Parents beware: ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’ features disturbing treatment of abortion
November 16, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Parents with children who are thinking of watching the latest Twilight film, Breaking Dawn – Part I, should be aware that it features disturbing discussions about abortion that carry ambiguous, if not openly anti-life messages, according to a professor at a Canadian college.
In this fourth film, set for release on Friday, heroes Bella and Edward get married and then are shocked to discover on the honeymoon that Bella is pregnant. The story appears to carry a strong pro-life message, as Bella quickly realizes that her life is at risk but chooses to keep the half-vampire, half-human child despite strong pressure from Edward and other characters for her to obtain an abortion.
“All Bella wants is for that baby to survive and she’s willing to kill herself for it,” comments actress Nikki Reed in a promo video.
In a society that largely accepts abortion-on-demand, let alone abortion to save the mother’s life, the storyline comes across as strongly counter-cultural. Indeed, the book sparked fan protests over a perceived “anti-abortion” theme when it was released in 2008.
But Dr. Christine Schintgen, assistant professor of literature at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, argues that the pro-life angle is “superficial” and is “counter-balanced” by stronger anti-life messages that are communicated by the power of imagery.
‘The fetus is incompatible with your body’
Poignantly, as Bella’s pregnancy gets dangerous, the character Carlisle declares: “The fetus is incompatible with your body.”
Schintgen says that this is a theme that runs through the entire conflict around the pregnancy, playing into arguments by abortion advocates that pit the child against the mother.
“It creates the image of a fetus as monster,” said Schintgen. “In this case, it’s literally true. The fetus is portrayed as this freakish, monstrous life form.”
She noted that director Bill Condon, who is known for directing one of the gory Candyman films, has described Breaking Dawn – Part I as a combination of romance and horror. But according to Schintgen, “There’s a way in which the fetus acts as the source of the horror.”
“It reminds me a little bit of the scenes from Alien, where you’ve got this alien life-form inside you that’s destroying you. That’s definitely not a pro-life image,” she explained.
“Of course no woman’s going to think, ‘oh I’ve got a vampire in me.’ They know the difference intellectually. But I’m talking about the power of imagery,” she said.
A model of chastity who advocates abortion?
Schintgen emphasized that the example of Bella’s heroic act is counter-balanced by Edward’s intense efforts to coerce her into an abortion. She said Edward’s actions are a particularly strong counter-witness given that he is repeatedly held up for his “traditional” values, and served as the primary model of purity for those contending the books carry a chastity message.
“It kind of gets young women used to the idea that normal and admirable people would push for an abortion,” she explained. “Yes Bella stands up to them, and in the context, super-heroically at the cost of basically her own mortal existence. But is that really what’s going to win over in their own lives if they’re in a crisis pregnancy?”
“It certainly gives the impression that abortion would have been a legitimate and normal option,” she added.
Valuing the baby devalues the woman?
She also argues that the storyline could lend credence to claims by abortion advocates that pregnancy is dangerous and carries a real risk of maternal death if abortion is not available.
Schintgen says the story’s horrid depiction of the child’s birth, during which Bella’s spine breaks and which she survives only by becoming a vampire, sends a “troubling” message to youth about childbirth by “twisting it into something unnatural.”
She said that “for young women who are in a position of being pregnant, this scene would create negative associations in their mind surrounding birth.”
Further, because Bella would have died had she not become a vampire, the story could make it seem that death would have been the normal result of her refusing the abortion.
“It kind of resonates with that sense of the annihilation of the woman,” said Schintgen, “the idea that if we give value to the baby, we are necessarily at the same time devaluing the woman.”
Broken headboard and beat-up woman – the “perfect honeymoon”?
The professor also expressed serious concerns regarding the story’s portrayal of sexuality, especially the fact that it seems to glorify violent sex.
The couple’s wedding night has been, by far, the most anticipated aspect of the film. According to director Bill Condon, “These are books that have become very important to millions of people and every one of those people fantasizes about what that perfect honeymoon looks like.”
But in the course of their consummation, which is depicted on-screen, Edward breaks the headboard and sends pillow feathers flying everywhere. In the book, Bella wakes up the next morning black and blue.
Schintgen has in the past opposed claims that the series is “pro-chastity,” arguing that it actually celebrates lustful and purely recreational sex. While Edward and Bella abstain before marriage, she said, they have an unhealthy “obsession with sex divorced from any desire for children.”
