Science is a gift of God to all of us and science has take us to a place that is biblical in its power to cure, said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. And that is the embryonic stem cell research.
I completely agree that science, like all good things, can sometimes be viewed as a gift from God. I’m less clear, though, on the other part of that sentence. How exactly is it “biblical” to kill a human being in the fanciful hope that we one day might obtain cures for other humans beings? Is that written in one of those obscure Old Testament books that no one reads?
Perhaps Ms. Pelosi, Democratic House leader and theologian, can explain that one for us.
While criminal law treats all violent acts equally, the proposed law would additionally punish the accused for any prejudice they might have toward the victim. Instead of ending discrimination, this bill would create a judicial caste system in American society by creating categories where some victims are given more consideration and attention than others. This is a direct affront to the equal protection provision of our constitution.
As a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, and a person who grew up fighting racism, I oppose the idea of thought crimes. In America, our Constitution guarantees everyone the freedom to think and believe whatever he or she wants, no matter how repulsive those beliefs are to others. And, our Declaration of Independence champions the dignity and worth of every individual.
Living, breathing people who have been treated by stem cells some who would have otherwise died are signs of the great hope of stem-cell research. Take Doug Rice, a bear of a man who was told he had months to live because of heart disease, yet after being treated with his own blood stem cells, his heart function is almost normal. Then theres Dave Foege who also received the same treatment for his ailing heart, after his doctors had sent him home to hospice. And accident victim Jacki Rabon can walk with the aid of braces after she had her own nasal stem cells injected into her spinal-cord injury. Carol Franz is an incredible woman who suffered from multiple myeloma, a bone cancer, until she had her bone-marrow stem cells transplanted. Stephen Sprague has been free from leukemia after having a cord blood stem cell transplant. And Keone Penn no longer has sickle-cell anemia after receiving a cord-blood stem-cell transplant…
A recent New York Times Magazine profile of writer-director-producer Judd Apatow contained this intriguing assertion:
Both of the films Apatow has directed offer up the kind of conservative morals the Family Research Council might embrace — if the humor weren’t so filthy.
As the (unofficial) movie critic for FRC I decided to put that claim to the test by screening Apatow’s latest film. The verdict: Knocked Up offers up the kind of conservative morals the Family Research Council might embrace — if the humor weren’t so filthy.
The story centers around the relationship between Ben Stone, a schlubby unemployed stoner, who meets rising TV personality Alison Scott in a bar. After getting drunk the pair stumble into an awkward one night stand. Eight weeks later, Ben is shocked when Alison meets him and reveals that she is pregnant. Despite having little in common, the two decide that they have to at least try to make some kind of relationship work for the baby’s sake.
It’s that twist that makes Knocked Up one of the most pro-life, pro-family film I’ve seen in years — and thats including what passes for “Christian” films. Unfortunately, it is also the filthiest family-oriented film I’ve ever seen. This is a family movie that I can’t recommend for families.
Still, while the ends can’t justify the means, it is worthy wading through the crudity to examine the message being presented.
One of the most striking aspects of the film is the use of language. Throughout the film, the obscenities flow freely, yet there is one word too obscene even for these foul-mouthed characters: abortion. When Ben tells his roommates about the pregnancy his buddy Jonah suggests that Alison get a procedure that, he says, “rhymes with ‘shmashmortion’.” He’s quickly condemned as a “monster” by another roommate for even suggesting such an inhuman action.
The only other person to hint that Alison should kill the child is her horrible mother who tells her to wait till she’s ready to have a “real baby.” As Ross Douthat observes, “Knocked Up is almost naively pro-life: Of course Alison decided to ‘keep’ the baby, the script suggests, because killing it would be terribly and obviously wrong, and she’s not a bad person.”
Another old-fashioned value supported by the film is marriage. Allison’s sister Debbie (Apatow’s own remarkable wife Leslie Mann) and brother-in-law Pete (the understated Paul Rudd) got married because they got “knocked up” and…well, that’s just what people do, so the movie implies, when they find themselves with child.
As Allison and Ben attempt to reconcile their imperfections (well, Ben’s imperfections) with that ideal, Debbie and Pete reveal how the ideal isn’t always so ideal. (Apatow, Mann, and Rudd deserve praise for making this sub-plot compelling enough to be its own movie.) In fact, the character of Pete reveals the key to understanding the movie.
