The Southern Baptist Convention's resolution urging its members to boycottthe Disney Company was a headline writer's dream come true: "Preachers vs.Mickey!" and "Baptists vs. Gays!" Yet the resolution raises serious questionsconcerning how evangelicals are to relate to popular culture.
The resolution is framed as an appeal from Southern Baptiststo Southern Baptists to "refrain from patronizing Disney" and"any company that promotes immoral ideologies such as homosexuality, infidelity,and adultery." On its face, it makes sense: the entertainment industryincreasingly offers morally objectionable materials; and the consumptionof this "entertainment" is unfaithful and unfruitful.
But the official text of the resolution does not tell the whole story. Themost important subtext is the continuing elevation of the issue of homosexualityon the moral agenda of Southern Baptists and evangelicals. Evangelicals arerightly committed to biblical convictions concerning homosexual conduct.However, the homosexuality issue does not exhaust the content of Christiansexual ethics, and sexual ethics do not exhaust the content of the Christianmoral vision.
We are fixated on the one moral issue most remote from the daily experienceof our membership, while we ignore a wide range of offenses far closer tohome—divorce and materialism, to name two examples. This reverses the wayJesus taught his followers to deal with sin. One need only note the lackof attention to issues concerning ministry toward those struggling withhomosexuality to see that this was a less-than-wholly Christian responseto the issue.
Another subtext is "the Christendom assumption," the implicit belief thatAmerican society ought to be Christian, that the products of business andpolicies ...1