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Is sheltering our kids a bad thing?

Ericka Andersen | Christian parents need to trust their God-given instincts to protect their offspring

Mickey Mouse in LGBT-friendly rainbow colors for sale at Disneyland Paris. Associated Press/Photo by Raphael Lafargue/Abaca/Sipa USA (file)

Is sheltering our kids a bad thing?
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Video footage has leaked of Disney corporate leaders affirming their “not-at-all secret gay agenda.” Since then, parents from across the country as well as conservative, Christian Disney employees have criticized the company.

“We have many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories, and yet, we don’t have enough leads and narrative in which gay characters just get to be characters and not have to be about gay stories,” said Karey Burke, president of Disney General Entertainment, who also mentioned that she is raising two children, one who is transgender and another who is pansexual.

Entertainment media shapes minds and values, and that’s exactly what Burke and others intend to do with Disney’s programming. Disney is one of the most beloved children’s brands of all time, so its mission to indoctrinate young kids with progressive sex and gender ideology is incredibly important—and concerning.

Predictably, Christians are getting blowback from the left for voicing legitimate concerns. “The story has blown up on the right,” writes Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times, adding that the “not-so-secret gay agenda” comment made by Disney executive producer Latoya Raveneau is “being treated as an admission that she has a plan to corrupt kids.”

Of course, Disney doesn’t see it as any kind of sinister plan. But those uninterested in introducing their young children to complicated sex and gender narratives understand the problem.

Disney’s “values” clearly aren’t aligned with those of many families across the country. As Christians, we have our own “not-so-secret agenda” to raise our children in the way of the Lord and to teach them God’s design for gender and sexuality.

Parents who recuse themselves from Disney moving forward may be accused of one of two things: bigotry, at worst, or “sheltering,” at best.

Such comments mirror the criticism others in Florida are receiving. Those who support the Parental Rights in Education law (dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by liberals) are also under fire simply for agreeing that young children aren’t ready for conversations on gender identity.

Parents have a responsibility—not to ignore reality—but to shepherd their children within a Biblical framework of truth, logic, and faith in the Creator.

This legislation is what put Disney in the spotlight recently. Had CEO Bob Chapek not spoken out against it, the public may never have discovered the entertainment giant’s larger plan to shift its corporate mission.

But I’m glad the word did get out. Parents worried about their children’s exposure to suggestive sex and gender narratives—through cartoons or the classroom—aren’t bigots or overly protective. They’re good caregivers, unwilling to allow the media and public education system to disciple their children.

Parents who boycott Disney or speak out for parental rights in education should not be dissuaded if they are accused of sheltering their children. It is often portrayed disparagingly, but the job of Christian parents is to shape our kids’ hearts, minds, and souls toward Biblical truth.

The media may not acknowledge the truth, but more than half of Americans say they support the Florida law, and many have spoken out against Disney. In the past six months, Disney stock has taken a nosedive, many families are canceling vacations to Disney theme parks, and faith-based children’s television channels are on the rise.

I supposed I was sheltered when I wasn’t allowed to watch Beavis and Butt-Head or The Simpsons as a child, but I’m better today for it. So many people suffer as adults because their parents did not adequately shelter them. There’s plenty of hard stuff to grapple with in life as adults. Children shouldn’t be exposed to inappropriate things, whether categorized as violence, abuse, or harmful ideology.

A shelter is not a prison or a bubble of darkness. It’s a place where kids are protected from the arrows of the world and the attacks of the evil one. Parents have a responsibility—not to ignore reality—but to shepherd their children within a Biblical framework of truth, logic, and faith in the Creator.

To be sure, some Christian parents have done this incompletely, not giving their children the education or tools to navigate the real world. I’m not suggesting that. Done well, Christian kids will be aware of cultural ideas but understand how to view those things within a Biblical framework.

Parents are the protectors of little minds. Trust your instincts, parents. God gave them to you for a reason.

Ericka Andersen

Ericka Andersen is a freelance writer and mother of two living in Indianapolis. She is the author of Leaving Cloud 9 and is currently writing a book on women and faith to be released in 2022. Ericka hosts the Worth Your Time podcast. She has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Christianity Today, USA Today, and more.


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