Should You Go See the New Beauty and the Beast?

Reflections on the wisdom of boycotts and the need for consistency

Beauty and the Beast and Christians

Below is an email I sent my children regarding the new live version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  I hope it is useful to you as you think through what your heart and mind is exposed to in all your media intake.  It might also be helpful for y0u to view this Real Truth Real Quick which talks about people of faith and whether or not it makes sense to participate in boycotts. I am not advocating a boycott of a corporation here, but did ask my kids to consider stepping aside from taking in this particular movie at this particular time for the purpose of communicating a message to a company that markets intentionally to families and children.  Watch the Real Truth Real Quick on boycotts, read what I wrote to my family and be wise in leading yourself and yours.

To my Arrows,

If you read the article I provide a link to in the next paragraph, I think you will begin to understand why I won’t be taking you or encouraging you to go see the new live version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which is a bummer because I bet it is going to be great.

This article/post is worth your reading just for the references to Gitlin and McCluhen’s work and words on how media intake impacts all of us. I agree it is our “matrix” (another movie I don’t think any of us have ever seen…but probably should if we can get vid angel working again!).

Media and our constant exposure to its content, undeniably desensitizes us to certain behaviors, ideas and images.  Constant exposure to things normalize them and I am sure influence our sensibilities and perceptions. It is why Paul tells us to “transform our mind” with constant exposure to God’s word, and not be conformed to the way of the world”.

The “gay reference” in Beauty and the Beast is subtle and I am not at all suggesting that this movie “will make anyone gay” (if anything it is a stereotype and probably offensive to many gay people.) If what I have read about the movie is correct, the extent of LeFou’s actual “gay behavior”, beyond his infatuation and flirtation with Gaston who according the director “one day wants to be and on another day wants to kiss him”, is a short scene at the end of the movie (apparently all of 3 seconds) where there is a quick switch made in a group dance where the gay character dances with another man briefly instead of a girl.  The actual scenes with LeFou have NOTHING to do with my asking you to think through the wisdom in passing on rushing out to see this movie. My suggestion has nothing to do with you being exposed to explicit images, but it does have everything to do with letting Disney know we are not supportive of their choice to advance, in a movie made for children and families, the normalization of a choice that is destructive to individuals who experiment with or embrace it.

Disney is definitely and actively pro okay with gay.  As I recently tweeted out to others, we didn’t need this movie to know they (or teen vogue) were trying to normalize and encourage same sex relationships because they already have done far worse. Making LeFou gay in this story is intentional because it is so obviously unnecessary. Disney is free to do what they want, but I personally want to let them know they can do what they want without my encouraging them by making their choice profitable.  I am not surprised Disney is doing this, they have never represented themselves as anything less than a company motivated by profit and peace with the ways of the world, and I don’t think they should be surprised that people who believe in the beauty of God’s design, and who have payed attention to the destruction of ignoring it, are saddened by it.

My prayer is that believers everywhere, and you especially, are as discerning and prudent with all of your entertainment, media and music intake and not just open to missing this movie. I am confident you know the enemy would be THRILLED if you skipped seeing Beauty and the Beast to send Disney a message but then gladly let your heart accept other messages because they came from the likes of Netflix or Spielberg, Marvel, Drake, Beyoncé, Lovato, Bieber, One Direction, Mayer, Modern Family, Advertisements while watching sports, West Wing reruns, Prison Break, Breaking Bad, The Office, Gilmore Girls, Gomez, etc…

That said, I DO think Disney, because of its family friendly reputation and younger target demographic, is and should be held to a higher standard than even other entertainment providers.  And if Disney should, so should we, because we, by God’s grace, are His people and therefore should love what He loves.

Praying for your discernment and prudence in all things. May you guard your heart with all diligence and be careful with what your “little (and big) ears hear” so your heart always and increasingly loves what is good and hates what is evil.

Praying you have the heart of the King in Psalm 101.

Prov 4:23, Phil 4:8, Prov 22:3,

Dad

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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32 thoughts on “Should You Go See the New Beauty and the Beast?

