The Beauty and the Beast Controversy

I am going to make people mad with this post. Probably people from both sides of the controversy. I have read articles and have seen Facebook posts about both sides and thought I would share my personal opinion here. Grab a cup of coffee… this is not a short read. [Update included towards the end of this post, now that I have seen the movie.]

Back story… Beauty and the Beast apparently has an “exclusively gay moment” in the new live action movie. All we (the majority of people who have not yet seen the movie since it will not be released in theaters until next week) know, is that LeFou some days wants to be Gaston and other days wants to kiss Gaston. Somehow he explores those possible feelings (maybe through a fantasy moment but we do not know how exactly yet). If you look up the lyrics or watch the clip of LeFou singing in the tavern in the 90’s animated film, it is not far fetched to assume he may have been gay in that movie too (however subtle it may be).

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Before I get started, let me just say that I disagree with the LGBT agenda. From a scientific/medical perspective, I do not believe people are born gay. I believe that they develop those feelings over time due to a number of contributing factors. From a Biblical perspective, I do believe that living a gay lifestyle is a sin. However, so is any other sexual lifestyle or action outside of marriage between a man and a woman (such as: adultery, premarital sex, pornography, and one that everyone commits at some point…lust). My beliefs on the subject in no way affect how I treat someone who is gay. I treat them the same way I do any other person. I do not have to agree with your choices and opinions (on this subject or any other subject) to still be your friend, have a conversation (and/or debate lol), give you a hug, invite you into my home, etc.

So back to the movie… Honestly, I see both sides of the controversy. Anyone who disagrees with an agenda absolutely has the right to boycott a movie, book, store, event, etc. that pushes that agenda. I hated the book The Shack and I am not going to go to the theaters to see the newly released movie. I am not necessarily boycotting it because I will most likely watch it at some point (people keep asking my opinion since I am one of a minority who dislike it) but I am not shy about expressing my opinion of the book. I did not like Disney’s Princess and the Frog and do not allow my children to watch it because it deals directly with the forces of a currently practiced religion that contradicts what we believe. Will I let them see it at some point? Maybe, but it would be with the sole purpose of discussing the film at length and comparing the beliefs portrayed to other religions. If someone does not want to see a gay moment, then by all means, they should not go see the movie. However, on this particular controversy, I tend to side more with the people who find it baffling that so many people are offended about this. Here is why (in no particular order):

First of all, I do not particularly like boycotting. I think that sometimes there is a place for it and sometimes it can be effective. However, most of the time in my opinion, when Christians and conservatives boycott non-Christians and liberals then we are all feeding into a vicious cycle. I think more often than not when this happens, both sides are being hypocritical. The problem is people tend to boycott what ever is popular to do so due to media hype… think Target, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, etc. They fail to carry that deeply held conviction of why they are boycotting a particular thing into all the other areas that follow the same agenda, policy, etc. For example, if someone boycotts Target for the bathroom issue then they need to boycott Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, IKEA, several airlines, several credit card companies, and countless stores, restaurants and other businesses (a quick google search will bring up a more in-depth list). Most people cannot and do not come close to being willing to give up all of that. Read About Boycotting to explore this further.

Second, my question for anyone who has decided to boycott Disney as a result of this movie is: Why Now? Why is this particular movie making you want to boycott a company that has supported the gay agenda for as long as I can remember? I vividly remember the movement within churches to boycott Disney in the 90’s over their decision to have “gay days” at their parks. More recently to boycott the Good Luck Charlie TV show over an episode that portrayed two mommies. What about all of the Disney owned ABC TV shows that have gay characters. I read a blog post by a woman who is so upset that this movie is portraying a gay moment that she is not only not going to watch the movie but she is also going to cancel her planned Disney vacation for this year. She mentions all of the examples (even more than I mentioned) of how Disney has supported the gay agenda in the past but, all of a sudden, this movie crosses the line.

Third, what about all of the other sins that are portrayed in children’s movies (Disney or otherwise)? Do you have as much discussion and uproar over the child disobedience/rebellion, the witchcraft/sorcery, the anger/revenge, the lying/deceit, the sexual innuendoes, bullying, etc.? I am pretty sure I could go through and find something wrong with every single Disney movie out there. Just picking apart Beauty and the Beast, there is bullying, alcoholism, attempted murder, revenge, jealousy, sorcery, (maybe a hint at prostitution??? i.e. beautiful girls hanging out in the tavern with a bunch of drunk men)…

Fourth, one of the most common rebuttal to people protesting this movie that I have seen is that “they have a problem with a gay moment but they do not have a problem with a girl falling in love with a buffalo.” I know this seems silly but there is some truth there…

So where do I stand? Somewhere in the middle. I definitely respect the right to be upset about something that goes against what you stand for. I also do not think that a “gay moment” should be in a children’s movie. However, I am not going to boycott the movie.

