A Screed Worth Reading

This John Ross article at counterpunch.com brings my friend Adam to mind. It’s called Pope Ratzo and the Hucksters of Death. It’s viciously critical of the American “Christian Right” and of the Catholic Church’s nomination of Rightwing Ratzinger as Pope.

Again, the hammering point where I have to agree: if everyone’s so damned Christian, why are they wasting time talking about condoms and sex when there are literally millions of people dying from something both Jesus and all other voices in the Bible condemn thoroughly—poverty?

2 thoughts on “A Screed Worth Reading

  1. Hello Gord,

    That article is not even worthy of comment, but I will say something about condoms.

    Given that the UN reports a 10% failure rate, it is genocidally negligent to promote them as a solution to the AIDS crisis. Abstinence or fidelity in marriage are the only 100% effective solutions.

    Compare conservative Muslim Senegal with its 2% infection rate to the other countries of sub-Saharan Africa where it is as high as 40%, or compare the number of infections in the conservative Catholic Phillipines, which promoted abstinence and fidelity, to the sexual playground that is Thailand, which promoted condoms, and you’ll see what really works to stop the spread of this scourge.

    And about poverty: fully one-fourth of the world’s AIDS patients are cared for in Catholic hospitals. And who’s taking care of the AIDS orphans in Africa or those left homeless by the Tsanami? Have you not seen the countless Catholic and Protestant organizations involved in those countries?


  2. Joshua,

    Sorry, but what’s missing in your equation is the possibility of anything outside of Either/Or. As much of a fan of Kierkegaard as I am, I still assert Neither/Nor.

    You seem to think it’s either condom use and rampant sexual mayhem, or it’s abstinence and no contraception.

    This is a profound misrepresentation, as well as entirely misleading. Cannot you conceive of some position in the middle of the spectrum between total abstinence outside marriage, and unbridled hedonism?

    Why not a somewhat more conservative sexual culture, including monogamy within relationships (married or not), and condom use? The fact is that this is how most people I know conduct their sexual lives, married or not, and the fact of the matter also is that there’s little difference in the marital element once the birth control element is introduced.

    This was the same argument applied to reproduction before the appearance of relatively reliable birth control. The only 100% certain way to make sure you didn’t get pregnant, save by divine intervention or some mishap in a hot tub, was by abstaining from sex.

    Of course, once relatively reliable birth control appeared, people perceived it as worth the risk of small chance at pregnancy in order to enjoy sexual liberties. Birth control blew away that stricture, and the only thing that’s mitigating against that mind-blowing shift is AIDS. No other STD even comes close to scaring people away from sex besides AIDS.

    See, people don’t want a 100% effective solution to protection from AIDS. What they want is a good bet. Most people are willing to settle for a good bet. And given what your Church’s ideology is about human weakness and sinfulness, even marital fidelity isn’t such a good bet because your spouse may cheat on you, catch AIDS, and subsequently infect you. So the fact is, Joshua, NOTHING one person does is 100% effective, nor could it ever, ever honestly be claimed to be.

    And another thing: the closing point about poverty brings up a thought from a documentary I saw about Tanzania and its relationship with the import of arms and export of fish from the country and surrounding countries: it drove home just how interrelated the poverty and the AIDS problem are. Poverty is absolutely insane and the Republicans (whom the article also skewers) are far from giving a shit about it.

    Anyway, back to AIDS: once the disease is conquered by modern medicine, and distributed cheaply worldwide, you Catholics are all going to be back in the same strattegic bind you were in back in the 70s, all over again, arguing that we ought not to have sex outside of marriage because… uh, well… and nothing you can offer will be sufficient enough to deter people because science will have given them control of all the permanent effects of it, and the psychological ones will be ones they consider worth the price of an active adult sexual life.

    So actually, it doesn’t matter what you argue. Everyone who doesn’t agree won’t care, they’ll be too busy getting on with their lives, sexual or otherwise.

    By the way, orphans aside, what I liked about the article was its taking to task the new Pope. I’ve read many times how conservative he is, and I think it’s monstrous and ridiculous of the Church to insist on that direction.

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