Representatives of several evangelical groups are combining forces to intensify a boycott of the Walt Disney Company.
Leaders of denominations and parachurch organizations, including the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the Presbyterian Church in America, the Wesleyan Church, Concerned Women for America, and Focus on the Family, held a strategy session August 13 in Atlanta.
They plan to form an organization to coordinate efforts, hold rallies around the country, place newspaper ads, and ask people to dump their stock in Disney companies. Those activities "are just the beginning," says Donald Wildmon of the Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association.
Organizations and denominations, such as the Assemblies of God, have been boycotting Disney in the past two years, citing the company's prohomosexual and antifamily policies and products. The effort took on added dimensions this summer when the 15 million- member SBC joined the effort (CT, July 14, 1997, p. 72).
At the Atlanta meeting, Richard Land, head of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, distributed examples of bulletin inserts asking Christians to sign a pledge to withhold "at least $100" that they would have spent on Disney products or tickets during the next year. Also on the flier is a sample form letter addressed to Disney President Michael Eisner.
The entertainment giant says it is committed to family values—and diversity.
"We will always try to promote moral ideologies in our programming," the company responded. "And we will remain committed to certain values in our everyday life, values that include tolerance and compassion and respect for everybody."
Land's bulletin insert included examples of Disney's "Christian-bashing agenda" that include a scene in the film Pocahontas showing the title character as "an earth-worshiping pagan who believes in reincarnation"; the film Priest, which portrays some Catholic clergy as alcoholics and homosexuals; and the new ABC television show Nothing Sacred, which is "an offensive portrayal of a Catholic priest" (CT, Sept. 1, 1997, p. 95).
Focus on the Family launched its boycott August 27. "The Disney organization has utter disdain for those who hold traditional moral principles and conservative family values," says Focus President James C. Dobson. "Focus on the Family now vigorously supports a boycott against anything that bears the Disney name."
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