Franklin Graham joined the American Family Association in a boycott of Disney over its latest movie “Beauty and the Beast.” He posted the following to Facebook:
Disney has aired a cartoon with same-sex couples kissing. It has also been announced that their new movie “Beauty and the Beast” will feature a gay character in an attempt to normalize this lifestyle. They’re trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children—watch out! Disney has the right to make their cartoons, it’s a free country. But as Christians we also have the right not to support their company. I hope Christians everywhere will say no to Disney. I met Walt Disney when I was a young boy—he was very gracious to me, my father Billy Graham, and my younger brother when we visited. He would be shocked at what has happened to the company that he started.
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However, other Christians have made the argument that this boycott is highly hypocritical. The Christian Post interviewed Elliot Gladwin, co-creator of “Your Other Brothers,” recently.
“If you are this appalled and disgusted by a fictional character who may suggest a same-sex affinity, then how do you think real life people who struggle with same-sex attraction think you perceive them? When asked ‘Is homosexuality the worst sin?’ most Christians will respond with ‘Oh no, of course not, sin is sin. But by the response to this movie in both word and action, the Christian boycotters are saying loud and clear that homosexuality is the greatest of all sins — greater even than witchcraft and the occult.”
This incredibly successful move led to a record-breaking opening weekend, with the live-action film making almost $350 million worldwide; it was the number one PG, spring, and IMAX film opening ever.
Fundagelicals are known for their selective blacklisting of television shows and movies. In 1995, James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, singled out SpongeBob for his part in a music video to promote diversity. (I was personally condemned to hell for having this gay-promoting, evil sponge on my television once. It was…memorable.) Jerry Falwell Sr. called out Tinky Winky of the Teletubbies in 1999 for being gay; he was purple and communicated a “gay message.” Others include The Muppets, Harry Potter, The Beatles, and Martin Scorsese films.
As we have seen repeatedly, these boycotts never work. Part of it is the hypocrisy of it. I have watched R-rated movies full of language and violence with some of the same people who sign petitions over “movies that promote the LGBTQ lifestyle.” Another is the strict Evangelical Christian stance on this issue is becoming outdated very quickly. The best quote, however, comes from Jesse Carey:
Most of the time, when a Christian group organizes a boycott, it’s not over dangerous working conditions, child labor or environmental irresponsibility. It’s usually because of some perceived “attack” on a social value or religious belief. The problem with these pop culture boycotts is that they operate under the notion that certain people’s ideas are so superior to anyone else’s, that the others don’t even deserve to exist.
That is why it is impossible to take any of them seriously, bless their hearts.