James Dobson to join boycott of Disney on Aug. 27 broadcast

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP)--The Disney boycott broadens yet again Aug. 27 when Focus on the Family's James Dobson takes to the airwaves to announce his support of the protest of Disney's moral direction.

A Focus on the Family news release Aug. 26 said Dobson will state he is joining the Southern Baptist Convention and others in boycotting Disney in his Wednesday, Aug. 27, half-hour radio program, which was pre-recorded.

Dobson's daily broadcast is aired on nearly 2,000 radio outlets to an estimated 3 million to 5 million listeners weekly, according to the Colorado Springs, Colo., ministry.

Dobson said in the news release: "It has become clear that the Disney organization has utter disdain for those who hold traditional moral principles and conservative family values. Year after year, its leaders have insulted a large segment of the population by producing films, television and music that contradict cherished beliefs. For this reason, Focus on the Family now vigorously supports a boycott against anything that bears the Disney name and recommends that families, especially those of the Christian faith, no longer trust or patronize their products and programming.

"We won't bankrupt Disney, given their enormous resources, and we may not even damage them financially," Dobson said. "But we can certainly let our constituency know that Disney is no longer friendly to the family and call attention to the immoral material they are now producing. ... It is sad, indeed, to see what the present generation of Disney executives has done to the marvelous legacy of its founder."

An attached information sheet issued by Focus on the Family added: "Unfortunately, families cannot trust the company that gave us 'Bambi,' 'Mary Poppins' and 'Winnie the Pooh' any longer. In recent years, Disney has acquired a number of subsidiaries that have produced extremely offensive films and television programs that can hardly be termed 'family friendly.'"

The information sheet cited such Disney-produced movies as "Priest," "Pulp Fiction" and "Sex, Lies and Videotape" and such shows on Disney-owned ABC-TV as "Ellen," "NYPD Blue," "Spin City" and this fall's "Nothing Sacred."

The information sheet also noted: "An increasing amount of Disney 'kids products' are not necessarily geared toward children's audiences. Many parents have raised concerns about the age-appropriateness of recent Disney animated films, such as 'Hunchback of Notre Dame,' 'Hercules' and 'Pocahontas.'"

Interested individuals may call Focus on the Family at (719) 531- 3400 to find out which local stations carry Dobson's program. Also, the broadcast in its entirety may be heard by dialing (719) 548-4693 or 548- 4658 anytime Aug. 27. Cassette copies of the broadcast may be ordered by dialing 1-800-A-FAMILY.

Since early 1995, when the American Family Association and the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights initiated their respective Disney boycotts, the movement has grown to include the Southern Baptist Convention, which passed a boycott resolution last June in Dallas, the Assemblies of God, Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship, Concerned Women for America, the Presbyterian Church in America, the Free Will Baptists and others. Expressing concern, but stopping short of a boycott, have been the Church of the Nazarene and the United Methodist Church's Board of Pension and Health Benefits.

The Focus on the Family information sheet, in a section titled, " What exactly are we asking of families?" suggests:

-- "Contact Disney and let them know how you feel about their objectionable actions.

-- "Indicate in writing how much money you will NOT be spending on their products over the next year.

-- "Direct your correspondence to Michael Eisner, c/o The Disney Company, 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521.

-- "Do not purchase any product that bears the Disney name, including items from the Disney Stores, movies and videos (i.e. 'The Jungle Book,' releasing shortly) or admission to Disney theme parks."

In a section, "What are the goals of the boycott?" Focus on the Family states:

-- "To inform America that families can't and shouldn't trust Disney.

-- "To make Disney feel a financial loss, and put them in a difficult public relations position, thereby encouraging them to limit the amount of anti-family product they distribute.

-- "To bring Disney to the table with family and religious groups to address their differences.

-- "To drive Disney back to the family friendly values that were evident during the era of Walt Disney himself."

On other Disney fronts:

-- Word of support for the Disney boycott has been relayed by fax from Alexander Firisiuk, vice president of the Euro-Asian Federation of Baptist Unions and president of the Belarus Baptist Union in the former Soviet republic. Firisiuk wrote: "With special gratitude to our Lord we have heared (sic) about your decission (sic) in Dallas on July 18 to boycott the Walt Disney Co. and (its) anti-Christian and anti-family direction. For the Baptists of the former USSR countries who constantly continue to stay in a spiritual struggle for loyalty to God and Scripture, this decission (sic) became an enspiration (sic) and once again improve (sic) that there are many Baptists in the world who stay on the principals (sic) of the Scripture."

-- In a survey of 407 adults in Alabama by Southern Opinion Research in Tuscaloosa from Aug. 5-9, roughly 33 percent said they agree with the SBC's Disney boycott; 57 percent said they disagree; and 10 percent registered no opinion. Among respondents identifying themselves as Baptists, 40 percent agreed with the boycott; 52 percent disagreed; and 8 percent had no opinion. Among black Baptists in particular, 24 percent were in favor of the boycott and 71 percent against, Southern Opinion Research reported.

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