There are two things I would love for the readers of REO to know before reading this. One is public and one is more private.
First, we have been clear that it has never been our intention to constantly opine on the social media debate of the week in the US, whether political or cultural. We occasionally do so, but to give a proportion, we’ve written around 150 articles in the last nine months, and about 4 of them have mentioned Donald Trump or anything explicitly political by name. We write about what we love and we do not want to be a click bait website.
Secondly, and something we have not talked about as much, we organize pretty thoroughly behind the scenes what we want to do and how to go about doing it and when to publish what we write, etc. There is feedback and discussion and nothing is published without being filtered through the staff. And in an attempt to be prepared, we will often give ideas for articles months ahead of time.
As far back as late January, I bought tickets for my wife and I to go see Beauty and the Beast in our local theater the night of March 16th (the first showing possible) and then communicated to the REO staff that I wanted to write a 500 Words or Less review for the site to run on March 17th. So people who plan to see it can read a review from our site before going. Beauty and the Beast is easily my wife’s favorite Disney production; I’ve known since nearly the beginning of our relationship how much she adores Belle. And even I was a little excited to see the woman I know as Hermione Granger playing the lead.
In the last few days, however, this movie has made waves among many people we know due to the announcement of a gay character being introduced. Christians in particular have been vocal about not wanting to watch it and even using words like “boycott.” This has caused me to wonder how to go about handling my review next week because my wife and I still plan to see it.
In an attempt to be transparent with our readers–and not to cause conflict just to shamelessly gain clicks on our site–I want to explain ahead of time why we are still going so that when our review comes out next week there is no surprise.
To our knowledge, my wife and I have never “boycotted” anything. We never considered boycotting Target last year and I have not boycotted anything for political or religious reasons as far back as I can remember. There are definitely things I have refused to see or participate in (like any of the 50 Shades movies), but we have never avoided something we would normally see or patronize because of a change in policy or a change similar to the one Beauty and the Beast has made for this 2017 live action version.
The reason is that it simply does not offend me in the sense that it will cause me to do, think or believe anything wrong. If a movie I wanted to see decided to have nudity, that would be one thing. This is different to me. I, personally, would find it hypocritical for me to pick and choose certain things to be offended by in entertainment and not others. I have written about numerous books, TV shows and moves for this site, nearly all of which feature things Christians could claim to be offended by, but they quite often do not. To be consistent, I have settled on defining ‘offense’ as things that truly cause me to stumble in my faith. What Disney has decided to do does not qualify as that any more than an average episode of Seinfeld.
Also, I personally have decided that as a Christian I can do greater good by having conversations with people I disagree with instead of boycotting things where communication and attempts to dialogue often do not take place. I do not judge anyone who chooses to boycott this movie. Please note the continuous use of the word ‘personal’ in this article. If someone wants to boycott things, that is their right. I just think in my life and in my context I would do more harm in culture wars to boycott with a public announcement, instead of trying to facilitate productive discussion. Especially if I am not engaging people outside of social media to try to practice being slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to get angry.
We hope this does not cause anyone to think less of me or REO in general, or even to unfollow us. Every one of our writers believes the Bible is the Word of God and that it is true in all that it teaches. We maintain historical, orthodox positions on all doctrines as best we understand them. But I personally believe the way we live out the Bible in the culture wars may change person to person. I, Gowdy Cannon, choose to not boycott Beauty and the Beast for the reasons in the recent news. I think I can do good by not doing so.
But we love to hear back from our readers and I am not above criticism. We welcome comments of any stripe that are conducive to healthy discussion. So if you would like, please let us know what you think below.
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