After the old argument was fired against Pope Benedict XVI in his last trip to Africa, I tried to argue that pro-condom arguments are stupid and to demonstrate that research shows condoms promotions make AIDS worse, but I’m afraid that none of that phases condom promoters.
It’s like condom promoters are in the grip of some kind of insanity. And ultimately, the only hope you have for someone in the grips of insanity is to hold up a mirror and hope they recoil in horror from what they see.
Perhaps this “Bet Their Lives!” ad campaign can serve as a kind of mirror. It works even if “betting their lives” just means their health, their plans, their hopes, their relationships, or their emotional and spiritual wellness.
First: A reminder that condom use is entirely dependent on the responsibility of those who are supposed to use them. And who (in the first year of sexual activity, anyway) usually don’t.
Second: A reminder that kids, when they are out having fun, for instance with friends in their car, tend to behave even less responsibly. The heat of passion doesn’t improve their reflectiveness.
Third: A reminder that we as a society normally understand the value of attaching taboos to dangerous behaviors, even when we know a significant number of kids will still push the envelope.
Fourth: A reminder to parents that when that little voice whispers “You don’t have to worry about your kids. They’re special!” you should ignore that voice.
Fifth and last: another appeal to common sense.