This time next month, I will be on edge.
Every time my phone rings or I hear a text message alert, I will immediately think this could be it. The overnight bag is packed, the baby’s room is ready and the diapers are piled high. My wife and I are going to be parents! We are greatly anticipating the next chapter in our lives, but fearful that the world will become less and less welcoming of our child, diminishing their freedom and the hope each new life brings.
Last week I began to reflect upon my life – taking a serious look at my faith and family. But it wasn’t just the upcoming birth of my first child that inspired my need for personal reflection.
Understanding that the next decade of my life will consist of movies made by Disney and Pixar, I took in a grown-up film and saw “The Giver.”
Based on the 1994 novel by Lois Lowry, the film setting was best described by my colleague Erik Telford as taking place “in a dystopian, futuristic society where a totalitarian state has attempted to 'protect' its people from fear by bleaching the world of emotions, good and bad. Hate, war, prejudice, and evil have been eradicated, but so have hope and love. In an attempt to perfect the human condition, the society took away what made us human - our flaws and feelings and memories.”
The Giver. Photo Credit: IMDB.com
As children our parents used to tell us, “it’s only a movie, it’s not real.” Great preventative words to fight off bad dreams when we were dumb enough to watch “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and its sequels during that overnight sleepover.
I kept telling myself the same thing after watching “The Giver.” But while I am not suggesting we are currently living in such a society, we can’t ignore the stark reality that we have begun to travel down a road that ends with an authoritarian determining “when people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong.”
That line from the movie has stuck with me since I walked out of the theatre. Slowly but surely, Americans are being stripped of their freedom. Choosing for ourselves, self-responsibility and determination is slowly being replaced by a “mommy mentality.”
Simply put: The citizenry is becoming more dependent on government to support them and forced to have personal decisions made on our behalf. We as a people are being protected from ourselves by an “all-knowing” authority figure.
Supporters of the current “progressivism” will take a defensive posture, claiming I’m being over-dramatic or resorting to fear-mongering. But it’s not difficult - regardless of political or social ideology - to see the growing government intervention that would make the Founding Fathers cringe.
Uncle Sam is already limiting our voice, saving us from ourselves. Health care and education are under the control of government bureaucrats. Politicians want to limit my ability to defend my family. Gun control is the first restriction authoritarian governments implement as they rob the people of their freedom.
What I eat and drink is being scrutinized by politicians who have determined they know what is best for me and my family; looking to tax or restrict soda intake and ban certain foods. I am also a bad person because I will drive my child around in a vehicle that prioritizes safety and size over energy efficiency.
As a person of faith - my wife and I are Catholic - I was particularly distressed by the use of mass infanticide and euthanasia in the “The Giver.” The film depicts a society that has justified killing their citizens who have imperfections, referring to it as the “release.”
Our current society can determine abnormalities or higher risks of defects during pregnancy through technology. With the growing liberalization of abortion laws, we are terminating pregnancies based on higher risks of imperfections. At the same time, ultra-sound and 3D imaging have revealed the beauty of a child in the womb, leaving no doubt that a human being is the victim not the idea of one.
Religious freedom is trampled on more and more in our country. From a private business owner threatened by lawsuits for showing gratitude when people pray at her restaurant to any public displays of religion – no endorsement of any particular faith – being removed from public land. God is perceived as offensive, a threat to those who prefer the population worship them.
I won’t sugar-coat the fact that I fear my child will grow up in a country that continues to drift away from faith and freedom. But as a parent, it is my responsibility to fight that outcome and reverse our nation’s current course, ensuring that my child can believe in God and grow to reach their full potential. Ultimately becoming a credit to society and making this a better world.
"The Giver" is one of those rare movies that can be a clarion call in the culture. A transcendent story that casts the underpinnings of our worldview: respect for life, love of freedom, belief in God, in an affirming light. May it also serve as an impetus for those of so-called "progressive" ideologies to practice classic liberalism and ask where our current path is leading us and do we truly want to end up there.
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