Don't Just Watch Unplanned
Since Spring, there’s been one consistent refrain in pro-life circles:
“Have you seen Unplanned yet?”
“You absolutely have to see Unplanned. It is life changing!”
“I saw Unplanned last week. Wow, it was amazing. Have you seen it?”
With Unplanned released to DVD last week, the refrain is again being echoed everywhere.
And yes, before you ask me again, I have seen Unplanned.
I cried during the abortion scenes with the rest of the theatre. I bristled at the corruption of Planned Parenthood. I cheered when Mike Lindel (cringe worthy as his cameo was) demolished Planned Parenthood’s sign.
People should certainly watch Unplanned. It’s a powerful film that exposes the grave injustice of abortion. But there’s the implicit idea that merely watching the film is an act of resistance.
You’ve watched Unplanned. Poof! You’re a pro-life activist.
Unplanned is especially subject to this “armchair activism” given just how much it makes you feel. The emotions felt watching the ultrasound abortion scene are so strong, that you can easily find satisfaction merely in your feelings.
Emotions are certainly a valuable element of the human experience, but they are not enough to sustain true conviction.
This week, Hillsong United guitarist announced on Instagram that he is “losing his Christian faith.” He cited several theological conundrums (Why are people damned? Why does scripture have contradictions?) that he could no longer reconcile with his Christian faith.
The questions are common accusations thrown up against Christianity, and they reflect a lack of a basic understanding of theology. Most Christians have worked through these questions by study of scripture and theology.
Hillsong United is famous (I’m tempted to put “infamous) for their sentimental lyrics that stir their audiences to a kind of emotional intoxication. Of course, emotion in worship can be a good thing. But if your only connection to religion is emotion, then the house is truly built on sand.
The same is true for the pro-life movement. If we merely watch Unplanned, let ourselves be stirred by the strong emotions it elicits, but, drying our tears, continue purchasing overpriced lattes and binging on Netflix with only a passing thought to the evil of abortion, then we needn’t have bothered. Our "commitment" is not strong enough. We could have just as well watched a fictionalized version of injustice like The Hunger Games or even Avenger’s Engdame.
Our emotions at visceral depictions of injustice should drive us to action. As stated above, emotions are valuable. Use them. Use them as fuel to change the world.
So, don’t just watch Unplanned.
Watch Unplanned and do something. Educate yourself on pro-life issues so your conviction stands on more than mere emotion. Pray at your local abortion clinic. Become a sidewalk counselor. Volunteer at a pregnancy resource center. Pray every day to end abortion.
When Abby saw the truth, she left her job at Planned Parenthood, became a pro-life activist, and started a non-profit, And Then There Were None, devoted to freeing other workers from the abortion industry.
What will you do?