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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Action Goes Farther than Politics

Just when I thought I'd gotten used to the sort of Christians who hate Catholics for being too liberal, the Church gets a sideswipe from Secularists who hate Catholics for being too conservative. Specifically, the National Secular Society in Britain has begun a campaign to exclude Pope Benedict from the Live 8 concert.

Pope Benedict, according to the organization, is spreading AIDS in Africa by not permitting the use of condoms for Catholics. No mention is made, of course, that the Pope also does not permit adultery and fornication, the two primary ways in which AIDS are spreading.

Color me naive, perhaps, but I have a hard time believing that a faithful Catholic would engage in the behaviors that spread AIDS, but then refuse to use a condom because that's a sin. There has not been a single case of a mutually monogamous couple contracting AIDS through unprotected sex, folks.

It is sad, if you think about it, that when there is a problem -- yes, a crisis, even -- among people who live lives with much suffering, as indeed many in Africa do, the answer of the wealthy like Elton John is to throw rubber at it and hope it will go away. Unless lifestyles change, AIDS isn't going to disappear or even slow down. And unless people have hope, they are not likely to change their lifestyles. A piece of latex isn't going to change that.

But it's easier to blame the Pope than it is to do something that could really help stem AIDS in Africa, like encouraging lifelong monogamy.