Going Catholic On Condoms.


Perhaps I should say, doing Catholics one better on condoms. The Catholic Church has been telling people, for decades, that condoms don’t prevent HIV at all, and that they are against god. It seems Russia is prepared to outdo them on the misinformation score.

A Russian study actually blames condoms for the spread of HIV. The Russian Institute for Strategic Research (RISR), which was set up by the Kremlin in 2012, presented a report on Tuesday to Moscow’s city council that casts doubt over the validity of well documented statistics showing the spread of HIV in Russia.

It’s worth noting that one of stated goals of the RISR is “Family-based solutions as a strategy for overcoming depopulation.” Which is perhaps why it’s not a surprise to see that the study’s authors alluded to “traditional values” being the route to stopping the spread of HIV, blaming promiscuity and homosexuality for infections.

That certainly sounds familiar. Looks like the U.S. and Russia have a lot on common these days.

Tatyana Guzenkova, deputy head of the organization, presented the report, as according to the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant. It is also not a stretch to imagine this being used by the Kremlin to buttress its ongoing hostility towards Russia’s LGBT movement.

Like most things under the Putin regime, the RISR is hard to see as anything but government loyalists, especially because internal dispute about the study was quite vocal. The head of the Federal Center for fighting AIDS, Vadim Pokrovsky, for example, stressed the importance of focusing on condoms to reduce the spread of HIV.

Via Plus.

Denmark: Historic Step in Trans Rights

File photo: Iris/Scanpix DK.

File photo: Iris/Scanpix DK.

From January 1st, 2017, transgender will no longer appear on Denmark’s definition of mental illnesses, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

The move would make Denmark a groundbreaker if the World Health Organisation (WHO) does not make a similar move before the autumn, news agency Ritzau reported.

“At the moment, transgender is listed as a mental illness or behavioural problem. That is incredibly stigmatising and in no way reflects how we see transgender people in Denmark. It should be a neutral diagnosis,” Social Democrat health spokesman Flemming Møller Mortensen told Ritzau.

“The WHO is currently working on a new system for registering diagnoses. It has been working on it for a very, very long time. Now we’ve run out of patience, and want to send out a signal saying that if the system is not changed by October, then we in Denmark will go it alone,” said Mortensen.

Full Story Here. A huge shout-out to Denmark, for realizing that every day of waiting increases the stigmatization of transgender people, and wanting no part of that any longer. Now, the rest of the world needs to catch up.

HIV+ Organ Transplants Okayed in California.

Credit: Shutterstock.

Credit: Shutterstock.

Organ donation and transplantation between HIV-positive people is now legal in the state of California.

On May 27, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1408, a new piece of legislation that protects surgeons who transplant organs from HIV-positive donors into HIV-positive patients from being penalized by the state’s medical board. President Barack Obama’s HOPE Act technically reversed the federal ban on this procedure back in 2013, but as Medical Daily previously reported, there’s been a delay in uptake. Apparently the National Institutes of Health needed time to “properly iron out the act’s guidelines,” so up until now in California, doctors were criminals and even faced jail time if they condoned HIV transplantation and donation, Tech Times­ reported.


The surgeons at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore had a similar feeling in March when they were approved to conduct the first HIV-positive organ transplant in the U.S. Dr. Dorry Segev, an associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins, told NPR that both HIV-positive and negative patients would benefit from the ban reversal when it comes to the organ transplant waiting list.

“Imagine now we take hundreds or maybe thousands of people off of the list, then everybody behind them moves forward,” he said. “So people with HIV are benefited directly and everybody else on the list is benefitted indirectly. And we’re all very excited to get started.”

Full Story Here.

God’s Almighty Health Care Workers.


You’ve probably heard of the credentials M.D. and R.N., and maybe N.P. The people using those letters are doctors, registered nurses and nurse practitioners. But what about PSC.D or D.PSc? Those letters refer to someone who practices pastoral medicine — or “Bible-based” health care.

