The Philippines has a problem with a rising number of AIDS cases every year, and members of the government have been promoting a sensible response: Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral has sponsored a program that distributes free condoms, for instance. You can guess who opposes prophylactics, though.
“The condom business is a multimillion dollar industry that heavily targets the adolescent market at the expense of morality and family life,” said Bishop Nereo Odchimar, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. He called fidelity and premarital chastity “the only effective way to curb the spread of AIDS.”
The Catholics have informed Cabral that she has “one foot in hell.” How sweet. They are also actively campaigning against any politician who promotes birth control.
I’m so sorry that the Philippines is so deeply afflicted with forces for insanity and irrationality, but at least they’ve got brave people like Esperanza Cabral standing up for what is right.
“multi-million-dollar industry” = “Someone’s making money off it, so it has to be evil”
“adolescent market” = “Won’t somebody think of the children?!?!?”
The biggest downside to being an atheist is not being able to believe that there is a hell for people like this.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Yes and mother Teressa was a saint.
Fucking Catholics… So much blood on their hands, but at least it’s “moral” murder they commit. If their crazy nightmare called hell really does exist, their have special places reserved just for them.
And this Bishop Nereo Odchimar needs to take a break from his magical religious La La Land and return to the real world for a while. I’m sorry to whoever thinks otherwise, but when it comes to a struggle between one group’s idea of religious morality and human biology, guess which wins?
You won’t hear me toot the horn of any government secretary often, but anyone willing to stand against the force of the Catholic Church to help people gets immense respect from me, so Esperanza Cabral gets my support in that respect.
No Gods, No Masters
stuartvo: Agreed, though knowing that they have to deal with being themselves day-in, day-out makes up for it a little. I’m sure that must be just terrible.
More generally, there is nothing so cheap and so effective at saving lives and bodies from the ravages of STDs that condom and sex education campaigns. That religions, almost uniformly, oppose such programs because they alleviate the suffering of “sin” just makes explicit their nature as organization that live off the suffering of others.
It’s bad enough when they sprout bullshit about condoms being “immoral”, but then they tend to take it a step further and outright lie and spew crap like “condoms don’t work”.
And the first apologist that comes up here and claims that condoms promote promiscuity, I swear I am going to take the frustration of my bad day out on you by sticking my hands through the monitor and giving you a thermonuclear wedgie.
That must be a new meaning of the word “effective” with which I was previously unfamiliar. It’s like Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign, which I’m sure Bristol Palin would cheerfully endorse.
Does “Just Say No” work for altar boys, too?
Celtic_Evolution: +250 rep with teh Internets. May the Fark be with you, always.
MAJeff, OM says
It’s like Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign, which I’m sure Bristol Palin would cheerfully endorse.
Molly Ivins once quoted some researcher at Texas Sex Education hearings as saying, “‘Just say No’ has been about as effective at combatting drug use and teen pregnancy as ‘Have a nice day’ has for depression.”
Stephen Wells says
Is the claim “Chastity is the only effective way to curb the spread of AIDS” actionably false? We can see it’s a flat lie, but is there any legal comeback?
Oh the arrogance, the arrogance, it’s too much to bear.
“The condom business is a multimillion dollar industry”? This is coming from a representative of the catholic religion – a Multibillion dollar business and the only one to own its own state.
At least the “evil” condom manufacturers are saving lives, that’s not a bad deal for a few millions, what exactly are we getting from the billions sunk into Catholicism?
Bater1: Poverty, pride, and posturing. Oh, and witch-hunting in Sub-Sahara Africa, Ultramontanist dictatorships, and a political system in Italy so intertwined with the Vatican that it’s criminal president feels obligated to harass anyone who speaks against the pope.
it’s good to see a courageous, qualified politician standing up for their principles. Especially in such a Catholic country. I wish we had them in Ireland.
Two Catholic Filipino bishops challenged the courageous health secretary to a debate, and she accepted the challenge. The bishops were probably bluffing but now the ball is in their court. Haven’t heard from the bishops yet.
