It Is Time to Stop Clowning around about Abortion

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Ironically, the same woke activists that decried comedian Dave Chappelle’s insensitivity last month toward transgenders are now lauding a Saturday Night Live sketch with “Goober the Clown (who had an abortion when she was 23).” Adopting the alter ego “Goober,” Cecily Strong chose to “clown around” with “fun clown stuff to make it more palatable” while sharing her abortion story.[1] She concluded her decidedly awkward and entirely humorless bit by inhaling helium before echoing Michelle Williams’ 2020 Golden Globes acceptance speech,[2] “Here’s my truth. I wouldn’t be a clown on TV here today if it weren’t for the abortion I had the day before my 23rd birthday.”[3]

“Review after review, recap after recap, proclaimed that it was punchy and provocative,” CNN’s Brian Stelter wrote in his media newsletter.[4] The Los Angeles Times called Strong’s performance “one of the most rousing and far-reaching rebukes of Texas’ controversial abortion law.”[5] The Daily Beast called it “as bizarre as it is brilliant.”[6] And Decider hailed it as an “instant classic episode” of SNL.[7]

Of course, Cecily Strong is not the first comedian to joke about abortion. Sadly, it has become routine. In May, late night host, Stephen Colbert, began his show with the joke, “It’s a rare treat for a late-night comedian when the subject of your comedy is legislation restricting abortion. It’s just a funny word, like guacamole.[8][9] Hulu and HBO Max have produced the comedies Plan B[10] and Unpregnant[11] which follow teenage girls on road trips seeking abortions. Stand-up comedian Alison Leiby recently released her special, Oh God, an Hour about Abortion.[12] And who could forget Michelle Wolf’s crass joke at the 2018 White House Correspondents Association Dinner: “Mike Pence is also very anti-choice. He thinks abortion is murder, which, first of all, don’t knock it till you try it. And when you do try it, really knock it. You know, you got to get that baby out of there.”[13]

Incredibly, there is even a new genre of TikTok videos supposedly showing women at their abortion appointments. These include captions like “It’s a great day to have an abortion” and often feature women who are smiling, laughing, dancing, and lip-syncing to whatever song happens to be trending.[14] One such example by @abortioncounselor “shows her dancing to the Megan Thee Stallion song ‘Thotiana,’ under the text ‘my fetus dancing right before it was aborted.’”[15]

Fortunately, these videos are fake—usually being nothing more than a routine visit to the doctor juxtaposed with a tagline about abortion. Nevertheless, their irreverent humor is the latest step in normalizing abortion in America, according to Amelia Bonow, the founder of Shout Your Abortion.[16] “The idea that abortion is always a serious and sad thing is antiquated, not reflective of reality,” Bonow told the Daily Beast. “We can talk about abortion however we want, [sic] it doesn’t always have to be heavy. Sometimes it’s hilarious.”[17]

God, however, is not laughing. He says in Proverbs 8:13, “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” Elsewhere, Proverbs says, “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse” (Prov. 10:31–32). And God warns, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20). Indeed, God takes note of cultures whose pride makes them unwilling to blush at such vulgarity and wickedness (Jer. 8:12).

Like a frog in a kettle, we are becoming increasingly desensitized to the depravity and horror of abortion, and the result is an intolerable level of apathy among God’s people. Similar to God’s people in Jeremiah 8:12, we are no longer ashamed. We too have lost our ability to blush in embarrassment because we have tolerated evil.

How is it that God’s people in America eagerly supported—and in some cases even demanded—that we protect the vulnerable by grinding to a halt a record-breaking economy, our educational system, and even our ability to congregate in worship when only 43 people had died of COVID-19 in the United States and 5,000 globally, but we remained silent about a form of infanticide that kills 2,300 babies every day in America?[18] On the one hand, we find ourselves willing to sacrifice our entire way of life if it means savings lives, while on the other hand, we can’t even be bothered to talk about a preventable practice that kills an innocent baby every 36 seconds in America.[19] How can this be? Since March of 2020, nearly twice as many babies are estimated to have died from abortion as have died from COVID-19 in America, yet we remained obsessed with stopping COVID-19, not abortion. How can this be?

Why are our church prayer meetings dominated by requests concerning COVID-19, yet the matter of abortion is rarely raised? Why is it that so many of God’s people know about Dr. Anthony Fauci’s latest flip flop and the most recent data to come from the CDC but we are oblivious to the fact that two major abortion cases are being heard by the Supreme Court this month? Why is it that we expect the political left to advocate for abortion rights in every major institution where they have influence, but we don’t feel it is appropriate to openly address such a controversial issue—even in our churches? Such insufferable apathy is the result of allowing our spirits to be desensitized. It is a result of losing our fear of the Lord that keeps our hearts aligned with His (Prov. 8:13).