It’s a relatively new title being used by some alternative health practitioners. The Texas-based Pastoral Medical Association gives out “pastoral provider licenses” in all 50 states and 30 countries. Some providers call themselves doctors of pastoral medicine. But these licenses are not medical degrees. That has watchdog organizations concerned that some patients may not understand what this certification really means.

Thankfully, I have not run across this, and hadn’t heard of anyone with a PSC.D or D.PSc. They’d need heaven’s help if I ever do run into someone sporting a god badge. Healthcare is difficult enough without this depth of bullshit.

The good folks at the Pastoral Medical Association were too busy doing God’s work to have a deep discussion with those aggressively atheist elitists at NPR, only providing a statement “explaining it was founded by a group of Christians concerned with the increase in chronic illness. The association says it seeks to protect ‘the Almighty’s Health Care workers.'”

Lo, the association’s website (“optimized for Firefox”) is a wonder to behold. It comes complete with a constitution, which begins:

We of this mighty western Republic have to grapple with the dangers that spring from popular self-government tried on a scale incomparably vaster than ever before in the history of mankind, and from an abounding material prosperity greater also than anything which the world has hitherto seen.


So, how many members does the Pastoral Medical Association have? Screw you, that’s how many. According to the site’s awesome FAQ section, “policy prevents the PMA from releasing exact membership numbers, however we can affirm that the PMA family is many many thousands, growing at an average rate of over 3,000 new members monthly.” At that rate, it’s only a matter of time before we’re all members.

And in case you’re wondering if a PMA license is “recognized,” the answer is a resounding yes. See, “because of the nature of PMA license it has a very solid legal basis in all U.S. states and is also respected in a large number of other countries. The PMA is a well organized private ecclesiastical association operating in according with U.S. Constitutional provisions and overwhelming Supreme Court precedence.”

That’s good enough for us. The next time we feel a cold coming on, or lupus, we’ll eschew science and reach for the PMA directory and our comprehensive wellness quart.

Via Houston Press and NPR.

Republicans: Who cares if your baby is brain damaged?

The Zika virus is a flu-like disease that is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito (AFP Photo/Luis Robayo)

The Zika virus is a flu-like disease that is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito (AFP Photo/Luis Robayo)

As the Zika outbreak grows in the US, President Obama is blasting Republicans for planning to go on Memorial Day vacation before passing needed funding to combat this potential public health crisis.

President Obama spoke to the press after being briefed about the Zika outbreak by public health officials.

The President said:

So we’ve got to get moving. And what essentially NIH and CDC have been doing is taking pots of money from other things — universal flu funds or Ebola funds or other funds — just to get the thing rolling. But we have to reimburse those pots of money that have already been depleted and we have to be able to sustain the work that’s going to need to be done to finish the job.

So bottom line is Congress needs to get me a bill. It needs to get me a bill that has sufficient funds to do the job. They should not be going off on recess before this is done. And certainly this has to get done over the course of the next several weeks in order for us to be able to provide confidence to the American people that we’re handling this piece of business.

If I’m a young family right now, or somebody who’s thinking about starting a family, this is just a piece of insurance that I want to purchase. And I think that’s true for most Americans. And understand that this is not something where we can build a wall to prevent — mosquitoes don’t go through Customs. To the extent that we’re not handling this thing on the front end, we’re going to have bigger problems on the back end.

Obama also urged the American people to tell Congress to do their jobs.


Republicans would rather go vacation than pass the needed funding to combat the outbreak of a virus that causes brain damage in infants. The Republican Congress is once again placing the priorities of the American people last.

Look what has happened to that mighty republican value of saving the unborn children – they don’t seem to care at all if there is no ungodly woman to punish. They don’t seem to be the least bit disturbed to use this as a way to punish the president, acting like temperamental toddlers, running off to vacation land while people are left to deal with the potential fallout from the Zika virus. Thanks, Republicans.

Via Politicususa.

Stay #BraveEnough!



South Africa’s gay population numbers close to 5 million people, and the Anova Health Institute along with the Elton John Aids Foundation have released a video to educate around and destigmatize homosexual relationships as part of their initiative We The Brave.

