OK, I’ll admit it: I have a soft, squishy spot in my heart for Narnia. I began reading those books when I was a young ‘un and they are responsible for getting me to enjoy reading just for the fun of it. These stories were sort of the Harry Potter of my childhood. (I think “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle got me started on sci-fi, for what it’s worth.) I never considered the Narnia stories to be “Christian fairy tales” or a recruitment tool for the religion…I did notice a few things about them that paralleled certain themes in Christian belief, but not once did I feel preached at or told to worship. C.S. Lewis didn’t write them to be overtly preachy either, from what I’ve read about him. This is why it strikes me as silly the way some people refuse to see the movie because they think it’s “Christian propaganda”, and others want to see it because they think it’s going to be a great preachy experience, because it really isn’t. The religious overtones are no more apparent on film than they are on the page: if you know what to look for, you’ll find it. If not, you’ll enjoy a nice fantasy story. Simple as that.
But now that the movie is out, all marketing-hell is breaking loose. Disney, likely feeling left out of the Harry Potter goldmine, is going all-out to saturate the stores with Narnia merchandise, and they’re making extra efforts to hype the movie at Christian retail stores. I suppose the merchandising blitz is to be expected, disgusting as it is. It’s one of the things that Disney does best, usually partnering with McDonald’s in order to lure as many children as possible into its clutches. (Are Beaverburgers with Faun Fries available yet?) But for Disney to market the movie directly to Christians is beyond bizarre. Isn’t Disney on a par with the Devil, being so gay-friendly and whatnot? What happened to all those boycotts? Well, now that Disney’s promoting a movie that has some Christian overtones, apparently all is forgiven and forgotten…especially since there’s money to be made by Christian stores. Oh yeah, alllllll is forgiven now that those cash registers are a-ringin’. “What? Oh, we love Disney! Love ’em to bits! Goodness gracious yes. They can do whatever Gay Homosexual Days they want. We don’t care. Can’t wait for the Narnia sequel!” Hook, line, and sinker. Cha-ching!
Another strange thing is the way that Christians are so eager to embrace these stories, which are full of magic and mythical beasts and violence, as great holy parables…while at the same time condemning Harry Potter books as Satan-bait because they’re full of, you know, magic and mythical creatures and violence. But if Harry Potter had any blatant parallels to Bible stories, they’d be all over it like stink on poop.