As Disney Goes to Battle Promoting LGBTQ Acceptance, TGC Says New Animated Film ‘Whispers about Jesus’

The Gospel Coalition continues to show its inability to reach the room and make good editorial choices, with a recent piece by Ryan MacDonald being emblematic of the tone-deafness to which they are subjecting the world.

In the same week that Disney has gone to battle against biblical sexual ethics and against Florida’s parental rights bill that prohibits teachers from indoctrinating young children with their sexual perversions, videos leaked featuring the megacorporation’s executives saying that they want to make half the characters in their films LGBTQ or underrepresented. One exec specifically said there is a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” and they are regularly “adding queerness” to children’s programming. Furthermore, they announced that they are removing the words ‘ladies’, ‘gentlemen’, ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ from their theme parks, in order not to alienate or offend those who are transgendered and in further efforts to groom them.

Despite this, or perhaps because of this, TGC released an article praising the film Encanto by saying that it “points to the savior” and that it “whispers Jesus’s name.” MacDonald explains:

As I watched the movie I couldn’t help but notice parallels between Bruno (the rejected truth-telling prophet) and Jesus Christ. I doubt any of these parallels were intended by Disney, and it’s usually wise to avoid reading into movie characters more “Christ figure” than is there. But to riff on Sally Lloyd-Jones, Encanto is a movie that whispers Jesus’s name. Here’s what I mean.

Nope. MacDonald should have stopped right there, halfway through, after he recognizes that what he’s seeking to do is terminally stupid. We don’t need this. Christianity doesn’t need people to find Jesus themes in cartoons where none exists. This is particularly true when you can make any piece of art “whisper” about something if the voice is quiet enough.

One could easily argue that the film whispers about the beauty of homosexuality, with the main character Mirabel being voiced by queer actress and bisexual icon Stephanie Beatriz as they explore themes of “otherness” and not fitting in with those you are supposed to be closest to. In fact, OUT magazine describes one character, Luisa, as “a lesbian icon of strength.” and that “although Luisa isn’t the main character, she represents a community of lesbians who have been rarely represented on screen so this is a win for representation!”

Despite no obvious or intended effort on their part to relate this to Jesus, MacDonald points out a bunch of forced parallels showing that the seminal character Bruno is just like Jesus- not welcome in his hometown, rejected, yet ultimately holding the family together.

The same thing could be done with any movie, however. There’s not a movie out there, even ‘hard R’ pornographic ones, that you couldn’t pull out some spiritual themes that are being “whispered” about. As he rightfully notes in his conclusion, there are many, many days that this character does things that are not just like Jesus.

Bruno is by no means a perfect picture of Jesus. There are places throughout the film where the christological resonances break down. Still, in presenting Bruno as a once-rejected, truth-telling prophet, who when received by faith brings healing and wholeness, Encanto offers a shadow of our true Savior. It’s a gift when popular movies offer fodder like this for theological reflection and gospel connections—especially with young viewers.

Someone needs to tell TGC that these are shadows that don’t need chasing.

2 thoughts on “As Disney Goes to Battle Promoting LGBTQ Acceptance, TGC Says New Animated Film ‘Whispers about Jesus’

  1. We true evangelicals stand with Disney and other corporations 🇺🇸🇮🇱🇺🇦🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

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