  1. Thank you for taking a stand. I have often felt too “overprotective” as I have shielded my own children from many cultural “norms.” I finally found that if I thought I was being overprotective of the messages I give our children, how much more so is the media in instilling its own agenda. Instead, I will flood them with truth and pray that they use discernment in their future decisions. Just a few of my thoughts: http://anupstreamlife.com/the-messages-we-give-our-children/

  2. Hopefully this will go just go to you. I agree with what you have expressed here and will be sharing it with my friends. I noticed a few typos and thought you would like to know.
    let your heart except (I think you meant accept)
    because of it’s family (should be its)

        • Sorry Rex. I am not often checking the comments section of this blog and when I do I have to scroll through hundreds of spam entries. Your earlier question is up now. Thanks for your patience.

  3. As christian who faces this issue in my own life it is so disheartening to hear you call being gay a choice. You don’t know me but the messages and posts from you over the years on this topic have been far and away the most destructive influence in my life. I know you are a caring God-fearing person who is trying speak truth to a dark world, but in this I have seen few results other than devastation in the lives of many dear friends at Watermark in a similar position as mine.

    • Dan…thank you so much for your comment. I’d love to visit with you off line and understand more of how the things you “have heard me say” has been damaging to you. If you listen to my RTRQ on “conversion therapy” http://realtruthrealquick.com/gay-conversion-therapy/ or is the “LGBTQ movement the new civil rights movement” http://realtruthrealquick.com/lgbtq-civil-rights-movement/ or “has the church failed the LGBTQ community” http://realtruthrealquick.com/church-failed-lgbtq-community/ you will hear it said that while being gay may or may not be a person’s choice…acting on our desires always is. I know that is hard for all of us to hear…but it is true for all of us. Lord knows there are many desires in my life that I need to not follow…many of which I feel like I have no choice in. Let me know if you would like to chat and thanks for your comment. pastoraloffice@watermark.org

      • Todd, you need look no further than your purposefully incenderary post on LGBT rights. We know you’re trying to pick a fight and deride people for your vanity. You’re secret is out.

        We see how you carefully cull responses to suit your goal and delete reasonable posts from “opposing views” and instead show the inflamed ones. It plays into your Satanic need to flame judgment. I’ll pray for you because you’re not creating love and forgiveness, you’re distributing sewage out to the world. God will not smile on it and never has.

        • I’m not sure I would post your comment if you were right in your assumptions that I carefully cull responses to “suit my goal”.

          I don’t want to pick a fight Rex but would love to share a cup of coffee. Let me know if grabbing some time together could serve you.
          You might want to check this video out by a friend of mine. He has some encouragement that may serve you well. If nothing else jump to 12 minute mark and watch what he has to say from 12-15 minute mark.


          Peace.

          • Todd, I would be glad to share coffee with you. I think you’ll find me to be reasonable, caring and reflectively open communication. I’m not sure you grasp the hurt, death and damaging spiritual ramification the stances churches take and have taken again all kinds of minorities, including people subjected to your post. I would consider it an honor to commune about it, with you. You have my permission to reach out via the email under my account.

          • By the way, I meant to phrase the action of satanic judgement under the conveyance of Judgement being satanic, and want to make sure you did not think that was meant toward you personally.

  4. Our boys were in high school during the clinton impeachment hearings. Without specifically recalling the details of his dalliances, I counseled my boys that while the text of his testimony was available, it would not be to their benefit to read it, as many of their friends in school were. I likened it to lifting weights before it was time, as a young person. It would hurt them, not help them. They wisely listened to my advice. I am so thankful you tell your kids (aka arrows!) the truth. It will stay with them for their entire lives.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this article and shared it. I am divorced and my ex does not see this the way I do. All I could do was instruct my kids and then they would have to make the decision on this. Thank you for the words you spoke and how I actually learned from it myself about some of the things in my own life. Really enjoy your sermons

    • Joel, this is nothing personal. But perhaps it will give you an idea of how a LGBT would feel by Todd’s post. I’m wondering if you’ve done a deep dive into what the bible and Jesus states about divorce? Do you think children should watch anything that includes a person that is divorced in it? There is certainly a lot in the bible specifically against it, which would parallel Todd’s concerns. Todd, I’m wondering what your thoughts are here? Should people like Joel be seen by children in movies or on TV? Is there a risk of them becoming divorcee’s if they do?

