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AIDS Is Not A Moral Disease

03.17.09

This is one of the main problems I have with blind religious dogma.  Instead of seeing the AIDS epidemic as what it is – a biological disease – Pope Benedict XVI clouds the issue in morality.  AIDS is not a punishment to gays and those who engage in premarital or extramarital sex so can we please just get over it.  People have sex outside of marriage.  Deal with it.

The Pope doesn’t believe that condoms are a good defense in the battle with AIDS in Africa.  In face, he goes even further:

”You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane heading to Yaounde. ”On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

(My bold.)

Maybe it increases the moral problems of trying to live under ridiculous Catholic rule, but the Pope shows just how completely ignorant he is about simple biology with his grossly incorrect statement.  I understand that his job is to look out for the spiritual health of his congregation, but he’s completely overstepping his bounds and entering the secular realm of science where he has absolutely no relevance.

”The saving message of the Gospel needs to be proclaimed loud and clear so that the light of Christ can shine into the darkness of people’s lives,” Benedict said as the president and other political leaders looked on.

What does that even mean!?  How does that help anything or anyone at all?  The political, social, and biological conflicts going on in Africa require much more help than merely spreading the Gospel. He goes on to clarify:

The pope also said Tuesday he intends to make an appeal for ”international solidarity” for Africa in the face of the global economic downturn. He said while the church does not propose specific economic solutions, it can give ”spiritual and moral” suggestions.

Oh right.  I’m sure those suggestions really will help everyone in the long run.  You might live under a genocidal dictator but at least you’ll go to heaven.  It’s like the mentality of the Dark Ages.  I think it’s time for a Second Enlightenment.  It’s time for science and the arts and the thirst for knowledge.

Might as well have that start in Africa.  Telling a woman who contracted AIDS from her unfaithful husband that condoms won’t help is not going to solve the epidemic.  Let’s leave that to the world’s health organizations, not the church.

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7 comments

  1. Mason,

    The Pope is both right and wrong about this, depending on how one chooses to approach his statements.

    Condoms are not – as even health workers in Africa admit – a resolution to the AIDS problem. They’re merely a limiting treatment. So the Pope was right, despite the rantings of the anti-theists.

    Condoms – especially in arid areas experiencing a lot of poverty – also provide a false sense of security as the Pope said. They’re far from 100% protection vs. the disease and tend to degrade in arid climates.

    On the other hand, you’re right. Anyone who believes that the AIDS epidemic in Africa can be halted through moral efforts is deluding themselves. So the Pope was wrong.


    • Jonolan –

      He’s right in the same way that anyone who knows even a little bit about how one contracts AIDS. Condoms are not 100% effective in preventing the disease nor do they cure anything. But the thing is, no one is claiming that is the case so while the Pope isn’t exactly wrong, he’s merely stating a fact. The problem is, he makes that statement as a way to sway people completely away from condom use, which is extremely irresponsible. While condoms don’t work every time, they do work a lot of the time, and also help prevent other communicable diseases as well.

      I think that even though health workers know that condoms won’t solve the crisis, they could slow the rate of contraction, which then helps contain the outbreak and hopefully will lead to getting it under control.

      Arid conditions are problematic for condoms, but that’s like saying don’t wear a bulletproof vest into combat because they’re really hot and it’s already hot outside.

      Whether or not the Pope got some facts right, it’s his message that is the problem for me. And when it comes down to it, it’s not like the Pope would endorse condom usage if it protected against AIDS 100% of the time anyway because the very need for condom use relates back to the whole premarital/extramarital sex moral issue that he will always be against.


      • It should be remembered that the Pope said this to some reporters in transit. It’s not like he made a big formal statement to the people of Africa.

        I suppose nobody could really expect him not to say what he did in those circumstances.


  2. hi, intresting blog, i was reading about this earlyer today and started my own blog about it, i couldnt belive the church still comes out with this sort of crap and people listen to it.

    And as you point out its not an issue for the church its an issue for the WHO and HIV/AIDs is not only spread by sex so the church claiming that not having sex will stop the issue is so short sited!

    Glad some people are as pissed as me about this,
    Alex, UK
    http://asnelson.wordpress.com


  3. Being a Christian, especially as a Christian, I don’t (can’t and won’t) naturally side with any reasoning behind the beliefs of the Catholic religion. My faith and that religion are two worlds… galaxies… apart. But I can provide a shred of light to Pope XVIOMLLL’s word about the Gospel. The goodness or “light” of Christ’s message of salvation (gospel) gives purpose, direction, peace, and finally completion, to an “unsaved” person. The proposition for world application is, that one without the Gospel is more likely to practice promiscuity because of the constant need to feel whole, than one with who accepts the gospel. A)Incompletness + B)Promiscuity = C)The increased chance for the spread of AIDS. Do I agree? It doesn’t matter. It’ll happen no matter what when religious leaders proclaim that their religion will fix any of the world’s problems. You can’t ever fix the world – only make the best of your own time here. That’s why personal faith is important. It’s the only thing you can actually make happen.


    • Rich – I appreciate your post. You do make an interesting distinction in calling Catholicism an entirely different religion from your own denomination of Christianity. And I like that you put the emphasis on personal faith – and not proselytizing.


  4. This is true. And I’m sure more of us here in America heard what he said than anyone in Africa outside of the major cities. Either way, it just isn’t helping anything and that frustrates me.



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