A true-life movie of a former Planned Parenthood executive who changed her views of abortion and jumped into the pro-life camp was just released to both box office fanfare and Twitter shunning.
It’s a real left-right moment. A real showdown of left-right ideologies in culture and politics.
On one hand, half in America are pulling for the path of Christian resurgence — or, at the least, a return to morality and virtue, a revival of traditional values and long-held, long-cherished normative societal behaviors and speech.
On the other, half are calling for the complete abolition of standards, complete shuttering of cultural and moral-based constraints — and busily shuttering views that disagree.
And it’s the second that have control of social media.
So when “Unplanned” made its debut at 1,059 theaters around the nation and pulled in about $6 million or so in opening ticket sales, yet fans, for a time, couldn’t go to Twitter and follow the movie’s page, because of a site “error,” according to company higher-ups — well then, it’s natural to smell a rat.
“I think it’s outrageous,” Ashley Bratcher, the actress who plays former Planned Parenthood-turned-pro-lifer Abby Johnson in the movie, said on Fox News about the Twitter flap. “I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life. I think it’s incredibly suspicious given that we were suspended, then reinstated, then we lost followers, then we have people saying they can’t follow, then my own account was unfollowed from the movie. I couldn’t even follow my own movie.”
She’s right. It is outrageous. And suspicious. Twitter chalked it all to “error,” of course.
“After further review,” the social media outlet said, in a later message to “Unplanned” site monitors, “we have unsuspended your account as it does not appear to be in violation of the Twitter Rules.”
But it wasn’t just the Twitter flap. It was that “Unplanned” was given an R-rating — at a time in American culture when cussing and sexual coupling only merits PG or PG-13. It was that “Unplanned” was refused advertising space on Lifetime, the Hallmark Channel, HGTV and numerous other cable networks, as if the film were too tawdry to promote. It was all that, then the Twitter suspension.
Culture war, anyone? And over a movie that’s really, at root, about love and hope and redemption, for goodness’ sake?
It’s easy to look at what happened with “Unplanned” as just one more example of social media free speech failure, or as one more instance of liberal-conservative bickering over politics. But the larger theme is this: America’s drift of moral compass has been ongoing for decades, and traditionalists are losing.
How do we know this?
Just a few short years ago, a story about the shunning of “Unplanned” would’ve shocked.
Now, it’s expected. Censorship’s almost a yawner. The controversy over “Unplanned” is nearly an eye-roller. Now, it’s just one of a collection of stories about conservatives being censored, Christian speech being stifled, traditional viewpoints being shuttered, stories of morality and faith-based virtues being suppressed and quelled. Therein, for those care about America’s moral direction, lies the danger. Sleeping in the face of the enemy doesn’t win the war.
And mark these words: The clamp of conservative, biblical and traditional views will only get worse, unless more of those with discernment become willing to take the abuse and suffer the attacks that come from fighting an intolerant and secular left.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.