I pray that Goober the Clown’s #ShoutYourAbortion moment will prick our spirits enough to remind us of how serious an issue abortion remains in our country. Perhaps we, as God’s people, need something as outrageous as Goober the Clown to remind us that we should be paying attention to abortion—particularly this month while the Supreme Court is weighing two major abortion cases: Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It is long past time for us to stop clowning around regarding abortion and to treat it as the serious crisis that it truly is. It is time for us to restore our fear of the Lord—to fear offending the Lord’s sensibilities on the matter rather than our nation’s political sensibilities.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. Flood, Brian. “Liberal Media Fawns over ‘SNL’ Skit about ‘Goober the Clown Who Had an Abortion When She Was 23.’” Media. Fox News, November 9, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/media/goober-the-clown-abortion-snl.

2. Cohen, Li. “Michelle Williams Advocates for Abortion Rights in Golden Globes Acceptance Speech.” News. CBS News, January 6, 2020, 1:00 a.m. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/golden-globes-michelle-williams-advocates-for-womens-rights-in-golden-globes-speech/.

3. Carras, Christi. “Cecily Strong’s Goober the Clown Makes a Powerful Abortion Statement on ‘SNL.’” Television. Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2021, 12:09 p.m., PT. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2021-11-08/cecily-strong-snl-weekend-update-clown-abortion.

4. Stelter, Brian. Reliable Sources, November 7, 2021, 9:17 p.m., ET. Newsletter. https://view.newsletters.cnn.com/messages/1636338470144c9cd723c3470/raw?utm_term=1636338470144c9cd723c3470&utm_source=cnn_Reliable+Sources+-+November+7%2C+2021&utm_medium=email&bt_ee=cEAR2P%2BdeyBxzR1JeDuC12UbUx1a7S9fI8rKg0TWVxujDoQOyFgroCEYTWDHtV00&bt_ts=1636338470146.

5. Carras, Christi. “Cecily Strong’s Goober the Clown Makes a Powerful Abortion Statement on ‘SNL.’”

6. Bradley, Laura. “‘SNL’s Cecily Strong Slams Texas Abortion Law in Bizarre, Brilliant Weekend Update.” Entertainment. Daily Beast, November 7, 2021, 1:37 a.m., ET. Last updated November 7, 10:29 a.m., ET. https://www.thedailybeast.com/snls-cecily-strong-slams-texas-abortion-law-in-bizarre-brilliant-weekend-update.

7. McCarthy, Sean. “‘SNL’ Recap: Cecily Strong’s MVP Performance Tops an Instant Classic Episode.” Decider, November 7, 2021, 10:00 a.m. https://decider.com/2021/11/07/snl-recap-kieran-culkin-ed-sheeran/.

8. Squires, Bethy. “How Late Night Tried to Joke about Abortion.” Vulture, May 17, 2019. https://www.vulture.com/2019/05/late-night-comedy-shows-alabama-abortion-ban.html.

9. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “25 Republican Men Ban Abortion in Alabama.” YouTube video, 7:09. May 16, 2019. https://youtu.be/f-ag5kf1cOE.

10. Bugbee, Teo. “‘Plan B’ Review: A Joy Ride in Search of Emergency Contraception.” Movies. New York Times, May 27, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/27/movies/plan-b-review.html.

11. Winkelman, Natalia. “‘Unpregnant’ Review: Friendship Is a Long and Winding Road.” Movies. New York Times, September 10, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/10/movies/unpregnant-review.html.

12. Zinoman, Jason. “Comedians Turn Their Attention to Abortion.” Television. New York Times, September 24, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/24/arts/television/abortion-comedy.html.

13. Borchers, Callum. “Michelle Wolf’s Caustic Comedy Routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Annotated.” The Washington Post, April 29, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/04/29/michelle-wolfs-caustic-comedy-routine-at-the-white-house-correspondents-dinner-annotated/?utm_term=.0f1dc1db6aaf.

14. Shugerman, Emily. “Women Are Putting Their Abortions on TikTok—but Is It Real?” US News. Daily Beast, February 27, 2021, 9:22 a.m., ET. Last updated February 26, 2021, 11:42 p.m., ET. https://www.thedailybeast.com/women-are-putting-their-abortions-on-tiktok-but-is-it-real.

15. Shugerman.

16. Shugerman.

17. “Abortion Stats.” Life Issues Institute, n.d. Accessed November 9, 2021. https://www.lifeissues.org/abortion-stats/.

18. “Abortion Stats.”

 

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.