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Why the World Needs to See ‘Sound of Freedom’


“Americans must demand the end to policies that promote these atrocities and to raise awareness that they are happening. Go see ‘Sound of Freedom’ and tell your friends, after which you will never again be able to say that you did not know.”


On Independence Day I went to see the movie “Sound of Freedom.” I was hesitant because I knew the movie was about human trafficking, making it hard to watch. That wasn’t really the frame of mind I wanted to be in when celebrating our nation’s birthday, but I’m glad I did.

There have been many faith-based movies that were well worth seeing, some largely because of the message they expressed but not necessarily because of the quality of the movie. That is not a shortcoming of “Sound of Freedom.” Produced by Angel Studios, the production quality was equal to any movie from a major studio. It was free of hokey tropes, low-grade, computer-generated imagery (CGI), poor writing, or bad acting. This is reflected in the ratings the movie has received, including an 8.6/10 on IMDB, as well as an 87 percent positive score from critics and a 99 percent score from audiences on the review site Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie is based on the account of Tim Ballard, an agent with the Department of Homeland Security, who for 12 years helped arrest pedophiles who downloaded child exploitation material. Despite arresting 288 criminals, he had not been able to rescue many children who were victims of the atrocity.

“Sound of Freedom” depicts his crusade after he dedicated his life to rescuing children from sex traffickers.

At the end of the movie, text appears informing the viewer that not only are over two million children trafficked each year, but that the United States is one of the primary destinations for sex trafficking. It also tells viewers that more people are enslaved now than when slavery was legal.

Actor Jim Caviezel, who portrays Ballard, delivers a special announcement to those watching in which he encourages them to participate in a pay-it-forward campaign to purchase tickets for those who may not have the discretionary funds to go see a movie.

The studio warns that while no graphic sexual content is depicted, the first half of the film is a “difficult watch,” adding, “We would strongly recommend parental discretion.” There were many times I found myself shaking my head in disgust or even turning away for a moment, sickened, not by a movie studio who depicted anything graphic, but by the horrifying reality that there are people who would do such things to children.

What I found inescapable was the truth that these sins happen because humanity increasingly devalues and sexualizes other individuals. Our society is so addicted to and tolerant of sexual perversion, so bent on pulling others into that world, including children, that the sex trafficking of children has now become the world’s fastest-growing criminal industry.

According to sources cited by Promise Keepers, a men’s ministry, the average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old, and 93 percent of boys are exposed to pornography by the time they are 18. That is endemic to a society that treats mainly women, but also men, as sexual tools for one’s own gratification, rather than as image bearers of God.

Long ago, the West did away with Judeo-Christian morals regarding sex and promiscuity involving adults. Prostitution; pornography; premarital sex and the hookup culture;  the denigration of modesty; and the inclusion of sexual topics and scenes in most movies and television shows are now the norm. What many failed to understand was that by objectifying adults, children would soon also become targets of evil men and women.

Many who are prostitutes or in pornography are victims of human trafficking, and many of those were because they were abducted as children or tricked into the trade.

Yet the sexualization of children goes far beyond these obvious evils. Whether it is insisting that “teenagers are going to have sex so we might as well teach them how to do it safely” or taking children to a drag show, it is not a conspiracy theory to say our society is now normalizing the sexualization and exploitation of children.

A key to stopping sex trafficking is parents. You must be involved in your child’s life. Don’t leave your child unsupervised or drop them off alone at an event. Don’t leave them with another adult unless you know that person well. Don’t give your young child a smartphone; later, when it’s appropriate or for a good reason, make sure you limit what they can see and that you have the authority to see what your child has been doing on it.

There’s a more insidious sexualization of children of which parents and Christians must be aware. The Freedom Center has written numerous articles discussing schools that have not only pushed pornographic books on children but encouraged them to change their sex and to hide it from their parents who “wouldn’t be supportive of their decision.” Meanwhile, states like Washington and California have all but invited traffickers to take children from their parents, put them in group homes, and facilitate their gender transition.

It’s time we stand up against the sexualization of children. It starts there. We can’t stop the human trafficking of children until we step in and stop those who are objectifying them.

William Wilberforce devoted his life to the abolition of slavery in England. In 1791 after years of decrying the wickedness of slavery Wilberforce delivered a speech to the House of Commons where he profoundly proclaimed,

“Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know…It is now brought so directly before our eyes that this House must decide, and must justify to all the world, and to their own consciences, the rectitude of the grounds and the principles of their decision.”

It took more than 40 years for slavery to be abolished in British colonies, but Wilberforce never quit fighting. Americans must demand the end to policies that promote these atrocities and to raise awareness that they are happening. Go see “Sound of Freedom” and tell your friends, after which you will never again be able to say that you did not know.

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.

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