Unless the condom campaign also goes into the Muslim areas, it could help to tip the demographic balance in favor of groups even nastier than the Bishops (e.g the Moro Islamic Liberation Front). It’s hard to find unalloyed goods in that situation.
Steve LaBonne says
Well, these child abusers and shielders of child abusers are sunk neck-deep in its lowest pit, so she’s still better off than they are.
@Celtic_Evolution Re: 6
Excellent work, although you probably could have left ‘morality’ unstricken and still be accurate.
Tor Bertin says
True then, true now. Dead Kennedys: ‘Moral Majority’
Antiochus Epimanes says
If AIDS was endemic among Irish orphans, the Catholic Church would make condom use a sacrament.
Yeah, because chastity and morality work so well for the Catholic clergy.
I wonder what kind of family life is possible when young people keep dying? If parents of young children die of AIDS, what kind of family life do their orphaned children have? If parents lose their young adult children to preventable disease, what do they get from family life?
Ah yes the Catholic Church being the multi-billion dollar industry that targets the prepubescent at the expense of morality and decency.
idiots the lot of them…
The Catholic Church absolutely must stop this. Condoms work. Really, they do. There are accidents and they malfunction, often due to user error, but those are really rare. As Stephen Fry said in that Intelligence Squared debate, it’s not just that they say, “we believe condoms are not okay based on our religion. They do work, but please consider other options.” That would be bad enough, of course, but NO! They lie and say they don’t work at all, or are bad for your health, or that buying one is part of a massive scheme, or whatever other nonsense they’re trotting out these days.
” … He called fidelity and premarital chastity “the only effective way to curb the spread of AIDS.”
What a moron. First, fidelity and premarital chastity does not protect people from contracting AIDS through blood transfusions, or those who are raped, or addicts who share needles, or victims of errors at the hospital or clinic or … Second, if the good bishop is such a strong proponent of fidelity, why is his organization opposed to gay marriage? A monogamous gay couple are in no greater danger of contracting AIDS than a straight couple. As for premarital chastity, get real! How many of priests obey the injunction against premarital sex? Of course many altar boys have no option on that issue …
Say, how many billion dollars a year does the Catholic church make? Sounds like they just don’t like someone else muscling in on their territory to me. Standard pusher mentality. Asswipes the fucking lot of them. Consign these superstitious old creeps to the junkheap of history already.
There are so many Christians, including Catholics, who understand that this sort of attitude is ridiculous that it amazes me people like this bishop continue to have a forum, much less real power in their churches.
Back in 2008, there was an attempt to get the Philippines on a healthier track with the Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2048 (HB 5043) (Fact Sheet). It failed. When I was there then, it was one of the bigger stories. This scan is a story from the Philippine Star during that time about priests’ protesting the measure. Even when we went back a year later, there were still many advertisements up for both sides of the measure.
While I’ve erroneously stated in conversation that the Philippine Constitution says that it’s a Christian nation (it doesn’t), politicians do regularly use those exact words when interviewed by the news about “moral” matters. It’s a wonder that the religious strife in the South isn’t worse than it already is.
Pygmy Loris says
Shit like this is why I cannot understand why my Catholic friends continue to go to mass and tithe to the church. They’re actively supporting some of the most vile policies out there. On top of that, they all use birth control! Some of them even support Planned Parenthood. How in the world does one reconcile that with tithing to the church? It makes my head hurt.
Die Anyway says
Last time I checked The Phillipines was an island nation. If they don’t use some sort of birth control nature will eventually take its own action and it won’t be pretty. But I don’t suppose the Catholic bishops care.
The RCC is a ROGUE state – by international definition (official definition (xx))!
This means meeting certain criteria, such as:
* being ruled by authoritarian regimes (no argument there I hope!)
* that severely restrict human rights (most of their doctrines seek to control and limit behavior and to cast laws in their restrictive image – World Wide!)
* sponsor terrorism (is it not terrorism to tell susceptible people World Wide do it my way or burn in Hell?!? Because this is coupled with the next point also)
* and seek to proliferate weapons of mass destruction (e.g., is not their influence that restricts contraceptives especially those that would minimize horrible disease just that? how many people has this killed? – simply because they exert there power and influence World-wide)
The Vatican does do real damage in the World – at a massive scale. Their damage is not limited to horrific but relatively small number of victim abuse of children and young adults (e.g., the Irish Nunneries). It is systemic and affects a broad swath of humanity.
