On Abortion, Hamilton Composer Betrays His Immigrant Roots
For Hispanic fans of his — my mother was a Mexican immigrant and I love his work in Hamilton, In the Heights and Moana — watching the genius composer flack for Big Abortion is painful and sad.
[Click here for “10 Times the Hamilton Musical Opposes Planned Parenthood”]
Planned Parenthood is everything people hate about big business and everything people hate about big government. It is a giant corporation that was literally caught red-handed selling infant body parts. It is also a taxpayer-funded entity originally founded for eugenics purposes.
That’s what makes Miranda’s contest maddening. I have often dreamed of Latinos rising up to defend the heart of the American Experiment: The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It seemed to be happening: On the West Coast, we had Archbishop José Gómez promoting the American ideal to immigrants. On the East Coast, we had Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Only we didn’t.
Miranda’s story is an interesting commentary on the struggle Latinos have trying to fit into America — or the lack of struggle they put up as they drop their values in favor of secular white American consumerism.
His musical celebrates how Alexander Hamilton rose from his Caribbean origins through higher education in New York. That’s what Lin-Manuel’s dad, Luis, did: He graduated early from college in Puerto Rico and headed to NYU graduate studies.
Lin-Manuel also rose through elite education. He tested into Manhattan’s Hunter elementary school for the gifted as a kindergartner, and continued through Hunter High. It was there he met Stephen Sondheim, who helped coach his classmates in a production of West Side Story. Growing up he watched Les Miserables, Cats, Phantom of the Opera and other shows live, including Rent on his 17th birthday. His father, a musical theater aficionado, showed him the movie versions of others.
By his own admission, Lin-Manuel’s education kept him apart from other minority kids. It also kept him apart from those who dissent from the secular consumerist orthodoxy of the privileged.
Miranda shows the irony of immigration in America: Assimilating to the privileged class made his success possible, but made his abandonment of Latino beliefs almost inevitable.
Immigrants come to America pro-life. According to Pew: “Foreign-born Hispanics are more likely than U.S.-born Hispanics to say abortion should be illegal. About six-in-ten Hispanics born outside the U.S. (58%) say abortion should be mainly illegal; a third (33%) say it should be mainly legal.”
Nonimmigrant blacks and Hispanics remain more pro-life than their white counterparts. They know not to trust the WASP conspiracy against their babies. My own mother would occasionally receive mail from pro-abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood. I helped her fill their prepaid return envelopes with lots of paper (with pro-life slogans printed on them) so we could cost the bad guys a little extra money.
It’s no wonder why. The most recent Center for Disease Control numbers show black and Hispanics combined account for more than 55% of the abortion business. You can do the math: In America, black children are aborted three times as often as white children; Hispanics are aborted one and a half times as often. The organization “Protect Black Life” offers an interactive map on its site of the neighborhoods Planned Parenthood targets: black neighborhoods.
How can Manuel, a lover of hip-hop and Hispanic music, defend Planned Parenthood, which profits from the misery of blacks and Latinos?
“The thing it’s controversial for [abortion] is a very small part of the health services it provides,” he said in Planned Parenthood’s defense.
He probably has in mind the Planned Parenthood spin that abortion accounts for “only 3%” of the services it. Even defenders of Planned Parenthood know that statistic is dishonest: Planned Parenthood clinics get at least a third of their revenue from that “3%.”
I still love Hamilton. Its author is pro-abortion, but at Aleteia I counted at least 10 ways his musical is pro-life.
I left one out. In the third cabinet battle Manuel wrote for the musical, he points out that it took religious activists (a “Quaker delegation”) to force the country to look at slavery and the right to liberty early on.
Some things don’t change. Today, religious “extremists” are the only ones willing to look at abortion and the “right to life.”
Wherever we stand on immigration, it is the job of Catholics to reassure immigrants that they don’t need to give up their family-centered principles to succeed in American.
Alexander Hamilton rejected the hypocrisy of slavery to champion the right to liberty. Today, most immigrants reject the elite’s abortion hypocrisy and promote the right to life. Lin-Manuel Miranda should too.
This post also appeared at Catholic Vote.
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