After the initial shock, grief, and disgust when learning of horrific events like the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, there is an intense desire to understand why. What led this person to do such a purely evil and destructive deed?
Since no one can truly know the heart of another person, we are left to look through the evidence they left behind about their personal and family life, and consider the cultural context in which they lived. Police detectives will investigate the former, but the rest of us are left to ponder the latter. It is for that dimension that we all share responsibility.
There is a well-known saying that, “A good society is a society in which it is easy to be good. A bad society is a society in which it is easy to be bad.” If we accept the logic of this statement, it is very clear we are currently living in a bad society.
Many of us are old enough to remember an America that was a good society using this definition. As a simple example, in our schools, it used to be that chewing gum was a serious infraction. Now, chewing gum is ignored and bringing a gun to school is a serious infraction. Something very dramatic has changed in America that now provides a cultural context where it is “easy to be bad.”
Let’s look at cultural changes in two key dimensions of life in America today that make it easy to be bad – things we put in our bodies and things that come out of our bodies:
Drugs going in:
It used to be that all drugs were either illegal or subject to strict laws regarding doctor prescribed use. Today, many states have legalized recreational and medical use of marijuana. This is in the face of strong evidence that about 20% of young marijuana users become violent with heavy use.
Powerful “anti-depressant” drugs have come on the market and are widely prescribed for a whole variety of human ailments, especially to adolescents and young adults without fully knowing their impact on behavior. Powerful illegal drugs have flooded our country from outside suppliers and are easily available.
Persons in physical or emotional distress can now simply medicate their pain with legalized marijuana, legalized anti-depressants and illegal drugs like heroine. Further, the former option to isolate, treat them, while protecting the rest of us, is now illegal. Underlying problems are not addressed, but are drugged away and the suffering continues with unpredictable results.
Babies coming out:
It used to be that the act leading to conceiving a child was kept within the marital bond, where the child would have the greatest chance of being conceived in love, born into love, and have its character formed to live an adult life with integrity.his model, that used to be common in America, made it easy to be good, for the most people in most circumstances.
Now, our model for bringing new life into America, makes it easy to be bad. The very act that allows for new life is now commonly performed outside the marital bond because of the widespread availability of contraception and abortion. The illusion that contraception prevents all new life leads to many unexpected pregnancies between unmarried people. It also promotes a culture where an act of intercourse on a first date is just like playing tennis on a first date. The value of that act has been completely demoted to a leisure time activity with no consequences. But, sadly, there are often consequences that cause a crisis between the biological parents.
This unexpected crisis often leads to chemical abortion with grave risks to the woman’s health or surgical abortion with grave risks to the woman’s future child- bearing capacity, and the woman and the man’s psychological health. There is very frequently a rupture in relationship between the biological parents, so if their child is born, it’s unlikely the child will grow up in an intact home.
This new model has led to unprecedented levels of pregnancies outside of marriage, domestic abuse towards pregnant mothers, abortion, post-abortive depression, drug and alcohol addiction and suicide, not to mention an increase in later infertility and miscarriages for the woman and a drastic increase in sexually transmitted diseases. It has also led to the dramatic decrease in families founded on marriage, and a dramatic increase in fatherlessness. Statistics reveal a high rate of fatherlessness and a high rate of abortion in the lives of people incarcerated in America‘s prisons.
It is clear our new model of bringing new life into the world is making it very easy to be bad for the mothers and fathers of unexpected children.
To the extent we have information about many of these mass murderers, most are illegal or prescription drug users, and have suffered from family breakdown.
Solving the problem of how we treat human suffering and how we bring new life into the world is all of our responsibility. We are going to need to re-think long and hard the direction America has taken over the last 50 years and make some hard decisions about what kind of world we want for our children and grandchildren.
An America where it is easy to be bad is not irretrievable. As a society we can make a collective decision to once again create an America where it is easy to be good, where those who are truly suffering are truly cared for, and those who are conceived on America soil are welcomed into the world and cared for by the people who love them the most.
We at Hosea Initiative are dedicated to unpacking the history that has caused America to become a place where it is easy to be bad, especially with regards to newly conceived Americans. We encourage you to visit our website (Hosea4you.org) and become informed and then be part of the solution to returning America to a place where it is easy to be good.