In the clip, two men of differing races stand up at the dinner table and kiss in slow motion, while an older man, presumably one of their fathers, looks on in shock. The next shot is a closeup of a condom wrapper being ripped open, with a slogan declaring “We’re definitely brave enough to cover up.”

While the video might seem just a bit heavy-handed, it is under fire from various South African sources, including a number of broadcasters who have refused to air the spot. Twitter users have targeted the commercial, calling it “inappropriate” and even “disgusting.” It marks the first time a gay kiss has aired locally in South Africa.


We say, let the haters tweet. The message behind the commercial is obviously too important to let that rhetoric win out. Stay #BraveEnough!

Via Out.

The neural basis of seeing God?


A remarkable case report describes the brain activity in a man at the moment that he underwent a revelatory experience.

According to the authors, Israeli researchers Arzy and Schurr, the man was 46 years old. He was Jewish, but he had never been especially religious. His supernatural experience occured in hospital where he was undergoing tests to help treat his right temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), a condition which he had suffered from for forty years. As part of the testing procedure, the patient stopped taking his anti-convulsant medication. Here’s how the authors describe what happened:

While lying in bed, the patient abruptly “froze” and stared at the ceiling for several minutes, stating later that he felt that God was approaching him. He then started chanting prayers quietly, looked for his Kippa and put it on his head, chanting the prayers more excessively. Then, abruptly, he yelled “And you are Adonai (name of the Hebrew God) the Lord!”, stating later that god had revealed to him, ordering him to bring redemption to the people of Israel.

The patient then stood up, detached the EEG electrodes from his skin, and went around the department trying to convince people to follow him, stating that “God has sent me to you”. When further questioned, he said that he does not have a concrete plan, but he is sure that God is going to instruct him what he and his followers should do on their way to redemption.

The full article is here. The Times of Israel also has this story.

A Floating Food Forest


Swale, a collaborative floating food project, is dedicated to rethinking and challenging New York City’s connection to our environment. Built on an 80-foot by 30-foot floating platform, Swale contains an edible forest garden. Functioning as both a sculpture and a tool, Swale provides free healthy food at the intersection of public art and service. With Swale, we want to reinforce water as a commons, and work towards fresh food as a commons too.

Swale is an artwork. Art is integral to imagining new worlds. By continuing to create and explore new ways of living, we hope that Swale will strengthen our ways of collaborating, of cooperating, and of supporting one another. At its heart, Swale is a call to action. It asks us to reconsider our food systems, to confirm our belief in food as a human right, and to pave pathways to create public food in public space.

This is a great way to get fresh, healthy food to known food deserts. Have a look around Swale’s space, and donate if you can.


Medicine as Metaphor


© Sara Landeta.




A most poignant series by Sara Landeta. Her description:

The project includes a collection of 120 boxes of drugs that have been consumed by different patients to overcome their illnesses. All boxes are illustrated inside with a broad classification of birds from different families, being the only animal that although it gives it a meaning of freedom, because it is the only one able to connect with the earth and the sky, is also one of the main animals in captivity. This juxtaposition of the natural and the synthetic interprets the patient as a captive animal, and the bird as its metaphor.
Draw a collection of birds inside these boxes holding a single reflection ; l will learn to be birds in captivity, but they are wanting to fly, and that is what keeps them alive. 
I can’t speak for every chronic pain person out there, but this touches me deeply. There’s more at Colossal Art and The Jealous Curator.

Rape Pregnancies A Silver Lining From God

Ugh. I can’t even suppress the nausea induced by this mess of a person.

via YouTube Republican State Rep. Tila Hubrecht held a press conference Thursday to defend her views on rape pregnancies.

During an intense Tuesday floor debate on the measure, Hubrecht made the case that women should not be allowed to abort pregnancies caused by rape.

“When God gives life he does so because there’s a reason, no matter what,” she said. “Sometimes bad things happen, horrible things, but sometimes God can give us a silver lining through the birth of a child.” Because, yeah, rape sucks, but there’s nothing like nine months of living with your rapist’s baby growing inside you to help you get over it!

Full Story Here.

No Cancer Prevention For You!



