The Boycott and the Bible
Why in the World is This Page Here?
Several people have questioned me (most of them via email) about
the boycott that has been called against the Walt Disney Company.
Clearly, as both a Christian (and a Baptist at that!) and a Disney
Fan there is potential for some inner conflict for me. The following
information is not here to irritate anyone that disagrees with me...rather,
it's simply a documentation of my opinion.
Let me offer a very specific caveat here: If you wholeheartedly
believe that Disney maintains the same high values and standards
that the company did twenty or thirty years ago, we have to agree
to disagree. I feel very strongly that The Disney Company is no
longer the stalwart defender of family values and good clean fun
that it once was...
Having said that, the question that remained for me is what --
if anything -- I should do about that change in Disney's behavior...The
rest of this portion of the web site is intended for people that
believe as I do:
- That Jesus Christ is the Son of God
- That Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to pay the penalty
for sin for anyone that believes on Him
- That the Bible is God's Holy Word and is Infallible.
I'm not trying to pick a fight with anyone. If you don't agree
with me, that's ok. I only provide this information to answer the
questions of those folks that have asked...
The Southern Baptist and Assemblies of God boycotts of the Walt
Disney Company are based on a perceived shift of the company from
mainstream family values toward liberal, immoral values.
According to the Associated Press report on the Southern Baptist
boycott, delegates to the 16 million member Southern Baptist Convention
in New Orleans voted on a "provisional boycott" of the
Walt Disney Company because the company, once strong on family values
is now perceived to be promoting homosexuality. The delegates objected
to Disney's policy of allowing for the celebration of gay/lesbian
themes in their parks and the provision of employee benefits to
same-gender couples. They also objected to a series of morally objectionable
movie productions by Miramax Corporation, a Disney subsidiary, including
the gay-themed "Priest" and "The Crying Game"
and others such as "Kids", "Like Water for Chocolate",
and "Piano." The boycott is to include Disney's theme
parks, movie productions, and toys. Also according to the Associated
Press report, a Disney spokesman objected, "We question
any group that demands that we deprive people of health benefits
and we know of no tourist destination in the world that denies admission
to people as the Baptists are insisting we do."
The Biblical Argument for Participating in such a Boycott
The best argument in favor of participating in such a boycott would
be the concept of "separation." Separation is the idea
that believers in Jesus Christ should avoid any activity that God
would not approve of. A clear-cut example (that I don't think anyone
would argue with) is that Christians should certainly not go into
a strip club. Clearly such establishments have an atmosphere that
would cause most people to sin.
To apply that extreme example to the Disney Company, if a Christian
believes that visiting a Disney theme park might cause him to sin,
he should not go. Likewise, if a certain Disney movie contains content
that can cause the Christian to sin, he should not watch. The following
Bible passages (with accompanying comments) clarify this issue for
I Jn 2:15-16
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are
in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the
Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust
of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,
is not of the Father, but is of the world.
As a believer, we shouldn't LOVE the world or else God's love for
us is in jeopardy. Note that the word love changes in verse 15....from:
agapao- used of persons: to welcome, to entertain, to be
fond of, to love dearly...to: agape- brotherly love, affection,
good will, love, benevolence.
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the
ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the
seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
The "man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly"
is blessed because he avoids the penalty of sin. Heartache...disease...God's
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall
not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
"Like a tree planted by the rivers of water" means to
be consistent, strong, able to stand up under storms...to bear fruit...
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind
driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD
knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall
The ungodly are unlike the person that seeks after God...
8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray
thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen;
for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate
thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand,
then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand,
then I will go to the left.
The application here is that Abraham and Lot separated to eliminate
strife (arguments between the herdsmen of each family).
4 And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through
the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in
Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto
yourselves therefore: 5 Meddle not with them; for I will not give
you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because
I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession. 6 Ye shall
buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also
buy water of them for money, that ye may drink.
Israel and Easu remained separated, even though they were co-located.
They interacted, but didn't form strong bonds or ties.
2 Cor 6:14-18
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for
what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what
communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ
with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye
are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell
in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall
be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye
separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and
I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall
be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
"Unequally yoked" means to be tied together in common
effort. How should this principle be applied, though? Does it mean
that believers shouldn't even have secular jobs? No, the common
effort is in spiritual things. The physical is different since we
do, of course, all live on earth.
1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And
walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself
for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling
savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness,
let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither
filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient:
but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger,
nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath
any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no
man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh
the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye
therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness,
but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness
and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And
have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but
rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those
things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that
are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth
make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that
sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee
light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but
as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of
the Lord is.
Individual believers, and the church as a body, must avoid sin
and keep it out of the fellowship.
The Biblical Argument against Participating in a Boycott
On the other hand, if separation is not an issue (i.e. visiting
the Disney park does not, in itself, cause or tempt the Christian
to sin) then the issue of the boycott becomes more complicated.
