Ben Johnson

‘The Mob Doctor’ debuts with strong pro-abortion message

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

HOLLYWOOD, September 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com)—The Mob Doctor, the new medical drama on Fox, is such a derivative work I’m tempted to post a review of another program. The paint-by-numbers potboiler throws all Hollywood’s conventions into creating a thoroughly forgetful program unremarkable for anything – except its outspoken advocacy for abortion in its pilot episode.

The new series, which debuted this Monday, substitutes focus group-tested safety for creativity. Take a gusty heroine who is equal parts tenderhearted philanthropist and iron-fisted avenger; mix in medical issues; throw in a mafia plot line, sexual tension with a colleague, and an irritating mother who does not understand the joys of commitment-free sex. Then sandwich liberalism between pumping music and hazy-but-rapid scene transitions.

All that remains, in the words of The Simpsons, is to “be dangerous-but-warm and edgy-cute.”

Even the protagonist’s name, Grace Devlin, is an artificial construct – a little angel, a little devil. Get it?

The writers bring equal subtlety to their ham-fisted insertion of abortion propaganda into the pilot episode.

Devlin (Jordana Spiro) is a sympathetic character as a doctor who has offered her services to the mafia to save her brother’s life. This lends unearned credibility to her advice when she learns that one of her boyfriend’s patients is a family friend in trouble. Susie DeMarco, 14, is pregnant despite the fact that she and her boyfriend, Johnny, have never had sex. (“I’m not stupid,” she says.)

After learning she became a mother after having “outercourse”, Susie turns to her trusted friend in despair. “Grace, my dad is gonna kill Johnny,” she cries. “And I have a swimming scholarship next year to St. Catherine’s. If I’m knocked up, I lose it. What do I do?”

Having established Susie as a brilliant, hard-working, 14-year-old Catholic girl who hasn’t even had sex, the screenwriters reveal through Grace that “her dad works at the state penn”; “they don’t have a dollar to their name”; and “that scholarship is her one shot at making something out of her life.” To further reduce the audience’s objections Grace’s boyfriend, Dr. Brett Robinson (Zach Gilford), announces it is a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and the baby is “non-viable.”

The only problem left? Susie’s father has to sign a parental consent form.

The thought so enrages Grace’s sense of justice that she insists (she never suggests anything) that her boyfriend lie about the procedure, trick Mr. DeMarco into signing a form he has not read, then have another doctor falsify hospital records.

When Brett betrays the notion that he might have an independent will, Grace explodes that she must allow a 14-year-old middle school child to have an abortion behind her parents’ back.

“It gives her options, and you’re standing in her way,” she screams. “I don’t think you’re empathizing enough.”

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Eventually, Dr. Robinson goes through with the ruse, saving Susie from the backlash of a character who is presented as nothing other than a loving and devoted father.

The episode closes with a soliloquy about “choice” and the revelation that she was relieved to discover the corpse of her drunken, abusive father. “Finding him dead, it meant we were safe,” she said. Just the way a dead baby means Susie and Johnny are “safe,” presumably.

Thus did Hollywood try to stuff its opposition to parental consent laws down the nation’s collective throat, with a series of devices as tired as the rest of the series. The most sympathetic, angelic child will land on skid row if heartless, theocratic laws are enforced. Grace is a crusader and rescuer, trying to save her brother from a vicious mob boss who wants to kill him and a 14-year-old girl.

Only Brett seems to grasp the situation when he tells Grace, “You’re a bad influence.” Smiling suggestively, he said, “You’ll make it up to me.”

But who will make up 60 lost minutes to the viewer?

The episode might have one beneficial side effect its writers did not intend: It exposes the lies of Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations that vouch for the safety of “outercourse.”

Planned Parenthood – which has a vested interest in getting adolescents sexually active as early as possible – calls outercourse “safe, effective, and convenient,” as well as “a great method of birth control” that “has no side effects.” Four stars! To make the practice of near-sex more accessible yet, the website has a how-to section. 

The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals presents outercourse as virtually the equivalent of abstinence. “Both abstinence and outercourse are free, always available, and have no side effects,” the ARHP lies. “To prevent pregnancy and [sexually transmitted diseases], you must use abstinence or outercourse all of the time.”

The ARHP’s contention-by-silence that herpes or HPV cannot be transmitted through genital contact is novel, to say the least.

Both websites recount that bodily fluids may be exchanged during the process, carrying a reduced chance of pregnancy or infection, but both drown this significant qualification out with misleading, blanket statements like those above.

The episode’s saving, well, grace may be that it helped young people realize Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby are shameless liars. While Spiro said in an interview that her character possesses a certain “godliness,” this is not what she meant.

The show’s clumsy pro-abortion propaganda is but one of the numerous failings, coincidentally the one largely overlooked by critics. TV.com notes, “Grace comes off as a rather unlikeable hypocrite.” The Los Angeles Times calls the program “uncomfortable to watch.” Perhaps the best line belongs to Gail Pennington of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who wrote, “‘The Mob Doctor’ is going to have to get lots better to be mediocre…it would take The Godfather to pull me back in.” 

These are but a handful of a plethora of negative reviews.

Even the series’ co-creator, Josh Berman admitted, “It almost sounds like we’re just trying to…marry two formulas to create one new formula.”

Lucky for him the only place more disconnected from reality than The Mob Boss is Hollywood, where Berman – who has a track record of failure for Fox – will doubtless be rewarded with more opportunities to lecture and bore the public. 

This series should swim with the fishes.

This article originally appeared on TheRightsWriter.com and is reprinted with permission.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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