Excuse Me, Your Liberal Propaganda is Showing

With every new television season, there are always sad farewells to favorite shows that have ended (Parks and Recreation, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) and watching with anticipation the new crop of shows to see what will take the place of shows gone by. The new 2015-2016 season had many promising entries, but one is about to go by the wayside quickly because of one particularly troublesome theme.

The basic premise of “Quantico” seems interesting enough: a terrorist strike occurs in New York City and the prime suspect is someone from a class of FBI agent trainees that convened nine months earlier, specifically, Alex Parrish. The show switches between present time (after the terrorist strike) and the past (while the class takes place at Quantico).

Priyanka Chopra stars as Alex Parrish in

Priyanka Chopra stars as Alex Parrish in “Quantico.” Photo from abc.go.com.

I was going to give this show a shot, willing to overlook gratuitous sex scenes and sexual innuendo because I love a good mystery. However, there were two instances of the writers’ liberal leanings that I just can’t abide with and thus will remove the show from my DVR.

The first instance occurred in the show’s first episode, “Run.” One of the trainees, Eric Packer, is Mormon and the quick shots of his background show him attending his home temple and being an all-around nice guy. Nice, that is, until the trainees’ first assignment: to dig deeper into a fellow trainee’s background to find some information which was purposely omitted from their personnel files by the instructor. When the assignment is over and Eric’s secret is about to be revealed, he stresses so much about it that he pulls a gun and commits suicide in front of the entire class. The secret that Eric couldn’t bear to have the whole world know? He was on a mission trip in Africa and got a 14 year old girl pregnant; whom he subsequently took for a clandestine abortion from which the young girl died.

Liberal propaganda #1: pro-lifers are hypocrites who will resort to abortion when faced with a bad situation.

Liberal propaganda #2: women die from unsafe abortions around the world and that’s why we need to legalize abortion in developing countries.

I was ready to ignore that story as it wasn’t central to the plot and I figured it wouldn’t be mentioned again. But the very next week, in the show’s second episode, “America,” it happened again. The second instance occurred during a training exercise where the trainees had to look over three staged rooms that were based on supposedly real cases where terrorist acts were stopped by the FBI: an attempt on a senator’s life, bombing a public auditorium, and a suburban mom’s plan to burn down a Planned Parenthood where her daughter got an abortion.

Liberal propaganda #3: religious zealots (their words) want to bomb clinics to stop abortion.

As with most propaganda, there is always a little bit of truth hidden within. Yes, some pro-lifers have had abortions in their past, but overwhelming message of the pro-life movement is that there is forgiveness for those who have made this choice in their past. As for the third item, the pro-life movement abhors violence as a solution to the violence of abortion and thoroughly condemns those who take to bombings or shootings. For the writers to say that these were religious zealots, as opposed to plain old fanatics who have gone off the deep end, implies that those who oppose abortion on religious grounds are not the norm.

Episode 3, “Cover,” is on my DVR, but I think it’s time to distance myself from this show. Excuse me, but your liberal propaganda is showing, and that’s enough for me to stop watching.

Updated 10/16/2015

Positive Messaging in the 2015 Super Bowl Ads

I was busy travelling during the Super Bowl and didn’t get to see most of the advertisements during the game. But I did catch some while waiting for my delayed flight in the airport and some while in the air because I judiciously selected an airline that provides free satellite television (thanks, JetBlue).

However, some of the ones I did catch got me thinking of the good, positive messages these ads portrayed. I went back and watched all of them this morning and here are some of the ones that I thought were worth mentioning.

I’ll start with a trio of ads that talked about being a dad and showed how important he is in the life of a child. I think the first one from Toyota has a clear message showing how the dad stepped in and protected his daughter throughout her life.

The next video from Nissan is a little more open to interpretation. One writer didn’t think it was such a good message, but I disagree (although I do agree that it was a bad song choice). The video shows the dad being a part of the son’s life, but there are times when the dad had to leave home for his job in order to provide for his family (I can relate as I have to travel for my job, even on Super Bowl Sunday).

But even when he is away, he is always thinking about his wife and son (he calls often and tapes a picture of them onto his car). When he wins the big race, he doesn’t go out and party or join the celebrity scene. Rather, he hangs it up (leaves helmet in the race trailer) and returns home to his son–who, in the scene immediately prior, was obviously getting into trouble (based on the mom’s expression). Watch the video and decide for yourself.

[Update 1: I’ve re-watched the video a dozen times and I’ve changed my mind about the song choice. Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” has long been one of my favorite songs because of the irony. In the ad, they only use the first two verses and the dad in the ad realizes, during the victory celebration, that his career isn’t as important as his son. That’s something the dad in the song didn’t learn until it was too late. Also, it seems like he’s looking right through the television at his wife and son when he makes that realization. Another reason why I like the song choice? Harry Chapin died in a car crash but the dad in the ad walks away from one. Brilliant!]

