- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2017

A drive-in movie theater in Alabama has canceled its planned screenings of the new live-action Disney fairy-tale movie “Beauty and the Beast” after learning that a minor character in the film is portrayed as a gay man, Variety reported Friday.

The Henagar Drive-In Theatre of Henagar, Alabama, made the announcement Thursday via its Facebook page. 

“We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language,” the theater management, which assumed ownership of the facility in December, said in a statement.

“If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it,” said the theater in the same statement.

The theater’s decision and the press coverage attending it has resulted in numerous posts on the theater’s Facebook page both for and against the decision, many of them left in the “reviews” section.

“It’s not that you can’t watch a film with Jesus beside you if there’s homosexuality in it, it’s that your homophobia makes Jesus not WANT to sit beside you,” wrote Christina Emergy of Swansea, Illinois, who gave the establishment one star in her review.

“I encourage the new ownership to actually read the Bible they cling to so tightly. Jesus loves all of His children. Except maybe you. Pretty sure Jesus doesn’t like you right now.”

But a gay man from Loganville, Georgia, had a decidedly different reaction.

“I’m a gay atheist who drives the back roads through Henagar when I travel between Atlanta and Huntsville. Beautiful scenery along that route,” Corey Lovins wrote. “I think a private business should have the right to opt out of showing any movie they see unfit. Just my 2 cents.”

“The First Amendment applies to your drive in just as it does me and my right to take the roads less traveled across this great nation,” Mr. Lovins added on his 3-star review posted Friday.

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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