I see value in the simple use of International criteria that defines bad behavior to drive home the “unholyiness” of the “Holy” See.
Think about it!
xx Rogue State: Rogue state is a term applied by some international theorists to states considered threatening to the world’s peace. This means meeting certain criteria, such as being ruled by authoritarian regimes that severely restrict human rights, sponsor terrorism, and seek to proliferate weapons of mass destruction. The term is used most by the United States, though it has been applied by other countries.
Steven Mading says
It probably is possible to legally weasel out of it this way even if there was a law against lying like that: “Effective” is a fuzzy term and they could claim that they meant 100% effective (as in , something that’s only 99% effective doesn’t count) and they could argue that the reason chastity programs fail to curb the spread of AIDS is because people fail to actually practice chastity – not that chastity itself is ineffective, but that chastity programs are not effective at making people actually practice chastity.
Yah it’s obviously not what was meant, but there’s enough weasel room in there to avoid being nailed for lying if you’re deceptive enough.
Well, look on the bright side, the name Esperanza means “hope”.
It never ceases to amaze me that an institution made up of celibate men presumes to intrude in the sex lives of other people.
The Pint says
Oh for fuck’s sake! “The condom business is a multimillion dollar industry that heavily targets the adolescent market at the expense of morality and family life”?!? Is it moral to encourage ignorance about sexual health that can lead to STDs or unwanted pregnancies, which in turn can irreparably harm families?
Thank Cthulhu my parents left the islands and had me here. Cabral is doing a courageous and admirable thing and I hope she succeeds despite the deeply entrenched religious roadblocks in her way.
Caine, Fleur du mal says
Pygmy Loris @ 27:
Ingrained habit. I grew up catholic and got the rotten end of the stick (catholic school for 8 years). My grandparents though, yeah, church every Sunday, no meat on Friday, etc., even though the teachings of the church had very little to do with the way they thought and did things. I well remember when my grandmother found out I was sexually active; the only thing she was concerned about was whether I had adequate protection. She did not want me to be a knocked-up teen like my mother. I assured her my BC was more than adequate, and that’s the last I heard about it.
It’s just what you do, part and parcel of being a “good person” and once you’ve shown up at church, dropped money in the basket, you wander off and don’t give it another thought until Sunday shows up again.
As for Esperanza Cabral, she has my respect.
The Catholic are even Trolling her facebook fanpage. http://www.facebook.com/pages/We-support-Sec-Esperanza-Cabral-for-curbing-HIV-and-unwanted-pregnancies/337025789432
Thanks for the Plug PZ, we are still pretty far from secularism but the attention helps. Any effort to draw attention to the Church’s intolerance and misguided aims and finally get the truth out is very welcome.
I would be surprized if she holds her job for much longer. I knew a previous minister for health who was a well respected physician. He tried to promote sex education, family planning, and even handed out free condoms. He lost his job within the month. I wish we could do more for these intelligent and brave public servants who dare oppose the catholic tyranny. Unfortunately it would probably not be in their best interest to be associated with “westerners” since many harbor a hatred of all Americans thanks to the lies of ignorant hate-mongering clerics.
Corrected for you.
many harbor a hatred of all Americans thanks to living with the effects of American foreign policy.
This is not a new fight. The Philippines has had to deal with this kind of crap for years. Back in the days of Cardinal Sin (his actual name), government agencies would regularly harass and even imprison condom manufacturers. And remember, these guys aren’t coming out to just say we should fire anyone who advocates condoms (although yes, the RCC is saying that), they are explicitly attempting to ban condoms altogether.
Anyone else getting ads to find yourself a Philippina beauty on the side of this blog post? It’s really quite a piece of Google Ads Fail.
David Marjanović says
Yes and yes, respectively.
I’ve never noticed that Filipinos are particularly anti-American. There a lot of them in California and the USA.