When Ben and Allison drunkenly stumble into bed together, he blurts an epiphanic understatement: “Youre prettier than I am.” Indeed, Allison is not only prettier, she’s smarter, and nicer, and cleaner, and…so far out of Ben’s league that it makes it nearly impossible to suspend disbelief when she confesses her love. Sure, women like losers. But unless Allison has been drained of self-respect and self-esteem, there is no way she could fall in love with such an absolute and total loser.
But a scene later in the second half of the film puts the bizarre romance in perspective. After tiffs with their women, Ben and Paul flee to Las Vegas where they binge on hallucinogenic mushrooms and watch Cirque de Soleil. In his drug-induced stupor Paul has a moment of clarity, admitting that his wife’s desire to always be in his presence scares him to death: “I don’t think I can accept pure love.”
Pure love, Apatow seems to be saying, is what comes with having a family. And we men don’t deserve it. While we may not be flat-busted, overweight, unemployed stoners, when it comes to pure love we aren’t any more worthy than Ben. We dont deserve anything so wonderful as a wife much less the miracle of a baby. So if by some stroke of fate/luck/providence we find these blessings in our life we must to do whatever it takes to keep them. We may be losers but we don’t have to be fools.
Knocked Up definitely isn’t a film I can embrace. The humor is indeed too filthy. But any film that has such a powerful pro-family message deserves at least a pat on the back.
First another (probably taxpayer funded) study that tells you what you should already know:
BUMPS to the head on the football field can lead to lasting brain damage, according to a landmark international study that found just three concussions triples the risk of developing depression. Australian experts said the American study of more than 2500 retired National Football League athletes was of real concern to Australia’s generation of junior football players who were more susceptible to a brain injury and were playing a more violent code.
Then an actual headline that must have been written by someone hit on the head once too often:
New research conducted by doctors in England shows that unborn children can face emotional stress during a pregnancy as the baby’s mother faces stress herself. Pro-life advocates say the study has implications for abortion as society learns more about the amazing development of children before birth. More . . .
On May 26, one day before the 30 days allowed to challenge a new law had expired; the federal Human Rights Commission and the national Attorney Generals Office asked the Mexican Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional a recently adopted law in the Federal District that legalized unrestricted abortion before the twelfth week of pregnancy. More . . .
Six women who blame their mental health problems on abortions have been denied the chance to testify in court against the Abortion Supervisory Committee. More . . .
The leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholics says the abortion rate north of the border was equivalent to “two Dunblane massacres a day” as he stepped up his attack on pro-choice politicians. More . . .
The Florida Supreme Court has paved the way for two state ballot amendments about stem cell research funding — one that forces the state government to pay for embryonic stem cell research and another that prohibits it. Now all organizers of the competing proposals have to do is get enough signatures to qualify. More . . .
Citing privacy issues, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday vetoed a provision requiring more medical details on late-term abortions. The action didnt surprise the author of the budget provision, Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican. Sebelius, an abortion-rights supporter, vetoed a similar measure a year ago. More . . .
When it comes to expressing his views of church values, Roman Catholic Archbishop Raymond Burke has a habit of making headlines. More . . .
Conflicting claims, dueling statistics and an utter lack of common ground on a polarized and intimately emotional issue marked a more than two-hour legislative hearing Wednesday on a bill to require a 24- hour waiting period before a pregnant woman can obtain an abortion. More . . .
A divorced couple’s battle over frozen embryos is headed to the Texas Supreme Court, KPRC Local 2 reported Wednesday. Augusta and Randy Roman froze three embryos during years of infertility treatments that they went through during their marriage. More . . .
Bonus: Great op-ed by Kathryn Jean Lopez:
What’s so bad about Planned Parenthood? It’s a question Americans must wonder about as they see pro-lifers protesting or praying outside clinics. And it deserves an answer because it gets to the heart of some key and contentious questions we face as a society, one that is ever creeping toward a brave new world (in many respects already living in it) as biotechnological choices propagate. More . . .
The need to solve cultural problems for today's family is great, urgent, and possible.
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