Can you guess which advertised service created a controversy?
Photograph from The Asheville Citizen-Times
Did you guess "FREE Condoms?" You are absolutely right! For the record...the Swain County Health Department has provided free condoms for more than thirty years.
This is serious business, folks. It appears that many citizens assume advertising free condoms promotes sexual activity among teens. [Last year a Swain County health report indicated that more than half the high school students in the county have had sex. From 2004 through 2008, Swain County had the thirteenth highest rate of teen births among North Carolina's one hundred counties.]
Not to worry...the Swain County Board of Commissioners met and all of them condemned the portion of the sign related to condoms. County Commissioner David Monteith says the sign "sends the wrong message." He was further quoted as saying, "I come from a generation where you don't have sex until you get married." [ Hmmm...I wonder just what generation that might have been.]
In a very literal cover-up, the sign has now been altered and the section about condoms is a blank spot. Commissioner Monteith was very pleased. "As a Christian, I totally oppose sex before marriage and it was a shame to see something with Swain County's name on it advertising that." The commissioner said he had received calls from parents who were embarrassed when they drove past the sign with their children. (Oh, heaven forbid you might seize it as an opportunity to share your own views with your children!!!)
The Swain County Health Department will continue its practice of providing free condoms. They will continue their practice of informing all recipients of the free condoms that the only sure way to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases is abstinence.
Thank goodness the health departments provide free condoms...for the poor who cannot afford other methods of birth control, for gays, and straights, for sexually active teens and even the elderly.
On a related subject, North Carolina's 2012 budget cuts all State and Federal funding for Planned Parenthood.