Walt Disney Animation is no stranger to parental and religious protest, and they have been dealing with quite a lot recently due to claims that their film Frozen contains a subtext promoting homosexuality. Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez, the Oscar winning duo who wrote the music and lyrics for the blockbuster, have come under fire from Pastor Kevin Swanson, who believes that the film is "very evil" and that the company that created it is "the most pro-homosexual organization". As it turns out, Pastor Swanson might have had a little more to complain about had the Lopezs been allowed to do what they originally intended with some of their song-writing: apparently they intended to invoke the name of the Lord Almighty himself.
In a recent interview with NPR’s Fresh Air , the songwriting duo opened up about part of the creative process for the Academy Award Winning film’s musical component and revealed that one word in particular was not allowed to be included in Frozen's lyrics:
Kristen Anderson-Lopez: It's funny. One of the only places you have to draw the line at Disney is with religious things, the word God.
As they continued the interview, host Terry Gross theorized just why this might have been. Her answer wound up being the couple’s work on the high profile (and highly controversial in its own right) The Book of Mormon. This makes perfect sense on a couple levels, considering that one bad Google search might expose children (or any other sensitively minded individuals) to a translation of the most infamous song from the show, as well as trigger the outrage of Pastor Kevin Swanson and any other religious figure that connects that more off color project to the extremely tame Frozen. Further bolstering Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s case is the fact that Disney has definitely dabbled in animated films that explore themes of religion, lest we forget The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
It might seem like 1996 is a long time ago, but it hasn't been nearly long enough for people to completely forget the fact that The Hunchback of Notre Dame (which had music and lyrics penned by Disney musical legend Alan Menken and Broadway legend Stephen Schwartz) full on confronted such themes as lust, bigotry, and even the questionable existence of God. Yet apparently it was enough time for any controversy surrounding the film to have died down, at least to a point where it’s not easily detected.
Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez know how to walk the fine line between sincerity and parody with their work, and the fact that Frozen has somehow enamored itself with the world only proves that their songwriting abilities are not hampered by the limitations they were given. Still, holding them back from making the mere reference to God is kind of disappointing, as they have breached the subject with sincerity before. Anyone who's actually listened to The Book of Mormon can tell you that.
Perhaps it's best that any mention of a deity was deleted from the film, so children and adults of all backgrounds can watch the film and not have to worry about digging into any sort of religious subtext. Not that there’s anything wrong with subtext, but Frozen already has a lot going on with redefining the Disney Princess for the next generation - and even that inadvertently got them in trouble. To heap on any sort of religious allegory might have been seen as further stirring the pot. Still, there's always the eventual stage adaptation , which will undoubtedly be more in their wheelhouse, and more than likely will offer them more creative freedom. After all, if it can work for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which the musical's tone has been changed to a slightly more reality based affair, surely it could work for Frozen.