I want to talk about a cultural event of great significance that the local media assiduously ignores because the subject embarrasses them and makes them squirm with discomfort. This is the fact that the anti-abortion movie “Unplanned” has been running for a few weeks in the Regal Goldstream Cinema. Recall that it was supposed to be a nonevent, sandbagged by critics, frozen out by advertisers, given an R rating by the Hollywood review board to kill it in the womb, even though prime time TV is a lot more risque. Instead of doing the expected and flopping in a day, it turned out to be a blockbuster, both here in Fairbanks and nationally.
What accounts for its success? Well, in a word, it reveals a truth about abortion, not by showing an abortion — to do so would have deserved an automatic R rating, which it received anyway — but by showing a ultrasound hologram of a baby being dismembered and then being vacuum-sucked out of the womb, resisting all the while. You can’t watch that scene without squirming in your seat.
It seems, as Christians, we want to avoid two evils: We don’t want to raise the ante on violence because abortion itself is, essentially, violent; and, as Christians, we understand too well that today’s enemies may be tomorrow’s allies (the narrative plot of the movie). We don’t want to become too comfortable living with it.
It’s the second horn of the dilemma that concerns me because, simply put, anyone who is not already offended by such an offense, who is not already radicalized by such pernicious activity, is already half gone.
Now, Americans are a tolerant people, having grown fat and comfortable in the past three decades, and have become very torpid in resisting their evil inclinations. I fear that we may wait a very long time before the majority feels discomfited enough to rouse itself to uncomfortable action, especially since the victims are so silent and invisible. With abortion, they simply don’t want to know and avoid knowing the gruesome details.
That doesn’t lesson the horror of it and the accounting that awaits this guilty nation, deferred for now but not forever. Abraham Lincoln once said that for every drop of blood extracted by the bondsman’s lash, two drops of blood would be extracted in recompense. Our civil war is upon us; not yet hot, it is, nevertheless, full of passionate hatred and intensity. All that is needed is one little incident, one provocation, and the two armies, the middle evaporated, will be at each other’s throats.
The time is 1856. James Buchanan, a do-nothing and career politician, is president. The forces of dissolution are getting stronger; the armies of the night are on the move. False prophets proclaim peace and security, but a day of reckoning is silently approaching. Sound familiar?
Ben Orr lives in Fairbanks.