be a problem.

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  4. Incidentally, my 17 yr old and her boyfriend went to see the movie. We talked a bit about what was there, and left it up to her; she is pretty well grounded in her faith. On the other hand, I would not have taken my small children to see it way back when I had some, as that topic is too mature for them.

    I am actually quite disappointed with Disney on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good post brother. I think we must remember how unchristian most of our society and culture is, with things like this movie being a marker of that truth. How we need to evangelize in this dark and sinful world

    Liked by 1 person

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