Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Speak Out. Speak Loud. But Speak Nice.

Several weeks ago I was shocked to see ads appear on the sidebar of our email account home page that were extremely inappropriate. Every time I opened the page to read my mail, I was bombarded with pictures of scantily clad women in very suggestive positions. The ads were for some kind of "meet women" site that certainly did not interest me, but I didn't know how to get rid of them. I tried clicking on the site responsible for the ad -- Ad Sense -- and tried in vain to locate an opt-out type solution before finally giving up. I figured I was just stuck with the ads. To feel slightly better about the whole thing, when I would open the page and see the pictures, I'd say a prayer for the young women. They needed to understand God created them for a much better purpose than selling their bodies.

But a few days later, the picture on my computer screen was the straw that broke the camel's back. There was a lovely young woman wearing a thong with her bare bottom shining in my face. 


I'd had it, but what to do?

I started with our email service provider, Juno. We've used the address from the very beginning of our Internet travels. It was free, which fit our budget at the time. Since then we've accumulated other email addresses, but Juno is my favorite. I have all our other email forwarded to that account. I sure didn't want to give it up, not to mention the major hassle of changing our email with everyone and their dog. 

So I did what I've been known to do when irked about something: I wrote a letter. The first time I did this was twenty-plus years ago. Our favorite local country radio station kept playing ads for men's clubs (aka strip joints). I wrote to them and told them I wouldn't be a listener anymore if those type of commercials continued to be aired. I haven't listened to KASE 101 from Austin, Texas since that day. I won't eat at Burger King anymore even though I looooove the Whopper, or Carl's Jr. because of their sexually suggestive commercials. I wrote to Burger King after seeing a magazine/newspaper ad for the European Burger King that basically compared one of their sub sandwiches to a man's private part. The ad featured a picture of the sandwich and an open mouth, with the words, "Open wide!" 

In my letters to Juno (I found a couple different contact addresses), I explained our long-standing relationship with them and what the situation was that had me dissatisfied. I let them know those type ads are not appropriate for anyone to see, and that it was very discouraging to me that our society is so completely saturated in sex that the powers-that-be at Juno thought those ads were perfectly fine. I said I'd hate to have to give up our Juno account, but I would because I refuse to be a silent victim of garbage thrown in my face. I was nice and respectful in my letter, but I was honest and bold too. I also wrote to Ad Sense but never heard back from them. 

A few days went by before I received a response from Juno. It was very polite and actually more than I expected. The person writing it apologized and would have the matter looked into by their ad department. BUT they went on to say -- as I knew they would -- that they rely on revenue from advertising to stay in business.

Money. It always comes down to money, doesn't it?

I figured that was the end of it. I thought I'd probably have to go through the hassle and headache of changing our email address, because I sure didn't think those ads were going anywhere, and I was not about to see half-naked women every time I wanted to check my email.

But you know what? 

I haven't seen those ads in over a week now! Did they disappear because I brought it to their attention? I don't know. Did the company that placed the ad come to the end of their contract with Juno? I don't know. 

What I do know is that I was obedient to what I felt in my spirit. Those ads were wrong, wrong, wrong and I was not going to let that go. I couldn't. We all need to do more of this, I think. When the Spirit speaks to our spirit, we need to listen and obey.

Speak out. Speak loud if you have to. But speak nicely. Through letters and conversation. Sometimes we have to use our dollars to speak for us. Whatever it takes, we need to stand up for our beliefs, our morals and our integrity. 

This week's Prayer Shout Out countries are:
USA, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, China, Kenya, Malaysia, Philippines, United Kingdom, Kenya, Turkey, South Korea

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