History has shown us that morality cannot be legislated. It may be tempting to certain individuals to solve America’s moral decline with partisan politics, but the real solution is the Gospel.
There was a time (not so long ago) when Americans largely disapproved of certain social practices such as abortion, divorce, pornography, sexual promiscuity, profane and obscene language, etc. The black Christian church has certainly been one of the most staunch and vocal opponents of such modes of living in times past. But, lately, it appears that the evangelical component of our community has generally gone silent.
To be sure, there are individual non-denominational and mainline black churches- both small and large- that are genuinely serious about their collective walk with the Lord. And, there are a multitude of excellent leaders who rightly divide and impart sound doctrine and “stir up” the gifts of their flock for kingdom building. Unfortunately, too many black Christian preachers exploit their positions and pulpits to encourage followers to water-down or hide the truth, all for the sake of material gain and making everyone happy.
The older black church was unashamed in its rhetoric and tough stance on certain immoral practices. Through godly living, prayer, faithful teaching and standing on the truth, present-day believers can once again become the conscience of our communities and affect positive change instead of government intervention and public policies. The following six areas do not represent the entire breadth of moral issues that have become politicized but are some of the primary areas that the black church should stop being mute about:
According to the Black-on-Black Crime Coalition, “While African-Americans comprise 13.5% of the U.S. population, they represent 43% of all murder victims, 93.1% of whom are killed by African-Americans.” Federal crime statistics also indicate homicide is the leading cause of death among African-American males ages 15 to 34.
2) Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion
Black women have the highest rates of unintended pregnancy across racial and ethnic groups and are three times more likely as white women to have an abortion. Of these women, most are between the ages of 18 to 24 years and unmarried, have low incomes and are not high school graduates.
There are still some individual congregations and black organizations such as the Radiance Foundation and the National Black Prolife Coalition that express the common views of the early believers on these two issues.
In August, the Department of Human Health Services is expected to decide whether they will adopt the recent contraception recommendation cited in a report published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to decrease the rate of unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Specifically, the IOM has suggested to the Obama administration that all U.S.-approved birth control methods (condoms, oral contraceptives, spermicides, sterilization, etc.), including morning-after pills, be mandatory and free for all.
3) Drug use
Research by the Human Rights Watch indicates that ‘blacks comprise 62.7 percent of all drug offenders admitted to state prison, although there are five times more white users than black.
The Urban Minority Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Treatment Program and similar substance abuse programs for African-Americans have been the leaders in helping to restore the broke n lives of drug addicts in our communities.
Although Congress did pass the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 to reduce racial inequity for people caught with crack cocaine versus powder cocaine, blacks are still admitted to state prison on drug charges at a rate that is 13.4 times greater than that of whites.
4) Lack of education
Approximately seven thousand kids dropping out of school per day. Although the dropout rate of black high school students has somewhat declined, it is still relatively high at 9.3%.
There are a number of black charter schools and prep academies (e.g., Englewood’s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men in Chicago and the Seed School in Washington D.C.) around the country that are settling for no less than 100% graduation and acceptance rates into college.
The primary education legislation is the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The NCLB has proven to be no more than a “teaching the test” mechanism that has, in fact, kept minority and impoverished students at a disadvantage. Instead of standardized test scores and associated school performance, a multitude of students are no longer given a well-rounded education that is centered on the real metric- how they will perform after graduation.
5) Unhealthy Eating
In 2007-2008, African American children were 30% as likely to be overweight than Non-Hispanic Whites. Black children between the ages of 6 to 11 are more likely to develop diabetes and other health complications than white children because of childhood obesity.
The Whole Kids Foundation, Shape Up America and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Childhood Obesity represent a growing number of associations targeting childhood obesity around the country.
First Lady Michelle Obama has launched a nationwide campaign and childhood obesity initiative with LetsMove.gov to expand access to healthy, affordable food. There has also been an upward swing in states passing childhood obesity laws
6) Sexual Promiscuity
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Although blacks make up only 13.6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 50.3 percent of all diagnosed cases of HIV. Additionally, the rate of HIV diagnosis among black men is eight times that of whites and two times that of Hispanics, and the rate for black women is 19 times that of whites and four times that of Hispanics.”
Black support groups that focus on celibacy and the benefits of a sex-free life are sorely needed in our community.
In August, the Department of Human Health Services is expected to decide whether they will adopt the recent contraception recommendation cited in a report published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to decrease the rate of sexually transmitted diseases. Specifically, the IOM has suggested to the Obama administration that all U.S.-approved birth control methods (condoms, etc.) be mandatory and free for all
Thanks to Anthony Jerrod