Recently I read several posts about people’s concerns regarding Disney’s newest remake of a classic love story. Of course, I wanted to know what the outrage was about, so I did some research. After reading articles written by critics who saw the movie, this was my conclusion: the character Lefou (who is gay in the original animation) simply gains more attention in the live-action remake, but the plot and purpose of the movie remain intact.
My family recently visited Lipscomb University Theatre to see the play Beauty and the Beast. One of my college students was performing (and they did an excellent job). Afterwards, my girls informed me they had never seen the original movie (I then remembered how old I was). When I saw the commercial for the remake, I immediately thought it would be a great way to spend some time with my twelve-year-old daughter. When the controversy originally arose, I immediately saw this as an opportunity to have a gospel conversation about culture and sexuality.
The movie was great! We both enjoyed the further character development of Belle, the visual effects, and the music. On the drive home, we discussed the plot and how I thought the movie had a good message: that in general, love goes deeper than what is seen on the outside. Belle understood that the beast was actually a man who had been cursed…and in time she learned to love the man behind the beast.
I asked Charis if she noticed anything interesting about Lefou. “No, not really.” This is important to realize: the movie doesn’t make his sexual orientation obvious unless you are aware of the controversy. I pointed out parts where it seemed some of the characters were attracted to the same gender. She remembered seeing those parts, but then quickly said, “I think Jane (her 8yr old sister) would just think they are being funny.” Of course, some of you are thinking: “SEE! They are slowly corrupting our children!” But, your child is already corrupted…that’s the sad part about this outrage. To think that a movie is going to cause your child to be gay is a mistake.
Inherent to this view is a false assumption. That is, to expect secular culture to have the same values as Christians when it comes to morality. Why would they? This isn’t a church-state. We live among people who are corrupted by the fall…as we are! The only difference is that we have been regenerated by the Spirit and given new life. We should not be shocked when an unbelieving culture expresses themselves according to their nature. I’m not shocked at all that Disney has chosen this direction.
When Adam disobeyed God in the garden, he corrupted humanity. We are all born under the influence of sin’s power. This power causes everyone to react against God’s original design—including his design for sexuality. Sex was created by God for his glory. Satan corrupted the original design and introduced numerous lies.
We often point to homosexuality as being the major problem in our culture, but this makes me wonder, why aren’t Christians protesting movies that have implied heterosexual sins or characters who are known for sleeping around (Disney’s Pirates or Iron Man). But when it’s the same gender, this is shameful? I explained to my daughter that sin has corrupted God’s intended design for sex. God gave us sexual desires that were intended to bring God glory within a covenantal relationship: marriage. The human condition now suffers under the lies of Satan. Men are attracted to men and women to women. This confusion is the result of the sinful human condition. As Christians, we should not judge someone or treat them differently but instead love them as fellow human beings. This conversation also allowed me to talk about sin in general. We all will suffer under sin’s effects. Everyone’s sin will look a little different. Some lie, some hate, some show anger, etc. The only way we are freed from being a slave to these impulses in us is through the gospel.
Simply because there are parts of the movie that we don’t agree with doesn’t remove any benefit or enjoyment. My daughter is going to be raised in a very different culture where sexual preferences become someone’s identity. I want her to love her co- worker, roommate, neighbor, or family member even if she doesn’t agree with their sexuality. Many of the college students I engage with today have had no positive biblical perspective on sexuality and now have friends/family members who embrace an alternative sexual life style. They begin to wonder if it truly is against God’s design.
Helping our children think through these topics will allow them to see the reality of the pain, but stay true to biblical convictions. I am not saying you must take your child to the next Disney movie that features a lesbian princess so they can learn this lesson, but we need to be better at engaging art in our culture for our own benefit instead of attacking the art in our culture. I want my daughter to be able to observe the effects of sin and demonstrate grace. We love sinners, because as fellow sinners, we have been loved by a holy God.