If anyone knows me at all, they know I love Disney movies! In my opinion, they are stories that teach valuable lessons that I want my children to learn. Many of the movies have strong female roles that encourage girls to be brave, be kind, dream big, etc. Most of the movies have issues that cause characters to get in trouble due to their choices or actions (or someone else’s choices or actions) but almost always the characters learn from their mistakes (villains are the exception but that is what makes them villains). [Read The Pretty Princess Phenomenon for more.] Beauty and the Beast is no different. It is a story about seeing the good in people, learning to love, letting go of anger, self sacrifice, and many other positive elements.

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In conclusion, I most likely will let my children see this live action Beauty and the Beast. I read Plugged In online reviews before taking my children to the theaters to determine if I think a movie is appropriate for their age/maturity level. I will do the same before taking them to see this movie [UPDATE: Here is the Beauty and the Beast Plugged In Review]. My guess though is that the good far outweighs the bad. If the “moment” is something that needs to be discussed with them, I absolutely will discuss it. Just like I would discuss any other issue I have a problem with that comes up in movies. I already discussed homosexuality  with my oldest daughter a couple of years ago. I know that my children will encounter homosexuality in our culture. They may see it in a movie, on TV, walking through a mall, or at their schools. So, instead of trying to shield them from it, I feel that it is better for me to have a conversation with them.

[UPDATE: Now that I have seen the movie, here is my opinion of it… I loved it!!! It follows the original story line pretty closely. There are some additional scenes and songs to carry the story and go into more detail on some things that were missing in the original (such as what happened to Belle’s mother). I was not sure how I would like Emma Watson as Belle but she did a fantastic job! She proved that she could be more than a Hermione and her singing voice is beautiful. The costumes and set were amazing! And of course the well known songs were brought to life in an amazing way!

MINOR SPOILER ALERTS: The question on everyone’s mind is, “What was the gay moment?” There were a few places where there were subtle hints. In my opinion, they were so quick and subtle that I am pretty sure most children would not notice or if they did would not understand unless it was explained. Towards the beginning of the movie, it was obvious that LeFou wanted to be just like Gaston. He mimicked his moves and followed him around like a puppy. During the song “Gaston” in the tavern scene, it became more apparent that LeFou may have had stronger feelings for him because of his intense admiration while singing the song (again, I do not think a child would pick up on that). At one point during the song, they were dancing and LeFou wrapped Gaston’s arms around him. He jokingly asked, “Too much?” Later in the movie when Maurice was trying to convince the town’s people that Gaston was bad, Gaston manipulates LeFou to lie for him by appealing to his senses. He grabs his shoulders and talks about how close of friends they are. LeFou does lie because he does not want to offend the man he admires. During the castle battle scene between the town’s people and the castle objects, the wardrobe dresses three men in elaborate women’s clothing and hair dos (in the original movie she does this to one man). Two of the men are clearly disturbed by this and run away but one of them turn around and it is clear by his facial expressions that he likes the new look. In the final ballroom scene, after the castle objects have turned human again, everyone is dancing and we quickly see LeFou and the other man mentioned above dancing together.  There was no gay kissing as was implied when they said that LeFou “some days wants to be Gaston and other days wants to kiss Gaston.”

A couple of hours after seeing the movie, I asked my 10 year old if she noticed anything along these lines and she said no. When I explained a couple of the scenes she remembered the men being dressed as women but did not remember seeing LeFou dancing with another man. Now that I have told her it is there, she will probably notice it next time she sees it though. I have decided not to bring it up to my 8 year old daughter so as not to draw attention to it. If she mentions it to me at some point, I will address it then.

I really did love the movie. The gay moments were very minor and had nothing at all to do with the overall story line. If you want to see the movie but not sure if you want your children to  see it, I would recommend watching it first and then deciding. END UPDATE]

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Feel free to voice your opinions and engage in respectful debate in the comments. However, any comments that are disrespectful, use inappropriate language, etc. will be deleted.

Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty

This book by Angela Hunt is a part of her Dangerous Beauty series. It alternates between the perspectives of Bathsheba and Nathan-the prophet. The Biblical story line is entwined with a fictional story line to help portray a picture of what may have taken place. The author uses culture, time, and history to enhance what we know from the Bible. Bathsheba plays an important role in history as her son falls in the line of Jesus. We see her family life, her interactions with David’s other wives and children, and over the course of the book we see her pain, humiliation, and bitterness turn to healing, forgiveness and love towards David. In the fictional story, Nathan has always been attracted to Bathsheba but after God makes it clear to him that she is not the woman who he will have as a wife, he follows the will of God. He is transported through visions and witnesses David’s lust and betrayal. Biblically, he plays an important role in the exposure of David’s sin.

