Napp Nazworth: The Hidden Conservative Themes in “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Spoiler alert: Key plot points from the first two seasons of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” are revealed below.

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” has become a symbol of progressive activism, but many of the show’s storylines contain conservative themes.

Season one of “The Handmaid’s Tale” was based upon Margaret Atwood’s 1985 best-selling novel of the same name. Written shortly after the “New Religious Right” helped Ronald Reagan win the presidency in 1980, The Handmaid’s Tale imagined a dystopian future in which the Religious Right takes control and establishes a theocracy.

Atwood has written a sequel, The Testaments, which will be published in September, but Atwood has said her new novel was not adapted from the TV show’s second or third season, which begins Wednesday.

(This analysis is based upon the TV show, not the book, which I haven’t read.)

In this near future story, the world is in chaos after fertility rates have collapsed. Parts of the former United States are taken over by totalitarian theocrats after a bloody uprising. This new nation is called “Gilead.” Desperate for offspring, the leaders, “commanders,” of Gilead establish a corps of “handmaids” to bear their children.

What does this situation most closely resemble in the real world today? Who, today, is taking advantage of women in desperate situations in order to have them bear children not their own? Hint: It’s not conservatives.

A trend in liberal states is to legalize surrogacy, or womb rental, as a way for couples who can’t have children, either for medical reasons or because they are a same-sex couple, to obtain a child by purchasing another woman’s eggs and/or paying her to bear a child. But the process exploits women in desperate situations, who then must undergo a medically and psychologically risky procedure. (For more info, see herehere, and here.)

Additionally, progressives today often behave similar to theocrats, using the levers of government and business to punish those who dissent from progressive orthodoxy and to silence dissident voices. They try to make colleges “safe” from viewpoint diversity by banning speakers and groups. Conservative views are routinely stifled on the internet and in the media. If you disagree with a progressive, they say, you shouldn’t be allowed to hold a government positionteach, or sell chicken sandwiches. They’ll use whatever means at their disposal to force compliance.

When I watched “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the Gileadans reminded me more of today’s progressives than conservatives.

The main storyline revolves around June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss), a handmaid, renamed “Offred,” assigned to the Waterfords, Commander Fred (Joseph Fiennes) and wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski).

The Gileadans don’t use IVF. The handmaids are raped in a pseudo-religious ritual involving a Bible and the commander’s wives.

While the Gileadans exude religiosity, they actually disrespect Scripture and don’t follow the teachings of Jesus. Bibles are kept under lock and key because women aren’t allowed to read.

In season 2, a young female character named Eden surreptitiously reads the Bible, which ignites her faith and sets her on a path that leads to her execution. As a final act of defiance at her execution, she recites from heart part of 1 Corinthians 13, commonly known as the “love chapter,” “Love is patient, love is kind ….”

In season 1, episode 8, “Jezebels,” we learn that many of the commanders frequently visit a brothel. Some of the prostitutes, “Jezebels,” are former handmaids.

While the show doesn’t shy away from showing June’s imperfections, she is a person of faith and becomes more devout as she tries to cope with her trauma, despite the fact that her oppressors claim to be Christian as well.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is also relentlessly pro-life.

When I see pro-abortion protesters dressed like the handmaids from the show, I wonder how closely they paid attention.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Napp Nazworth