It’s strange when headline news happens in your hometown. I live about ten minutes away from the Black Friday’s Planned Parenthood shooting. Not only did this tragic event happen in my city, but it also involved one of the issues I am passionate about.
I’ve been involved in the pro-life movement since I was a 19. For two summers, I worked at a local crisis pregnancy center, counseled young women, spoke at church events, and conducted an undercover research project. As a college student, I posed as a 16-year-old in a crisis pregnancy and visited ten abortion clinics, Planned Parenthoods, and Christian pregnancy centers in Florida. I documented each visit and used what I learned to train crisis pregnancy counselors to be more empathic and effective in their ministry.
Now, 25 years later, I run an organization on the front lines of the sexual issues women face, including abortion and crisis pregnancy. Here’s what I’ve observed related to addressing these explosive cultural issues. While the moral principles related to sexuality may represent good and evil, the people involved on either side are far more complicated.
What happened last Friday is a glaring example of what happens when we simplify complicated social issues with a good vs. evil lens.
Beyond Cartoons and Straw Men
One of the most prominent qualities of children’s entertainment is the clear delineation between “good guys” and “bad guys.” Cartoons and other children’s shows have superheroes and evil villains because a child’s brain is incapable of processing the complexities of real-life characters. Most stories, books, and media geared toward pre-adolescents stay with distinct categories of good and bad.1