A Christian allegory? "Elsa," from the Disney movie "Frozen," makes the same choices Satan did, says one critic -- and fan.

A Christian allegory? “Elsa,” from the Disney movie “Frozen,” makes the same choices Satan did, says one critic — and fan. From the official Disney website for "Frozen"

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This may be a good day to highlight Collin Garbarino’s argument that the latest Disney princess flick, “Frozen,” is “a better allegory for the Christian gospel than C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” He concedes that if he went that far his colleagues at Houston Baptist University “might run me out of the university on a rail.”

Having seen the movie twice (don’t ask), I can understand where Garbarino’s colleagues might be coming from. But I’ll let it go and move onto other weather-related allegories:

March for Life, huddle for warmth

The 41st annual demonstration against abortion, held in Washington on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, is still going on despite snow on the ground and bitterly cold temperatures. Weather has forced numerous cancellations of busloads of protesters but Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley used the frigid temperatures to rally the protesters at a Mass last night:

(Yes, Ann clearly misses the copy desk at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but you get her drift)

The Francis Effect, again?

CNN’s Dan Burke catalogued six “surprising changes” in the March for Life, one of them the effort to attract more evangelicals, who, as our own Sarah Pulliam Bailey reported, are strongest against abortion but underrepresented at a demonstration that has always had a very Catholic flavor.

But O’Malley may have signaled an equally important shift as he used his homily at Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and interviews with the media to place the battle against abortion in the context of the church’s other positions, such as poverty and immigration and adoption.

“There’s a consistency in our life ethic,” he said, echoing the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, but mentioning Pope Francis even more to hammer home this theme and the importance of not appearing to be judgmental.

Will it work? As Rocco Palmo noted of last night’s Mass, “compared with the customary vibe in the room, the ovation was palpably tepid.”

Still, they got a boost from O’Malley’s boss:

Nun who fired gay teacher resigns

Both O’Malley and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan have also insisted that, contrary to what Francis said, the church is not “obsessed” with issues like abortion and gay marriage. But the regular firings of gay church employees would lead the public to believe otherwise – and now one of those firings, a highly-publicized case at a Seattle Catholic school, has prompted the resignation of the nun, Sister Mary Tracy, who fired vice-principal Mark Zmuda.

The pope looks East

Fr. Lombardi, Vatican spox, confirms a papal trip to Korea this Aug. is being studied. Wud be to attend Asian youth gathering

— Catholic News Svc (@CatholicNewsSvc) January 22, 2014

A trip to the Philippines is also under consideration, Lombardi said, but not this year.

The pope looks West

Francis will welcome President Obama to the Vatican in March, and I look at some of the items that may be on their agenda. Patheos’ Catholic blogger, Rebecca Hamilton, wonders if the holy water in the fonts at St. Peter’s will boil dry when the president walks by. Which is obviously the first thing I should have mentioned.

On the other hand, Francis has already lost Colbert – again:

“Out of 1.2 billion Catholics out there, there’s only of one of ‘em that really bothers me. It’s this guy named Frank. I’m so PO’d at this socialist, poor-coddling, gay-not-judging, foot-washing, atheist hugging, audacity of pope.”

Watch in all its glory:

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

American Judaism’s Asian infusion

Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl grew up as the daughter of a Korean Buddhist immigrant and an American Jew in Tacoma, Washington. Now, at 41, she’s set to lead New York’s historic Central Synagogue – probably the only Asian-American to lead a major U.S. synagogue. The Wall Street Journal has a must-read profile, including her recounting a trip to Israel when she was 16:

“I was kind of an oddity all the time,” she said. Her biggest surprise came when fellow students questioned whether she was actually Jewish, since her mother wasn’t. “It was extremely painful and destabilizing for me,” she said. Still, she came home determined to become a rabbi. “I basically never wavered from that moment.”

Then check out the stuff about her Helen Reddy performance.

Cuts to circumcision insurance?

Yeah, cue the rimshots. But Tablet points to another WSJ story, this one on new research about the utility of routine circumcisions on newborns, which is leading some states to reexamine the once-standard public funding of the procedure.

Glenn Beck confesses

An unexpected mea culpa from a leader of religious conservatives:

“I remember it as an awful lot of fun and that I made an awful lot of mistakes, and I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language,” Beck said of his days on Fox News. “I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart.”

“I didn’t realize how really fragile the people were. I thought we were kind of more in it together.”

Now for the firm purpose of amendment.

RNS has a new favorite ABC

He’s the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby:

David Gibson


Categories: Culture

David Gibson

David Gibson

David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He is a national reporter for RNS and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.


