I want to be very transparent here: what I am about to write IS in response to the “Christian” boycott of Beauty and the Beast because of a “gay subplot”. However, I hope and believe that it will address something far more important. I also want to set aside, right at the onset, the debate about whether or not homosexuality is a sin. It is a deeply personal and highly complicated discussion and, as is the entire point of this post, not a hill I’m willing to die on. Not loving my neighbor, on the other hand…
Why have boycotts become American Christianity’s chosen avenue for living out our faith?
Why has exclusion become the means by which we express our faith in a God who so desperately wanted to include us that He sent His son here to die on a cross to make it possible?
Answer: it’s easy and it feels real.
“Sin is already normal.”
Listen, there are many people out there who genuinely believe that this Beauty and the Beast thing is going to “normalize sin.” Without spending the time arguing over whether or not that’s true, let me just point out something that should be theologically and objectively obvious: sin is already normal. That is kind of the whole reason Jesus came. That being said, I understand why people choose these battles:
1) It’s easy. I can choose not to go spend $30 to see a movie I’ll be able to rent for $5 in a couple of months, throw up a post on social media, maybe even create a hashtag (if people still do that) and feel like I have actually expressed my faith. I’m not trying to come down on people for that, I get it. Life is busy and messy and hard and just keeping food on the table might take everything we have so easy sounds pretty good.
2) It feels real. Our world is so filled with artificial that authentic is borderline intoxicating. Standing for something that goes against popular culture creates a feeling in us like we are engaging in something that must be genuine and meaningful. I will not presume to speak for everyone, but I can say for myself that it is not. Not when it is based on exclusion and fear. If I don’t want to bring my kids to see a movie that has gay people in it because I believe it is normalizing sin, I just won’t go to the movie. But I JUST won’t go to the movie. Broadcasting it doesn’t do anything but ostracize the “sinners” and NOTHING Jesus ever did ostracized sinners.
“Nothing Jesus ever did ostracized sinners.”
Actually, quite the opposite. What did Jesus do with sinners? He ate with them and talked to them. He forgave them and healed them. He met them right where they were in the most authentic possible expression of why He came. The only thing Jesus boycotted was the religious system that had forgotten why they were chosen by God to begin with: to bless others.
“The only thing Jesus boycotted was the religious system that had forgotten why they were chosen by God to begin with: to bless others.”
It is good to feel passion and even better to feel it about my faith; to feel so grateful for all that Jesus has done for me that I simply must respond. But when I do, rather than boycott something, maybe I’ll feed the hungry or cloth the naked. Maybe I’ll care for the widow and the orphan, or fight for justice for the oppressed. Maybe I’ll love Him with my love for others instead of a boycott and hashtag, because anything else is not only a waste of my time and energy, it is the exact opposite of why He came in the first place.