Monday, May 24, 2010


Mae is very into The Princess and the Frog. I saw it a couple of times in the theater and now we own it. I'm pleasantly surprised by Disney return to classically drawn animation. This morning while I was watching part of it with her, I looked up on Wikipedia to see if there were hidden Disney in-jokes. I had plainly seen the Carpet from Aladdin in the scene of New Orleans life. While reading the article about the movie, it had brought up Christian reviews of the film. Not unlike our knack for hate mail , we love to hate on Disney. Love to. Especially Baptists. When I was 13 I went to Walt Disney World. My Grandma Berry, who is very much a Baptist, gave each of my siblings $20 for souvenirs. Not to be spent on anything Disney. That is very difficult to do when you are in the middle of Walt Disney World and you can't drive.

Some of the phrases that the Christian reviews had utilized to describe my toddler's favorite movie:
"it's the use of voodoo that ultimately reveals the movie's hollow, thoughtless core."


"dark and demonic"

Yipes. I am checking under Mae's bed for voodoo paraphernalia.

I'm going to tread carefully here. I know that there is  a Biblical backing for warnings against magic, sorcery, etc. I will press onward though and look into why we hate so much on some movies and not others.

Reading about the lack of Christian love for Princess and the Frog, I instantly thought about why we weren't up in arms about the following Disney movies:

-101 Dalmations: That lady is going to kill and skin puppies for a coat. Here children, gather round. Watch this terrifying attempted assault on God's creations.

-Aladdin: He has a genie. That's almost like asking a false god for help. He also has a monkey. That bothers me personally.

- The Little Mermaid: Full on under the sea witchcraft! Ursuala uses witchcraft. Does it not count if it's water logged witch craft?

- Beauty and the Beast: She falls in love with an animal. I'm pretty sure that's in the Bible & a huge no-no.

- Snow White: She's single and she's shackin' up with not one, but SEVEN dudes.

-Mulan: Cross dressing. That is all.

-Cinderella: There's some bippity-boppity magic in there, but it's pretty magic so it must be OK.

-Alice In Wonderland: I'm pretty sure there's drug use in this movie. That could just be the Baptist coming out in me.

-Robin Hood: He was not rendering under Caesar what was Caesars. Plus that Friar was probably Catholic. All of us protestants know they are up to no good.

I can take any Disney movie and point at magic in it. I can point at witch craft. I can point to very humanistic ideas & romantic ideals. Those are all things that I as an adult do not believe in  despite being raised on a heavy dose of Disney. Why are we so very afraid of voodoo (who do? you do. remind me of the babe.)? Let's not forget that our wonderful ally in Jesus, Pat Robertson blamed the earthquake in Haiti on a pact with the devil and voodoo. Quite the stellar theologian.

The flip side of this is that there are magical movies that Christians really, really dig:



I have heard both of these used in multiple sermons on multiple occasions. Clearly because they were written by Christian men they are fair for sermon fodder. If I'm not mistaken Gandalf was a wizard & there was a witch in Narnia. Look out! I might start practicing my wizardry (YOU SHALL NOT PASS!) and heading out to battle orcs on my way to Mordor. Getting a tattoo in elvish is right up there with getting one in Greek or Hebrew.

If you are finding this a little snarky*, I apologize. It's just one more of those fearful things that Christians do that make us look like a bunch of hand-wringers looking for something to complain about. If we're going to complain about magic, let's make it equal opportunity complaining. Actually, let's stop complaining all together and do something with that energy. Like dressing up for Comic Con in our Frodo costume and handing out tracts that show people the way to Jesus through the story of The Fellowship.

Let your daughters enjoy the newest Disney movie. I don't think they'll be asking for tarot cards or even worse: HARRY POTTER BOOKS! They might want to dress up a little, wear a crown and someday fall in love with someone. That doesn't sound so terrible to me. I'm also going to make sure that they understand Jesus & how life really works. Our God is bigger, scarier, and more hardcore than anything a Disney imagineer could come up with. I'm not worried. I'm a little more concerned about real life problems, sin and evil. Most of those don't even have a hint of magic or voodoo to them. They are common place and happen everyday in this world.

*"SNARKY" is a nonsense word by none other than Lewis Carroll. That's probably pretty evil, too because he wrote about magical things.

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