Does an unborn child have unalienable rights?
A Charismatic Episcopal Priest from Maryland said he wants to explore that question via the production of the upcoming movie, “The Order of Rights.”
The priest, Fr. James Ball of Holy Apostles Charismatic Episcopal Church in Westminster, recently spoke with Pregnancy Help News about the project, saying the proposed movie will explore whether or not a child in a mother’s womb has rights as stated in the Declaration of Independence.
“Our title, 'The Order of Rights’ is named as such because it refers to the order in which the categories of rights are deliberately listed in the Declaration,” Ball said. “Those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“Order of Rights” features Emma Stein (Shannen Fields, Facing the Giants), a pregnant single girl advised by her mother, Kerri, to abort her child. Despite the objection of the child's father, Ethan Carpenter (Ben Davies, Courageous), and his promise to help her, she decides to go ahead with the procedure.
Carpenter and his family file a lawsuit on behalf of the child’s right to life. Subsequently, Kerri contacts a media member and the case garners national attention.
“The movie offers hope, healing and forgiveness. People's lives will be changed forever as they connect to this story,” Fields said.
Tweet This: @orderofrights offers hope, healing and forgiveness. People's lives will be changed forever as they connect to this story.
Prior to his conversion in 1992, Ball worked as a musician, photographer and filmmaker for 20 years. He explored his Christian faith and found God in various church-based settings.
“There was a grotto in Emmitsburg I used to visit and it touched me, even at the time I was in a different place," Ball said of the worship space. "But there was something about it that attracted me. Before my conversion I found the grotto was a place where I felt peaceful. Looking back, it was a place where grace was hitting me even before I was aware of it."
After his conversion, he became a priest in 1998 and started preaching on pro-life issues, especially sermons regarding the Bill of Rights.
“The Declaration of Independence has bearing on our jurisprudence, especially with regards to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Ball said. “A hundred years ago, these tenets were more widely understood than they are today.”
A film idea began to form in his mind, based around the key concepts of both the Bill of Rights and the Pro Life movement.
“Not many people know or understand how to tie the two concepts together, and that can be used to make a compelling argument in favor of life,” he said.
The priest also said although the protagonist in the movie is brought up in a secular household, both he and his filmmaking team want to ensure she and her family are not portrayed as evil.
“In a sense, we wanted to treat them with respect,” Ball added. “The purpose of this movie is not to make them look bad but to educate them.
“Even Ethan learns lessons in the story, such as how to forgive himself, accept God’s forgiveness and to move forward.”
The 90-minute film, expected to cost roughly $306,000, will feature a 12-member cast, plus extras. However, the final cast information is still under review. Filming will take place at various Catholic schools in northern Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania, including Annunciation Elementary in Hanover, Pa.
“We’re still looking for a suitable courthouse that reflects the mood we want to convey for this story,” he said, adding the bulk of the movie will take place in a courtroom setting. “I believe film can communicate God's word and also serve as a gateway to personal conversion.”
The organization’s funding webpage at Indiegogo has raised over $63,238 in just over a week, already reaching 21 percent of its overall goal thanks to 72 participants. The campaign started Feb. 22 and will close April 8.
Ball said the production company, Stone Road Pictures, anticipates filming to wrap up at the end of 2015 and is shooting for a release date of January 2016, in time for the March for Life in Washington, D.C., adding to the “great progress” Ball believes the pro-life community has made in getting its message out.
“We’re hoping to reach out to those who won’t agree with us,” he said. “They’re not evil. They just need to understand where we’re coming from.”
The film is already gaining its supporters from within the pro-life movement, including Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman.
“This is an extremely important film that speaks life to a culture of death and it’s one that brings light into darkness,” Newman said. “It is a film that speaks from the heart of God, who has made all life to be sacred.”
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