You have probably noticed the Handmaid’s costumes in movies and television shows, and sometimes in political demonstrations. To me, these costumes, worn by women, look like a Catholic nun’s habit in a science fiction movie. The costumes were designed by a professional costume maker, for movies and television, and they are religious, so Nuns’ habits might be a design inspiration.
Political demonstrations where these costumes appear are almost always about abortion. Women who dress like Handmaids demonstrate for liberal access to abortions, without restrictions, So, Handmaids’ costumes are worn by pro-abortion demonstrators. There is a group of protestors who call themselves “The Handmaids Coalition” and they protest in costume.
If the name ‘Handmaid’ sounds strange for a modern group, it is a very old name, taken from the Bible. There is something Christians should know about The Handmaid’s Tale and all those protestors in those costumes.
This all started with a Canadian author named Margaret Atwood, who has been writing novels and stories and poems for many years. She was well known in Canada, but her book “The Handmaid’s Tale” made her famous and successful in the world, including the United States. Her fictional land of Gilead (a name from the Bible) is a future United States.
I am surprised that Margaret Atwood came from the same places as my mother and father. Maybe they passed each other on the street, years ago. I am also surprised that I just missed her. Margaret Attwood taught English at several universities, including the one I went to. I wish I could say that she was my teacher, when I sat in those English Literature classes, but I missed her by about two years. She moved on while I was still in high school.
Years later, I worked as an English language teacher, helping foreign students to upgrade so they could pass their courses in that same university. Instructors like me were given lists of books to assign to students and I remember, I always rejected books by Margaret Atwood. She is a very skillful writer, and her books could teach better English; from words, to sentences and paragraphs, and interesting stories. I stayed away from her books because she was radical about everything, including women’s rights and the environment, and animal rights. I just didn’t want arguments about issues in my classroom, when we worked on our technical skills.
- RELATED: Margaret Atwood: Wikipedia
So, how is this interesting to Christians?
Margaret Atwood likes to use the word “speculative” to describe ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and she says it’s not science fiction. Science fiction fans disagree. The story is in the near future and it speculates about the way we live today. If some people in our society gain control, what will happen?
Speculation tells us about the dangerous people. If we don’t control those people; this is what they will do.
Notice the symbol in the last scene of the video. The people are facing a giant cross.
The stories are about resistance to terrible oppressors, who take control of a country and make the people into slaves. The heroes are in the underground resistance, fighting the controlling enemies, who are like Communists or Nazis. But these terrible oppressors are Evangelical Protestant Christians who like to read the Bible and go to church on Sunday. Seriously.
I remember a critic, who wrote about ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ She said, Christians don’t oppress people like that, but the society in the story is “a dead wringer for Saudi Arabia.” I don’t remember who said that, and I’m not supposed to remember. If Margaret Atwood wrote about a Muslim group that gained control by force and oppressed everyone, she would be labeled Islamophobic and her books would be rejected. If she wrote the same things about evil Jewish people, she would be antisemitic.
Imagine stories about hordes of Buddhist monks killing the government and forcing us all to be like them, or Hindus on a rampage. I can’t imagine those crazy scenarios, and I’m sure that anyone who wrote stories like that would be condemned, and possibly arrested.
There is only one safe possibility; pick on the Christians. Make them into terrible people who murder their neighbors and oppress the world, and force everyone to be like them. We make an easy target.
Margaret Atwood is a great writer, and her stories are interesting and dramatic, and we can expect the movie sequels and episodes to continue. Also, there are people who don’t like Christians, and this is their chance to attack. It’s like a perfect storm of critical propaganda.
So, what should we do?
We could protest. The women in the costumes are protestors, and I’m sure Muslims and Jews and Buddhists and Hindus would speak up if they were portrayed as evil oppressors.
But God has given us clear instructions; we should tell the truth. We can talk about this: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
Besides telling the truth, Jesus told us what to when we are picked on, and this applies to all the Handmaids.
They have given us a chance to shine: