LOS ANGELES (Christian Examiner) – When Finding Dory was released in June, a not-so-small controversy focused on whether two women seen briefly together near a stroller were intended by filmmakers to be a lesbian couple – and the debate didn't die when a director said the women could be "whatever you want them to be."
But there is no question about a just-as-brief (if not briefer) scene in the new animated movie Storks (PG), which has been widely applauded for some of its general themes but which also includes a rapid sequence at the film's end that shows a baby in the arms of different couples – including a lesbian couple and a gay couple. The film grossed $21 million over the weekend and finished No. 2.
Adam Holz of Focus on the Family's Plugged In department said Christian families who know about the controversy will reach different conclusions as to whether they should watch the film.
"The scene in question here is very, very short. It may be a quarter of a second or less," Holz told Christian Examiner. "It's truly a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment. If viewers aren't paying close attention, they may very well miss it entirely. Because of that, I think there's room for Christian families to make a variety of decisions on whether they want to navigate this scene or not. That said, I suspect that for many Christian families, the fact that the film includes a scene with at least two same-sex couples (two women and two men shown in a fast-moving montage) receiving babies from storks will push it out of bounds on principle, no matter how fleeting the scene is.
"By including those images, the filmmakers are promoting a worldview and an understanding of family that's consistent with mainstream secular values with regard to sexuality and marriage, but one that's at odds with a biblical understanding of those important subjects. I suspect that will be enough for many Christian families to take a pass on this film."
It is a trend in animated movies that conservative families will face more and more, Holz said.
"There have already been several other high-profile films that have also had controversial scenes and/or dialogue either hinting at or making clear statements in favor of same-sex relationships," Holz said. "These include Happy Feet 2 and How to Train Your Dragon 2, as well as a very fleeting scene in Frozen that perhaps hints at such a relationship. And though there was no explicit reference to homosexuality in it, Mr. Peabody & Sherman has been interpreted by some (including people in the gay community) as a film about homosexuals having the right to adopt. Given all those examples, I think the trend is under way already, and we can expect it to continue.
Holz continued: "Disney Channel has featured a same-sex couple on its kids' show Good Luck Charlie, and I fully expect more and more children's entertainment—be it movies, TV shows or video games—to be promoting a worldview that views same-sex relationships as being no different than heterosexual ones. This issue isn't going away, and it's one that Christian families are going to have to learn to navigate, perhaps sooner than they'd like to, and perhaps even if we say no to entertainment properties that continue to deliver this message."