I love Disney. I even wrote a book entitled “If Disney Ran Your Children’s Ministry.”
If you look back at the history of Disney, you will see that Walt’s goal was to create experiences that were family friendly. In fact, the idea of Disney Land came to him while he was watching his two daughters ride the carousel in L.A.’s Griffith Park. There, he began to imagine a clean, safe, friendly place where parents and children could have fun together!
After Walt’s death, we have seen the company gradually move toward being a proponent for the LGBTQ community. Today’s definition of “family” is far different than what it was when Walt was living.
And it’s not just the Disney company that is giving a thumbs up to same-sex relationships. Our society as a whole is moving quickly toward not just accepting same sex relationships, but promoting them and celebrating that lifestyle.
There is a lot of controversy stirring right now as Disney has brought same-sex content into a movie that is being branded as “family-friendly.” The upcoming feature film “Lightyear” stars Chris Evans as the real-life inspiration for the “Toy Story” character Buzz Lightyear.
The film incorporates a significant female character who is in a meaningful relationship with another woman. While the fact of that relationship was never in question at Pixar studio, a kiss between the characters had been cut from the film. Following the uproar surrounding the Pixar employees’ statement and Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, however, the kiss was reinstated into the movie last week.
So how should we, who are ministering to children and their families, respond to this situation? Here are my thoughts about how to navigate this.
Remember that Disney is not a Christian company. I think we often expect companies that are not Christian to have Christian values. There are a lot of Christians that work for Disney, but they are not a Christian company. Should we expect them to uphold all of our Christian values?
It is the parents’ job to mold and shape their children’s world views. Parents must be prepared to talk with their children about these matters and guide them to a Christian world view.
We must influence the biggest influencers. For ministers, it is not appropriate for us to have these conversations with children in their elementary years. That is the job of their parents. Our role is to equip parents to have these conversations.
Parents of younger children must decide if they want to completely avoid the controversy or expose their children to it. If they choose to expose their children to it, they should be prepared to talk with their children about it and share why it goes against God’s plan for love and marriage.