Respecting God's Gift of Life





by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr.

In early 2010, Catherine Davis and her Atlanta-based Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) organization launched a groundbreaking effort to stop the egregious number of black abortions in their state. The organization decided to use billboards to present its case for life—that's right—billboards.

The 80-billboard campaign permeated the skyscape of Atlanta. Because of its scale, the campaign was nothing less than cutting-edge innovation. The billboards read, "Black children are an endangered species." The words encircled the face of an adorable black child. In addition to the message, the only Web address listed was  "toomanyaborted.com."

At the website, the message was very clear. Their research and statistics were complete. The editorials were also compelling. The Georgia Right to Life group had designed a sophisticated communications vehicle. Yet, it all started with a winsome message from the billboards. The graphics experts say that billboards can only effectively use seven words—just seven words and a visual impression. Therefore, the designers tastefully showed the innocence of a beautiful black baby.

This campaign was controversial, not because of its effect on Atlanta drivers or the average Joe. Changing lives by saying, "Respect yourself!" should hardly be controversial. The controversy aroused from their effectiveness as record numbers of black girls are going to their Website. Angry pro-abortion groups and Planned Parenthood have attempted to label GRTL as "deceptive." GRTL was also accused of working against the best interests of young black women. Some even have demeaned Catherine Davis as, you guessed it, a "sell out."  Once again in opponents' minds, the "naive black crusader" was being used by white extremists. In response to pro-abortion advocates, Davis had also been pitted against them on CNN, NPR and in a recent New York Times article.

Despite opponents' vitriol, GRTL's work was both tasteful and historic. How was it historic? First, its anti-abortion message was direct and hard-hitting. Second, targeting blacks so directly, without condemnation, was revolutionary. This was a major course correction in anti-abortion marketing. As a result, it was finally piercing the cultural veil over the issue of abortion in the black community.

So who is Catherine Davis? She is a native of Stamford, Conn., a lawyer, and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the prestigious Tufts University. Fifteen years ago, she moved to Georgia to become a change agent. In 2006, Davis ran for Congress in Georgia because she had a desire to impact her community. After a crushing political defeat, she felt unsupported by her Republican Party and ostracized by the Democrats. She decided to take on an advocacy role.

For the last few years, she has served tirelessly to give a voice to the voiceless. She focused on positive change through education, local/state involvement and peaceful action. Davis' Radiance Foundation and Operation Outrage exposed the destruction of the African-American community through the abortion industry.  Then in 2009, Davis became the minority outreach director for the 30-year old organization GRTL. In her new post, she simply continued grass-root activism. Davis traveled the state of Georgia returning to the real strength of the black community—the church.

Her education and experience have catapulted her to the forefront of the abortion struggle. She has mobilized a coalition of more than 100 black pastors who began to confront the issue of abortion politically. This informal coalition had educated, debated and won over many legislators on both sides of the aisle.

Recent studies show that black attitudes about abortion are changing nationally. The community is waking up to a truly genocidal trend that cannot be masked by the term "reproductive freedom."

Catherine Davis' rise to prominence is a sign that the religious and political landscape is changing. She and other pro-life black champions are passionate because of the horrifying abortion statistics of our day. Since 1973, more than 14 million African-American babies have been aborted.  In Georgia, like most communities in America, the black abortion rate is skyrocketing. Over half of Georgia abortions (57 percent) are performed on blacks, who make up only 29 percent of the population.

I want to challenge you to become a part of the growing number of people who are taking a stand against abortion. I also want you to celebrate and congratulate preachers like Bishop Boone of Wellington Boone Ministries, Pastor Clenard Childress of LEARN and Rev. Johnny Hunter, founder of the black pro-life movement and LEARN, who have been blowing a trumpet for years. They have been maligned and persecuted. It's time to honor them and their message. Become educated about the issue. Speak to others about the genocide that is currently accepted among many Americans.

Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. is the senior pastor of Hope Christian Church, a 3,000-member congregation in the Washington, D.C., area. He also serves as a regional bishop for the Fellowship of International Churches. Additionally, Bishop Jackson is the founder and president of High Impact Leadership Coalition, which seeks to protect the moral compass of the nation by educating and empowering churches, as well as community and political leaders. He also recently formed the International Communion of Evangelical Churches, a church network that currently oversees more than 1,000 congregations around the world. Bishop Jackson is the guest editor of the January-February 2012 issue of Ministry Today. This article was previously published by townhall.com.

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