Aug. 12, 2011
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is a brave man. Anyone doubting this should watch his 25-minute exhortation to the African-American community of his city.
Nutter, himself black, began his message with a moving call for all Americans to pray for our men and women in uniform. And then: "Now: I'm gonna say some things this morning that many of you from time to time may think, but may not say. It will not be PC."
The mayor's message was volcanic in intensity but targeted in its aim: In vivid terms, he described the results of the break-up of the black family. His evaluation is entirely consistent with the research done by FRCs Dr. Pat Fagan, who has found only 17% of African-American youth (less than one in five) live with both married parents. Given that children need parents, there should be little wonder that so many black youth are adrift and moving into lives of crime or promiscuity.
Mayor Nutter took a strong line on thwarting the immediate acts of crime, but spoke eloquently about the need for parents truly to parent their children. Speaking to the young people who are disrupting the city, he said: "If you want all of us -- black, white or any other color -- if you want us to respect you, if you want us to look at you in a different way, if you want us not to be afraid to walk down the same side of the street with you, if you want folks not to jump out of an elevator when you get on, if you want folks to stop following you around in stores when you're out shopping, if you want someone to offer you a job or an internship somewhere, if you don't want folks to be looking in or trying to go in a different direction when they see two or 20 of you coming down the street, then stop acting like idiots and fools out in the streets of the city of Philadelphia. Just cut it out."
Sadly, the Mayor in April also launched "the Freedom Condom" initiative to combat sexually-transmitted diseases. "The Freedom Condom (is) a LifeStyles Ultra Thin Lubricated inside a blue city wrapper - (it) may be ordered free online at www.TakeControlPhilly.org, and also (is being) distributed at more than 100 locations around the city. (It is) easily found via iCondom Philly, the new GPS-enabled iPhone app."
The Mayor is, no doubt, a sincere man. Yet, logically, he cannot campaign against that which he is subsidizing. The only guarantees against a sexually-transmitted disease are abstinence or, if married, fidelity to one's husband or wife. Moreover, by distributing condoms to children as young as 11, he is encouraging behavior he knows is dangerous. The fact that some children will be promiscuous does not justify fostering such promiscuity through the distribution of free prophylactics. This is like saying that because some people will become drug addicts, government should provide free, hermetically-sealed bags of heroin on demand.
In addition, the evidence indicates that an increase in contraceptive use actually means a higher level of abortion and disease. Peer reviewed studies in three countries: Britain, Spain, and Sweden demonstrate that an increase in contraceptive use is matched by a rise in STDs and abortions. In a commensurate way, less contraceptive use correlates with fewer abortions. From 1995 to 2002, the rate of contraceptive use here in the U.S. decreased from 64 percent to 62 percent and abortion numbers decreased from about 1.36 million to roughly 1.29 million.
With all of that said, we can still applaud Mayor Nutter for calling on mothers, fathers and children to function as God intended as loving, responsible, respectful families.