The Food and Drug Administration is using young lesbians, drag queens, and transgender individuals in a $36 million advertising campaign to encourage the LGBT community to quit smoking.

The government launched the “This Free Life” campaign Monday, which encourages young people to “find their own truth” and not smoke cigarettes.

“This Free Life is a campaign that proudly celebrates the lives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community,” the campaign’s website states. “We wave our colors high and seek to improve LGBT people’s health by encouraging tobacco-free lifestyles.”

It is pointed out at the website, and in all the articles about the campaign, that the campaign is being paid for by tobacco taxes. Facts have never seemed to stop those who aren’t in the habit of reading comprehension or thinking, though, and thanks to Franklin Graham, a passel of Christians are very upset over the preferential treatment towards those people, why the nerve, trying to keep them alive and healthy when there are straight Christians out there who are…smoking? From OpposingViews:

Graham wrote on Facebook:

Can you believe it? Our Federal Food and Drug Administration is spending $36 million of taxpayer money on an advertising campaign featuring lesbians, drag queens, and transgender individuals to encourage the LGBT community to quit smoking. Doesn’t everyone need to quit smoking, not just this group?

They’re calling it the “This Free Life” campaign and they’re encouraging young people to “find their own truth.” The only way any person is going to find true freedom is through repentance and faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The real truth is, this lifestyle is not healthy—spiritually or physically. We need to believe God’s truth, not find our own truth as this campaign encourages.

Graham’s Christian followers were not swayed by the facts and slammed the cancer prevention program as he did:

“Throwing away our money on less than five percent of the people living a lifestyle we don’t agree with!!! True salvation is in Jesus Christ alone!!!”

“Just another contribution to our ever growing national debt!”

“Yes I can believe it! One more example of the government wasting tax payer dollars!!”

“Just another something unwanted being rammed down our throat by this administration. The anti-christ is here and in the white house.”

“Spend as much money as humanly possible…to crash the economy…to bring in the Jesuit New Wold Order..that has been the plan…..keep us busy at every turn, with every crazy sinful and destructive thing while building their army with our labor.”

“Wow, does our government ever spent money any more that does any good, that is so very wasteful.”

“Oh, so maybe that’s where the $$$ went instead of for a Social Security cost-of-living increase this year!!”

“They still don’t get why we’re so angry? This is why! Quit using our money for things like this! I know a lot of people who could use money for medicine or to go see a doc.”

“This is just sickening.”

“Truth, so right that God’s Truth is what everyone needs, yet satan can’t stand the truth, it is true that he is a lair and the father of lies.”

Truth and transgender at age 70

Kate and Linda Rohr sit down for breakfast on Valentine's Day at their home in Fort Bragg, Calif. Later that week, Kate would have her gender-affirmation surgery. (Amy Ellis Nutt / Washington Post)

Kate and Linda Rohr sit down for breakfast on Valentine’s Day at their home in Fort Bragg, Calif. Later that week, Kate would have her gender-affirmation surgery. (Amy Ellis Nutt / Washington Post)

For months, Bill Rohr kept three clocks running on his iPad. One counted down the days to his retirement as a surgeon: Dec. 31, 2015. Another counted up the days since he and his wife, Linda, married: June 15, 1968.

The third clock, the most recent addition and the one that most occupied Rohr’s thoughts, showed the days until his Feb. 17, 2016, surgery at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center south of San Francisco.

At age 70, Bill would become Kate.

It was an operation he’d long ago dismissed as unattainable – but one Linda said he deserved to have. She’d traveled the arc of his life, supportive even after his bombshell confession.

Wonderful Story (and video) Here.

Fetal Idolatry

The Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple (Screenshot/YouTube)

The Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple (Screenshot/YouTube)

Anti-abortion activists were met head-on in Detroit by the city’s chapter of the Satanic Temple, who trolled them by dressing up in baby gear and decrying “fetal idolatry.”

According to the Temple’s Detroit chapter leader, Jex Blackmore, “the anti-choice movement’s obsession with, and mischaracterization of the fetus obscures medical reality and a woman’s constitutional right to choice.”

Full Story Here.