When we call Beastly Beautiful

A few weeks ago, I was driving downtown and saw two men kissing. It wasn’t late at night, and they weren’t trying to hide anything they were doing. They didn’t feel ashamed at all (at least as far as could be publicly seen).

Last week, I was in Texas, and I was with my 16 year old daughter, and a lesbian couple walked into the gas station where we were getting a drink. They were holding hands and being very affectionate with one another. Now I don’t know what you would’ve done, but I didn’t draw any attention to them. I didn’t say to my daughter “ew, look at that!” And I also didn’t say “don’t look over there!” I noticed it, but didn’t feel the need to make any mention of it.

Why? Because….it’s normal.

More and more, even here in the Bible belt, public displays of same-sex affection are becoming normal. It’s not uncommon anymore to see a same-sex couple acting as normal as any other couple in public. What they used to feel like they could only do in secret, has been normalized enough that they feel confident to act affectionately in public.

Don’t misunderstand me here though, I’m not saying I am pleased that it’s normal. I’m not, of course. I hate seeing any sin become common place in the culture I’m surrounded by. I’m simply pointing out that it is, in fact, increasingly normal for same-sex couples to act as such in public.

What’s so intriguing to me, in light of that then, is two things: first, the reaction of the LGBT community to the normalizing of homosexuality in mainstream media, and second, the blatant hypocrisy of many professing christians regarding the same. I’ll try to explain.

Most people reading this will know that in the new Beauty and the Beast live-action movie, it’s said that there’s going to be an openly gay character. I guess that’s the first time that Disney has ever done this. But, what’s strange is that the gay character, LeFou, doesn’t really act differently (supposedly) from the original movie. I had one friend who said that even in the animated film, he always wondered if LeFou was gay. I’ve heard that there will be one moment that will be an “exclusively gay moment” in the movie, but that otherwise, the character acts almost the exact same as in the original movie. Now, I know that this “gay moment” will be a big shift for Disney, but otherwise, everything about this movie will be completely “normal” for Disney. So, all they’re really doing is taking LeFou’s character from the original film and adding a narrative that would fit (even if it also wouldn’t fit) that includes his sexuality.

It reminds of me of when J.K Rowling came out after she finished the Harry Potter books and said that Dumbledore was gay. You wouldn’t know it from the books. And even if you could look back and see little hints, they didn’t lead you to believe he was gay unless someone told you that. And part of what Rowling was doing was showing a “normal” man who was gay. Dumbledore’s sexuality wasn’t even a minor point in those books, so Rowling’s inclusion of that detail was really meaningless.

But that’s the point isn’t it? In both of these stories, the narrative that includes a “gay agenda” isn’t including it for the purpose of making the whole story about it – as a matter of fact, they’re doing the opposite, they’re trying to simply say “homosexuality is normal.” You can have an LGBT character and their sexuality doesn’t have to be any more important to the story than it would be with any other character. That certainly seems to be part of the goal. But that’s why the reaction of the LGBT community is so strange to me.

I read an article a while back from an LGBT advocate who was saying that the LGBT community really needed to stop “celebrating” homosexuality in movies, because “it should be seen as normal, and by celebrating it, we’re saying that something abnormal is being included.” That perspective made sense to me. It seems that the LGBT community is unconsciously showing that homosexuality ISN’T normal when they work so hard to make it appear normal, and when they celebrate so loudly when it is normalized in the media. It’s true that these things are becoming increasing normal in our culture, and yet it seems that they have to be so loud in order to drown out the the truth that they can’t justify this sin, no matter how much the culture accepts it. So, their reaction seems to just show how conscious they are of how wrong homosexuality is. We can suppress the truth all we want, and we can be loud and proud of our sin, but we cannot ever truly escape the knowledge of our defiance toward God. And when we call something beastly beautiful, our consciences know that we’re lying.

But, it’s not only the LGBT that is acting hypocritically regarding this issue, because so many professing Christians are also being blatant hypocrites.

