Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Do Evangelicals See Africa As The Path To Theocracy?

I’ll admit that ever since the President and the religious right adopted the AIDS crisis in Africa as one of their causes, I’ve been skeptical of their motivations. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate their concern for those suffering in Africa and I’m not suggesting that their compassion is insincere. I believe it is genuine and I’m willing to acknowledge the benefits of their efforts…but I can’t do so without suspecting it is attached to a larger agenda…one that views the crisis in Africa as a proving ground for the implementati on of their moral code.

I still remember the initial reaction of Ronald Reagan and the GOP when AIDS emerged in the United States…and while generalizati ons are dangerous, it seems to me that much of the response to the AIDS crisis in this country was focused upon accusations of immorality directed towards the gay community. The virus served as evidence that the gay lifestyle was wrong and I remember the many assertions that AIDS was nothing more than god’s punishment.

As I try to reconcile the shift in attitude, it would be easy to conclude that time has served to soften hearts and thus the recent embrace of the fight against AIDS in Africa is just the culmination of that process. Unfortunatel y, I think it would be naive to accept that explanation without further analysis. After all, one cannot ignore the fact that AIDS is predominantl y a heterosexual disease in Africa.

A new two part article found at LifeSite piqued my curiosity and led me to the cusp of a newfound theory which I will attempt to explain after presenting an array of background information. I’ll start with the rhetoric found at LifeSite…rhe toric which when combined with the other data begins to substantiate my growing concerns that the effort in Africa is part of a larger agenda.

From LifeSite.net  (Part One):

November 1, 2007 (LifeSiteNew s.com) - An increasing number of scientists are acknowledgin g that the AIDS crisis, in Africa and worldwide, is seriously distorted and overblown by internationa l agencies and corporations  , who in many cases tend to profit from the confusion. In recent months, more of these researchers have been speaking out against a wealthy and powerful establishmen t that consistently ignores fundamental facts regarding HIV and AIDS.

The controversy stems from a fundamental disagreement over almost every issue regarding AIDS transmission  , prevalence, and prevention. While the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other internationa l agencies insist that AIDS is a growing global epidemic that must be treated with massive condom distribution  , sex education, and drug treatments, several high-profile scientists call the picture a “distortion” . They say that AIDS statistics are overblown, and argue that the best means of prevention is abstinence and marital fidelity.

Dr. James Chin was the former head of a World Health Organization Global Programme on Aids unit from 1987-1992 and is currently a public health professor at UC Berkeley. He noted in a recent interview that in reality, the AIDS “pandemic” is not as widespread as it is often portrayed, and not even in large parts of Africa, where rates of infection with the Human Immunodefici ency Virus (HIV) vary widely.

“In South Africa, close to 20 percent of the adult population is infected with HIV, whereas in Ghana, it is only 2 to 3 percent of the population, and in Senegal, less than one percent is infected,” Chin told Cybercast News Service.

In a separate interview with LifeSiteNews  , Chin stated that the differences between these nations and countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe, where the rate of HIV infection is as high as 20 percent of the adult population, is at least in part due to behavioral differences, including sexual behavior. “In general, there are lower prevalence of sexual risk behaviors and HIV facilitating factors in West African populations compared to Eastern and Southern African populations, ” he said.

Chin added that the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), has refused to acknowledge its own studies showing that the epidemic has stabilized or is in decline.

Chin also quoted the report’s admission that “changes in behavior” are at the root of the success. “In several countries, favourable trends in incidence are related to changes in behaviour and prevention programs. Changes in incidence along with rising AIDS mortality have caused global HIV prevalence (the proportion of people living with HIV) to level off,” the report states.

In reading this article, the primary agenda of these religiously motivated groups jumps out within the first two paragraphs. First and foremost is an effort to document that abstinence programs are working and are responsible for reductions in HIV infections. Secondly, they seek to undermine the assertions by numerous groups that condom distribution and sex education are essentially the fundamental tools in the battle against this deadly virus.

Note how Dr. Chin actually attempts to utilize the UNAIDS studies to support the arguments being made by LifeSite and the many religious groups that have embraced the AIDS crisis in Africa. The fact that the UNAIDS report cites “changes in behavior” is being construed to suggest that abstinence is the fundamental behavioral change. In reality, the UNAIDS statement refers to a variety of behavior changes…one of which is the expanding use of condoms which has been facilitated by a better understandin g of the virus and the ability to dispel preexisting beliefs which have hindered the implementati on of safe sex practices.

The following excerpts are from the second article at LifeSite.

From LifeSite.net  (Part Two):

Nov. 2, 2007 (LifeSiteNew s.com) - Dr. James Chin has recently published a book detailing his struggles with the UNAIDS establishmen t. Titled “The AIDS Pandemic: The Collision of Epidemiology with Political Correctness”  , the book’s thesis is that “the story of HIV has been distorted by UNAIDS and AIDS activists in order to support the myth of the high potential risk of HIV epidemics spreading into the general population” according to the publisher.

Chin’s criticisms are echoed by two other eminent scientists at Harvard’s Center on Population and Development, Dr. Edward Green and Dr. Daniel Halperin, whose research continues to be ignored by the AIDS establishmen t. Dr. Green has served as team leader on numerous USAID project designs and evaluations. Dr. Halpern is a former Technical Adviser for Prevention/B ehaviour Change, USAID Southern Africa Regional HIV/AIDS Program.

The two Harvard scientists have noted that, while abstinence programs in countries like Uganda have proven their effectivenes s, AIDS policymakers continue to promote condom use, and ignore the differences in AIDS rates among African nations.

Green has written a book on Uganda’s “ABC” approach to HIV transmission  : first Abstinence, then Be Faithful, then if the first two fail, use a Condom. Uganda’s immediate response to the AIDS threat in the early 1980s reduced the incidence of HIV infection from 15% to less than 4% in the space of a few years. Green’s book examines the strange disconnect between the demonstrated effectivenes s of abstinence and marital fidelity campaigns and the prevention strategies of internationa l aid agencies.

In an article for the journal The Responsive Community, Green points out the utter failure of the condom-pushi ng approach of UNAIDS. “How has the Western risk-reducti on model fared in Africa? There is no evidence that mass promotion of condoms has paid off with a decline of HIV infection rates at the population level in Africa, according to a new UNAIDS assessment of condom effectivenes s. In fact, countries with the highest levels of condom availability  (Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya) also have some of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world,” he writes.

Green notes that the insistence on promoting failed policies can be explained in part by a cultural bias in favor of sexual promiscuity and permissivene ss, but adds that an important factor may also be the economic interests of the global AIDS establishmen t. “Apart from Western values and biases, there are economic factors to consider. AIDS prevention has become a billion dollar industry” he writes. “Under President Bush’s global AIDS initiative, the US will spend $15 billion, partially on prevention. It would be politically naive to expect that those who profit from the lucrative AIDS-prevent ion industry would not be inclined to protect their interests.”

The data presented by Chin and LifeSite is cherry picked to paint the picture they are promoting. Specifically  , those in favor of abstinence have pointed to Uganda as an abstinence success story. The problem with that analysis is that they choose to look at a limited period of time to make their argument. Once one looks at the situation in Uganda without ignoring all of the data, the effectivenes s of abstinence only is seriously challenged.

The following is from my previous posting on the subject. Newly inserted data is in bold and italicized text.

Abstinence: Uganda HIV Rates Suggest Failure

The latest HIV infection information from Uganda seems to indicate that the abstinence approach may be a disaster in the making. Uganda, long viewed as a model for HIV prevention success in Africa, appears to have taken a wrong turn in promoting the program described as ABC…A: abstinence first…B: be faithful in a committed relationship …C: use condoms if A and B fail. The Bush administrati on appears to be complicit in these alarming new infection rates by virtue of its push towards programs that emphasize abstinence while moving away from the promotion of condom usage.

From allAfrica.co m:

Speaking at the ceremony, the Uganda Aids Commission (UAC) Director General, Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, said despite financial support from the donor community, the rate of people acquiring HIV/Aids is still increasing.

He said, in 2005 130,000 Ugandans got infected compared to 70,000 in 2003.

Updated data suggests that new infections were estimated to have increased from 132,000 people in 2005 to 136,000 in 2006.

One must understand a little of the history of Uganda’s AIDS prevention efforts in order to draw any conclusions. Uganda was one of the first African nations to openly discuss HIV and to direct energy and money towards awareness. In 1986, President Museveni toured the country with a message that HIV prevention was a patriotic endeavor and basically introduced the above described program that has come to be called the ABC’s of AIDS prevention. There is little dispute about these basic facts. However, since that time the interpretati on of the resulting data has been widely divergent and controversia l.

When the Bush administrati on announced its five year, 15 billion dollar effort to combat HIV in Africa in early 2003, it immediately embraced the Ugandan ABC program as a model for the rest of Africa. Since that time, two opposing views have emerged with regard to an effective plan to combat HIV in Africa.

The administrati on and numerous religious groups (most of these groups have limited HIV experience) believe that abstinence should be the primarily prevention message. Those with significant HIV prevention experience caution that abstinence can be an adjunct to condom promotion and distribution  , but it is not a method that ought to be singularly embraced and endorsed. They cite abundant research and data to support this contention.

From talk2action. org:

Uganda was once an HIV prevention success story, where an ambitious government-s ponsored prevention campaign, including massive condom distribution and messages about delaying sex and reducing numbers of partners, pushed HIV rates down from 15 percent in the early 1990s to 5 percent in 2001. But conservative evangelicals rewrote this history–with the full-throate d cooperation of Uganda’s evangelical first family, the Musevenis. As one Family Research Council paper put it:

“Both abstinence and monogamy helped to curb the spread of AIDS in Uganda…How did this happen? Shortly after he came into office in 1986, President Museveni of Uganda spearheaded a mass education campaign promoting a three-pronge d AIDS prevention message: abstinence from sexual activity until marriage; monogamy within marriage; and condoms as a last resort. The message became commonly known as ABC: Abstain, Be faithful, and use Condoms if A and B fail.”

This warped version of the true Uganda story became the mantra in Bush’s Washington, with the “C” reduced more and more to an afterthought as time went by. For example, in piling on against a 2002 pro-condom comment by then Secretary of State Colin Powell, Focus on the Family’s James Dobson wrote condoms out of the story entirely: “Secretary Powell seems to be ignorant of the fact the Uganda has made great progress against AIDS by emphasizing abstinence, not condoms.”

To see more about this shifting Bush administrati on emphasis on abstinence and faith based programs, please see the prior Thought Theater posting on the topic here. Questions about the Ugandan effort and their reports of successful results began to surface in 2004.

From BBC News:

An organisation helping people living with HIV/Aids in Uganda has questioned the authenticity of the government’s statistics on the disease.

Uganda is often held up as a success story and the government lauded for the progress it has made with the official prevalence rate put at only 6%.

But after conducting research in districts across Uganda, an NGO suggests the real picture is far worse.

They found prevalence rates as high as 30% and bad access to anti-retrovi rals.

Major Rubaramira Ruranga, the executive director of the National Guidance and Empowerment Network of people living with HIV/Aids in Uganda (NGEN), said he believed the HIV prevalence rate could be more than three times higher than previously thought.

“We have found the prevalence rate at this time is 17%,” he told a news conference.

Additional data was reported in early 2005 in the San Francisco Chronicle. Take particular note that researchers seem to be confounded by the information they were gathering when they compared it to the reported declines in infection rates. Not only were they finding that abstinence was waning, they were puzzled that infection rates appeared to be declining. They point out that condom use seemed to be on the increase…pos sibly providing an explanation to the confusing data.

Research from the heavily studied Rakai district in southern Uganda suggests that increased condom use, coupled with premature death among those infected more than a decade ago with the AIDS virus, are primarily responsible for the steady decline in HIV infections in that area.

Uganda’s “ABC” prevention formula — standing for Abstinence, Be Faithful, and use Condoms — has been widely credited with lowering that nation’s infection rate from 30 percent in the early 1990s to below 10 percent today.

In the Rakai district, however, researchers found that abstinence and fidelity have actually been declining, but the expected rise in HIV infections stemming from such behavior has not occurred.

“Condom use may be offsetting other high-risk behaviors,” said Maria Wawer, a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, who presented the study at a session of the 12th Annual Retrovirus Conference in Boston.

The Rakai findings are based on an extensive and continuing process of interviewing 10,000 adults each year –a so-called population-b ased survey that is considered the gold standard for this kind of epidemiologi cal research.

