Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Surprising Pro-Life Message of The Mandalorian

Have you seen the Mandalorian? It's a surprisingly successful television show given the failure of the Disney Star Wars movies to tell a coherent compelling story. Why is the Mandalorian so successful? One could point to many factors, strong story, mystery, action, familiar locales, and so on. But one element I'd like to point you toward is a strong pro-life message in the hit show.

Mando is a no-nonsense bounty hunter, and we see his ruthlessness displayed. He has a somewhat transcendent worldview, in his connection to the Mandalorian way. But his means to that end is defined by dispassionate pursuit of bounties against individuals, often evil in nature. 

But then Mando encounters someone special, the child. 

The child, is a baby. And despite Mando's dogged dedication to emotionless service to wealth acquisition, he encounters something that is sacred, something in the child that he recognizes as a transcendent value that must be preserved: innocence.  

The child is innocent, unable to protect itself.  So Mando launches his rescue mission, to save the child, giving up everything, becoming a target to all his former associates, and a target to the imperial remnant.

The child is a mystery, slowly being unfolded. The child is special. The child is beautiful in a way. Mando makes it his mission to protect the child. 

I can't help but see an incredibly strong pro-life message unfolding here. The child floats around in a cocoon of sorts, along with Mando wherever he goes.  The cocoon carrying pod reminds me of an unborn child carried in the womb of a mother. 

The unborn child is considered garbage to modern society. It is not protected.  It's life is forfeit.  And Mando begins by following that same ethic, turning the child in to the authorities, who proceed to begin experimenting on it, attempting to study it and gain medical insight from it. Watching these scenes I couldn't help but think of Planned Parenthood's underground sales of baby body parts, on a black market of sorts. They carve up the aborted fetus, study it, and many companies even include fetal cells in their products, like vaccines and such.  The unborn baby is seen as medical meat, to be carved up, studied, and sold on the market.  Much seems to be the same for the child in the Mandalorian.  He is regarded as a commodity. 

But Mando as he considers this reality, is moved to action. He realizes, even if no one else will protect the child, he must protect the child. Why? Because there is something sacred and special, about the innocence of a child.  The child is special, unique, worthy of life, and ought to be protected. So he makes it his new mission in life to protect the child.  The child, who floats around in a large pod, not so dissimilar from the unborn child floating in the womb of the pregnant mother.

The man, Mando, the strong male character, again another surprise from a Disney that has promoted an agenda of displaying strong female characters recently, is urged toward morality, toward sacredness, toward a transcendence, in regard to life. And this gives the character meaning. It gives the character a hill to die on.  And it inevitability begins to characterize the entire life of Mando. He is now defined in a new way, simply by recognizing a reality many of us deny, that all life is sacred, and even and especially, helpless, innocent life, the life of a child. 

And so all of us join in with Mando in his primal, basic realization, that a helpless baby is worth protecting, even if we don't know that baby by name. It doesn't matter if we're related to that baby or not, by family or by blood, the life of the child still matters infinitely. And must be protected. And as an audience we fall in love with this mission. The bounty hunter story is appealing. But it lacks transcendence. It lacks that something special that stirs the best in us. But marry the bounty hunter with protecting the child, and we find something very special indeed.  It's something we've all lacked in our lives: True meaning. It's something we all long for deep within: To believe there is something special in the universe.

Many of us have slowly died inside, listening to the skeptics and the modern philosophers who tell us nothing has any meaning, even an unborn child.  But never-the-less our hearts still ache for that cause to live for. We long to believe.  We are all the empty, miserable bounty hunter, lonely, serving wealth and status, and power. And we all long for that moment when something deep within us in stirred by the sacredness of the life of a child, that sets us on a mission to live differently. We come alive. We believe again. And we rise above our old lives, to stand for something right, something pure, something good. It changes our entire lives.  The baby is special. The baby is sacred. The unborn life truly does matter. 

So, we all ought to declare with Mando, the simple phrase, "Protect the child, this is the way."