“Taken” Some Life Lessons

I saw the movie with Liam Neeson entitled “Taken”, the other night. It is the ultimate ‘Dads protecting daughters’ fantasy. It plays on a whole lot of primal emotions- particularly the temptation to give oneself over to extreme violence to protect the lives and sanctity of one’s children. Every father wants to imagine himself capable of defending his beloved children from any and all threats- and the father in “Taken” was that ultimate fatherly force. He represented more of a divine Angelic father who slays spiritually evil forces, than a realistic earthly dad- and as such I was able to excuse the incredible violence as something of a parable of ultimate accountability for those humans who perpetrate the evils of human trafficking and slavery.

With the growth of the global business economy there seems to be an increase in human trafficking for sick sexual purposes like is seen in “Taken”. I suppose it is the lethal brew of liberalism – economic and sexual. When sex is reduced down to a mere pleasure activity, a recreational past-time, or romantic obsession- well that unleashes many demons. Add to this the extreme nature of unbridled consumerism, and you have many bad outcomes waiting to happen. If sex is just a means to someone’s pleasure, then it can be made into a commodity, something that is for sale, or can be used to sell something else. This is why you see the strange alliance in society with very left-wing type social liberals and very often right-wing economic libertarians, promoting similar agendas defending the right to prostitution, adult entertainment businesses, and all manner of pornography/obscenity expressions of “speech”. What people often fail to appreciate is that freedom- true freedom- is to be linked to truth- when it is crudely separated you begin to see some really evil manifestations, which are celebrated in the name of “Freedom”.

We “Dads Protecting Daughters” know what it is like to be raised in the midst of the “Playboy” philosophical influences- it is a seductive trap. The founder of “Playboy”, Hugh Hefner, is a very old man who likes to report that he thinks and feels like he did when he was a small boy. He stands Jesus’ teaching that ‘we must be like the little children in order to be in heaven’, completely on its head. Hefner wants to be a 12 year old sex-obsessed pre-teen, even as his body is readying for burial. He has made a religion for himself and is dragging millions down with him- just another false messiah trying to undermine Jesus Christ. His four ‘girlfriends’ don’t impress me, but they must impress a lot of people because he garners so much media attention.

But Hefner is just the tip of the iceberg. Casual sex and all that leads to that lifestyle, is something that harms and prematurely kills millions of bodies and I fear souls- every year. My Protestant brothers and sisters may disagree here, but I believe as a Catholic, that contraception has just been gasoline thrown on a fire. I recommend Janet Smith books and tapes, for more detailed explanations on this. But surely we can agree, as Christians, that the attitude and lifestyle of one who engages or promotes casual sex, (sex without the supernatural bond of holy matrimony), is one that engenders all kinds of damage.

Casual sex has become the norm, if one is to gauge the general situation from observation of the mass media or from contact with youthful populations. It is betrayed in the way people speak, the wide use of obscenities, the lyrics of a lot of popular music, all of it is an indication of the rot that lies deeper still. The way “pimps”, porn stars, and shock jocks, have been made to seem like a natural and even humorous part of our cultural milieu- this cannot be seen as anything but disastrous.

The breakdown of our traditional society is exposed now for all who have eyes to see. I was blind for many of my years here on earth, and lived recklessly, it is a miracle that I have been granted a traditional family and understand the absolute privilege it is to be a husband and father. I cannot bear to see how many around me are self-destructing, are damaging the spirits of their own children, by the way they regard marriage, sexuality and religion. The casual sex connection to all the things that threaten our societal stability and our children’s future is one that needs to be exposed and fought against.

On the heterosexual front, the chain of unwanted mates for life leading to hasty and painful divorces, the failed contraception leading to unwanted children and to horrifying abortions (parents killing their children at their earliest stages of life). All of this is something man(and woman) –made. God made us to be holy, to be happy, for most of us happily married, with wonderful angel-faced children- what more could He do? Yet we screw around and mess up the plan- many don’t even realize there is a plan- there is a Way- the Way of Christ- as far as I can tell it is the only clear path through the fog of living in the world today. I won’t go into the dilemmas and problems associated with homosexuality- that is a topic for another day- we who are of the heterosexual condition have to own up to our own failures for the moment- and “Taken” offers us a boatload of such fears and threats from people who seem to be like any one else.

But who are the people viewing pornography? Going to strip clubs? Visiting prostitutes? Having affairs? Living together/being sexual together before Marriage? Relying on Contraception? Having abortions? Who are these people? How many of us are without such sin?

Now to be empowered- Jesus saved the adulterous woman, He saves you and me, and He tells us to “Go and sin no more”. Let’s not be immobilized by our past or our present difficulties- we must make heroic moves to overcome the many enemies of virtue, of goodness, of true happiness. If you don’t see yourself as a hero- hello- if you are a Christian, you are called to be a hero, a saint. Shall we get up? Speak out? Do something, anything to try to stop the onslaught of casual sex promotion and acceptance that is the dominant worldview in the world our children are a part of now. Is there a quick fix? No, Christians have let down their guard for too long- we need to fight with the same spiritual intensity that Liam Neeson displays on the physical front in “Taken”. We must take back the world for our children and for our neighbor’s children- even if they are too blind to see. Christians are to be followers of God, but leaders among men. We lead by our service, by our evangelizing the truth, and setting the parameters of justice for our societies. I urge you to think creatively of ways you can help stop the process of exploitation of our young people- their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, they belong to God, and yet they are giving their beautiful bodies over to the Hugh Hefners’ of this world, and if the body is corrupted, the soul is soon to follow. God Bless everyone- especially the children- God wants the children protected- we are the parents- we are the front-line defense for the kids. Are we up for it?

