Two pastors have filed suit in Washington D. C. against Coca-Cola claiming that the sugary-soda pop kills more black people than “the streets.”

Citing purposeful advertising “deception” that “obscures” the connection between sugary soft drinks, obesity, and other ailments, the complaint alleges that Coca-Cola intentionally “misleads and deceives” consumers about the horrors of drinking their product.  Indeed, one of the pastors claims that “it is a matter of life and death in our communities.”

CBS News reports:

Two pastors from Washington, D.C., have filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association saying the organizations have purposely deceived the public about sugar-sweetened beverages and their impact on health.

“The background of this lawsuit is that there’s an epidemic of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a range of other degenerative diseases in the black and Latino communities, and really throughout America. For me, as a pastor, I see the toll it takes on families and children when they lose their parents much too soon,” Delman Coates, the pastor at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, in Clinton, Maryland, told CBS News.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of Coates and William Lamar, the senior pastor at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, DC.

“It is a matter of life and death in our communities,” Lamar told CBS News.

The pastors apparently believe that their parishioners, upon seeing a Coke commercial, are incapable of understanding that drinking a Coke won’t make them skinny, healthy, and young.

CBS continues:

Coke commercials often feature young, slender people gulping the fizzy beverage, smiling and sharing good times, but the pastors say those images are misleading.

“Marketing for Coca-Cola is focused around health and fun and showing very sexy bodies in their advertising. You never see an obese person. If the people are consuming Coca-Cola at this rate, there is no way those bodies would look like that,” said Lamar.

This lawsuit was previously filed, and then withdrawn, in California.

The Daily Mail reports:

The lawsuit alleges that Coca-Cola and the ABA [American Beverage Association] ran an intentional campaign to confuse consumers about the causes of obesity. In a statement, Coca-Cola dismissed the pastors’ charges and the merits of the earlier lawsuit, which was filed and then withdrawn in California by the same legal team.

‘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.’

The ABA also called the allegations in the lawsuit ‘unfounded.’

The pastors see things differently. Lamar said he is tired of presiding over funerals for parishioners who died of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Coates said he has seen members of his congregation give their infants bottles filled with sugary drinks and that it has ‘become really clear to me that we’re losing more people to the sweets than to the streets.’

‘There’s a great deal of misinformation in our communities, and I think that’s largely a function of these deceptive marketing campaigns,’ Coates said.

Watch the report: