Last night, the winter finale of the ABC show “Scandal” aired. Twitter is abuzz over the episode, which centered around the filibuster of a bill that would have cut funding to Planned Parenthood. The show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, frequently takes on hot-button topics in the show’s provocative script, but defending Planned Parenthood (which tweeted out its giddy gratitude over Rhimes’s support) wasn’t the most ostensibly sickening content of the script.
The main character had an on-screen abortion.
Accompanied by strains of “Silent Night.”
And a soliloquy by the character’s father saying, “Family doesn’t complete you…it destroys you.”
And fans of the show practically fell all over themselves swooning in its aftermath.
Just hours ago, many of the same people were sputtering about the possibility of the United States halting resettlement of Syrian refugees within our borders. Indignant Facebookers were slamming the “un-Christian” view of the world this kind of closed-minded hatred obviously exposed. “What would Jesus do?!” they cried. “Their innocent lives matter!”
Enough of this disgusting double standard that has seized American society.
Enough of the twisting of Scripture. The bending of morality. The marginalizing of right and wrong.
Why do the lives of Syrian refugees matter but the lives of unborn babies don’t?
Why does the politically charged plight of a war-torn nation and the glorifying of a taxpayer supported baby-killing organization launch throngs of righteous armchair quarterbacks onto an unchallengeable soapbox of moral and religious authority?
I read a commentary on last night’s episode of “Scandal” today that might be the single most morally depraved essay ever written. The author spoke of how thrilled she was to see the show cast abortion in a positive light. How finally—finally!—the small screen had gotten it right. How the character had seized her feminist right and terminated the unwanted annoyance inside her without the ridiculous pretense of an agonizing decision, or an ounce of guilt or shame afterward. How brilliant she was to skip the painful discussion with the fetus’s father about whether or not to be bothered with birthing the thing. How she was empowering women everywhere to take matters into their own entitled hands—ethics and conscience be damned.
But perhaps most disturbing, this writer wished this simplistic portrayal of ending a life had been the prevailing message years earlier when she agonized over and eventually had her own abortion—an act that sent her spiraling into admitted anguish. If only this episode had aired back then, she reasoned, she would have been spared the bother of that nagging voice crying out for life. She was just a kid in college, after all, unfit to raise a child.
Of course, that child was never given the chance to find itself a mother who was fit for the job.
Where is the voice for the millions of unborn babies dismissed as pesky, ill-timed parasites? Where is the morality and religious authority so quickly invoked in public discourse over Syrian refugees?
Where is our humanity?
Its absence exposes a gaping black hole of wickedness masked by slick television scenes and flowery Facebook statuses, and one dirty little secret those same people will never admit: all lives don’t matter.
Convenient lives matter. Socially wronged lives matter. The lives they want to matter, matter.
And it is completely indefensible.