Christians who come to the aid of pregnant teenagers have taken a lot of heat over the years—mainly being accused of caring only about the fetus, while at the same time forcing our religion down the throats of the mothers.
But on Friday, a terrific movie opens across the country that will shed light instead of heat on pro-lifers.
The film is called “Gimme Shelter,” and it opens with a teenage girl named Apple (played by Vanessa Hudgens) running away from her vicious, drug-addict mother. Apple shows up at the home of the father she's never met: a wealthy Wall Street broker, (played by Brendan Fraser) who lives in a mansion with his wife and two young children. The couple doesn't know quite what to do with Apple, but one thing they’re certain about: Apple cannot keep her unborn baby. After all, her father gently explains to her, she's homeless, jobless, and just plain too young to become a mother.
Apple reluctantly agrees. But at the abortion clinic, she pulls out the pictures of her unborn baby—the ones an ultrasound tech gave her when she was taken for a pregnancy test. She remembers the way the baby squirmed, and the sound of its heartbeat. And she simply cannot go through with it.
Apple runs out of the clinic, and begins living on the streets. A bad car accident lands her in the hospital, and this is where she encounters grace in the form of a priest, Father Frank McCarthy, played by James Earl Jones. Father McCarthy tries to help Apple, but she simply cannot bring herself to trust him—or his God.
“I don't need a priest.” Apple declares. “God don't care about me. Where was God when I was suffering and being abused all these years?”
“Maybe,” Father McCarthy responds, “You're exactly where you're meant to be. God put you here for a reason.”
The priest recommends that Apple stay at a home for pregnant teenagers, run by Kathy DiFiore, a devout Catholic who once worked with Mother Teresa. With no better options, Apple agrees to give it a try, and over the next few months as she is treated with kindness, she begins to learn how to trust.
One of the most poignant moments in the film is when several girls sneak into Kathy DiFiore's office and read aloud what social workers have written about them. It's a tragic story of physical abuse, prostitution, drug abuse and rape.
“Gimme Shelter” was written and directed by Ronald Krauss, an award-winning director who wrote his screenplay after spending a year in a shelter for pregnant teens. Several of the actresses who play Apple's companions are real-life shelter moms.
Krauss's experience and vision are a big part of what makes “Gimme Shelter” a great film. This is not a film that will only appeal to Christian audiences. It’s a film with big stars, top-notch production values, and a subtle message intended to appeal to a wide audience.
“Gimme Shelter” will provide an opportunity for many film-goers to see, perhaps for the first time, how richly Christians respond to people in need. Christians, in turn, will learn that some people who recommend abortion genuinely believe it's the best solution for kids like Apple.
So I hope you'll go see “Gimme Shelter” this weekend (it’s rated PG-13 for some violent content and language). Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and you'll find out how to purchase group tickets for your church youth group. Better still, take along some friends who aren't familiar with those who, like my wife, work with young women in crisis.
They will finally get the truth about those crazy pro-lifers: They're the ones who present desperate women and girls with a REAL choice: One that not only saves their precious babies, but also offers hope and joy to their mothers.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Publication date: January 23, 2014