I have always enjoyed reading Biblical historical fiction. I feel that knowing the culture, time, and history surrounding the stories that we read in the Bible adds understanding to scripture. However, this puts a burden on the author to carefully interweave Biblical truth with fiction assumptions and/or possibilities without distorting scripture. The author in this case, overall created a good story but I personally think that she went a little too far in some areas. I agree with her assertion that King David most likely raped Bathsheba. As a king, he could take who he wanted, when he wanted. As woman in that time, Bathsheba would have no choice but to submit to her king’s demands. We know from the Bible that David tried to cover up his sin, when Bathsheba gets pregnant, by bringing Uriah home and trying to convince him to go home to sleep with his wife. When Uriah did not do this, David had him carry his own death warrant to the General. After news of Uriah’s death, David brought Bathsheba to his household. The problem I have with the fiction in this book, is how the author portrayed Nathan. It is possible that Nathan and Bathsheba may have known each other when they were young and that he could have been attracted to her. However, there is no indication of this in scripture. Also, the author portrays Nathan as having visions where he is transported to the scenes that he is witnessing. This allows him to see the same scene that David saw on the roof as he gazed on Bathsheba and caused him to momentarily lust after her as well. I do not know how God gave the prophets of old visions but I have a hard time believing that He would purposely put Nathan in the position  that would cause him to sin (lust is equal to adultery according to Jesus in the gospel of Matthew). So for this reason, I do not care for part of Nathan’s story line that the author chose to portray. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Biblical historical fiction but only with the understanding that this as a whole is fiction and not to take the place of Biblical truths.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty
By Angela Hunt / Bethany House

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Sermon Jam: “Because He Is Good”

I have been following Theologigal for a few weeks. Her latest post has a great video which sums up why I need Jesus. I encourage you to view the video and her commentary here.

“So often when Christians hear or read a call to repentance they think, “Yes, that’s so true! People have sinned! People need to repent!” But the word, “people” includes you, and before you can think of anyone else in your life who you think needs repentance you first need to think about yourself, how you have sinned, how you need to repent, before you fall into the trap of being a finger-pointing Pharisee (Matt. 7:5).”

Are You Crucifying Him Again?

As I continue my journey toward Easter; I have been reminded about how much I have let Jesus down. I have heard several variations of the following story; and I came up again last week in one of our Bible study sermons (author unknown):

A young lady named Sally, relates an experience she had in a Seminary Class, given by her teacher, Dr. Smith. She says Dr. Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons.

One particular day, Sally walked into the seminary and knew they were in for a fun day. On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts. Dr. Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the person’s picture.

Sally’s girlfriend drew a picture of a girl who had stolen her boyfriend. Another friend drew a picture of his little brother. Sally drew a picture of a former friend, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing, even drawing pimples on the face. Sally was pleased at the overall effect she had achieved.

The class lined up and began throwing darts, with much laughter and hilarity. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart.

Sally looked forward to her turn, and was filled with disappointment when Dr. Smith, because of time limits, asked the students to return to their seats. As Sally sat thinking about how angry she was because she didn’t have a chance to throw any darts at her target.

Dr. Smith began removing the target from the wall. Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus …

A complete hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered His face and His eyes were pierced. Dr. Smith said only these words … “In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40 (KJV)

No other words were necessary; the tear-filled eyes of each student focused only on the picture of Christ.

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So often we think that we are just aiming our darts of anger, jealousy, hatred, slander, pride, unforgiveness, etc. toward one person. In reality those darts are hitting Jesus also. As I said in yesterday’s blog on forgiveness (see here if you missed it): “none of us fully understand what we did to Jesus. We crucified Jesus just as much as the Roman soldiers who were there that day. Jesus forgave us when he was on the cross and we were not there to ask for his forgiveness. Jesus forgave us before we were born and he forgave us even though we were undeserving.”

The good news is that even though we deserve death for our sins; Jesus paid the price so that he can offer us the wonderful gift of salvation! Praise God for his grace and mercy!

One of my favorite songs this time of year (and year round) is “Feel The Nails” by Ray Boltz. I think that this song is really helps me to reflect on things in my life that caused Jesus to have to die in order to save me from myself. My sister and I used to do a mime drama to this song when we were kids. The past few years I have had the privilege of teaching it to some teens at our church. Yesterday a couple of them did the drama and it tied into Pastor Brian’s sermon very well. Below is the link to last year’s presentation (I don’t have the video of yesterday’s presentation downloaded yet. I will add it when I get it).

“Feel The Nails” by Ray Boltz

They tell me Jesus died
For my transgressions
That he paid that price a long, long time ago
When he gave his life for me
On a hill called Calvary
But there’s something else I want to know

Does he still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Can he hear the crowd cry “Crucify” again
Am I causing him pain
Then I know I’ve got to change
I just can’t bear the thought of hurting him.

It seems that I’m so good at breaking promises
And I treat his precious grace so carelessly
But each time he forgives
What if he re-lives
The agony He felt on that tree

Chorus 1x

Holy, holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy Holy
Holy is the Lord

Do you still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Have I crucified you Jesus with my sins
Oh I’m tired of playing games
I really want to change
I never want to hurt you again

Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord

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P.S. A few days ago I asked that my readers to submit stories to help me with upcoming blog series that I have planned. So far, I have not received any stories (although I do have a couple of people who said they are planning to write some for me). I would really like to feature your stories for these projects! Can you help? See here for more information. Thanks!