Abstinence for Africa
Michelle Goldberg printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 04:51:34 PM EST

author info
We all know how the Bush administration has pushed Christian right policies at home, but many of the most devastating effects of the delegation of public policy to the James Dobson lobby are being felt abroad, especially when it comes to sexual health.
Bush has withheld tens of millions of dollars from the United Nations Population Fund because of discredited accusations from a hard-right Catholic group that the UN agency supports coerced abortions in China. As a result, maternal health clinics have had to close worldwide. In November, Bush expanded the global gag rule -- which denies U.S. family planning funding to any organization that performs abortions, counsels about them or refers women to abortion services -- to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts.

Then, this week, Bush once again increased the role of religious groups in America's global AIDS prevention policy.  According to a story on the Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare policy, "Faith-based organizations worldwide will play a major role in fighting the AIDS and HIV epidemic under a new initiative announced by President George W. Bush. The 'New Partners Initiative,' outlined by the President during World AIDS day last week, will also seek to build partnerships with overseas organizations that have little or no experience in working with the United States government...The initiative will provide $200 million through fiscal year 2008 for technical and capacity-building assistance that will help such organizations compete for future program grants."

Understand what this means. The reason these faith-based organizations haven't been able to compete for grants is largely because of their lack of infrastructure and experience. Plenty of other groups have both those things, but we're not funding them because they promote safer sex as well as abstinence. The Roundtable story quotes a statement by the Pan-African Treatment Access Movement (PATAM), a coalition of health groups in several African nations:

Under pressure from the American program 'PEPFAR,' [President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] certain African countries have begun, little by little, to adopt a strategy through which the message 'abstinence and faithfulness' is advocated as the only way of preventing the HIV/AIDS epidemic, to the detriment of the universal promotion of the condom which remains to this day the most efficient means of protection against HIV transmission...

We denounce the ideology which governs the Washington program against AIDS (PEPFAR) and which is being imposed in our countries. Instead of contributing positively to the fight against AIDS in our countries, this program will breed serious prejudices and will cause, without doubt, a large number of infections which would otherwise have not taken place.


I've heard similar concerns from African health workers at U.N. conferences. Meanwhile, America's U.N. delegations are increasingly given over to the Christian right -- it's an easy way for the administration to placate the movement without many outsiders noticing. Recent official U.S. delegates to U.N. conferences on women and children have included Janet Parshall, the Christian radio broadcaster, Paul Bonicelli, former dean of academic affairs at Patrick Henry College, and Concerned Women for America's Janice Crouse. These people work tirelessly to scuttle any initiatives that would expand women's access to reproductive health care. (Ironically, they often end up partnering with hard-line Muslim fundamentalists to do so).

Anyone interested in reading about the real-world results of these policies should check out Helen Epstein's phenomenal story about U.S.-based abstinence initiatives in Uganda, which was published in April in the New York Review of Books. As she details, that country's hugely successful approach to HIV-prevention is being undermined by the growing influence of the religious right -- a situation that gets way too little coverage in the U.S.




Display:
It raises the question : what do we say of  Christian faith when it is expressed as extreme ideological positions that result in mass death and suffering ?

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 05:59:10 PM EST

A quote from an article in today's Baptist Press:

A senior research scientist with the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies once advocated the use of condoms and clean needles for the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS. Now, after evaluating the ABC Model of AIDS prevention championed in Uganda, Edward Green says promoting the values of fidelity and abstinence is far more effective than just promoting correct condom use.



by Carlos on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 07:27:05 PM EST
As far as I know, many public health experts support promoting abstinence and fidelity in conjunction with condoms, and that model has worked in Uganda. The problem is that now the story of what happened in Uganda is being rewritten by the right to suggest that condom use isn't integral to HIV prevention for most people -- rather, the abstinence-only lobby sees condoms as only a last resort for high-risk groups like prostitutes, and not something that needs to be accessible to everyone.

by Michelle Goldberg on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 10:12:37 PM EST
Parent

"...Edward Green says promoting the values of fidelity and abstinence is far more effective than just promoting correct condom use."

The key word here is just.  Nowhere in this statement does it say that abstinence education alone is best... it says to me that when you add abstinence alongside proper condom use, you get better results than just proper condom use alone...

But of course, the Religious Right will interpret it as abstinence only works...

Personally, I went to a high school that had a "combo approach" to sex ed.  Our teacher explained that the only 100% guaranteed way to avoid pregnancy and STDs (including HIV) was to not have sex.  Then we went on to - well, if you're still going to insist on having sex, then we don't want you to be stupid about it... here's all of your protection options, including how to "properly install and use" a condom. (we got to practice putting them on banannas)  

To me, the discussion was valuable even for those students who would be abstinent during their high school years, because it meant that when you were an adult and making sexual decisions, that you were educated.  You could wait until you were married to have sex - and the information was still valid, because you could use the birth control information for family planning.

-Emily
emilywynn.blogspot.com


by EmilyWynn8 on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 03:25:14 PM EST
Parent




WWW Talk To Action


The Theocratic Politics of Raphael Cruz
"There's a relationship there that's unlike any in American history to my knowledge. We've just never seen anything remotely like this...   I believe......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
An Assassin's Motivation?
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof quietly sat in the prayer meeting at African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina before he shot......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Christian Right Turns to Nullification to Counter Marriage Equality
Last year in The Public Eye magazine, Rachel Tabachnick and Frank L. Cocozzelli warned of the trend on the religious and political Right toward......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Historian Gerald Horne on Charleston, Church, & Slave Resistance
Professor Gerald Horne of the University of Houston notes the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was at the center of Black resistance to slavery......
By Chip Berlet (2 comments)
The Zealots Strike Back: Latest Religious Right Sputtering Over Marriage Equality Is More Weak Tea
I've been monitoring the Religious Right's response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality, and I'm not impressed.So far, the reaction of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Is Koch Brothers Money Fueling Criticism of Pope Francis on Climate Change?
In my last post I examined conservative criticism of Laudato Sii, ("Praised Be"), Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment and poverty. Indeed, some of......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Politics in Theocratic Times
The matter of religious exemptions from civil rights and labor laws is at the cutting edge of the contemporary political strategy of the Christian......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Why Is the Christian Right Remaining Silent About the Dennis Hastert Affair?
In early June, the Associated Press' Mary Clare Jalonick reported that a Montana woman interviewed by the FBI claimed that "her brother was sexually......
By Bill Berkowitz (1 comment)
Remembering James Dunn: Baptist Champion Of Religious Freedom
When I began working for Americans United in 1987, one thing confused me: Why were there so many Southern Baptists hanging around?Southern Baptists were......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Resistance Is Futile: Some County Clerks Say `I Won't' To Marriage Equality
One week ago, the U.S. Supreme Court extended marriage equality nationwide. So where are we now?To no one's surprise, leaders of the Religious Right......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Celebrating July 4th
A decade or so ago I was vacationing in Hot Springs,  Arkansas.  It was July 4th and I attended the First Baptist Church in......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Nine Mainline Protestant Christian Martyrs
This is a tricky time for the Christian Right. Immediately following the mass murder at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Top Southern Baptist Official Admits Churches Won't Be Forced To Marry Same-Sex Couples
For years now, Religious Right leaders have been whipping up hysteria by claiming that, should marriage equality become the law of the land, conservative......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
The Pope, Climate Change and the Catholic Right.
The conservative criticism of Laudato Sii, ("Praised Be"), Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment and poverty that began even before its release, has now......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (11 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (4 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (5 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (6 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.