The little beast scurried across the floor as soon as the light came on. I chased it with a shoe, determined to end its occupation of my house. And with a little effort and a shot of hairspray to slow it down, I succeeded.
But then something funny happened.
Everywhere I looked, there were imaginary bugs in the corners of my vision. Something seemed to move over there in the living room, so I jumped into action, checking behind shelves and under the couch. What was that in the hall? Did I see something move near our shoes? Ten minutes of searching put that fear to rest. But then I would swear I saw a bug in the bathroom, hiding behind the toilet.
Once I had seen one bug, I imagined dozens. Each time I regained a sense of peace, the tiniest apparition of a bug or spider sent me scurrying trying to exterminate them.
I wonder if evangelical Christians sometimes feel this way.
So there’s this little movie called Frozen that came out around Thanksgiving, about two sisters, one of whom has a big problem. You may have heard of it.
Apparently, there’s a religious (Catholic, I’m told) blogger on the Interwebs posting that Frozen pushes “the homosexual agenda” on kids.
What evidence supports that claim?
1. Elsa, the princess-turned-queen, never pines after any of the guys in the movie. This is decidedly unlike Disney, so it must be a hint.
2. There’s an ambiguous scene where a shopkeeper points out his family in the sauna, and there’s another man in there with the kids. Is that his brother, or…?
3. “Let It Go” – essentially the movie’s theme and the winner of an Oscar for best song – could be construed as a message to come out of the closet and stop hiding who you are.
Don’t mind the fact Elsa’s trying to control powers she doesn’t fully understand, while trying to fix the weather crisis she brought upon her nation, while trying to stop a coup d’etat, while dealing with her family troubles. She’s not busy or anything. Certainly has time to make googly-eyes at the zero potential suitors presented in the movie. She must be gay.
Cockroaches scurrying everywhere!
I’m not surprised by the fears this blogger has passed on to others. It doesn’t shock me that Frozen is the newest potential target in the religious war on All Things Bad.
I just think it misses the point. Several points, in fact.
Let me be clear. I hate how easily the word “homophobia” gets thrown around in response to these discussions. We don’t fear people who are homosexual, just like we don’t fear anyone else we disagree with on political or religious issues.
Christians are in some ways just like everyone else I know. We fear change.
The world around evangelical Christianity is changing constantly, and we in that camp struggle on many fronts:
- What do we do to keep up?
- Wait, should we even be keeping up with the world?
- Or should we stick to our traditions?
- What message should we communicate to non-Christians then?
- And meanwhile, what messages are our kids getting from the culture around us?
- What fights are important right now?
In panic mode, when we think we’re seeing sin around every corner, we might get a little crazy trying to clean house.
Not long ago, I heard Christians upset at Hunger Games for its depiction of violence against children. No one disagrees with the idea that children killing each other is evil. That’s kind of the point of a dystopian fiction, to show a world of “what if?” where the unthinkable has become the norm. These Christians overlooked Katniss’s view and actions showing life has value, and instead attacked as wrong the very thing the author put in as what’s wrong in that society.
Back in the early 00s, it was Harry Potter. Witchcraft and wizards, we shrieked. What might our kids learn from this? Maybe it gets them interested in other spiritual content, Wicca or pagan systems that believe in magic. We can’t have our kids running around with wands, painting lightning bolts on their heads! Forget that it got kids reading. Forget that throughout the storyline, it’s clear that the love of Harry’s mother triumphed over Voldemort’s evil, and that the love and loyalty of friends is strong enough to defeat Voldemort at the end.
I’m pretty sure Pokemon was a subject of consternation. What are all those creatures with magical powers, and why do kids have to use them to fight each other, like little Michael Vicks? Video games are favorite targets for both the church and society at large. “Evil” rockers of the day took the place of the last set of so-called devil worshippers; the Dad who heard about the dangers of Ozzy Osbourne now found himself preaching fear to a son holding a Marilyn Manson CD. Even the Teletubbies earned the ire of evangelical preachers. Why does that purple one have a purse?
In the 80s, we flipped out about Dungeons and Dragons and told horror stories of what it did to unsuspecting children. D&D is full of magic, and Dragons are obviously signs of the devil based on Scripture. I’m sure there were plenty who condemned Star Wars. The idea of the Force looked like a trap of New Age philosophy hidden in a new and interesting spin in a sci-fi epic, luring kids (and adults) in with starship battles and lightsaber fencing.
What’s that scrambling across the floor in the corner of my eye?
When we look at what’s popular in the culture only to see what might be wrong with it, we often miss the point of what’s right. There are messages we can affirm, themes with which we’d whole-heartedly agree. Conversations can start on these subjects, opportunities to explain our position to a world that thinks we’re defined by being “against.”
And we won’t have to freak out at every little bad thing we think we see… because most of the time, they’re not there.
To bring it full circle, what’s my take on Frozen? I’ll post that tomorrow, as an example of what positive themes we can get from a movie someone decries as “evil.”