[Update 2: Excellent editing note #1: the song lyrics say, “When you coming home dad? I don’t know when,” just as the dad in the ad’s car is struck. Excellent editing note #2: the song lyrics say, as the son is watching dad in the ad’s victory celebration, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah, you know I’m gonna be like him.” But that’s when the dad in the ad realizes that his son is more important and he comes home, thus holding off the third and fourth verse of the song. I think it’s a brilliant ad.]

The final “dad ad” that didn’t show men as incompetent boobs came from Dove, which asked the question: “What makes a man stronger?” The answer: “Showing that he cares.” This comes after showing a montage of children calling out for their dads.

I thought this ad from Dodge that featured several centenarians (or near-centenarians) was great as showing that we can always learn something from the elderly, even though our society wants to focus only on the young and beautiful. Best advice: “Never, ever forget where you came from.” It’s not that we should wallow in the past, but, for better or worse, our past is what shaped who we are now. Remembering your connection to the past also serves as a way of keeping you humble; and that’s a lesson we can always continue to learn.

The final ad I want to share has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that in the last 12 months, two beautiful puppies have entered into my life and I think I’m becoming a “dog person.” I’ve watched this ad from Budweiser at least a dozen times and I can’t stop watching it. Enjoy!

Dignity of the Embryo

I just finished reading this book and wrote a review of it on Goodreads. In short, how we view the personhood of the embryo affects our decisions from personal and private to the public and national arenas. Conclusion: human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection because if it’s not worthy of protection from that point, then it’s not worthy of protection at any point.

Embryo A Defense of Human Life coverEmbryo: A Defense of Human Life Second Edition by Robert P. George

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Good God or Cosmic Sadist?

Continuing with some observations from C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed (see it here in Goodreads). Click here to read the first part.

Oftentimes when someone is facing the uncertain future at life’s end, thoughts of eternity arise. This is especially true if the person is suffering from a debilitating disease or cancer. Thoughts begin to wander and people start to wonder what kind of God would allow this kind of suffering. Wouldn’t it be better to just help this person die through physician-assisted suicide or maybe even euthanize this person if he cannot do it himself?

Lewis wrote this while mourning his wife’s death from cancer (42ff):

But oh God, tenderly, tenderly. Already, month by month and week by week you broke her body on the wheel whilst she still wore it. Is it not yet enough?

The terrible thing is that a perfectly good God is in this matter hardly less formidable than a Cosmic Sadist. The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed–might grow tired of his vile sport–might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety. But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t.

Many persons, including Christians, wonder how can a good God allow one of His own to suffer so much; many persons, including Christians, determine that God is nothing more than, in Lewis’ words, a Cosmic Sadist; and many persons, including Christians, conclude that if this is who God is, then they don’t want anything to do with God. They judge God harshly through the enormity of their pain or grief, missing what Lewis comes to understand, that there is something to our benefit in that same pain or grief or suffering; a suffering that although may bring tears to God’s eyes, He allows, because “every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2b NKJV).

Click here to read my concluding thoughts on from this book.

The Depths of Grieving

C.S. Lewis expressed the depths of his grieving in A Grief Observed (see it here in Goodreads). In a way, I can empathize with him in that I, too, did not find love until later in life but his marriage was brief as cancer took his wife within a few years. And he took it hard. Lewis could not fathom the goodness of God that would bring such love into his world and then, just as abruptly, snatch that love from him. From the book (25ff):

Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.

Unless, of course, you can literally believe all that stuff about family reunions ‘on the further shore,’ pictured in entirely earthly terms. But that is all unscriptural, all out of bad hymns and lithographs. There’s not a word of it in the Bible. And it rings false. We know it couldn’t be like that. Reality never repeats. The exact same thing is never taken away and given back. How well the spiritualists bait their hook! ‘Things on this side are not so different after all.’ There are cigars in Heaven. For that is what we should all like. The happy past restored.

And that, just that, is what I cry out for, with mad, midnight endearments and entreaties spoken into the empty air.

And poor C. quotes to me. ‘Do not mourn like those that have no hope.’ It astonishes me, the way we are invited to apply to ourselves words so obviously addressed to our betters. What St. Paul says can comfort only those who love God better than the dead, and the dead better than themselves. If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her child or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to ‘glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild.

Oh, what must the post-abortive woman be thinking when I walk up to her and say, “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven” and my implication: “Now stop grieving over your child and move on.” She smiles politely and nods, all the while thinking that I don’t understand. And I don’t, not exactly. I can empathize in part with my lost fatherhood, that’s something I’ll never experience with children of my own. But that’s not the same as lost motherhood, and that’s not the same as a woman who aborted her child. All I can offer is the Word of God and pray that the Comforter gives her the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26 (NKJV)

If you are experiencing the effects of an abortion decision in your past, please contact Option Line or call 800.712.HELP.

Click here to read the next part of my thoughts on my observations from this book.