The fox and the hound

The Gospel According to Disney – Unlikely Friends

One Disney classic that isn’t so well known is the Fox and the Hound produced in 1981. It’s the story of a young red fox named Tod, adopted by widow Tweed, and an equally young Hound dog called Copper, who is owned by a farmer called Slade. The farmer also has an older dog, called Chief who is to mentor Copper in the art of hunting. As pups, Tod and Copper meet up and pledge to be friends forever, but as they grow up, conflicts arise. Chief insists that Copper cannot be friends with Tod and his owner vows to kill Tod should he ever come near his chickens.

The question posed by the film is ‘can Tod and Copper’s desire and commitment to everlasting friendship overcome their native instincts and the social pressures around them?’ The story is quite simple but it addresses a theme that is all too relevant today around the world, reconciliation. In many lands there are age-old conflicts between peoples that result in the most terrible atrocities. In the last 50 years there have been several instances of ethnic cleansing in Rwanda, Sudan, Indonesia, Iraq, South Africa, Georgia and most notably between Israel and Palestine in the Gaza strip. Is there any way peace can be achieved in the face of such entrenched hatred?

In the bible the Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesian church, ‘Christ himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… bringing them together in peace through the cross.’ The message is that at the cross all can find forgiveness and can extend the hand of friendship. As the breaking of the Berlin wall opened the way for peace between West and east Germany, so the cross symbolises the place where all can meet in friendship, putting away ancient hatred.

It’s a message we all need to hear for we are not victims of our past, neither are we prey to the social pressures of the present; we are champions of our future. We can choose and we are responsible for the way we live alongside one another. Let us choose to be friends and support one another. In that way we change the world!

 John Harries (Chaplain)

Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB