Friday, March 20, 2009

Papal bull and corporate manslaughter

Ratzinger’s been at it again…

Pope Benedict XVI, who is making his first papal visit to Africa, has said that handing out condoms is not the answer in the fight against HIV/Aids. The pontiff, who preaches marital fidelity and abstinence, said the practice only increased the problem.

When will the religious right understand that it’s beside the point whether abstinence or monogamy prevent AIDS better than condom use? The point is that public programmes to promote abstinence or monogamy prevent AIDS less well than public programmes to promote condom use.

It’s a rhetorical question, of course. For the importance of public health evaporates when there’s an opportunity for a good bit of moralising. And who cares about a bodycount when you can claim a soulcount?

1 comment:

tim f said...

Many people on the religious right believe that people cannot compute two messages at once, so they believe that if condoms are promoted, it will undermine the effectiveness of abstinence-only teaching.

It's worth pointing out that the number 1 way of getting HIV in Africa is sex within marriage. (Number 2 is rape.) So abstinence-only-except-within-marriage is actually an incredibly ineffective way of stopping the virus being passed on. Married couples should use condoms until they've each been checked out.

That said there are religious groups which promote abstinence plus, ie don't have sex but if you do, use a condom. Which for a private, sponsored-by-religious-groups programme, seems entirely sensible.