“They both assume going into the marriage that they are not able to have children, nor would they want any if they could,” she explained. Their union is “divorced from any sense of the purpose of marriage, which should be unitive but also open to bringing new life into the world.”
An R-rated film edited down to PG-13: ‘We didn’t hold anything back’
A Miami Herald article Wednesday revealed that the first cut of Breaking Dawn – Part I earned an R rating, as anticipated by fans because of the mature themes, but the filmmakers explain that they were able to edit it down to PG-13 without “hold[ing] anything back.”
“More than anything, I wanted to make sure that the intensity of two specific things — the first time they make love during their honeymoon and the birth scene — wasn’t watered down,” Condon, who also directed the 2004 biopic on sexologist Alfred Kinsey, told the Herald. “It turns out that allowing the audience to use their imaginations to fill in what’s happening makes the scene even more powerful.”
“Twilight has always had the potential to be a horror movie, but it hasn’t quite embraced it until we get to this story,” he added. “I hope it doesn’t upset the girls too much. We’ll see.”
“People assume a great deal was edited out of the movie in order to get the PG-13,” said screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. “But we didn’t hold anything back. In fact, when it came to the birth scene, I was going to cut out the, um, sort of Caesarean, if you will. [Edward rips Bella’s stomach and womb open with his fangs to deliver the baby.] I was saying ‘We don’t really need to see that.’ But Bill was like ‘No no no. It’s gotta be in there.’”
The PG-13 rating states “Parents strongly cautioned,” and warns about “sexuality” and “partial nudity.”
“What they’ve done is to take very disturbing and dark thematic material, but in terms of the actual visual presentation and language, they’ve kept it just this side of the border between PG-13 and R,” explained Schintgen.
Morally muddled treatment of fundamental issues
Schintgen said she felt a need to raise concerns about Twilight because “people might be taken in by the partially good message in it, the half-truths that are presented by a superficial exposure to the film.”
“On the surface there is a pro-life message, but that’s often how we can be fooled,” she explained. “If there’s an element of good, we kind of take the whole package. And I think the whole package is very problematic to say the least.”
“If you confuse young people on these fundamental issues, which is what a morally muddled treatment of the issues will do, then you’re really setting them up for a fall,” she warned.
Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.
April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two things happen each time a significant pop culture figure dies: Christians attempt to dredge up some moderately conservative or traditional thing that figure said at some point during his long career, and mainstream media attempts to convince a society thoroughly bored with such things that the person in question was a ground-breaking radical. The two most recent examples are the androgynous David Bowie—a cringe-worthy and possibly blasphemous video of him dropping to his knees during a rock performance and uttering the Lord’s Prayer circulated just following his death--and the pop star Prince.
I’ve had to suppress my gag reflexes many times as I saw my Facebook newsfeed fill up with memes sporting quotes from Prince about his faith and articles announcing that the musician who “embraced gender fluidity before his time,” according to Slate and “will always be a gay icon” according to The Atlantic, was against gay marriage. Sure, maybe he was. But only a Christian community so shell-shocked by the rapid spread of the rainbow blitzkrieg and the catastrophic erosion of religious liberty would find this remarkable. After all, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said the same thing barely one election cycle ago. As one obituary celebrating Prince’s paradigm-smashing sexual performances written by Dodai Stewart put it:
Dig, if you will, a picture: The year is 1980. Many states still have sodomy laws. The radio is playing feel-good ear candy like Captain and Tennille and KC and the Sunshine Band. TV hits include the sunny, toothy blond shows Three’s Company and Happy Days. There’s no real word for “gender non-conforming.” But here’s what you see: A man. Clearly a man. Hairy, mostly naked body…a satiny bikini bottom. But those eyes. Rimmed in black, like a fantasy belly dancer. The full, pouty lips of a pin-up girl. Long hair. A tiny, svelte thing. Ethnically ambiguous, radiating lust. What is this? A man. Clearly a man. No. Not just a man. A Prince.
Right. So let’s not get too carried away, shall we? I know Christians are desperate to justify their addictions to the pop culture trash that did so much to sweep away Christian values in the first place and I know that latching on to the occasional stray conservative belief that may manifest itself in pop culture figures makes many feel as if perhaps we are not so weird and countercultural, but this bad habit we have of claiming these figures upon their passing is downright damaging.