Christians are never told to do anything to change the behavior
of any non-Christian. Christians are to tell others about Jesus
Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, but Christians are not
commanded to attempt to change a non-Christian's behavior -- that's
a job for the Holy Spirit.
In the following verses, as He prayed in the garden just prior
to His arrest by the Roman soldiers, Jesus defined the role of the
Christian in the world...
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them,
because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world,
but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not
of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them
through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Jesus prayed that God not remove believers (the "them"
in the verses above) from the world, but that He would protect them
from evil. Furthermore, Jesus points out that the citizenship of
the Christian is not in the world.
Later that night, as He was questioned by the Roman Governor, Pilate,
the following conversation took place:
35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief
priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 Jesus
answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were
of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not
be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
The Lord's answer to Pilate was that His servants weren't on earth
to fight. The Christian's role is clearly defined...
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is
given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and
teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with
you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The known responsibilities of the Christian are: Go, Teach, Baptize...then
to Teach the Observance of the Lord's commands.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost
his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good
for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot
of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on
an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put
it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto
all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which
is in heaven.
Salt is a preservative, a flavor enhancer, and causes thirst. Candles
provide needed light in darkness. Therefore, Christians are to preserve,
enhance, and provide light so "that they may see your good
works". Christians are to be an example of good behavior.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and
of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe
not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and
ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this
world is judged.
It's up to God (the Holy Spirit) to convict and punish the sinner.
It's not the job of the Christian to convince unbelievers to not
sin. In fact, in Paul's letter to the Corinthians the role of the
Christian is to reconcile...not cause conflict:
2 Cor 5:17-21
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself
by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto
himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed
unto us the word of reconciliation.
Reconciliation with God comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
and His sacrifice for us. The "ministry of reconciliation"
is the task that Christian's have of leading others to that same
faith by example and witness.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did
beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled
The ambassadorial role requires that the Christian not offend,
that he correctly represent our Lord, and that he clearly make the
Lord's wishes known to those people he is sharing Christ with. So
what are the Lord's wishes for all people? Salvation from sin!
2 Pet 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men
count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing
that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
The Christian is commanded to not raise controversial issues. Paul
made that clear when he wrote about eating food that had been sacrificed
to idols (this was a common source of meat in many of the Roman
cities of the day):
1 Cor 10:27-33
27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and
ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking
no question for conscience sake. 28 But if any man say unto you,
This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake
that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the
Lord's, and the fulness thereof: 29 Conscience, I say, not thine
own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another
The food offered to the idols wasn't bad in itself. It wasn't wrong
to acquire the offered food. It is never commanded to avoid people
that sell the offered the food...
30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for
that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or
drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give
none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to
the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things,
not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they
may be saved.
Avoiding offence is a key...
The following passage, though, is for me the single strongest argument
against the boycott issue:
1 Cor 5:9-13
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with
the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must
ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you
not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a
fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard,
or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
In verse 8, Paul points out that he had earlier said not to spend
time with fornicators (or sinners of any stripe, really). He backtracks,
though, and points out that he was not referring to non-Christians,
but to people that claimed to be Christian, but acted the way they
did before. The point is to avoid the hypocrite, not to limit contact
with people that don't believe the same way about Jesus Christ.
12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without?
do not ye judge them that are within?
Christians are to judge those that are in the church. Isn't it
ironic that Christians usually do exactly the opposite? We tend
to ignore sin within our own ranks and vilify sin outside our fellowship.
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away
from among yourselves that wicked person.
God will judge the unsaved. We are not to do so. Some other passages
that bear on this subject are:
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:
be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest
in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth
in you, live peaceably with all men.
1 Tim 3:7
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without;
lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That
ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke,
in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine
as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that
I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain,
neither laboured in vain.
2 Cor 6:3
3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not
My Personal Conclusion
I understand the frustration that some people feel about Disney's
change in standards over the years. Gone are the days when a mother
could allow her child to watch a Disney movie with complete assurance
that the content would be completely wholesome. I totally agree
with the thought that any content produced by the Walt Disney Company,
whether it be film, text, or theme park attraction must be evaluated
by the parent with that family's own standards in mind. If a parent
deems Disney content to be contrary to their own beliefs, of course
they should avoid it.
On the other hand, I do not see any support in Scripture for a
boycott of any company with the intent of convincing that company
to change it's corporate behavior. Avoid the behavior personally,
if separation is warranted, but to stir up controversy by publicly
demanding that a company operate according to your own standards
is not right.
I hope that the standards that the Walt Disney Company maintains
in the future does not cause me to have to avoid it's films, books,
or parks. For me, personally, that would be tragic. However, it
would be a personal decision that me and my wife would make if necessary...not
a formal boycott called by leaders of a church organization.