  1. Thank you, David – my daily RNS email is often one of the highlights of my day (yes, I lead a sad life…). But when I checked out the piece on “Frozen,” I saw a recent post on that same site about a recent Downton Abbey episode in which something awful happens [spoiler alert] – the gist of the post is that rape is God’s will in that it brings “us” closer to God (the author is male). Maybe it’s too easy a target, and my sense was a comment on that website would simply mark me as a troll; but it’s such a heinous sentiment that I had to comment about it somewhere.

  2. David Gibson

    David Gibson

    Article author

    Well, thanks for reading, and at least you can be sad tgether with a few thousand other fans of the Roundup!

    And thanks for the note and the reference to the Downton post — I hadn’t seen that. I guess I can only say, whoa. It’s worth pushing back against, methinks.

  3. Medicaid claims for circumcision are false claims against the government. Non-therapeutic circumcision is medically unnecessary, elective, cosmetic surgery on healthy boys, usually performed for cultural, personal or religious reasons. The fundamental principle of Medicaid law is that Medicaid only covers necessary medical treatments after the diagnosis of a current medical condition. Physicians and hospitals face severe penalties for charging Medicaid for circumcisions. Medicaid officials and the Federal and State Governments are also required to end coverage. It is unlawful to circumcise and to allow the circumcision of healthy boys at the expense of the government and taxpayers.

  4. I wonder if the March for life people will pick up on the gentler tone of Pope Francis. I’m a little tired of being called a baby killer even though I oppose abortion but at the same time support the current legislation.

    • Many Atheists such as myself object to abortion.
      It is wrongly assumed by Christians that Atheists do not care about this.

      But the current legislation respects the women’s right to her own body. This must take priority over the rest of the debate regardless of how much anxiety it causes the rest of us.

      Laws which which attempt to roll back women’s rights are a threat to all of us.

  5. There IS NO new research that justifies forcible genital cutting of children, which is obvious if you read the WSJ article and look at the links provided in the comments section.

    Circumcision alters sex dramatically. The only person with the ethical standing to authorize amputation of healthy normal body parts is the patient himself. Informed adults can decide for themselves about genital reduction surgery.

  6. David, as a father of a 9-year-old girl myself, I know perfectly well why you’ve seen it twice. The mystery is how I’ve gotten away with seeing it only once.

    And while I prefer Dante to Milton, I liked the analysis.

  7. David Gibson

    David Gibson

    Article author

    Peter, mine is 8, so I’m less capable of resisting her.

    I did some poking around for a blog post never written on the differences between Dante and Milton (you’re obviously a closet papist…) and it’s rather interesting. Short answer: Catholic Hell is cold, Protestant Hell is hot. So is Elsa Catholic? Let’s not go there…

    Charles: Amen. I think that’s an important story re this year’s March for Life.

  8. While I wish R’Buchdahl and Central Synagogue the best, both the Roundup and the WSJ omit critical context. Under Jewish law (halacha), you are a Jew if your mother is a Jew or if you convert to Judaism. The Reform movement, of which both CS and the Central Conference of American Rabbis are a part — again, omitted by the article — does not view halacha as binding and has allowed since the 1980s for people to define being Jewish through patrilineal descent. It’s a personal question, but the articles about R’Buchdahl tend to avoid or be unclear on the question of whether she converted. That’s where the questions on her teenage Israel trip were coming from. What much of the American Jewish community now is asking is if you can have a rabbi who is not halachically Jewish. (Of course, there already are plenty of non-Orthodox rabbis whose conversions would not be recognized by Orthodox authorities, making them too, in their eyes, not halachically Jewish).

    ..And it’s always nice to see the people who think they know better than the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  9. I see nothing in the Bible which would agree with the euphemism “Sanctity of Life”.

    I would appreciate some discussion on where this myth comes from.
    There is no indication that I can find in the Bible that would demonstrate God cares for the ‘Sanctity’ of any life except as it relates to servility.

  10. The “new research” on the “utility” of circumcision found that when neonatal circumcision went down, later circumcision (1-5 years) went up. Well, whoop de doo! Of course it did, because there were more intact boys available to circumcise, regardless of whether more had something the matter with them – or if there was anything the matter with ANY of them. The story shows that the boys were mainly brought in for circumcising because the parents really, really wanted it done.

    It also repeats various common fallacies, such as later circumcision being more complicated or risky. On the contrary, when a child is bigger, this microsurgery is safer. But none of this has anything to do with religion. Medicaid has never funded ritual circumcision (the only kind that has any standing in Judaism), and St Paul says (Gal 5:2) “… if you become circumcised, Christ is of no value to you.”

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