Reports of consistent condom use by men rose to more than 50 percent by 2002, compared with 10 percent a decade earlier. Among women, reports of condom use rose from virtually zero to 25 percent.

In order to fully understand all the factors that may explain these new infection statistics, one must also realize what was taking place within the Ugandan condom distribution program. In 2004, the Ugandan government suddenly issued a recall for condoms that were being distributed for free at numerous clinics throughout the country. The President of Uganda indicated concerns about the quality of the condoms.

PBS has covered the issue of condoms in Uganda in an article as well as a video which can be found here. The video adds to the body of evidence suggesting that condom use is superior to abstinence in the prevention of HIV infection.

From Avert.org:

In 2004 the Ugandan government issued a nationwide recall of the condoms distributed free in health clinics, due to concerns about their quality. Although tests showed there was nothing at all wrong with the condoms, the government said that public confidence in the brand had been badly dented, so they would not redistribute them. By mid-2005 there was said to be a severe scarcity of condoms in Uganda, made worse by new taxes which made the remaining stocks too expensive for many people to afford.

Some have said the US is largely to blame for the shortages. According to Stephen Lewis, the UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, “there is no question that the condom crisis in Uganda is being driven and exacerbated by PEPFAR and by the extreme policies that the administrati on in the United States is now pursuing”.

Mr Lewis has also said that PEPFAR’s emphasis on abstinence above condom distribution is a “distortion of the preventive apparatus and is resulting in great damage and undoubtedly will cause significant numbers of infections which should never have occurred”.

However, speaking in August 2005, Uganda’s coordinator of condom procurement at the Ministry of Health denied there was any shortage of condoms, and said that new stocks would be distributed soon. She also said the government was committed to promoting all three parts of the “ABC” strategy: Abstinence, Faithfulness and Condoms.

From Kaisernetwor k.org:

U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis and other AIDS advocates in August said the Bush administrati on’s policy of promoting abstinence prevention programs and cuts in federal funding for condoms have contributed to a condom shortage in Uganda and undermined the country’s HIV/AIDS fight. Uganda needs between 120 million and 150 million condoms annually, but since October 2004 only 32 million have been distributed in the country, according to the U.S.-based Center for Health and Gender Equity, also known as CHANGE.

In 2005, Act Up also took up the issue of the reported condom shortage in Uganda and the fears about the shift to abstinence programs that were emerging since the introduction of the Bush administrati ons efforts to combat the disease in Africa.

From Actupny.org:

(Manhattan) A coalition of AIDS activists held a demonstratio n in midtown Manhattan outside of the Ugandan Permanent Mission to the United Nations today to bring attention to that nation’s severe condom shortage which is putting people at dangerous risk of HIV infection. The crisis has developed over the past ten months as the government of Uganda has stopped its robust program of public sector condom distribution . These condoms previously accounted for 80% of condoms available in the country.

Since May 2004, new shipments–so me 30 million quality-appr oved condoms–have been sitting in government warehouses. Activists are demanding to know why, nearly a year into the shortage, health clinics are still unsupplied and the government is refusing to state when or how they will distribute the condoms. “This crisis could have been averted by the government long ago. The condoms are there, but what is in woeful shortage is the political will of Ugandan leaders to distribute them and promote condom use,” said Sharonann Lynch of Health GAP.

Now activists in Uganda say the program has been overtaken by abstinence-u ntil-marriag e approaches as President Yoweri Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni are aligning Uganda’s policies with the ideology touted–and financed–by the United States government.

Uganda is a country receiving funds from the President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The program requires a minimum of 33% of its prevention funds to be used for abstinence-o nly-until-ma rriage programs, and limits the distribution of condoms to specific high-risk groups. “The strident prevention politics tied to the Bush administrati on’s AIDS funding are undermining sound prevention in the name of abstinence-o nly approaches. Scientific studies have shown the inadequacy of such methods, and President Museveni is neglecting the public health of Ugandans by bowing to Bush’s pressure.” said Eustacia Smith of ACT UP.

A comprehensiv e review of this body of information simply illuminates the misguided efforts of the Bush administrati on with regard to HIV prevention. The data not only show that the abstinence approach is at best suspect (and more likely, wholly insufficient  ); it clearly demonstrates that condom availability and usage are the essential tool in combating increasing infection rates.

One is left to wonder about the accuracy of the reported data. While the near doubling of infection rates is sufficiently alarming, it is even more frightening to consider the possibility that the information may be inaccurate. I have no way to verify the data and while I question the motivations of the Ugandan government, it may be several years before it can be determined if the numbers may have been deliberately under reported.

Uganda is a snapshot of a confluence of allegiances and events that will ultimately have led to more pain, suffering, and death. History will likely note that the matching ideologies of those in power in both nations directly led to the unnecessary spread of a deadly disease at a time when money and energy were available to enable the opposite. That is an unmitigated and inexcusable tragedy.

End - Abstinence: Uganda HIV Rates Suggest Failure

Returning to this latest reporting from LifeSite and Drs. Chin, Green, and Halperin, we see a continuation of the propaganda which has accompanied the campaign to combat HIV in Africa utilizing the values of the religious right under the auspices of the Bush administrati on’s massive funding commitment.

The effort to distort the facts is enormous and there are other players in the plot. Even worse, there are increasing concerns that the UN, through agencies such as UNICEF, is silently accepting some of the distortions as a matter of political expediency. They may well have good reasons given the strong belief that the 15 billion dollar U.S. funding commitment is beneficial despite its requirement that a third of the spending be earmarked for abstinence programs.

What remains unclear and poorly defined is any analysis of the merits of spending five billion of those dollars on abstinence as opposed to using that same money on more beneficial and proven strategies…i ncluding more safe-sex education, access to condoms, and much needed anti-retrovi ral treatment.

Zimbabwe appears to be the latest focus of this tug of war as well as an example of my lingering concerns.

From UNICEF.org:

HARARE, 31October 2007 – New data shows that Zimbabwe’s HIV rate continues to drop, giving it one of the most significant and rapid declines of any country in the world.

The overall HIV prevalence among antenatal clinic attendees (pregnant women) decreased from 25.7per cent in 2002 to 21.3per cent (2004) and now to 17.7per cent in 2006. Based on this, Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and internationa l experts today published the new estimate of the HIV sero-prevale nce rate among Zimbabwe’s adult population to be 15.6per cent.

The new data reinforces Zimbabwe’s successes in behaviour change among young people. The biggest falls among pregnant women were recorded among the 15-24 year age group, showing a drop in HIV from 20.8 percent to 13.1 percent in just four years (2002 to 2006).

“Young people are having fewer partners and using more condoms,” said UNFPA’s Representati ve in Zimbabwe, Bruce Campbell. “They have heard the messages, taken action, and are being safer. Now we must continue our combined efforts to ensure national HIV prevention programmes have an even greater reach.”

Zimbabwe was one of the first countries to develop a comprehensiv e epidemiologi cal review which resulted in an evidence-bas ed behaviour change strategy. Promotion of partner reduction and consistent condom use remain at the core of the strategy.

Currently around two-thirds of people who need treatment are not receiving it, and so without a significant additional injection of funds, universal access will not be attained. […] There are an estimated 98,000 HIV positive pregnant women in need of PMTCT services, far more that the 8500 who received them in 2006.

As we see from this data, infection rates seem to be on the decline…but the explanation offered is notably vague. Let me be clear…I am not suggesting that the information is intentionall y deceptive; rather I suspect that it is decidedly broad so as to avoid the obvious conflict that persists with regard to the preferred prevention strategy.

Note that the article speaks of behavioral change but avoids any effort to quantify the success of the various methods (safe-sex education, abstinence, condom usage). I contend that lack of clarity is a function of political calculations …and I’m not the only one offering such speculation.

From The Internationa l Herald Tribune:

Others were doubtful of the figures and the assumptions, pointing to Zimbabwe’s economic and infrastructu ral meltdown, lack of medical care and medication, and the difficulties of relying on statistics when as much as a third of the population has abandoned the country.

“I think with the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe, one would be kind of skeptical about statistics, which could also be caused by an undercount, by mass migration …,” said Dr. David Bourne, an epidemiologi st at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

From allAfrica.co m:

But experts have questioned the validity of the government’s surveys, given that millions of Zimbabweans are fleeing the country due to the ongoing political decay and economic meltdown. An estimated 3 million Zimbabweans have emigrated to neighbouring South Africa in search of employment and better living conditions. Up to 2 million more are scattered around the globe.

Reports in South Africa suggest that HIV/Aids rates in that country are rising, as Zimbabwe’s are supposedly dropping.

Brian Nyathi, a Zimbabwean health practitioner in South Africa questioned the reliability of the government’s latest figures given that so many people are leaving the country.

He said: “Many people have left Zimbabwe and the ones that are left are so struck down by poverty and the collapse of the health delivery system such that they can not access hospitals. We wonder then if these figures can be trusted.”

Health reporter Bertha Shoko said disparities in the figures of people needing anti-retrovi ral therapy had also raised eyebrows.

Shoko said that the figures were questionable because they seem to have increased when prevalence rate is falling. The survey itself only took place at a few medical institutions .

“Speculation is rife that the UN only accepted the figures for political diplomatic reasons, ” she said.

My worry is that the political environment is hindering adequate reporting and may well be subject to manipulation as the various factions jockey to justify their methodology. If Uganda is representati ve of the past distortions, one must wonder what will be uncovered in the next few years with those other nations which are now being sought out and identified as proof for these suspect strategies.

In my most cynical moments, I find myself wondering if the powers that be on the religious right have decided to make Africa the guinea pig of an ideological struggle to promote the religious values of American evangelicals . Keep in mind that the AIDS crisis isn’t unique to Africa yet it garners the bulk of our attention. In fact, if one looks at the world, perhaps Africa is the last logical frontier available for such an ambitious experiment.

Specifically  , our influence in Europe has been limited for many years, the Soviet Union and China are off limits for obvious reasons, Latin and South America are moving rapidly to the left with a noticeable rejection of U.S. influence, and the Middle East and most Eastern nations have incompatible religious beliefs and would resist any U.S. effort to instill Western values.

Taking the theory a step further, if the religious right has concluded that fully defeating secularism, “the homosexual agenda”, and the separation of church and state in the United States isn’t feasible at the moment, then a back door approach might be the preferred path. Suppose the goal is to eventually hold up the African experiment as the rationale for discrediting secularism, condemning the gay lifestyle, and elevating and embracing biblical law over all others. Toss in the standard fare of fear mongering…fe ar that an HIV ravaged Africa represents what could well happen to America if our existing mores are allowed to continue their purported “decline”…an d one begins to imagine a master plan of grandiose proportions… yet one that isn’t all that implausible.

I contend it isn’t possible to reconcile the abject rejection of the gay lifestyle (mindful of its connection to HIV) with the eagerness to defeat AIDS in Africa without understandin g the possible ulterior motives. If the defeat of HIV in Africa can be construed to have resulted from the instilling of “morally acceptable” behavior, it provides a new weapon with which to attack the gay lifestyle as well as other unwanted social and political constructs. Stay with me…I promise I can connect the dots.

If abstinence, and one man with one woman joined together in marriage for life, can be demonstrated to limit the prevalence of HIV (and obviously other STD’s), it allows a return to the assailing of the permissive lifestyle (particularl y focused upon gays)…the very one which would be argued to have been a significant factor in facilitating the spread of HIV in America. If that focus can be rekindled, the gay lifestyle can once again be vilified to the voting public…the same voting public that has recently been demonstrated to be highly vulnerable to manipulation by fear.

Once that ball is rolling, the natural progression is an outright rejection of the gay lifestyle (it can be called unnatural and unhealthy and therefore it shouldn’t be normalized), a recommitment to conventional values (they promote healthy living which is what ought to be taught in schools), a rejection of the laissez faire attitude which accompanies secularism (the seeds of Sodom and Gomorrah), and the opening to begin implementing biblical law (church and state become one and the same under god’s law).

Throw in the fact that such an environment would obviously forbid abortion and one begins to imagine the minions salivating at the prospect of a successful societal superfecta. I hope I’m wrong but when I think about the fact that we seem to ignore the millions of Americans living in poverty and the 47 million who lack health insurance, I can’t help but recognize the dissonance. My antennae will remain up until I start to hear some different signals.

