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The Gospel Truth About Disney

Two new books explore the spirituality of Disney's animated films, though each book defines "gospel" a bit differently from the other.

Nearly a decade has passed since the American Family Association called on its members to boycott the Walt Disney Company, accusing the entertainment giant of having "gone from trusted friend to hostile foe." The AFA was disturbed by offensive adult content in productions from some of Disney's subsidiary companies (including Miramax Films and ABC-TV), and also Disney's alleged support of the homosexual agenda. The Southern Baptist Convention, Focus on the Family and other Christian groups soon followed the AFA's lead.

The impact that this boycott has had over the years is hard to quantify (although the recent attempt to oust CEO Michael Eisner indicates that all is not well in the Magic Kingdom). But it's safe to say that the Christian community and Disney still don't always see eye to eye when it comes to acceptable entertainment.

So it's a bit surprising to see two new books with the words "Disney" and "gospel" in the title, especially one that is aimed squarely at the Christian market.

The Gospel According to Disney is Orlando Sentinel religion reporter Mark I. Pinsky's second exploration of the moral values found in popular culture, following up his successful The Gospel According to The Simpsons. (See Pinsky's CT stories on The Simpsons here.) The Disney book is a more sizable undertaking, however, as he examines over 30 Disney animated films spanning eight decades, from Snow White and Seven Dwarfs to last year's Brother Bear.

The late Philip Longfellow Anderson, who was a minister in the United Church of Christ, has a narrower focus in The Gospel in Disney, looking only at the 18 animated films produced during Walt Disney's lifetime. But Anderson also goes into greater detail on the animated anthologies from Disney ("Make ...

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