So here’s my question of the day. Why is it so important to us as Christians that we boycott or ban the new Disney movie Beauty and the Beast? I have read several articles cautioning us about the movie. Others articles have suggested that Christians boycott either the film in particular or Disney in general.
I get why Christians are concerned. There has been the much publicized “exclusively gay moment”. Plus the director, Bill Condon has made some statements indicating he is hostile to the Christian faith. As a result, many Christians are advocating that we boycott the movie.
However, can we pause and ask if boycotting movies is a good idea? My personal belief is this: boycotting Beauty and the Beast (or any other movie) is not a good use of a Christian’s time. Let me share a few reasons
1: The Streisand Effect
In 1989, FOX was preparing to cancel a showed called “Married. . . With Children.” The reason for canceling this show? Low ratings. No one was watching it.
Then a homemaker from Michigan saw an episode and was deeply offended by the content. She began arranging a national petition to get it taken off the air. The result, however, was that people became curious about the show and started watching it. The show became so popular it ran for another 11 seasons. The person organizing the boycott has since said that she realizes her efforts led to the show’s success.
What happened with “Married . . . With Children” has come to be known as the “Streisand Effect”. The basic idea is that the more we try to squash something, the more it spreads.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. Let’s learn from Gamaliel, if something is of human origin, it will eventually fail (see Acts 5:38)
2: Disney is NOT a Christian Company
Since when did Disney become a Christian company? When did we entrust them to uphold any particular set of morals or values? Furthermore, when did they accept this role?
Easy answer. They didn’t.
The Disney Company has never tried to be a Christian organization. In fact, here’s their mission statement:
The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world. (Source: http://www.thewaltdisneycompany.com/about/#our-businesses )
Their mission is to 1) be creative, 2) be innovative, and 3) be profitable. I have read this paragraph several times. I do not see any reference to Christian values. Or family values. Or positive values. In fact, I do not see any reference to any values or beliefs at all. They want to make creative entertainment that makes them lots of money. That’s it.
P.S. Please don’t think I am bashing Disney for their mission. They are a business. They are there to make money. Just like plumbers, doctors, and supermarkets.
But then, why are we shocked when they don’t adhere to our values? They never said they would.
3: Effective Witness is Not Defined in Boycott.
As Christians, we are faced with a critical question: How do we define our witness to the world? Do we define our witness by what we are against or what we are for?
If we are going to boycott this movie or Disney as a whole, we will define what we are against. However, if we do boycott Disney what are we standing for? Before any of us take this step, let’s make sure we can answer that question.
On the flipside, when we choose to go to any movie (or concert, show, etc.) what are you standing for? Our involvement in a given entertainment choice does say something about us. Have we given sufficient thought to what we stand for through our actions?
The Question to Consider.
I realize that there is a tension in Scripture we must balance.
First, Jesus said that we are to be present and functional in the world. Specifically, he prayed and asked his Father not to take his disciples out of the world, but that we would be protected (John 17:15). Part of our mandate then is to bring Jesus into places that can be dangerous for our faith. Boycotting a movie seems very safe for me, but very ineffective for my witness.
Second, we are to be different from the world around us. Jesus also said that we are to let our good works shine before others so they will be drawn to faith (Matthew 5:16). So we have to noticeably different from the people around us.
How do we balance this tension?
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