Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dogma, the Dark Ages, and Plague

I have written in the past about the archaic and deadly positions taken by the Catholic Church regarding HIV/AIDS, prevention, and condoms. I guess I have to do so again.

I have written in the past how infuriating the Chursh's positions are around safer sex and the prevention of HIVAIDS, and I have to do so again.

Last time, it was John Paul and his policies. Now it is Benedict. Evidently progress and change are not concepts that come easily to the Catholic Church.

As the Pope traveled to Africa this week, he released positions on condom use for HIV prevention. It is the same tired, lame, pathetic, and life-threatening policy that has been in place for three least this organization is consistent in its backward thinking.

Benedict says that condoms are not the solution to AIDS, that indeed condoms can make the situation worse. He needs to stick to pomp and ceremony and incense burning. Let public officials, doctors, and outreach workers deal with reality.

More then 21 million people around the world are lying in graves because of AIDS. Millions more are sick and at risk of death from HIV infection. Millions more could get infected over the next few years.

There are more than 11 million children who have been orphaned by AIDS.

The Pope says that abstaining from sex is the only solution to the epidemic. Easy for him to say, as he is forced to stay celibate by his religion. Whether he is indeed celibate or not matters not to me. We all know that a large percentage of his priests have unmarried sex with women or men, and sometimes little girls and boys....I wonder if THEY use condoms.

The Catholic Church has always been sex-phobic as well as hypocritical. But they feel a need to stick with such unhealthy and inhumane policies. Sickness, death and disease must be less important than following their ancient sexual taboos.

Condoms, like abstinence, are critical, inexpensive and successful methods to stop HIV from infecting more people. Condoms are very important at reducing risk for HIV and other STD's for people who have sex, including married couples where one partner is HIV positive. Safer sex techniques are proven effective at halting HIV in its tracks.

Exhaustive studies in the U.S. show that abstinence-only programs actually result in higher rates of risky behavior and sexually transmitted infections as well as increased pregnancies than for youth taught the full variety of choices and safer behaviors.

There is only one upbeat angle to this sorry story. Most people disregard the Church's teachings on matters that are sexual, including most Catholics. At least some folks have brains as well as hearts. I just hope the Pope finds it in his heart and brain to understand the human toll that his ignorant and false admonitions exacerbate.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Old Mother Hubbard

Old Mother H. lived in a shoe, she had so many children, she didnt know what to do. Well, one idea would be to practice birth control of one means or another.

The old nursery rhyme neglected to explain why Mother H. had so many kids or inform us as to the wherabouts of the father. Perhaps in children's fables that doesn't matter much. But today, with six and one half billion people crowding the planet, it is germaine.

Our present day prolific mother is Nadya Suleman, known by the popular media now as "Octomom". That moniker is lame, however, since this Mom doesn't have eight children, which in itself is way too many. But Nadya has 14 kids now. She has no husband, partner, job, or house. But she does have 14 children.

Most of the news coverage and scandal/indignation ignited by the story revolves around Ms. Suleman lacking funds or employment to handle bringing up these children. People are angry that government taxes and welfare programs are going to be spent raising 14 kids. Rightly so.

But here is another concept, not covered by the media, but more serious than tax dollars going to feed and clothe these particular 14. Planet Earth is not going to handle well the continuing over-population of human beings. At six and one half billion, we as a species are going to pay a steep price indeed for this constant breeding frenzy.

Mother Earth is groaning under our weight. Fish stocks in the oceans are depleted and shrinking at the fastest pace in human history. Arable land is nearly used up. Energy supplies grow tighter with each new nation that wants cars and trucks and SUV's. Our water supplies grow more polluted, and climate change threatens rain and weather patterns.

Now, there are two possible solutions to this growing problem. Either people can be sensible and rein in their prolific reproduction, or nature will solve the problem through plague, pestilence, or other catastrophe.

You will notice that "Right to Life" has been strangely silent on the Mom and her 14 kids. Since they hold all life as holy and sacred, perhaps they support the concept of having as many kids as one can pop out. And once children are born, these pro-life groups usually don't much care for mundane issues like providing children with health care, shoes, food, and schooling.

What I know is that if every Mom decided she wanted 14 kids, or eight, or even five children, then life isn't going to very pleasant for any of us on this ever-shrinking planet Earth.

Monday, March 02, 2009

My Hero...Michael Phelps

He is one of history's best athletes of all time, and was the darling of the world Olympics last year in China. And even though Kelloggs (of Battle Creek, Michigan) has dropped Michael Phelps like a burning roach, I think he is someone we can all look up to. (and not just because he is so tall.)

Last week's Newsweek had a full page story on the saga of the bong-wielding Phelps photo and the bizarre aftermath of that cell phone pic that made it around the world in 30 minutes. Seems that Sheriff Leon Lott is a bit of a camera ham himself. According to Newsweek, locals in Richland County, South Carolina say the most dangerous place to be is between their sheriff and a news camera. He recently sent expletive shouting deputies with a battering ram into the campus party house where the illegal pot-smoking took place over 3 months ago. They found a gram of "marihuana" which is worth about $3 and could probably get several people high. The cost to taxpayers? ...thousands of dollars in undercover overtime, I'm sure. And then there is the cost to the fraternity to replace the slintered door.

They have not decriminalized any use of marijuana in the South, and we all know life is very different in the southern states. But I suspect that there is plenty of real crime in Richland County South Carolina, and I can't help but wonder if those sheriff's deputies could have spent their time in a more useful way tracking down thieves, burglars, or car-jackers.

And does Kellogg's realize how many pop-tarts they sell to stoners?

We live in a society based on denial. Maybe someday we can chill out about marijuana and the millions of adults who have used it for decades, and focus on actual dangers and risks in society that impact our health in serious ways.