I loved the Lion King. I was 12 when it was released. I saw it at the dollar theatre which was my home away from home during the summer. I saw Beethoven’s 2nd nineteen times. It’s not that good of a movie, but I needed an escape. Every year my parents got a large income tax return, the beauty of not making much and having two children. It was always Christmas in February. We would get all of our electronics out of pawn so we’d have a family TV again, and maybe, even a VCR. Then they’d give my sister and I $100 each. She’d spend her share on troll dolls and make up. I would buy movies. Always movies. This was 1995, the Lion King was released in theaters the previous summer. But this was back when you had to wait three to six months to purchase a VHS copy after it left theaters.
I bought the VHS tape. I bought the soundtrack on Cassette. I bought sheets and a lamp with Simba on them. I was obsessed. Granted I was probably past the age where having a Disney themed room (or half a room, my sister and I shared a room and this was the first time in my life I had a bed of my own) is considered appropriate or cool. I was anything but cool. Still am anything but cool. I knew every word of dialogue. I knew every song. I could sing the high parts and the low parts in Can You Feel The Love Tonight…well, at least, I liked to believe I could…the paint peeling off the walls at the sound of my voice begged to differ.
The Lion King made me happy. If you had a childhood anything like mine and you could find something to make you happy you clung to it like a life raft in troubled waters.
But then it happened. Our church, Trinity Tabernacle, in Baytown, Texas put out a pamplet declaring that Simba’s path towards becoming a man and claiming his kingdom was a path towards hell for those who viewed it. After all, the word “sex” was written in a cloud. It was actually “SFX,” but when evangelicals have a narrative, truth will not deter them.
I would have to say goodbye to Simba and Nala, goodbye to Whoopi Goldberg’s hyena, and that bitchy Zazu. I didn’t mind saying goodbye to Scar. That queen was evil. That’s the power of the evangelical church though. Anything that comes between you and eternal salvation, including a cartoon lion and Elton John, must be destroyed. To this day it’s hard for me to watch that movie and not feel just a little bit of that 12 year old’s heartbreak.
This wasn’t the first time something like this happened. I had to burn Mariah Carey’s first album which I had on cassette. Apparently her vision of love included fornication. Okay, maybe that wasn’t the reason, but it was still sinful to possess.
Listening to former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann call Trump the most biblical and Godly president of our time didn’t surprise me. Odds are she belongs to a church like Trinity Tabernacle, where they referred to Barney as the Purple Messiah and MTV as Sodom and Gomorrah. This was back when MTV actually aired music videos. I might compare them to Sodom and Gomorrah these days.
I went to church with Jack Hagee, the twin brother of someone I find so incredibly hateful, John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. Jack was incredibly kind to me. He was a Harris County Constable and seemed to love his job. He adopted four children, all girls. Two of them came out to their adopted families and were asked to leave their home. That is the power of the evangelical church (and his brother’s sermons). Trump is “Godly” and “biblical,” lesbian daughters are possessed by Satan. I wonder what became of them. Perhaps they reconciled. Perhaps he came to his senses after his wife’s death from cancer. I truly hope.
The irony of burning to a melted pool that Mariah Carey cassette were the lyrics to Vision of Love:
“I’ve realized a dream
And I visualized
The love that came to be
Feel so alive
I’m so thankful that I’ve received
The answer that heaven has sent down to me”
The song mentions prayer, gratitude, faith, and especially love…I have to ask myself. What kind of church would make one burn messages like that?