Unlike with horses, I have this nagging feeling the religious right has concluded that Americans will drink the kool-aid if the powers that be can simply figure out the means to lead them to the trough. Consider this fair warning…I’ll have to be dragged kicking and screaming.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater


Tags: , , , , , , , ,  ,  , , , , , , , , , , , ,  ,
Shar e and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • co.mments
  • del.icio.us
  • De.lirio.us
  • digg
  • Fark
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • YahooMyWeb

13 Responses to “Do Evangelicals See Africa As The Path To Theocracy?”

  1. I’ll admit that ever since the President and the religious right adopted the AIDS crisis in Africa as one of their causes, I’ve been skeptical of their motivations. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate their concern for those suffering in Africa and I’m not suggesting that their compassion is insincere. I believe it is genuine and I’m willing to acknowledge the benefits of their efforts…bu t I can’t do so without suspecting it is attached to a larger agenda…one that views the crisis in Africa as a proving ground for the implementati on of their moral code.

    Conservative s are always being accused of rampant fearmongerin g. Yet, what do we see in the first paragraph here? That’s right. Rampant fearmongerin g. And by one who is not a conservative .

    In my most cynical moments, I find myself wondering if the powers that be on the religious right have decided to make Africa the guinea pig of an ideological struggle to promote the religious values of American evangelicals .

    The irreligious left has been using sub-Saharan Africa as guinea pigs since most of those countries gained independence . And look what it’s gotten them. Just about every country has a Marxist/Soci alist dictatorship murdering its own people while whining that the West isn’t providing enough handouts that ends up benefiting only the leaders of these impoverished countries. This is especially true since the Soviet Union went away. Leftist ideology is a failure. They had their chance. Unfortunatel y, too many influential leftists in the U.S., pining for America to become a Stalinist state, use typical Soviet-style fearmongerin g rhetoric and propaganda to continue spewing lies.

  2. SteveIL,
    Now would you like to actually address the issue? Just for once?

  3. Getting aids is a lot like getting lung cancer from smoking cigs. The cure is as difficult as prevention is easy. I don’t see any problem from the ABC approach. It is clear that if you abstain from sex your chance of getting aids is near 0. If you are in a relationship fidelity gives you the next best thing in relation to odds. If you are going to engage in sex with multiple partners or partners of unknown risk, condoms are the best option available. If you grade the ABC’s you have A being the most secure, B next and C last. Makes sense to me. Looking for some hidden agenda or ulterior motive for giving aid to countries with Aids is just left wing paranoia.

    I find it interesting that we make seat belts mandatory, helmet laws for motorcycles mandatory, laws to restrict smoking, all in the interest of public saftey and cost but have no laws that address the saftey and costs incurred by the spread of aids even when prevention is easily and readily available.

    Hetro or Homo makes no difference in this debate as stemming the spread of AIDS has the identical approach. As with all preventable disease it comes down to the individual making wise decisions that affect his or herself as well as the ripple effect felt by the public in general. You mention people in poverty and those without health insurance. How many of those could we help with the money spent on aids if only people were responsible with their actions. Whether it is A, B or C you chose, it is important to chose one. It is the only responsible action in light of the other non-preventa ble diseases that have to be dealt with. You can chose to NOT get aids, you cannot chose to NOT get MD, MS, ALS or a host of others.

    Remember, your decisions impact many. One incident of carelessness can mean someone else dies if resources are diverted to help you over someone else.

  4. manapp,
    What law would you suggest? Making sex illegal? The only thing you could do is mandate condom usage. I think the enforcement of that law would be interesting to see. The Condom Police kicking in bedroom doors to check you’re sufficiently protected? Somehow, I think that would go down like a Village People concert at the Focus for the Family convention.
    Also, ABC is in order of importance, as you say, but you can’t exclude the C from the equation as some groups have een trying. There have been quite a few studies that show that if you just focus on abstinence and faithfulness  , especlly with teenagers, that when they ignore you as a result surging hormones they put themselves at more risk by not using the reviled pices of rubber.
    Other recent studies have shown that countries with good, easy access to birth control, condoms and early sex education have much lower rates of abortion, too. So the best soluon is ABC. Just don’t forget about the C.

  5. Pushing wacky American “values” on the many tribes of Africa is like shouting at a deaf person. It’s stupid and pointless.

    Oh, same goes for pushing Americaan “values” on Iraq. Eerily similar, huh?

