In preparation for the new Indiana Jones movie, I’ve been rewatching the previous Indiana Jones films over the month of June. I waited until the end to watch the Temple of Doom, the second installment of the franchise (although chronologically the first). It has always been one of my least favorites of the series due to its dark themes. It deals with child slavery and gruesome human sacrifices by a seemingly satanic cult in India that worships the Hindu God Kali. While I appreciate the film, that content always makes me feel uneasy. I was discussing my uneasiness with one of my oldest friends, who was the one that introduced me to Indiana Jones as a kid, and he raised some very interesting points about the film that I had not ever considered. After thinking it through and reexamining the story, I realized that not only was he correct, but that there was an unintentional pro-life message in the film that affirms the value of innocent children.
In the second act of the film Indiana Jones, his companion, Short Round, and the ever-whining female lead, Willie Scott come across a village in India where all the children have been taken from them after their magical protective stone is stolen. They ask Indy to retrieve the stone for them. He is reluctant but then finds out that the stone is one of the legendary lost Sankara Stones, magical stones containing diamonds given by the Hindu god, Shiva. When asked by Short Round what the Sankara Stones are, Indy replies “Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.”
Later in the film, after witnessing an underground human sacrifice ceremony involving the powerful stones, Indy sneaks into the evil Thuggee cult’s altar to steal the Sankara stones. He is about to escape when he hears the sound of a child screaming. He follows the sounds further underground to find that there is an entire mining operation underway with hundreds of starved emaciated children chained up and doing all the digging while being whipped by the cultists. He realizes that these are the children that were taken from the small village. This infuriates Indy and leads him and his companions to set out to free the children.
At the end of the film, Indy returns to the village with all the freed slave children reuniting them with their families. Although he didn’t get “fortune and glory” from the stones (two of the three fell into a river, and the remaining one returned to the village elder), Indy chose to rescue something that was much more important: the lives of the innocent children. As my friend pointed out, “the children were the real fortune and glory.”
The central belief of the pro-life movement is that the lives of innocent human beings are inherently valuable and are deserving of life rather than death. We believe that taking the life of innocent children in the womb is wrong because they are valuable human beings. While the popular culture around us says that their death is necessary and even “empowers” their mothers to pursue their dreams, jobs, and lives, we disagree. Sacrificing innocent human beings for convenience is never necessary. Just like Dr. Jones, we believe that innocent children’s lives DO matter and are worth saving. We believe that their lives are the true “fortune and glory.”