A Cautionary Moment at "Unplanned" Premiere
A red-carpet guest sends a very un-Christian message at a Los Angeles showing of this faith-based film.
Unplanned, due out next week, tells the true story of former abortion clinic director-turned-pro-life-advocate Abby Johnson. Written and directed by Christian filmmakers Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, it details her transition from someone who oversaw 22,000 abortions to the prominent pro-life activist she is today.
Moviemakers and cast, particularly Christian lead actress Ashley Bratcher, have been careful to present a message of compassion, hope and forgiveness in their public statements and interviews about the film. But abortion is an issue that stokes passions like virtually no other in the American political landscape, and we got a glimpse of that at an exclusive preview showing of the movie in Los Angeles.
It came courtesy of an invited guest, who is also an avowed pro-life supporter: singer and actress Joy Villa. Known for her conservative political views, she has repeatedly worn gowns adorned with provocative slogans to the Grammy Awards. Last night, she was clad in a pink latex dress, that said "Unplanned" on the train.
No problem there. On the front side of the gown, however, was written a vulgar exhortation directed at Planned Parenthood, the abortion business where Abby Johnson once worked and which is prominently featured in this movie.
Though we at Christian Film Blog have choosen not to share pictures featuring the unseemly statement - you can find them easily enough on the internet - we are also not naive about issues such as these. We recognize that things like this have become part and parcel of the daily Left-Right hurly-burly that is partisan politics in today's America, so the statement is, alas, neither surprising nor even very provocative.
Furthermore, we acknowledge the strong and genuine feelings that Joy Villa has on this issue: she herself experienced an unplanned pregnancy at age 20 and decided to give her baby up for adoption rather that have an abortion. One can only respect her for that. We also have no idea where she stands on issues of faith, so we are not condemning her personally for this fashion statement: distasteful as we find it, it may well fit harmoniously with her world-view.
We are, however, raising a red flag, as it were, on the potential spill-over effect these sorts of tactics could have on the underlying message of this film, which is a Christian one. As stated above, the filmmakers here are believers and, as such, called to be in the world, not of it. While they have no direct responsibility for the fashion choice in question, and we are not criticizing them, there is still a possible guilt-by-association scenario here.
While Christian Film Blog has no simple prescription for to how to handle the matter at hand, we prayerfully enourage all of our brothers and sisters in the movie business - including the team at Unplanned - to proceed with caution on hot-button political issues like this one. Yes, we need to speak the truth and confront evil, but we must do so in a way that allows the love of Christ to shine through us as we do.
Remember Paul's analogy in II Timothy 2:4 about how someone serving as a soldier is not to get "entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer." Words to live by for all of us believers.