Beauty and the Beast: What do we do?
Hey, its been a while since I've been in the blog world! I've missed it! I've had some time this week and thought I would write a post. There has been a lot of talk about the live action "Beauty and the Beast" that has hit theaters this week. Specifically the fact that the movie, according to the producer himself, will feature a homosexual character and scene. So should we watch this movie as Christians or not? I believe this is a very real question we should be asking and so I thought I would take a few minutes to write some thoughts.
So, I have to admit that the animated "Beauty and the Beast" was and still is one of my all time favorite Disney movies. The interesting characters, entertaining soundtrack, and the message of the movie made it one of the best in my mind. Even as an adult I find the film a moving and inspiring story. So it goes to reason that when I heard they were making a live action version of the film, I was ecstatic. As the premier got closer and closer and I kept seeing trailers for the movie, I became more and more excited about going to see my favorite animated tale come to life. Up till a week ago, I had planned to see it in theaters as soon as I could. Then came the reports about the homosexuality contained in the movie. My excitement changed to concern, anger, and confusion. I say all this to simply show that this issue is close to me and I have been wrestling with what I should do. Do I go to see this movie or not?
I'm still working this through my mind and heart. To be honest, I can't help but still wanting to go see the movie! I am drawn to it as I continue to see the trailers and here the reviews. Unfortunately, just because I feel like I want to see it doesn't give me the license to run to the theater. On the other side of things, I find myself thinking that I wouldn't want other Christians to judge me if I did decide to go. But my decision to go or not really shouldn't be based on what other people think, should it? There are Christians that I love and respect that are choosing to go see the movie, and others that have made the stand as to not go and see it. As I've thought things through, I will give you my thoughts below. I'm not judging you for whatever you decide to do, but I'll attempt to give some guidance!
It seems the core issue here is the fact that Disney is using a family film to normalize homosexuality. This isn't the first form of media to attempt to normalize homosexuality, but I think its about the fact that they are using a popular kids story to slip it in. To be honest, I would have been livid if I would have taken any of my kids to see this movie only to find that homosexuality was being marketed as acceptable and normal. I believe that the Bible makes it clear that homosexuality is a sin and is unnatural from creation (Romans 1:18-27) and I do not want my highly impressionable kids to think that it is a normal and acceptable way of life in the eyes of God. But that doesn't answer the question of whether a less impressionable older person as myself should go see the movie or not, does it?
Before I go any further, I want to talk about the normalization of sin in our culture and media. I'm sure it is true that the "Beauty and the Beast" film is normalizing sin. I understand that our knee-jerk reaction is to get angry with the media and boycott the movie. We will not stand for this normalization of sin! But we should wait just a minute before making a bold statement against this movie and be very careful about hypocrisy as it relates to this issue. What other outlets of media have we let normalize sin while we've stood by and done nothing? Our theaters are full of movies that normalize pre-marital sex, murder, pride, profanity, greed, revenge, hate, etc, etc, etc. Let alone the music, video games, and TV shows that normalize the same things. If I wanted to I could probably find at least one sin that is made to look acceptable in everyone's favorite secular movie. And I would even include kids movies!
I say all this just to make the point that before you decide to boycott "Beauty and the Beast" or sign a petition declaring your disgust that you should seriously consider what other movies, songs, TV shows, and video games you enjoy that you should also boycott and petition. It seems we live in a Christian culture that gets upset when something makes us uncomfortable but are comfortable will all sorts of things that we shouldn't be. We need to be careful not to set a standard in one place but not follow through in another. I would encourage all of us to consider that as we make our decision.
So where does that leave us? It would seem that I am saying that we should go to the movie, since we have gone to and will go to other movies that normalize sin. So in order to not be a hypocrite, we should go to the movie, right? Well, I think there are other things to consider as we make this decision. Below are a few questions I think we really need to think and pray about before we head to the theater.
1.) Will going to this movie hurt my testimony before unbelievers?
In Mathew 5:16 tells us that we should let the light of Christ shine through us as we live so that God will be glorified. Will going to the movie have a negative or positive affect on those people around us that don't know the light of Christ? I would say the answer to this question is not the same for all of us. But its not just those who don't know Jesus that we need to be concerned about...
2.) Will going to this movie put a stumbling block before my fellow believers?
Remember I said earlier that I shouldn't make a choice based on what other Christians think? Well, I'm not sure that statement is entirely true! As I look at 1 Corinthians 10:23-30 I see that God tells us that what we do or don't do isn't based on how we feel about it. Rather it is based on how our fellow believers feel about it. We should be willing to give up our "rights" in order to honor one another. How does this work out for us when it comes to "Beauty and the Beast"? We need to make sure that our decision to see it will not bring down any brothers and sisters in Christ, even if it is because they are weak in their faith. That leads me to the next question.
3.) Am I able to go to this movie with no doubt in my mind?
Romans 14:14-23 is abundantly clear that if we do something that in our hearts we feel is wrong that we are sinning. Paul tells us that even if we simply think something is unclean and we do it anyway, it is "not from faith" and "is sin". If you are finding yourself truly conflicted over this issue and if you go to the theater you know that you will feel uncomfortable with it, you shouldn't go. Its that simple. Even if your mind tells you that you are not supporting the sin, your doubt should keep you from violating your conscience. The issue of supporting sin is our last question.
4.) Is going to watch this movie condoning or supporting homosexuality or any other sin?
Finally, at the end of Romans 1, Paul says that "those who practice such things (including homosexuality in this case) are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." So by going to this movie are we "approving" of the sin? Is paying to see this movie supporting the pro-gay agenda? In most cases I would say that simply by attending a movie you are not really condoning or supporting the sin that is contained within it. However, in this case I have to give extra thought to this due to the fact that this issue has become a huge deal and garnered a ton of publicity. With all the hype, it could easily appear that by our attendance and money we are supporting and condoning the sin. Its a blurry line. As a side note...if you are seeking to bypass this question by waiting for the DVD to come out instead of going to the theater, you will give the same impression when you buy the movie when it does come out.
What then do we do? For myself, I have decided not to go out and see the movie. I'm not saying that you have to agree. As I worked through these questions I know that if I went my mind would be riddled with doubt. Therefore I will not go. As for what I will do when it comes out on DVD when I can rent it and bypass the homosexual scene or even watch it through a filter and skip it all together? I don't know yet...I should have a few months to think about it :).
Thanks for reading, may God bless you as you seek to live for His glory!
Romans 12:9: Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.