    • Todd and Joel, here are the biblical references for divorce: Matt:1:19, 19:8-9, 19:6-7 & 5:31-32, Luke 16:18, Mark 10:2-12, Romans 7:2-3, I Corinthians 7:39 & 7:11-13, Ephesians 5:33, Hebrews 13:4 and around 10 others in the Old Testament. I’m wondering if our children should be exposed to this topic in media or let it be shown to be normalized?

      • I sure hope Disney doesn’t make a movie normalizing, celebrating it or even subtely begin to suggest it is a good and acceptable path to freedom, self-fulfillment and joy. So no, it should not be normalized. Kids know divorce is destructive…as i think they innately know living contrary to most of God’s revealed will is destructive (See Romans 2). I think this means we agree :).

        As I have said OFTEN…the church has failed to teach a biblical view of family and marriage long before media and culture began celebrating other life-style choices as life-giving.

        • Even though I was blessed to have parents that never divorced, I agree that in some cases is can be a very destructive for everyone involved, and primary for the children. Of course, like just about anything, there is another side to it. Sometimes it’s very important to avoid death, physical abuse, sure mistreatment, and needed danger to children or spouses. Not all people get along all the time. And I agree with you that the church does not teach enough about it, because the word is very clear about it, and Jesus himself spoke of it clearly.

          Churches have a sad history of discriminating against women that were many times forced to divorce for their own safety and safety and wellbeing of their children. I recall many baptist churches rejecting women from membership at their churches. So this is an interesting conundrum for the church in general. And It’s interesting how much more vitriolic they are against gays and lesbians considering.

  6. Todd, unless you took the time to watch the movie, perhaps you might leave your critique to those that have? All I’ve heard from 100% of patrons is how inspiring and touching it is. Besides, who’s never heard (for example) of a restaurant critic making worthy assessments of food without even tasting it?

    There are few things more telling, and unChristian, than a person that passes judgement on others, or the content of something without even bothering to observe or “know” them. Even then, we are told not to judge. And your statement like “it won’t make anyone gay” is a side reference to saying that watching some things or some people will. We get your veiled but resoundingly disproven point.

    Will watching Pete Delkus do the weather make a person straight? If so, you may have your miracle cure! A need to pass judgment on others not understood, or creative content not even watched is frightful and potentially very harmful. And it’s starkly in contrast to the heart of Christ and his constant call not to pass judgement. I pray you’ll read more of the words of Christ, as I noticed you did not reference any of his words in your movie critique.

    Which brings me to a question, since you seem so fond of the Old Testament in this post:

    The Bible is full of the mass killing of babies, molestation, murdering women, cutting up their body parts and spreading them abroad, rape, incest, revered leaders with multiple wives and concubines (that’s short for sex slaves), destroying cities, killing brothers, sexuality between father and daughter and (sorry but it’s true) a relationship between David and Jonathan that certainly seems more “gay” than anything in Beauty and the Beast.

    How do you reconcile encouraging others to read the Old Testament with all that sin in it? Considering your censorship of an uplifting, fun-loving movie that teaches us not to judge – and to love others that others do not – it’s very confusing. With it’s message of love and embracing those rejected, Isn’t the movie really enforcing the precepts and teachings of Christ? Well, I could go on but I think you get the point. The irony of it all just left me puzzled. Much blessings upon you, Todd.

