Thursday, March 19, 2009

Angel of death?

People have accused me, often, of being anti-religion. In reality, I'm against hypocrisy, stupidity, bigotry and blind adherence that ignores reality. That sometimes leads me to the religions of the world. Today, it's the Catholic Church and, specifically, its leader, Pope Benedict XVI. The pope was questioned Tuesday, as he flew to Africa, about the continent's horrifying AIDS epidemic. The Vatican, of course, hangs its hat on abstinence, which is an approach that has shown a consistent failure to work since the dawn of man. Benedict told reporters, "You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem." I don't think Benedict is a stupid man, but he sure sounds like one when he makes statements like this. Either that, or he thinks the people he's preaching to are stupid. As we speak, 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV. Two years ago, that region was responsible for three-quarters of the world's AIDS deaths. Certainly, the use of condoms cannot wipe clean the scourge of AIDS from Africa, but just as certain is the fact that it can help, and a strong statement by the leader of the Catholic Church in favor of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS would be of great value. Instead of adapting church policies to the realities of the world as it exists today, Benedict and his ilk cling to some ancient, man-written code supporting the idea of being fruitful and multiplying. What we really see multiplying today are the suffering and deaths caused by AIDS. It would be one thing if the church had held fast to all of its teachings through the centuries, but the Catholic Church has altered many other rules and concepts through the years. There's also the fact that the Catholic prohibition on condoms and other birth control methods is ignored by millions in this country alone. And even some clergy who work with AIDS patients want to see a change. Pope Benedict has an opportunity to stand up, be a true leader and remove the ban on condom use in the interest of fighting a deadly epidemic and saving the lives of his people. To do otherwise leaves him with their blood on his hands.



Blogger {cher} said...

when i first read about this a couple days ago, i just shook my head at the ignorance of it all. sometimes it amazes me that these are the types of leaders that others look up to and make excuses for.

March 19, 2009 at 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Tom Teepen says it well in his most recent column:

"Principle can be guiding and inspirational, but the results are not always so pretty when principle becomes policy."

--Brad Hundt

March 19, 2009 at 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pray tell, why should the church listen to an non-believer? Why should any organization change it's fundamental beliefs because those that are not members disagree? The church does not control policy, but has a stance. Other than bitch and say the church should do something, what are you doing to save those lives

March 19, 2009 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Wow, that's some bizarre reasoning. I'm not suggesting that Benedict should listen to me, but to the millions upon millions of people around the world, including millions of Catholics, who would favor preserving human life over an anti-rubber rule. I assume you're in favor of preserving the rubber rule, even if it leads to AIDS deaths. That's a nice “stance.” There are people, fewer in this country but more in the Third World, who still live their lives by these edicts of the church. The pope, by calling on people to use whatever means necessary, including condoms, to reduce the spread of AIDS, could be of some value in the fight against the disease. Instead, he's contributed to death. By the way, I give money to organizations that are active in the fight against AIDS? Do you.

March 19, 2009 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

When such a simple solution exists, it's unconscionable that it not be pursued.

It's not like Pope Joe is averse to changing "big" aspects of Catholicism... After all... with a stroke of his papal pen, he delivered literally billions of babies to heaven only a few months into his tenure as pope...

March 19, 2009 at 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually I am not in favor of the anti rubber rule. I am not Catholic. I just believe in the rights for groups to make their own statements and beliefs.
I honestly have spent my money fighting things close to home. There is only so much money and time.
I am just one of many (that won't write for fear of the regulars) that tire of the anti-religious rants.
It is not bizarre to question that an organization like the Catholic Church should not have to change its thinking for those that are not members nor have any interest in the organization (hence atheists as yourself). Bizarre would be to do the opposite.
AIDS in addition has been overblown as a killer. The people that conducted the initial push admitted that in a landmark BBC interview. It was fascinating as they admitted to:
Overstating the numbers in danger
Overstating the possibility of catching it
Understating the tie to homosexual sex
This is not say that money should not be spent to combat AIDS nor that I am in favor of stopping contraception (in fact I am in agreement that this position is the position that government should have).
I have problem with the lies that were purposely told and the fact that people with no interest in the Catholic Church constantly berate it for what it should do.

One of the few that are brave enough to actually argue with you, Hundt and Ellispes.

Your call on the church is even funnier given your calling for cops to kill kids over car nappings..

March 19, 2009 at 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm Catholic, born from several generations of Catholics. I guess I was raised a little differently than most. My family instilled in me the idea that hunger, sickness (or any other tragedy) happen to everyone. It's our job as human beings to help each other. People there are dying....and that's just not right (prevention and cure should go hand in hand).

March 19, 2009 at 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pope is immoral, ignorant and blind.

March 19, 2009 at 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Roman Catholic physician and have been battling whether or not to leave the church. I think this is the straw that broke the camel's back. The Pope and church is extremely out of touch and it's not just this issue obviously. The Pope is a man, not appointed by God, but by other out-of-touch people who believe that a colorful robe, incense, confession, shiny goblets and prayer will save us all. While I am not surprised at the Pope's stance, I am appalled that people "do" listen to extreme comments like this which will drive sexually active, non-abstinent individuals to push aside their condoms and have unprotected sex. Through my travels in medicine here and abroad, it is a tough and sad world. Disease is real, not a joke and not religious propaganda. The science behind safe sex, education and condom use is a reality...a truth...condoms save lives.

March 20, 2009 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

All seriousness aside... I am a big fan of Pope Joe's hat in that pic... the fedora-ish look is very Indiana Jones... much more exciting than the Mitre... I wonder if it, too, is Prada... like his papal slippers

March 23, 2009 at 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that people are still ignorant about the transmission of AIDS (that includes the Catholic Church).

With Benedict's comment about condoms "increasing the problem" of transmiting AIDS, his ignorance shines through.

Still in our world, many close-minded people think that only homosexual people have AIDS. The majority receive AIDS from birth, blood transfusions, and non-genetal fluid contact (blood).

Political, social, and religious institutions should enforce "safe sex" than if abstinence all together.

-Emily Patterson

March 27, 2009 at 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not Catholic. However I believe the policy they espouse is abstinence until marriage, and remaining sexually monogamous after that. This policy is 100% effective. (barring some medical mishap, ie. needle stick) The question you should ask yourself is how badly do you want to avoid AIDS? Or any other venereal disease.

April 9, 2009 at 5:34 PM  

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