After all, parents should be teaching their children about real heroes, titans of the faith who changed the world. Heroes of the early church who stood down tyrants, halted gladiatorial combat, and crusaded against injustice in a world where death was all the rage. These men and women were real rebels who stood for real values. If we want to point our children to people they should emulate, we should be handing them books like Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by the brilliant writer Eric Metaxas rather than the pop albums Purple Rain or Lovesexy by Prince. If parents spend their time glorifying the predecessors of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus instead of highlighting heroes like William Wilberforce, they can hardly be surprised when their children choose to emulate the former rather than the latter.
The mainstream media’s adulation of these pop stars is equally irritating. The unspoken truth of these obituaries is that the flamboyant antics of Prince and the rest of the so-called rebellious drag queens populating the rock n’ roll scene have been mainstream for a long time already. Want to see dozens of bizarre body piercings? Weird hairdos? Purple mohawks? Dudes with nail polish? Strange tattoos? Easy. Just go onto any university campus, or any public high school without a dress code. With headphones wedged firmly in their ear canals, they can pump the cleverly commercialized “counterculture” straight into their skulls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
More than that, some of these courageous rebels have actually sued their employers to ensure that they can let their establishment-smashing freak flag fly at work, too. An Edmonton woman with 22 visible body piercings complained that her employer was unfair because apparently she was being discriminated against “based on body modifications.” Yeah! The Man must be told, after all. And if he doesn’t agree, we will lawyer up. I wonder what the shrieking rebels of the early days would think about the snivelling children of the current grievance culture.
So these days, the media’s eulogizing about aging culture warriors who went mainstream a long time ago rings a bit hollow. After all, most rock n’ roll stars these days look tame compared to what shows up in the children’s section at Pride Week. Freaky is normal now. Normal is radical. Welcome to 2016.
When Christians are posting nostalgic tributes to the rebels who helped inoculate their children against the radical views of Christianity in the first place, you know that the victories of the counterculture are complete and Stockholm syndrome has set in.
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Target boycott climbs to over 1 million
April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 1 million people have signed a pledge to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms.
The American Family Association’s Boycott Target petition gained traction immediately, reaching the one million mark in only nine days.
“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “#BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans. Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy. Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable. And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree.”
Target defended its policy in a statement saying that it believes everyone “deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally” and earlier this week, a Target spokeswoman defended the policy as “inclusive.”
The AFA said that unisex bathrooms are a common-sense alternative to allowing men unfettered access to women’s bathrooms.
“Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided,” the petition says.
The AFA warned that Target’s new policy benefits sexual predators and poses a danger to women and children.
“With Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?” the petition asked.
There have been numerous instances of predatory men accessing women’s bathrooms and intimate facilities in the wake of “transgender” bathroom policies allowing them to do so.
“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” said Wildmon. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”
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Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins
CHICAGO, April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Life begins with a spark – literally.
Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week.
At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope.
“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school. “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”
The research team had noted the zinc sparks before in mice eggs but had never observed the process in human beings.
“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization,” Woodruff said, “yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”
One of the researchers, Northwestern chemistry professor Thomas O'Halloran, explained the science behind the process in 2014.
“The egg first has to stockpile zinc and then must release some of the zinc to successfully navigate maturation, fertilization and the start of embryogenesis,” he said. “On cue, at the time of fertilization, we see the egg release thousands of packages, each dumping a million zinc atoms, and then it's quiet.”
“Each egg has four or five of these periodic sparks,” O'Halloran said. “It is beautiful to see, orchestrated much like a symphony.”
Since the amount of zinc in an egg correlates with successful implantation and birth, the Northwestern researchers are highlighting that their research may be used to assist in vitro fertilization.
But that raises concerns given the grave moral issues with IVF, which involves creating numerous embryos that are either killed or frozen. Moral theologians also emphasize that IVF is an injustice even for the children who are born as a result, as they are created in a lab rather than in the union of man and woman.
The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.
Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand.
“I saw this, and I was blown away by it,” said Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon. “For anybody in the mainstream media to openly admit that life begins at conception” defies arguments that an unborn child is only “tissue mass.”
Researchers released a separate video of the zinc spark taking place in a mammalian egg more than a year ago:
The paper, which is entitled “The Zinc Spark is an Inorganic Signature of Human Egg Activation,” was published by Scientific Reports on April 26.