1 December 2005

Benedict XVI paving a road you don’t want to be on

The pope says he feels close to those suffering from AIDS.  I have no doubt that he feels nothing but compassion and sympathy, and I’m sure that “his heart is in the right place.”

But we’ve seen that organizational and group behavior is not this fellow’s forte.  Neither, for that fact, is science.  What does science tell us?  It tells us that gay people are not any more likely to be sex offenders than straight people (some studies even indicate that straight men are MORE likely).  Organizational science tells us that if you have actions deriving from a particular set of circumstances and that you then repeat those circumstances, members of the organization will very likely commit the same actions.  We see the same conditions that led to the sex abuse problems being put into place again, and thousands of children will be tortured again by priests.  We KNOW, through careful scientific study, that condom distribution has an effect on HIV prevalence — it brings it down.  When you combine it with abstience and monogamy, it goes down even further.  But what does Benedict say? 

…the pope in a June speech to African bishops said that contraception is one of many trends contributing to a “breakdown of sexual morality.” He added that abstinence and fidelity are the only “fail-safe” ways to prevent the spread of HIV.

He’s wrong.  His way leads to more death, more suffering, more violence.  Even George W. Bush (whom you may recall that this blog is no real fan of his) has done significantly more.  He promised the money for HIV work, and it’s largely there.  And it include condoms, even if abstinence has to be mentioned every other sentence.  Even the conservative Republican “faith and values” president is on for the entirety of ABC.

Benedict has good intentions.  Great.  But what did they say about roads to hell?

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