President Biden Should See “Sound of Freedom”

President Biden has an opportunity to prove that fighting sexual exploitation of children is a bipartisan issue that should unify all Americans.

by Newt Gingrich

President Joe Biden should watch the new hit movie “Sound of Freedom.”

In fact, he should screen it at the White House and invite his cabinet and the White House staff to join him.

As Owen Gleiberman wrote in Variety: “Jim Caviezel anchors a solidly made and disquieting thriller about child sex trafficking.” Gleiberman went on to describe it “as a compelling movie that shines an authentic light on one of the crucial criminal horrors of our time, one that Hollywood has mostly shied away from.” 

The film decisively drives home the seriousness of the scourge of child sex trafficking. On Tuesday, Callista and I joined Speaker Kevin McCarthy and a large audience on Capitol Hill to watch the movie.

It was also an opportunity for Callista to renew a friendship she made with Eduardo Verástegui, the film’s executive producer. They met when she was the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Eduardo had made a remarkable pro-life film “Bella” and was in Rome to meet Pope Francis and share the movie, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had praised. He is a remarkable man who may run for President of Mexico on a platform of honesty, cleaning up the cartels, and saving the children.

Tim Ballard was also at the screening. He is a former special agent who arrested more than 280 child molesters while serving in the United States government. He then quit to save children in Colombia. He is a genuine American hero.

Ballard’s role is played by Caviezel, the amazing actor who played Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson’s extraordinary movie, “The Passion of the Christ.” Caviezel was at the screening and spoke eloquently about the enormous tragedy of child sex trafficking. Sadly, this is a much greater problem than most Americans are aware.

As Glieberman explained, “[I]t’s the fastest growing international criminal network the world has ever seen. A closing title states — accurately — that there are more people enslaved now, by sex trafficking, than there were when slavery was legal. And the nightmare lived by captured children is unspeakable, unimaginable… and all too real. Let’s be clear: This matters more than the cocaine or opioids industry.”

It would be helpful for President Biden to prove that saving children from sexual exploitation and fighting pedophiles and traffickers in human beings is a bipartisan issue. There should be no partisan split over the protection of children.

The tragedy is all too familiar to Callista. As Ambassador she worked with Catholic relief organizations and others helping the victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation by predators and criminal organizations.

Alejandro Monteverde did a great job directing the film. It builds steadily into an intense and emotional ending. It is worth seeing as a movie – as well as a message.

Ironically, “Sound of Freedom” had been held up by Disney for five years. Whether Disney found the subject of stopping child sex trafficking unacceptable or simply thought the movie would not make money is unclear.

Thanks to Verástegui’s persistence, the film was picked up by Angel Studios. This is a small independent studio in Provo, Utah established by a group of Christian activists who wanted to bring moral films to the American people that Hollywood liberals reject.

Angel Studios decided Independence Day was the right day to launch “Sound of Freedom” since it is our national birthday as a free country. The two went hand in hand.

No one had any idea how the film would do. It has now passed $125 million in sales and continues to grow. As Adam Aron at AMC, tweeted “Yesterday we showed that movie 3,000 times at our 570 U.S. theaters and more than 100,000 people watched it.”

The success of this movie is growing by word of mouth.

Some leftwing critics have attacked the movie for focusing on only one part of the sexual exploitation of children. Their argument is that far more children are coerced by their own family or by neighbors and friends than are kidnapped. That criticism is an absurd piety that misses the whole point of arousing public interest in fighting child exploitation. The children depicted in the film are based on real survivors that Ballard and his organization saved in real life. The predators on the screen are based on real, violent, and evil criminals. Debating petty storytelling nuance is tone deaf navel gazing. It helps nothing and no one.

Further, the novel which set the stage for the Civil War, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” had an amazingly emotional scene in which Eliza escapes across the half-frozen Ohio River. Purists could argue that that scene was not the way most slaves escaped. Yet, the emotional power of the scene moved millions toward support for abolition of slavery. The book was so powerful that when its author, Harriet Beecher Stowe, met President Lincoln he said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!”

Just like “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “Sound of Freedom” carries a large emotional truth in a story about real people. It is true morally and in historic terms – even if some quibble that there are alternative ways to tell the story.

President Biden has an opportunity to prove that fighting sexual exploitation of children is a bipartisan issue that should unify all Americans.

It would be in President Biden’s best interest to show “Sound of Freedom” at the White House.

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