    • Rex, thanks for your comment. I think I am pretty clear in my post about what I know to be in the movie and that fact that I don’t think the reason to potentially avoid it has nothing to do with content you will actually see.
      I agree there is much in the Beauty and the Beast story that is redemptive and I loved the first Disney adaptation of it as I am sure I would love this one (see some of my first words in the letter to my kids). What I am not fond of is Disney intentionally inserting in this movie, made for a young audience, a character who longs for happiness in a destructive choice. See: http://www.watermark.org/message/4 I don’t think 99% of the kids who see the movie would even perceive that, but I do believe Disney thinks it would be fine if they did. I do not.

      We are not called to be judgmental but we must make judgments. Please watch this. http://realtruthrealquick.com/what-does-the-bible-mean-when-it-says-judge-not-lest-you-be-judged/

      As to your question about the Bible being full of mass killings this message may help you. http://www.watermark.org/message/284
      Here is a short video that talks about polygamy which we both agree is a problem. http://realtruthrealquick.com/is-polygamy-ok/ which I hope may be helpful to you.

      Thanks for jumping in on the discussion.

      • Todd, thank you for your response. And I appreciate you sending all these links, but I don’t watch your video’s because I’m making a judgement call in advance – and without seeing them – that you’re using them to spread things unworthy of Christ. 😉 I’m a Christian that hopes you’re spending your considerable influence speaking from the loving word of Christ and not from the bias or bigotry of “man.”

        • Thanks Rex…Hard to have conversations if we are not committed to hearing each other. Proverbs 18:2 and Proverbs 18:13 are instructive to me when I feel like making a judgment call in advance.
          Peace. Let me know if you want to grab a cup of coffee sometime. Pastoraloffice@watermark.org is best way to reach me.

  7. By G-d, YES, go see it! I just cannot believe you are so stupid you didn’t notice that the character Le Fou in the 1991 animated film ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was gay. Really?! Everyone knew! He’s a campy gay icon we all can relate to. I think your problem is that you’re way stuck in the closet. Only deeply closeted gay men think sexual identity is a personal choice. The only choice is to be true to yourself and G-d, or, not. There’s your choice. Le Fou got his beaux at the ball at the castle in the finale of the film and it was touching and sweet. It’s not like Disney has them kiss or anything, but just let them dance fabulously. Lighten up.

      • Todd, we appreciate you trying to push your videos. But like you with Beauty and the Beast, we are concerned about the content of them and the harm they do to normal, loving, God created humans – especially children. They also may do extreme and horrible harm to adults grappling with overcoming the bigotry of society and some churches. I would strongly urge parents to keep their children away from them. They may be especially harmful to children that are coming to grips with how God naturally formed them in the womb, or facing an avalanche of judgement and hate from people that profess to know Christ. Beyond some extreme churches, it’s comforting to know that every major science and fact based study and doctors organization that deals with child birth, child formation and child rearing are in support of and believe that being gay is not a choice but by wonderful design.

        • Rex…I don’t think your last sentence is correct. I do however think there are some sad representations of “church” (see also Westboro Baptist) that have likely influenced your perception of what Jesus’s church believes about this issue. Contrary to what Westboro, and others like them have said, God does not hate indviduals, no matter their choices. He does however, hate sin’s destructive influence in the lives of those He loves. As I often have had to tell many of my friends. God does hate divorce (Malachi 2:16) but He does not hate the divorcee.

  8. I understand the reasons you would want your kids to hear music and see movies that praise God and help them grow in faith and love. I agree, I don’t like Disney at all. I have no plans to see this movie. Disney has a way of making movies that kill off a main character leaving the children alone. I hated taking my nephews to the movies just waiting to see who would die. As they got older it became a joke. When someone died in a movie they would ask if it was a Disney film. I stopped taking them to all Disney films years ago. What message did it send that some horrible tragedy always struck. I’ve never seen the original Beauty and the Beast because lets face it, why would a person fall in love with a giant animal? It was creepy. So I still have no desire to see it now. But for no other reason than that. I am with you on how I choose to spend my money, I will only buy products that are made responsibly. I will pay more for locally made. And I will not pay for music that does not honor God. I also have a big issue with the commercials that play during a sporting event when they know fathers are watching with their sons (who are usually very young). They should be ashamed at what they are selling because it is not the product, but a barely clothed woman. Making it hard for a family man to watch sports with his so In fact the only issue I take with your message is your statement “the normalization of a choice that is destructive to individuals who experiment with or embrace it.”

