Disney’s new live-action Beauty and The Beast includes a gay character, LeFou, who doesn’t do anything that would challenge the film’s “PG” rating but appears to question his feelings about Gaston at one point in the film.
That, however, hasn’t stopped conservative Christians from freaking out about it. Evangelist Franklin Graham said it was part of the “LGBT agenda” and called for a boycott of Disney. An Alabama drive-in movie theater said it wouldn’t show the movie because the owner claimed she couldn’t take her grandkids to see it. There’s an online petition for Disney to stop its “harmful sexual political agenda.”
They’re all trying to make this a thing. It’s not a thing. It’s just a movie with a gay character. Christians always say they “love the sinner but hate the sin,” but it’s clear their critics were right: They hate the “sinners,” too.
It’s also incredible hypocrisy.
Does Franklin Graham ever get this upset about movies that feature unmarried straight people having sex? Of course not. He’s too busy promoting Donald Trump‘s agenda — because the pussy-grabbing, thrice-married, narcissist is the epitome of Christian values.
Does the drive-in-theater refuse to screen movies that show violence? Of course not. Just this past October, they were showing Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, a film that is rated PG-13 for “sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements.” (They also use Comic Sans on their website, a crime that is simply unforgivable.)
They’re all upset with a movie that features bestiality because a gay character isn’t demonized for his thoughts. Just like Jesus talked about.
Christian writer Jonathan Merritt says the complaints won’t even work:
… It risks making Christians look like antiquated bigots, and it reeks of moral hypocrisy. And worse, it diverts energy from a more worthwhile effort: teaching Christian children to co-exist in a pluralistic society.
A Christian parent may be able to prohibit their children from viewing a movie, but they will still encounter LGBT people elsewhere. Avoiding the subject of homosexuality will not prepare kids for a world where it is almost totally accepted. It does the opposite, almost assuring they encounter and form opinions about the matter in secular spaces absent their parents. Their energy would be better invested in teaching their children to understand and coexist alongside people who may not share their beliefs and practices.
Merritt is wrong in one aspect. This protest won’t risk “making Christians look like antiquated bigots.” We already know that. This sort of bigotry only confirms our suspicions. Conservative Christians love to cherry pick which sins they get all hot and bothered about — and they ignore the other ones as long as it means advancing their own agenda. (Again, see Donald Trump.)
You’d think pastors could easily get on board with a movie about how we should love each other for what’s on the inside instead of judging them for what they look like on the outside. But we should know better than to expect pastors to follow the actions of Jesus.
They’re far more interested in letting gay people know that God hates them. That’s what the Christian message has become.
The movie opens this weekend. None of the Christians complaining about it have seen it yet. Obviously.