Monday, February 28, 2011

Sometimes the Truth is Offensive

"I think it was the right thing to do," said Rev. Al Sharpton. "We have a right to our personal views, but we don't have a right to offend people."
Last week a billboard went up in New York's SoHo district that said, "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb." The purpose of the campaign was to draw attention to the high abortion rate in the African American community across the country, but particularly in New York City. According to the New York Department of Health, 59.8% of African American pregnancies ended in abortion in 2009; there were more induced abortions than live births. Since 1973, more African Americans have died from abortion than heart disease, HIV/AIDS, accidents, cancer and violent crime combined. According to the statistics, the womb is in fact a very dangerous place for African Americans to be as many of them do not make it out alive.

Despite the statistics, this billboard upset many people in New York and around the country. Lamar Advertising, the company who owns the billboard space, said employees at the restaurant below the billboard were being harassed by people angered by the advertisement. Lamar also reports receiving threats of violence if the billboard was not removed. Al Sharpton planned to hold a press conference speaking out against the billboard on Friday, but it was pulled down before the end of last week.
Council Member Letitia James said, "It is misguided to use Black History Month as a tool to promote this message. Every woman has the right to make personal choices in regards to her body, and I respect many different points of view, but to compare abortion to terrorism and genocide is highly offensive."
Why are so many people offended by this ad? It is simply a statistical truth, where is the offense in that? Many people who champion reproductive rights talk about wanting to reduce the need for abortion. Shouldn't they be offended by the reality that in our society so many people are still choosing abortion as it usually means they feel that they have no other option?
Rev. Michel Faulkner of the New Horizon Church of New York City said in a statement, “While this billboard causes a visceral reaction from many African-Americans, it addresses a stubborn truth that 60 percent of black babies do not make it out of the womb. Instead of challenging the design of the ad, we should ask why the message is true and how can we change the fact that the leading cause of death for African-Americans is abortion.
Sometimes the truth offends people, but even Jesus did not back down from the truth, let us learn from His example:
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day...This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."

These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?"

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you?What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe."...

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

-John 6:53-66

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