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Dumping Disney

It’s time for Christians to reconsider their relationship with the activist entertainment giant

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse welcomes visitors to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla. Associated Press/Photo by John Raoux (file)

Dumping Disney
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Disney seems to remind Christians just about every week that the multimedia and entertainment conglomerate is not on their side—at all. What began as a family-friendly entertainment company is proving to be an activist corporation peddling ideology onto impressionable minds.

American families have long trusted Disney as a kid-friendly company that supports wholesome values. Beauty and the Beast taught about looking past exterior appearances to the internal character of a person. Finding Nemo reminded people to “just keep swimming” no matter the circumstances. The Princess and the Frog showed dreams can come true, but hard work is necessary. The list could go on. Disney established credibility through decades of teaching important life lessons in entertaining ways.

But Disney now operates on borrowed capital from its past. It still teaches and forms children. But it is no longer a formation in wholesome family values. Disney has swallowed the progressive ideology and secular catechesis of our culture and disguises it through its entertainment platforms.

This isn’t an empty claim. Leaked footage of meetings revealed this intentional strategy to add “queerness” and “gender non-conforming characters” to its programming. Other meetings revealed the goal of a minimum of 50 percent of characters should be from the LGBTQIA community in addition to racial minorities. Disney leadership wants to focus more stories on these “canonical trans characters” and “canonical bi-sexual characters.” According to media reports, Disney’s Strange World features the first gay teen romance in an animated film. Disney also jumped at the chance to signal its opposition to the overturning of Roe v Wade, covering the cost for employees to travel out of state to abort their children—paying to kill the very people that, once able to consume culture, it exists to serve.

N.D. Wilson, a writer of children’s adventure novels and the creator of Netflix’s Hello Ninja, was asked recently if Christians shouldn’t watch Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear, the latest installment of the Toy Story franchise, because of a kiss between two women. He responded, “I think because it is a colony of maggots and flies, you don’t go watch it.” Wilson’s point is that it isn’t just this kiss or that movie but the overall direction of Disney that Christians need to notice. Christians should consider dumping Disney altogether. And that means no longer watching its movies or its programs, patronizing its theme parks, or subscribing to its streaming service until the company stops the woke activism.

Why is Disney so focused on promoting progressive values? It understands the power of stories to shape reality, beliefs, and values for the next generation.

“But” many will object, “if Christians are going to quit supporting Disney, they’ll have to stop using Google, refrain from shopping at Target, and refuse to buy iPhones too.” This is not the gotcha they think it is. Christians cannot stop doing business with everyone who holds different values. However, they can buy a pair of jeans or headphones at Target without being catechized in progressive ideology. Google still provides information on its search engine and delivers emails without overtly smuggling in an alternative worldview. The iPhone still sends text messages, takes calls, and operates the apps without trying to change your beliefs. Why? Because the essence of these products is not teaching values and beliefs. They are functional products. But Disney is different. Disney’s main product is the stories it tells. To absorb its content is to absorb its messaging. Consuming Disney’s products is consuming Disney’s values. If Christians are spitting out those values upon tasting them, then why continue consuming them?

Why is Disney so focused on promoting progressive values? It understands the power of stories to shape reality, beliefs, and values for the next generation. When Steve Jobs was the CEO of Pixar (now owned by Disney) in 1994, he said, “The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come. …” Disney aims to disseminate progressive ideology through its platforms. The company’s leaders say so. We should take them at their word. They know the power of their stories.

Current and former Disney employees describe an organization held hostage by its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and vocal LGBTQ employees and allies. Questioning the organization’s crusade on progressive values ensures writing oneself out of the Disney story. Disney “cast members” who desire the company to remain neutral fear “professional retaliation” if they do not toe the line.

The highly anticipated Lightyear tanked at the box office, bringing in $50 million less globally in its first weekend than originally predicted. After two weeks, the film has earned $158 million globally and is rapidly disappearing from theaters. That is far less than the $400 million it was estimated it would need to be profitable, much less the $1 billion Disney expected it to earn. It flopped. Christians can send strong messages with their wallets. Disney may not change course, but Christians can stop funding the further indoctrination of others. Despite the nostalgic history of your favorite movies, programs, and theme parks, it is time for Christians to recognize—to borrow from a famous line from Toy Story—you do not have a friend in Disney.

Erik Reed

Erik Reed is the lead pastor of The Journey Church in Lebanon, Tenn. He also founded Knowing Jesus Ministries, a non-profit organization that exists to proclaim timeless truth for everyday life. Erik is the author of Uncommon Trust: Learning to Trust God When Life Doesn’t Make Sense and the upcoming book, Hold the Line: A Call for Christian Conviction in a Culture of Conformity. He is married to Katrina and has three children: Kaleb (who went to be with the Lord in 2019), Kaleigh Grace, and Kyra Piper.


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