This week, Donna Britt of The Washington Post voiced a question that I have often encountered in conversations with fellow believers: Why doesn't popular entertainment explore issues of faith more frequently? She writes, "In movie after movie, TV show after TV show, people face every manner of terror, crime, illness and betrayal without ever turning to, or even acknowledging, a higher power. Perhaps praying and seeking spiritual counsel are too boring, passive or wordy for today's action-obsessed audiences. Maybe writers and producers fear that viewers with differing beliefs would stay away, offending Hollywood's favorite deity: the almighty dollar."
Britt then claims that Signs, the new box office champion ($60.1 million on opening weekend), takes a bold step toward encouraging spiritual discourse among viewers.
Film critic Christian Hamaker reminded me that Signs comes from Touchstone, a Disney subsidiary. It's the latest of several films from Disney that seem to appeal to conservative—even specifically Christian—audiences. This year alone, the studio has offered The Rookie and the animated hit Lilo and Stitch, both of which portrayed prayer in a positive light. Then there was The Country Bears, which got some approvals as "family safe" (even if the reviews were fairly poor.) In view of the Southern Baptist boycott of Disney films, should we interpret this as an encouraging trend? Is it time to drop the boycott? Is boycotting a productive response to studios that offend Christian sensibilities? I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this.
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