As you may have heard, for the first time, Disney has produced a live-action film with a gay character. Social media and blog sites will be filled with comments about it for the next weeks. Coming off a great apologetics conference this weekend I am more assured than ever that how biblical Christianity responds to the film, Disney and others is as important as what words of truth we respond with.
I am not exactly sure what our response should be, but it should not be any different that how we respond to other sinful behaviors. If you feel convicted to boycott Disney and their products you might want to be careful who you tell. Are you prepared to keep your word even after the hype dies down? A person without Christ may not understand your motives and modifying a person’s behavior should not be our first concern, their salvation is. Not to mention it is not our job, it is the role of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps a silent boycott would be better and reconsider not uploading the video of you running over your Disney movie collection with the lawnmower.
Here are a few thoughts for believers to consider.
- Do not be surprised. It has almost been 2 years since SCOTUS ruled that gay marriage is legal in all 50 states. There are so many other television shows and movies that have already included it for years. I am surprised that Disney did not join them earlier. No doubt they considered this earlier and held off for various reasons.
- Use this as an opportunity to discuss sexuality and biblical marriage. Our culture does not hesitate to show a variety of sexual behaviors and parents and Christian educators should be ready to respond to them with biblical truth and existential examples of how the consequences will be played out. I recommend a book by Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet called Same-sex Marriage. It is a gentle and caring approach that explains what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and how we can respond to others in love. This same discussion should happen of course with other topics like drugs and alcohol, language, violence, and so on.
- Use this to teach others about the power of media. We all under stand the use of media and the power of suggestion. Scottish writer Andrew Fletcher once said something close to “Let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” He knew the power of media in his day and we should also be aware of the messages in ours. What percentage of Americans claims to be gay? If you said two or three percent you are correct, but if you guessed much higher it is likely because the media over inflates reality with so many gay characters. Some will dismiss this movie as just mere fiction, a rewrite of a cartoon classic, or chide you not to take it serous, but even in cartoons aspects of real life can be portrayed and are just as powerful.
- Say something, respond. The worse thing you can do is nothing. You may be tempted to just be quiet for a number of reasons. You don’t want to lose your social media friends, you do not know what to say, or maybe you are apathetic and figure what is the use, we can’t stop the huge cultural wave that hits the shoreline again and again.If your friends unfollow you it might be because they really were not that close to you after all, maybe you responded too harshly, or they are too easily offended. Just keep posting the cute kitten videos! There are many negatives that come with social media that should be avoided. It is better to speak to smaller groups that are like minded and one on one conversations are really best. Know where you can speak freely and where you need to guard your tongue carefully around others.If you do not know what to say, this is a clue for you become clued in on this discussion. Read and research the details so you can have a an intelligent conversation with someone about what you believe and why. There are great resources that you can download, apps with podcasts to listen to, and a growing Christian resources that we have at our disposal.
Finally, if you are apathetic about this issue, go ahead slap yourself now and wake up. You may not be able to stop the oncoming waves hitting the shore but you can keep a lookout for someone to save in the water. It matters to them and you might not be able to save everyone, but you can save one.
I am sure that some will respond with truth by stating biblical verses and facts that support traditional marriage or condemning homosexual behavior. Others may take the opposite approach and say it is our job to simply love and pray for those who live a homosexual life style. The apostle Paul encouraged the Christians in Ephesus to “speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Eph. 4:15). This combination requires us to boldly and lovingly share Scripture with others. We must temper our words so that we are not out to bash someone, win an argument, or defend God as if he needs defending. Have conversations with people to educate them, to consider a different point of view, or understand a Scripture passage. It is not only about what we say, but how we say it.
The NHIS reported in July 2014 that 1.6 percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian, and 0.7 percent identify as bisexual. In a Williams Institute review based on an June–September 2012 Gallup poll, approximately 3.4 percent of American adults identify themselves as being LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender).