Dwight Watt - Watt Thoughts #162 5/26/2008

#162 - Confusing Sign (Watt Thoughts)

Recently I observed a sign on a church in north Georgia that I am not sure what it was trying to say. The sign said “Ever notice: Only those for abortion have never been aborted.” This article is only looking at interpretations of the sign.

One interpretation of the sign is that those who have been aborted oppose abortion. We have no way of knowing that since the opinions of that group cannot be determined. We really cannot make that conjecture 100% either as there are similar situations that would show it not totally true. You cannot make the statement that all of those executed opposed capital punishment as we know several individuals who were sentenced to death and ultimately executed who wanted the sentence served, Gary Gilmore in the 1970s for one.

Another interpretation could be meaning the women who have had abortions. However polls and those taking stands on the issue show those who have had an abortion may or may not support abortion still. Likewise those who have not had an abortion may support or oppose abortion.

A different interpretation on what the sign says, you could decide that only those who have been aborted oppose abortion. Again we know that is not true as there would be no issue as the ones having opinions and making decisions all are in the group of not being aborted.

This is a sign that sounded good probably when the person thought of it, but no one stopped to think of what was actually being said. In this case they probably were not meaning absolutes, other than that those who have were never aborted are the only ones who have an opinion and choice about the decisions of the issue as the same statement could be changed to be just as true to say “Only those against abortion have never been aborted”.

Reading what a sign says often may leave people confused on what the meaning was. I am sure many would guess the position the church was taking on the issue, but there is a range of opinions by people, churches and governments on this issue, and the same sign could be used as an argument on either side of the range of opinions. Do our signs for our churches and other groups end up having meaning to members but not making sense to non-members when we are trying to attract new members.

We need to think about way we advertise everything; not just consumer products, but our religions and civic groups. The Kiwanis recently decided after using “We Build” as a slogan for almost 100 years that the slogan really told the world nothing about what a Kiwanian is. The new slogan “Serving the world one child at a time” tells you what and why Kiwanis is. A group that does service and projects aiding children, whether small or large groups are their priority.



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