By Victor Ochieng
Many online blogs have numerous times warned us against drinking Coca-Cola, citing health risks. However, not so many people, if any, take action to ensure things are corrected.
The tune has however changed after two African-American pastors filed a lawsuit against the company and the American Beverage Association, alleging that these soda producers are deliberately lying to customers about the health hazards associated with their sugar-sweetened drinks.
In their lawsuit, the pastors say the kind of marketing these companies are employing is making it extremely difficult for them (spiritual leaders) to secure the lives of their predominantly Black parishioners in D.C.
The Washington Post reported that the case was filed last week on Thursday in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of the two pastors and public health organization Praxis Project.
The two men of the cloth are Rev. William Lamar, the senior pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, D.C.; and Rev. Delman Coates, the pastor of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Maryland.
Coca-Cola and the ABA are intentionally running campaigns meant to confuse consumers about the exact causes of obesity, claims the lawsuit. Later on, Coca-Cola issued a statement in which they dismissed the accusations and the basis of an earlier lawsuit filed by the same attorneys in California, a case that would later be withdrawn.
“The allegations here are likewise legally and factually meritless, and we will vigorously defend against them,” the statement said. “The Coca-Cola Company understands that we have a role to play in helping people reduce their sugar consumption.”
On their end, the ABA said the allegations are “unfounded.”
However, the pastors are looking at things from a totally different angle. Lamar said he’s fed up with having to preside over funeral services of members who die of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Coates said he’s witnessed his church members give their young ones bottles of these sugary drinks and it has become over the more clear to him “that we’re losing more people to the sweets than to the streets.”
He added, “There’s a great deal of misinformation in our communities, and I think that’s largely a function of these deceptive marketing campaigns.”
How far the two pastors will come with their lawsuit isn’t clear, but they believe these sweetened beverages are killing more people than the violence infested streets of D.C.