3 Responses to “Taken” Some Life Lessons

  1. I think you make a key point here about how deeply pornography is connected with the breakdown of the family and the exploitation of women in our society.

  2. Matt McDonald says:

    Can you tell me what definition of “consumerism” you’re applying to the sex-slavery industry which is thousands of years old?

    It seems a stretch to me, but I’m interested to hear.

  3. Tim Shipe says:


    Clementine Hall
    Saturday, 13 June 2009

    “Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
    Distinguished and Dear Friends,

    Thank you for your visit which fits into the context of your annual meeting. I greet you all with affection and am grateful to you for all that you do, with proven generosity, at the service of the Church. I greet and thank your President, Count Lorenzo Rossi di Montelera, who has expressed your sentiments with fine sensitivity, giving an overview of the Foundation’s work. I also thank those who, in various languages, have wished to express your common devotion. Our meeting today acquires special meaning and value in the light of the situation that humanity as a whole is experiencing at this time.

    Indeed, the financial and economic crisis which has hit the industrialized, the emerging and the developing countries, shows clearly that certain economic and financial paradigms which prevailed in recent years must be rethought. Therefore, at the international congress which took place yesterday your Foundation did well to address the topic of the search for, and identification of, the values and rules which the economic world should abide by in order to evolve a new model of development that is more attentive to the requirements of solidarity and more respectful of human dignity.

    I am pleased to learn that you examined in particular the interdependence between institutions, society and the market, in accordance with my venerable Predecessor John Paul II’s Encyclical, Centesimus annus. The Encyclical states that the market economy, understood as: “an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector” (n. 42), may be recognized as a path to economic and civil progress only if it is oriented to the common good (cf. n. 43). However, this vision must also be accompanied by another reflection which says that freedom in the economic sector must be circumscribed “by a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality”, a responsible freedom, “the core of which is ethical and religious” (n. 42). The above-mentioned Encyclical appropriately states: “just as the person fully realizes himself in the free gift of self, so too ownership morally justifies itself in the creation, at the proper time and in the proper way, of opportunities for work and human growth for all” (n. 43).

    I hope that by drawing inspiration from the eternal principles of the Gospel it will be possible, with the research inherent in your work, to elaborate a vision of the modern economy that is respectful of the needs and rights of the weak. My Encyclical dedicated to the vast topic of the economy and work is, as you know, due to be published shortly. It will highlight what for Christians are the objectives to pursue and the values to promote and to defend tirelessly, if we are to achieve a truly free and supportive human coexistence.”

    Consumerism, as I use it, is not the positive business economy that is supported by Catholic social doctrine, but the destructive misuse of business models that overemphasize the commerce angle at the expense of the human beings who are on the giving and receiving end of some business transaction. It is the inadequate juridical framework that allows for such things as pornography and adult entertainment businesses to flourish under a false idealism associated with “Free Speech” and corporations being legally defined as “persons” with rights we normally associate with actual human beings. These modern-day abuses of what true freedom is really all about, help foster the modern situation of sex-slavery/human trafficking. The legal pornography helps to fuel the destructive fires of lust in boys and men of all ages, the freedom of advertisers to use sexual appeals to the lowest common denominator in human- particularly male human nature- also makes the pursuit of sex seem to be an overriding concern in everyday life. The rise of female entrepreneurs in the adult video industry and prostitution lends to the notion that women are getting good money for lending their bodies to men for illicit sexual purposes- so there is no victim in the process, when in actuality everyone involved and women in general and humanity at-large is harmed by the social sins associated with the weakening of public morals, and the encouragement of promiscuity with all the physical and spiritual damage that that entails.

    One could say that “consumerism” is that approach to economics and business that tries to separate the Christian Humanism of which the Pope speaks, with the freedom of individuals to pursue many kinds of “businesses” which contribute to the market demand for young girls and boys to be available for sexual exploitation- which is what drives the sex-slavery “market”. I found this to be the case when I attended local city council meetings where the topic was responding to the demands of adult entertainment business owners to have certain areas of town zoned for adult entertainment lest they take the city to the higher courts, where the findings have been in favor of the adult businesses via the “free speech” rationalization. The small cities must come up with ample sites for adult entertainment or else they risk heavy legal fees to challenge something that right now favors the purveyors of porn in the higher courts. Even though the numbers of speakers from the community who were outraged and against such businesses was very substantial- the juridical framework isn’t developed to address the morality questions in these areas. If we have the human person as our primary consideration in determining how to regulate businesses and their affairs, then this would be something more or less easy to fix. But our system is not set up with the common good/natural law as the guiding light for legal renderings- which is what is lacking in the juridical frameworks so often called for by the Magisterium.

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