Different people have asked me what I think of the Disney boycott. I admit I have not studied the issue in detail, but this is what I understand: The Southern Baptists have called upon their members to not patronize Disney parks and other entertainment as well as to refrain from buying that company's products. The reason is that the corporation has instituted a benefit policy which virtually recognizes homosexual unions. Moreover Disney and its subsidiaries have produced movies and television shows which, besides endorsing homosexual behavior, have ridiculed Christian belief.
I have only second hand knowledge of Disney movies like Priest which evidently depicted several priests trying to break free of the Church's oppressive and two-faced teachings against extra-marital sex in general and homosexual activity in particular. I understand the cartoon version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame takes the famous novel and uses it mainly to contrast uptight church leaders with humble folks who just want the freedom to be themselves. But, like I say, I did not see them so I really can't make much of statement about these movies. Nor did I catch the "Ellen" program where she came out of the closet. I did talk with a young mother who had watched it with her son. She said she told him the most important thing is to be true to yourself. Apparently Disney is getting across a message.
But what grabs my attention is not so much the movies and television shows, but the corporate policy I mentioned in the opening paragraph. A piece of entertainment will inevitably carry a certain viewpoint and we need to help our young people analyze it critically. Our goal should not be to shield our children from all literature, plays or movies which are against our beliefs. However, we are in a different ball game when we contribute money to a corporation whose company policy is against a basic Christian teaching. That is certainly the case if spousal benefits are extended to homosexual partners.
The Southern Baptists have been roundly criticized for standing up to Disney on this point. In so many words they have been compared to the narrow minded clerics who persecuted the unfortunate hunchback. But the comparison is almost exactly the reverse. The Southern Baptists are an entirely voluntary organization. Beyond free persuasion they have no way of enforcing their beliefs on others or even on their own members (as the case of their most prominent member, Bill Clinton, shows). But they do have every right to resist the imposition of contrary beliefs.
We live in a society which has ways of getting us to conform to cultural values. The young mother I mentioned is a practicing Catholic yet for her what matters is not what the Church teaches on homosexuality, but "being true to yourself." If the viewpoint of our culture (in this case the importance of "doing your thing") comes into conflict with Jesus' teaching, it is clear who the winner will be. This is the case even if it means the destruction of her son's soul--which ironically is his true self. The reversal of a long held belief has happened almost overnight--and the change is almost unnoticed, even by the person turned around.
That kind of reversal has happened in many areas and Christians have been swept along by the tide. Take for example "test tube babies." When Huxley wrote Brave New World it seemed he was describing the ultimate de-humanization. We now not only accept the conception of a child in a glass dish and their storage in laboratory freezers, we celebrate it as a great liberation for couples who desperately want a baby. If I were to stand up on Sunday and read paragraph 2376 of the Catechism (which teaches the immorality of artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization), I could predict the reaction. Many would be surprised that such a teaching exists, a few would even be genuinely offended that the Church could have such a cruel doctrine. Most would say something like, "After all, it is the couple's own choice. What right does the Church have to impose its belief on them?" That kind of reflex response is in reality a way of avoiding the moral issue--and simply brushing aside any consideration of the Jesus' teaching in this area. Our mass culture is a Goliath which intimidates us into surrendering without a fight. The Church at best is a David. Our weapons are puny by comparison, but we do have an unseen Strength on our side.
So to answer the original question, I do applaud our Baptist brethren as they do battle with the Disney Goliath. That Disney is Goliath can be seen from the many commentaries on the futility of the Baptists taking them on. Maybe so, but we Catholics must recognize them as our allies in a war with very high stakes.
Homily on Homosexuality and Abortion
Homily on Same Sex Marriage
The stuggle against secular humanism.
The mission of this website.
The Forgotten Catholic
Some background in philosphy.
A representative of secular philosophy: Carl Sagan.
An illustration from the Abortion controversy: Why "pro-choice" is a contradiction in terms.
Dissent: A Flawed approach to Christianity.
The Catholic University Today: Should you send your child to one?
New Courage Chapter in Seattle!