“Chosen By God”

So as I understand the story, Promenade Pictures Movie Studios apparently made an animated movie about Moses. They plan to follow up with another movie about Noah and a third about Gideon, as they take on the noble purpose of promoting Biblical figures (and thereby promoting faith, scripture, God’s dealings with man, etc). That is the premise as I understand it. So far, I’m good with that.

‘Course they are a young startup company, so they also need to make money. Sell tickets to pay for this movie, before they can make another one. That is reality.

They approached Radio Disney about running an ad for their movie. That made sense. Radio Disney has an audience of 6 – 12 year old kids, the target audience of the movie.

Disney apparently listened to the ads and asked the movie studio if they wouldn’t mind making one slight, little, itty-bitty change to the content. Very minor really. Hardly worth mentioning. But, they asked, could you fellas kindly take out three words, “Chosen by God,” and then we’ll run that ad.

So the question comes up: Was Disney in the wrong by stifling free religious expression? I can see Disney’s point. They target kids. And if they run an ad that seemingly pushes a religious doctrine at them, they get some parents mad. Disney has had to be careful in the past, so not to offend the ultra-religious but also not to offend the non-religious. So they asked for this little change, to take the ad more “down the middle of the road.” Ultimately, Disney owns their broadcasting medium, and they can decide what they want to put on the air and what they don’t. That is totally their right.

Was Moses really “Chosen by God?” I believe he was. That whole thing where God talked to him from the burning bush – that was impressive. And then all the neat miracles that Moses performed using God’s power – that was a good sign that Moses had God’s support behind him. Because I accept the Old Testament as pretty much true and good (we’ll talk about the Song of Solomon another time), I’m going to go with that premise that Moses was “chosen by God.”

So what did the movie company say? The movie company initially balked at the idea, but then they went ahead and made the change. Did they “compromise their principles” to try to sell more tickets by going along with the changes? The one executive said that if they get people to come to the movie, those people will get the religious message, so that is ultimately the greater good. He didn’t mention that he also needs people to buy those tickets so he can pay back the expenses to make the movie. Maybe that was just implied and better left unsaid. Dunno.

So small, startup Promenade Pictures did what they did, ultimately to get money brought in, which they need. Didn’t Paul, when he was ready to face his critics, say that he was ‘not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,’ and so he wouldn’t back down? ‘Course you have to read a lot deeper into the Bible to find that story about Paul – Moses is at the front of the book, so the Promenade Pictures people might not have read that far yet. Yet there was that story about ‘selling your birthright for a mess of pottage’ if I remember right. They should have read deep enough into the book to have seen that story.

I don’t know if they necessarily ‘sold their birthright’ here, but their initial reaction of balking and then conceding tells me ultimately what governs their decisions. They might be making nice movies promoting faith, but down the hall from the writers’ offices they lack a little bit of that faith in the marketing department.

Interestingly, the movie is about a man who had such great faith in God, he taught and convinced an entire nation of people to do the same. And God did uphold and support them, and lead the people to safety. If that is what they truly believe, then shouldn’t they put their trust in the God that parted the red sea and saved His chosen people, and keep him in the ad and look to advertise somewhere else?

Disney gave the movie studio an unfortunate choice to make, but they were in the right. Disney owned the broadcast media, and they decide what they will air. Good thing is that the eternal truths will not be changed by the editing of a radio ad. And God will apparently still co-star in the actual movie. But if another scripture teaches us that “with God, nothing is impossible” then does that imply that “without God, some things are not possible?”
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