Recently I wrote about five male celebrities I boycott for their pro-abortion views. Today, I’ll tell you about five famous men whose careers I can feel good about supporting, because they believe in and profess the sanctity of life.
Keep in mind I may disagree with them on other issues. But because I believe abortion is the ultimate moral litmus test, if they recognize the evil of abortion, I know their moral compass is pointed in the right direction.
5. Mel Gibson
Let’s kick things off with controversy! I want to be clear: there are things about Mel Gibson I do not like. He has made racist comments, and pleaded “no contest” to a domestic abuse charge. But he has also been dragged through the mud in the press, and not always fairly. The validity of the famous taped conversation with his girlfriend has been questioned by forensic experts, and his wife of 26 years claims she never experienced abuse. He has said his “no contest” plea was a way of ending the legal matter before it did more harm to his family, and he has maintained that he never harmed his girlfriend.
Still, Gibson himself admits he is a flawed man, and that’s one of the reasons why I support him. Because despite being a troubled, broken human being with a failed marriage, a failing career, and an ongoing legal battle with the girlfriend who bore his child, Gibson has never wavered on the issue of life.
In a Barbara Walters interview in 1990, at the height of his fame, Gibson said:
One can’t decide for oneself who comes into this world and who doesn’t. That decision doesn’t belong to us.
Later, he vocally spoke out against life destroying embryonic stem cell research. He said this on a television commercial:
…[I]n 23 years embryonic stem cell research has not produced a single human cure. All it has yielded is tumors, rejection, and mutations. See bad science doesn’t attract venture capital. So why should the taxpayers be bled dry? This is Mel Gibson and I’m voting NO on Prop 71. Creating life simply to destroy it is wrong.
In 2010, cast and crew members of the film The Hangover II objected to Gibson’s involvement in the film, so the producers rescinded his offer. The same cast and crew did not object — at least not loudly enough to make a difference — to the involvement of Mike Tyson in the film’s prequel. Mel Gibson has used strong, offensive words and pleaded “no contest” to threatening his girlfriend. Mike Tyson was convicted of and served time in prison for rape. It’s obvious the problem wasn’t that Gibson did something wrong, but the political and religious flavor of his opinions and offenses. Apparently, according to the Hollywood elite, it is more morally offensive to call someone non-politically-correct names than to rape a woman.
I support Mel Gibson not because I agree with everything he’s ever done, but because on the most important issue there is — whether or not it should be legal to kill innocent human beings, namely unborn babies — he has it figured out. That lets me know there is a good heart inside him. Maybe flawed, but good. And it lets me know that there is hope for him. So I choose to support him and his career. Because of the voice he has provided for the voiceless, I think he deserves it.
4. Jack Nicholson
Here’s another guy with whom I probably don’t agree on every issue. A living legend in the cinema, Nicholson’s politics are full of contradictions. He called Sean Penn “the greatest living American,” but he refused to criticize President Bush, saying, “I support every president.” He calls himself a “lifelong Irish Democrat” and once spoke fondly of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Nicholson’s opinions on abortion were formed by personal experience. He was a grown man when he discovered the woman he thought was his sister was actually his mother, and the woman he knew as his mother was his grandmother. His mother became pregnant as a teenager and was encouraged to have an abortion, even back in 1937, but she chose life for her son. The revelation that his sister was his mom was understandably difficult for Nicholson, and had a profound affect on him. For one, it made him pro-life:
I’m very contra my constituency in terms of abortion because I’m positively against it. I don’t have the right to any other view. My only emotion is gratitude, literally, for my life.
This short statement is full of humility, wisdom, and courage. Note that he says, “I don’t have the right to any other view.” He has understood, thanks to the knowledge that his own life almost never happened, that life is a gift for which we should all feel gratitude. His willingness to vocally oppose abortion in the face of Hollywood and his own political party is inspiring and should be encouraged.
