Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Has Disney Caved In to Secularism?

Last night my family and I visited Walt Disney World's Candlelight Processional - held at Epcot every year during the holidays.

The Candlelight Processional is a beautiful and moving story told by a celebrity narrator mixed in with wonderful music performed by hundreds of people of all race and ages.

This event is all designed to tell the story of the birth of Jesus and for all of the years we have attended Disney has maintained the same script, music and thematic touches. 

Until this year.

This year the following part of the script was left off:

He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty

He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty three

His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth

When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life.
I can only speculate as to the reasons Disney decided to eliminate this very powerful and somewhat evangelical message.  After all, I was not in the room when the decision was made and no one from Disney told us to expect anything different for reasons X, Y or Z.
All I know is it seems a bit peculiar to change a show about Jesus's birth when its inclusion in all prior years was met with sell-out crowds and standing-room-only audiences. 
No where did it ever seem that leaving this part of the script in was causing the demand for Epcot tickets to fall in December.  No where did we ever see protests outside the gates.
And no where is where we found the greatest part of the greatest human story ever told.
Whatever the reason, Disney owes its customers and answer.  I know I will think twice next year about buying these tickets if Disney has decided to join the legions of Americans who are afraid to pronounce what this season is about.
In fact, if not for the birth of Jesus there would be no profit from an untold story because there would be no Christmas.
You could also argue that without Jesus there would be no such thing as Capitalism, which has certainly benefited Disney.  After all, capitalism is based on the idea that people should be allowed to use their free will to pursue money in a peaceful way.  Adam Smith - a Christian - and our overwhelmingly Christian Founders gave us the right - and Disney the right - to enjoy what they called "God-given" rights.    Without the teachings of Jesus on the concept of free will and serving others we never get Adam Smith or the Founders because we never rise above kings, emperors and dictators.
The least Disney could do is pursue profit with a pure message, rather than a watered-down one that offends fewer people.
On that note, Merry Christmas to all of you.


  1. Hi Professor Chambless,

    Actually, this is the first year I haven't attended the Processional. I don't know why since I have season tix to all 4 parks. Just didn't go. I can't understand why they would remove that part of the story either. Guess the need to be politically correct (so to speak) outweighs the obligation to tell the whole story. I can't imagine what they said in place of the omitted text or I suppose it was just a bit shorter. I'm glad I didn't go now, because even though I'm Jewish, I do understand the importance of Jesus and I wouldn't have wanted to hear the story in any other way than has always been done in the past. I'm glad you wrote might have saved me a trip as I was considering going to see Blair Underwood (who I love) perform the story. Hope you had a terrific Xmas with your family and Merry Christmas. Terri