Franklin Graham warned that Disney has "gone too far" in its submission to LGBT activists after it pronounced its opposition to a parental rights bill in Florida.
Graham, the CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, took to Facebook Saturday to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Disney’s activism against the "Parental Rights in Education" law (House Bill 1557). The measure requires schools to notify parents about any healthcare services their child receives on campus. It also prevents educators from discussing topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity with students in kindergarten through third grade. While Disney is based in California, it operates the theme park Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Initially electing to remain neutral on the bill, Disney ultimately joined a chorus of LGBT activists and progressive groups in deriding the measure as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Under pressure from LGBT-identified and allied Disney employees, a company spokesperson subsequently released a statement declaring that HB 1557 “should never have passed and should never have become law,” adding, “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts.”
In the days following the company’s vow to lobby for the bill’s repeal, video footage obtained by the Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo revealed Disney employees are talking about their efforts to incorporate LGBT ideology into children’s programming.
This, combined with Disney’s advocacy against HB 1557, resulted in intense backlash from conservatives and many Christians, including Graham, who began his Facebook post by citing Disney’s activism as an example of how “LGBTQ activists are using corporations to force their agenda on the public.”
Additionally, Graham insisted that “companies may want to take another look at what they are allowing to happen.” Public opinion polling conducted by the Trafalgar Group found that 70% of Americans are less likely to do business with Disney due to its creation of “content to expose young children to sexual ideas.”
The political action committee Floridians for Economic Advancement asked Florida Democratic primary voters if they thought young students should “be taught about sexual orientation in the classroom by their teachers.” A majority of respondents (52%) responded either “definitely no” or “somewhat no” to the question, illustrating a contrast between the views of Democratic primary voters and Democrats in the state Legislature, who unanimously voted against HB 1557.
After remarking that “Disney has gone too far,” Graham proclaimed that “The people of Florida have revolted, and it’s going to cost Disney big time.” He specifically noted that “Disney had a special tax status in the state which they benefitted from in a huge way — but because they came out against the parents of Florida, the governor and legislators have revoked that status.”
“What has happened at Disney is moral failure,” Graham insisted. “Walt Disney had a vision for wholesome family entertainment. He was committed to the family. The morals of the corporate leadership of Disney today are in the gutter, and they want to redefine family counter to God’s original design and flaunt sin.”
As Graham noted, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that will have the effect of abolishing the “independent special district” containing Disney World.
Florida state Rep. Spencer Roach explained that the Reedy Creek Improvement District enables Disney World to operate as its “own government,” making them “exempt from all county regulation and most state regulations.”
Roach reported that “under the law, Disney could build a nuclear power plant there and we couldn’t do a darn thing about it.” He classified the Reedy Creek Improvement District as an “aberration of the free market” since other theme parks such as Busch Gardens and Universal Studios do not have the same privileges that Disney does.
Graham praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for taking a “bold stand” before offering alternative activities for families to embrace on a visit to the Sunshine State as opposed to Disney: “I’m in Orlando right now with our Samaritan’s Purse Operation Heal Our Patriots military veteran couples and it is absolutely beautiful! I can tell you there’s a TON of fun things for families to do here other than supporting Disney.”
Graham is not the only faith leader to express concern about Disney’s LGBT activism. Former Bethel worship leader Sean Feucht held a rally protesting the company’s embrace of “perversion” in front of Disney’s headquarters in California and plans on having a protest at Disney World next month.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org