3. Ben Stein
You may not recognize the name right away, but you’d know the voice. The familiar drone of “Bueller…. Bueller…” introduced him to Generation X, but before that he was a speechwriter for Nixon and Ford, Columbia honors graduate, and valedictorian of Yale Law School. Later he went on to have his own show on Comedy Central, “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” and to teach law, appear in films, and speak and write on various issues, including the sanctity of life. Here he is in 2009:
Every baby that is conceived has the right to be; that is a basic. And I will tell you something that I never felt before in my heart until this year: I feel strongly that the tide is turning in our favor… one of the best, most important ways to give your life meaning and to live a decent life is to value life when it’s old, when it’s infirm, when it’s a different skin color, when it’s a different race, when it’s a different sex, when it’s a different religion, whether it’s born or unborn – and if you value life when it’s unborn, you set a standard for valuing life and for giving dignity to life that will stick with you and the society forever.
In 2008, Stein was involved in a controversial documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, that accused members of the U.S. scientific and academic elite of blind allegiance to Darwinism and unscientific rejection of theories of Intelligent Design which have been put forward by respected scientists such as those at the Discovery Institute.
The documentary sought to show how a materialistic view of the world — in the philosophical sense — leads to treating human beings as expendable. Denying the innate worth of human life led to Nazi eugenics and concentration camps. According to Stein, only in recognizing the God-given worth of every human being, born and pre-born, can we guarantee each other liberty and be truly free.
Ben Stein is a remarkable and gifted man and an unapologetic warrior for life. I’m proud to support him however I can.
2. James Caviezel
Caviezel became the favorite actor of just about every Christian in the world in 2006 when he played Jesus of Nazareth in Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ. Like Gibson a Traditionalist Catholic, Caviezel told Catholic Digest he was challenged by a pro-choice colleague to act with the courage of his pro-life convictions and adopt a child with special needs. So in 2009, Caviezel and his wife adopted their second child, a five-year-old Chinese girl with a brain tumor. Caviezel said it didn’t change the colleague’s mind, but it did strengthen his own convictions that every life is precious.
I was listening to Johnny Mathis the other day and I said, “What an amazing voice.” I have yet to hear another person sound like Johnny Mathis… Look, I am for helping women. I just don’t see abortion as helping women. And I don’t love my career that much to say, “I’m going to remain silent on this.” I’m defending every single baby who has never been born. And every voice that would have been unique like Johnny Mathis’. How do we know that we didn’t kill the very child who could have created a particular type of medicine that saves other lives?
According to LifeSite News, he has “compared the injustice of abortion to the mistreatment of women in some Arab countries.” One of his recent films, The Stoning of Soraya M., is based on the true story of an Iranian woman stoned to death for adultery.
For living his convictions, in his art and his life, I proudly see every movie featuring James Caviezel, even if I don’t particularly want to see the movie.
1. Eduardo Verastegui
You may not have heard of him yet, but give him a break; he’s had to go it alone. This Mexican actor refused to accept roles that conflicted with his strong Christian, pro-life beliefs. He was told he would never work, so he decided to create his own work. Along with Alejandro Monteverde and others, he founded the production company Metanoia, and their first film, Bella, took the world by storm in 2006.
Winning the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival in 2007, Bella was a beautiful film with a pro-life message of subtlety and spirit that surprised the world with its success. With a budget of only $3 million, it made about $40 million worldwide and put Metanoia on the map.
In January of this year, Verastegui pledged to build the largest pro-life women’s clinic in the U.S. His organization, Mantle of Guadalupe, raises funds for a pro-life pregnancy resource center of the same name in east Los Angeles, just miles from ten abortion clinics. A devout Catholic, he also promised, “I will not use my talents except to elevate my Christian, pro-life and Hispanic values.”
This year, Verastegui launched a website, IAmViable.com, which celebrates the lives and unique abilities of people born disabled. His production company Metanoia is currently working on several important projects with uplifting messages that affirm the dignity of all human life.
It may be safe to say that even in the few short years of his career, no actor has done more to promote the cause of the unborn than Eduardo Verastegui and his Metanoia Films. I will make it a point to support their work.
We shouldn’t let the trends or prejudices of celebrity affect our lives. None of us should make any decisions based on what the Kardashians do. But every time we turn on the TV or go see a movie we choose to support the actors and artists who created it. What we spend money on makes a powerful statement. I make sure to further, in any way I can, the careers of these men, because I want them to keep working and keep speaking out for life.
Who do you choose to support, and why?