    Basically saying gay is a choice and the media is normalizing it. Whether or not that is true I will not argue that fact. But lets talk about it in God’s eyes. Lets say it is a choice, lets not forget that the two men hanging next to Jesus on the cross chose to be murderers and thieves. We could look at other choices made in the Bible that were not the best as well. Look at King David, God’s chosen, he chose to take the wife of another man then have that man killed. Now there is much more to that story but you already know that. God still gave him a kingdom. There are many more choices in the Bible just like these where God still gives His favor and forgiveness. So even if, as you say, it is a choice these men and women still have God’s favor. The same as you and me. We are ALL God’s children and He will never turn His back on any of us, no matter what we choose to do. The only unforgivable sin is to deny Him. And the Bible does not say that being gay is denying God.

    • Jill…thanks for your comment. Sorry I don’t understand your concern about my statement regarding the danger of normalizing destructive choices. Perhaps further clarification will help me respond. As to David and others who clearly made decisions offensive to God, this short video http://realtruthrealquick.com/is-polygamy-ok/ may be helpful to you.

  9. I may be wrong but I don’t believe Todd has ever said that being gay is an individual’s choice. Ask any Christ follower who deals with homosexual feelings and they will be the first to tell you that those feelings are anything close to a choice. As for advising people not to go see Beauty and the Beast, I greatly appreciate Todd’s stand on this issue. This is a movie primarily for children, and even if it is too subtle for many younger children to grasp, I feel that as believers we should not financially encourage companies like Disney to celebrate behavior that the Word makes clear is detrimental to a loving Father’s will and plan for our lives. Time and again the Bible makes clear that sexual sins are particularly grievous to God b/c of their far reaching and destructive consequences. Thank you, Todd, for encouraging parents to always strive to put honoring God and His Word first and foremost in all our choices.

  10. Hey Todd! Is your staff aligned together? At The Porch on Tuesday (2 days ago) the Christian leaders that mentioned Beauty and the Beast spoke positively on it. They are your employees, so I was a bit lost because I was also at church during your sermon. I’ll specifically cite Shane during worship who spoke of how as the father of 3 daughters Beauty and The Beast was a big deal. Many in the audience raised their hands to affirm watching the new Disney movie. I felt like as a body of believers we all enjoyed the movie because we saw good human qualities in it. What is your opinion on so many Christians and Watermark members loving this movie? I think there are glimpses of Christ-like behavior even in this secular film.

    • Hey “College kid”…I don’t know if Shane saw my post or not but I am guessing we are totally aligned.
      Meaning: 1.) We both love the story in general 2.) I am sure Disney did a great job with it from a production standpoint. 3.) I am sure there were some noble qualities expressed in the film. 4.) I am not surprised that many people enjoyed the movie. AND I imagine Shane agrees with me that is unfortunate that Disney is on a quest (complicity or intentionally) to normalize and encourage behavior destructive to the human experience. Where all of us fall out potentially differently (Romans 14:22) is on how best to respond to the challenges of interacting with the world around us. For instance I think Shane has chosen to not drink Starbucks coffee as a matter of conscience for him given some choices the company makes…I respect his reason for that and he I am guessing doesn’t think my occasional Americano is an assault on the faith. Likewise…as I said in this post, my choice to not rush out and see this film (I never said I would never see it and my little girls aren’t so little anymore so probably easier for me to wait or miss altogether) was what I believed was a SMALL yet proper way to let Disney know that I was disappointed (not surprised) by their choice. A movie I would have almost certainly taken my girls to on a Daddy/daughter date we decided to pass on for at least the first few weekends (which I know are exceedingly important to movies) as an opportunity to show my concern and lack of support for their “giving in” or “embracing” a deterioration in our culture. Hope that helps.