Baptists say their boycott led Disney to shift focus - The Tennaseean- 6/25/05
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This spring Faith, Hope and Charity Lewis — sisters ages 7, 10, and 12 — visited Disney World for the first time in their lives.
Their father, the Rev. Michael Lewis, senior pastor of Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, said he and his wife felt that after six years of boycotting Disney, it was OK to reverse their ban on paraphernalia, movies and trips to theme parks.
On Wednesday, the nation's second-largest denomination lifted its eight-year boycott against Disney products and protest of its policies. Almost all 12,000 voters at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting favored lifting the boycott.
Some call it a victory for bringing forth a discussion of "family values" to the public square. Others contend the action did little more than foment skepticism toward the church and affirm stereotypes about it.
Movie releases such as the 2002 baseball movie The Rookie starring Dennis Quaid and the more recent Ice Princess "evidenced a more family focus the company has taken," said Lewis, after his family shopped at LifeWay Christian Store in downtown Nashville yesterday.
Lewis said the Walt Disney Co. demonstrated sensitivity to concerns raised by Southern Baptists and others boycotting the entertainment giant.
"It seems like they are heading back to where grass-roots America is. … Moving in this direction, I think they'll catch the heart of America," he said.