Sean Feucht, a worship leader turned social activist, announced Wednesday afternoon he is leading a “Hold the Line” rally next month at the Walt Disney World complex in central Florida
Feucht declared news of the May 16 rally just a couple weeks after hosting a similar event at The Walt Disney Company headquarters in Burbank, California. Hundreds of Christians and conservatives — including at least one current Disneyland cast member — participated in that rally.
The protests come as Florida has drawn national media attention over its Parental Rights in Education bill, which Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law in late March. The bill will go into effect July 1.
The legislation — mischaracterized by the media and leftist groups as the “Don’t Say Gay bill” — simply stipulates public school educators cannot teach children in pre-K through third-grade classrooms about sexual orientation or gender identity. The word “gay” never once appears in the five-page bill nor does it place any limits on the use of the term.
Initially, Disney CEO Bob Chapek tried not to wade into the political fight, taking an apolitical stance on the legislation, even saying corporate statements on such issues are “counterproductive.” That, though, didn’t last long. Chapek quickly drew the ire of activists inside and outside The Walt Disney Company who urged him to vehemently condemn the parental rights law. And that’s exactly what he did.
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Disney has spent the last several weeks using its cultural capital to speak out against the law, which enjoys support from the majority of Americans — including 51% of Democrats, according to a newly released survey.
Feucht previously told CBN’s Faithwire parents have been “blindsided” by Disney’s unflinching opposition to the parental rights law in Florida, adding many have been gobsmacked at the sight of the family brand “fighting for the sexualization of children, starting in kindergarten.”
“I think Christians sometimes — they get way too soft,” said Feucht of why it’s important to vocally oppose Disney’s recent actions. “They don’t realize that they’re powerful. We have a voice that can change things economically for Disney. We have a voice that can change things politically in this country. … We’re called to be salt and light in every part of society. So when issues like this happen, we don’t just back down; we have to stand up.”
And the entertainment behemoth isn’t backing down.
While the company has remained fairly silent over the last week or so, in late March, the brand stated its “goal” is to see the parental rights law repealed. Since then, Disney has teamed up with other corporations to run a GLAAD-produced ad featuring a transgender teenager and claiming Republicans are attempting to “tear families apart” over transgenderism.
Additionally, Chapek told employees during a recent internal seminar he will “move quickly” to implement more changes to make The Walt Disney Company a “better ally” to the LGBT community. While he didn’t reveal what those changes might be, other executives celebrated the fact the theme parks in California and Florida no longer use the words “ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” (because such wording excludes nonbinary visitors) and urged the company to place “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters” in movies and shows in the future.
DeSantis, for his part, seems to be matching Disney’s chutzpah.
As CBN News reported Wednesday, the Florida governor asked his state’s legislature to repeal a longstanding law granting Walt Disney World Resort special privileges that allow it to essentially self-govern itself on its sprawling 25,000-acre property.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District is a private government propped up and controlled by The Walt Disney Company. It was approved by the state legislature in 1967 and allows Disney to provide for its own zoning, fire protection, utilities, and infrastructure. When the parks were first constructed in Lake Buena Vista in the early 1960s, company executives said governmental autonomy was paramount to their design process, noting plans for a futuristic city that never panned out but ultimately became today’s EPCOT theme park.
On Wednesday, Florida’s state Senate approved legislation ending Disney’s tax privilege in Reedy Creek. It will now go to the Republican-controlled House, where it is also expected to pass. DeSantis has said he will sign the legislation.
Now employing upwards of 80,000 people, Walt Disney World is one of Florida’s biggest employers.
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