    Why is it that everything conservative s do is either cynical and covetous, stupid and pointles?

    JMJ

  6. Paul Watson said:

    Now would you like to actually address the issue?

    Mr. DiRito is using left-wing propaganda in order to ratchet up fearmongerin g against those actually trying to get Africa’s AIDS crisis under control. The part that is ignored is that the leftists have run these countries for decades, and the AIDS crisis is a direct result of this.

  7. Paul, you correct in pointing out any law would be difficult (impossible?  ) to enforce and I am not in favor of any such law. I am just pointing out the similarity of this behavioral disease and tobacco smoking or riding helmetless. Like hikers in the mountains that go out ahead of a coming blizzard in shorts and T-shirts with no emergency provisions it is hard to legislate against stupidity. Here in Colorado though they have back charged hikers for the rescue. This “difficult to enforce” argument has not stopped some communities from making illegal the smoking of ciggybutts in a persons own home or car.

    http://www.u satoday.com/ news/health/ 2006-11-27-s moking-bans_ x.htm

    http://www.n bc11.com/new s/14307719/d etail.html

    JMJ, How is giving 15 billion dollars fighting AIDS in Africa cynical, covetous, stupid or pointless? How is helping people in need “pushing American values”? Moreover, how is fighting disease anything like Iraq?
    I suppose you think it would be better to just give the 15 billion to the politicians in Africa and hope they use it for the purpose intended? None of that good old American graft and corruption in Africa? I suppose we shouldn’t provide mosquito nets to try and prevent malaria either? After all, we wouldn’t want to push those wacky American values would we? I know hatred of Republicans is a halmark of being liberal but we are trying to help the less fortunate here.

  8. So after 2000 years of moralizing and killing fornicators and adulterers

    # 22 percent of married men have strayed at least once during their married lives.
    # 14 percent of married women have had affairs at least once during their married lives.

    The National Task Force on Prostitution suggests that over one million people in the US have worked as prostitutes in the United States, or about 1% of American women.(1)

    Nationally, one-quarter of 15 year old females and less than 30% of 15 year old males have had sex, compared with 66% of 18 year old females, and 68% of 18 year old males who have had sexual intercourse.  (A Statistical Portrait of Adolescent Sex, Contraceptio n, and Childbearing  , National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Washington, DC, 1998).

    I mean, who could have know that religious people enjoy sex so much that they would go against the teaching of their church?

    Then there is rape

    There is an alarming growth in the cases of violence against women all over the world. Around the globe, At least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Most often the abuser is a member of her own family. Increasingly  , gender based violence is recognized as a major public health concern and a violation of human rights.

    I mean, once again who could have know that there is violence being practiced against women.

  9. Amazing when republicans do something there’s always an ulterior motive but when democrats do something it has absolutely no benefit to them but all merely done out of the goodness of their hearts.

  10. Manapp, you can’t fight AIDs without condoms and abortion. They may as well flush that 15 bil down the toilet.

    JMJ

  11. Jersey,
    Uhm, no. Just no. Abortion has nothing whatsoever to do with the prevention of HIV and AIDS. Nothing at all. Condoms? Absolutely, but abortion does nothing to reduce the incidence of AIDS. Unless, of course, you selectively abort all foetuses with HIV, but that would be taking things rather further than I think even liberal morality can be stretched.
    And manapp, you’re right: Those laws are completely unenforcible and insane.

  12. Of course it does, Paul. Children born with AIDs (many times because of rape) are a huge problem and can easily spread the disease without sex, and, if they live long enough, with it too.

    I see nothing wrong with doling out morning after pills to women in countries where this is a problem, and offering abortion to those who need it. They don’t have to wait for the embryo to become a fetus to do that.

    Screw morality. This is about REality.

    JMJ

  13. How far are you willing to go in screwing morality JMJ? After all wouldn’t it be far easier and more effective to just kill anyone diagnosed with HIV/AIDS? A 5 cent bullet is a lot more effective than endless drug treatments that only prolong the life of the carrier and thereby giving the public greater risk of exposure. Where do you draw the line in killing to prevent the disease from being spread. I suppose that killing them in the womb as you suggest does have the benefit of you not having to look them in the eye as you kill them and they sure as hell don’t fight back as hard.

Leave a Reply

Fish.Travel