I’ve seen so many people say that they aren’t going to go see “Beauty and the Beast” because of this gay narrative. And, if your convictions lead you to that, then don’t sin against your conscience, but we need to be asking ourselves why this is the line that can’t be crossed?

These same professing christians are the ones who LOVE Nicholas Sparks movies (The Notebook, A Walk to Remember), where adultery and fornication are consistently lifted up as acceptable. These people also take their kids to watch movies where children are insanely disrespectful and disobedient (and downright wicked) to their parents. And I’ve NEVER seen someone say “that’s it Disney, I won’t be going to anymore of your movies because you don’t raise up the value of obedient children.” Why? Because, we are hypocrites.

We all remember Romans 1, where it says that “women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men…”

But, if you keep reading, Paul says that there are other sins that are also monstrous, and there he includes things like “they are gossips, slanderers, disobedient to parents….”

Have you ever known someone who wouldn’t watch a movie because they treated gossip as a good thing? Probably not.

Now, I’m not trying to say that all sin is equal – I don’t think that. Some sins are more grievous than others, and God will judge some sins more harshly than others. But, the point is that we’ve been tolerating amazing wickedness displayed on screen for a long time, and we’ve tolerated all types of sin being a normal part of our culture as well, and for us to say that this is where the line is is to say that these other sins are more “respectable” and “acceptable” than the cardinal sin of homosexuality. But, in the same list where Paul lists “murder” as a sin, he also includes disobedience to parents right there as well. There is no such thing as respectable sin, and if you will tolerate the praise of adultery and fornication on screen, but won’t tolerate the praise of those things when it involves same-sex couples, you’re simply a hypocrite.

And it makes christians look so stupid to do that. How can these professing christians say that they refuse to expose their children to the evils of the “LGBT agenda” in a new movie, and yet let them go to public schools where they are exposed to it every day? How can they be ok with the massive rebellion toward parents and authority in mainstream entertainment, and yet draw the line at one perversion of sexuality? How can they swallow hearing God’s name blasphemed over and over on screen and in music and then say they can’t stomach the “LGBT agenda”? Oh, brothers and sisters, we need a better way.

At the beginning of that section in Romans 1, where Paul lists all those abominable sins, he says ¬†that these sinful people “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things….they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature, rather than the Creator.”

In other words, they called beastly…beautiful.

And when we as professing Christians draw the line somewhere other than where God draws it – at exchanging God’s glory for something more base and beastly – then we just look like we’re arbitrarily picking and choosing which sins are bad, and which are acceptable. We actually end up calling the ugliness of adultery something beautiful when the movie ends with the “right guy” getting the “right girl”, no matter what type of unfaithfulness occurred.

And as christians, we must be so careful to never call something evil, good…even if we’re only doing it by calling something that is evil, evil. And this is why the reaction of so many professing christians is so hypocritical. We need a better way of determining what we will watch or support than arbitrary lines that undermine the whole truth of God’s law. And we need to find that way soon, because inventors of evil won’t stop inventing, and unless there is an amazing reformation and revival here, we will only see more and more assaults on God’s glory. And how we react to them will either show that our standard is his glory, or else it is our opinions and feelings, no matter how in line with God’s law they may be at certain intersections.

I hope to write out my (still-developing) view of how we determine what we should and shouldn’t consume from the media later, but I’ll say right here that I’m not sure I have a great system, and I’m still working to find a right way forward. I do know though, that not too many years ago, the rampant fornication and adultery that is normal in our media would’ve been “the line”, and now the line has moved further…and ten years from now, the line will move again, unless our standard becomes something that’s not arbitrary.

Beauty and the Beast will contain witchcraft, homosexuality, rampant feminism, sinful discontentment, and probably a host of other problems…will just one of those be the standard by which you do or don’t support it? Will you implicitly say that other wicked things are acceptable? Or will you find a better way of interacting with these manifestations of our culture?

I’m not saying not to go see it, I’m not telling you what to do one way or the other regarding that movie. But, if you go, or if you abstain, think about what your actions are saying, and think about what you’re saying about beastly and beautiful things.

 

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