The Devil and I have had a long, antagonistic relationship. I’m not sure if the Devil himself ever noticed me, but I did often oppose one of his franchise organizations. With arguments, protests, votes, and prayers I worked to shut his business down.
But then I left my job.
I had oft considered whether I should still be fighting against the Devil and his employees. I never hated his employees, it wasn’t there fault for doing his work. They were…enslaved…deceived…in error… I don’t know. I just knew they were wrong but I didn’t blame them for it. It was their boss who was to blame. But since leaving my previous career, I wasn’t sure what to think of the Devil’s corporation.
But one day I was reading the news, and I saw that a gunman entered a franchise in Colorado. He killed several people, including a Christian police officer. This was disturbing. I never believed that violence was the answer to close the Devil’s doors. I felt bad for the police officer’s family. I felt bad for patients in the clinic. I felt bad for the staff members who cowered in fear, hiding from the madman with a gun. A madman who supposedly played for my team. Or at leat the team I used to lead.
My Email: Good morning Jesse, this is John from the local security systems and monitoring company. I was saddened to hear about the tragedy in Colorado. I design security systems for a living, I’d love to come by your local Planned Parenthood clinic and local over your current security systems and proceedures. There’s no cost for this and no obligation to buy anything from me. In fact, if you currently are already working with another security company, I’ll give you things you should inquire with them about. I’m not looking to make a sale, I just want to help.
Jesse, Director of Health Services: Yes, we’re all a little shaken. We are customers of your local competitor but we’d be greatful if you could come by and tell us what you think of our current systems.
So I strolled up to the local Planned Parenthood. A building I’ve never been inside of. I was actually very surprised/impressed with their current security set up. I was also slightly surprised that their current security provider hadn’t bothered to check in on them. Then again, their current security provider is owned by a very conservative Christian.
We had a long talk. She was friendly, a bit young for such an important position, but clearly appreciative of my time. I was invited back to survey this location as well as the 3 others in her jurisdiction.
It was weird.
Here I was, a former pastor, vehemently opposed to abortion, actually behind the scenes working with those who perform abortions, in the place where abortions take place.
What the…who the…how did this happen? Am I supposed to be here?
One thing I’ve learned while being a pastor was how to smile and be kind to people no matter who they are, because these people need me to do my job. So that’s what I did. I was kind, I smiled, and I gave my professional expertise to people who are fearful that someone may come in on any given day with a gun to kill everyone.
I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not pro-choice. I have given it serious thought since apparently being an atheist and being pro-choice go hand in hand. I haven’t figured that out yet. I’m not closed off to the idea, I just remain unconvinced. But after spending significant time with these people in the midst of their fear, it is clear these are people committed to doing what they think is right in spite of the consequences.
This experience with Planned Parenthood has confirmed for me something I’ve always believed; nearly all our enemies aren’t bad people, they’re good people trying to do the best they can with what they think is right. The workers of PP are kind, caring, sympathetic, and dedicated people. These are ladies you’d want for a sister, neighbor, or a bff. They’re good people, no matter what you think of abortion. And they sure as shit don’t deserve to be shot up by some right wing conservative who thinks the answer to “WWJD?” is murder via domestic terrorism.
I’m going to continue to work with Planned Parenthood. Hopefully, I can earn their business by providing a service that protects their clinics and their lives. But this is weird.