Anger · Charity

AIDS vs. Christianity

Husband sent me an email the other day with a link to this photo in it:

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I’ll give you a second to absorb the information in that photo…

Can you see the message it’s putting across? The map on the right shows the distribution and severity of the AIDS virus in Africa. The map on the left shows the concentration of religions (notably Christianity, in red) by country. There is an ALARMING correlation between the two maps, is there not?

When are we going to realise that religion is responsible for almost every major world issue that we’re facing today? The Catholic church is sending missionaries to African countries and spreading the belief that not only will they burn in hell for eternity if they use contraception, but that condoms do nothing to halt the spread of the disease  which is grossly wrong. The Wikipedia page on ‘Religion and HIV/AIDS’ says “Pope John Paul II strongly opposed the use of artificial birth control, and rejected the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV.[8] Pope Benedict XVI stated in 2005 that condoms were not a sufficient solution to the AIDS crisis,[9] but then in 2009 claimed that AIDS “cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.””

The irony of the statement above becomes even greater when you factor in the fact that the Catholic church considers AIDS and HIV to be a ‘gay’ disease and punishment for promiscuous behaviour, yet actively blocks gay marriage and the concept of monogamy for gay couples. We’ve let religion dictate our political decisions for far too long.

I’m by no means lumping every Christian into this category, but there are extremists in every denomination and the western world needs to wake up to the fact that telling citizens of a country which has an AIDS pandemic that condoms don’t protect against AIDS is religious extremism in its worst form.

It’s being reported that rape is being used as a weapon more than ever in many African nations since the explosion in infection rates of HIV and AIDS. The Unitied Nations University said “One striking difference between the use of rape as a weapon of war in pre-1990 conflicts and in latter-day wars is the emergence and “willful” transmission of HIV to the victims. Serious questions have been raised in the social science literature about the actual time of transmission and infection, and whether the “intent” of the perpetrators could conclusively be to infect the victim with HIV. Nonetheless, there is evidence from the victims’ accounts confirming the deliberate nature of these acts.

In her 2004 book, The Right to Survive: Sexual Violence, Women and HIV/AIDS, Françoise Nduwimana reported the testimony of one of the many rape victims during the genocide:

“For 60 days, my body was used as a thoroughfare for all the hoodlums, militia men and soldiers in the district.… Those men completely destroyed me; they caused me so much pain. They raped me in front of my six children.… Three years ago, I discovered I had HIV/AIDS. There is no doubt in my mind that I was infected during these rapes.””

People may blanch at the term ‘pro-choice’ but for me, being pro-choice isn’t just about abortion. Pro-choice means that EVERYONE has the right to choose. They have the right to choose to protect themselves against disease and poverty just as they also have a right to follow religious doctrine if they choose to. Preaching anti-contraception propaganda to vulnerable masses is dangerous.

Marie Stopes is doing fantastic work in Africa and other Third World countries to try to eliminate HIV and AIDS by providing contraception and family planning advice, as well as access to safe abortions and sexual health treatment. If you’d like to help them by donating to their cause, or simply educating yourself about the work that they do, you can GO HERE.

Do me a favour. Take another look at that map. Really think about the implications. Then think about the fact that 12 years ago, some Muslim extremists flew a plane into some buildings. 2996 people were killed that day and the USA and UK went to war with Iraq, leading to around 655,000 excess deaths, 601,027 of which were violent, according to The Lancet.

Through reading various publications, I found the following facts: Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 68% of all people living with HIV, however is only home to 12% of the world’s population. The vast majority of people in the region acquire the viurus during unprotected heterosexual intercourse or through breastfeeding as newborn babies. Of the estimated 22.9 million people living with AIDS in the region, 59% are women. Between 1999 and 2000, more people died of AIDS-related diseases in Africa than all the worlds wars combined. In 2010 alone, HIV/AIDS related diseases killed 1.2 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Almost 90% of the 16.6 million children orphaned by AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 2 million adolescents aged 10-19 are living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of them don’t even know they’re infected.

Why aren’t we going to war over that?

SOURCES

http://www.stephenlewisfoundation.org/assets/files/Materials%20-%20General/SLF_HIV-AIDS_factsheet.pdf

http://unu.edu/publications/articles/rape-and-hiv-as-weapons-of-war.html

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9 thoughts on “AIDS vs. Christianity

  1. |あなたがしている方法の仕方私は何提示この特定心配と確かに与えない私個人的にいくつかの|思考の飼料がたくさん。 それでも、からの何私が持っている見 、I 単純願いとして実際ご意見 残るであり続ける問題とません乗り出すにを始める伴うに関連付けられている他のいくつかの日の。 それでもポイント、この をありがとうございました、私は缶ない は本当に同意する全体でのアイデア、I に関してあなたの 見地。

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  3. あなたたちはである​​何あまりにもみんな大好き。 この種のカバレッジを賢い仕事や!私の| |私たち||私の個人的な 含ま組み込ま私がした働く男 を続けてください。

  4. While it is true that places where HIV/Aids prevalence rate is high are Christian, there other factors other than religion that have caused this. I come from Southern Africa and I believe that labour migration where men left their homes to work in the mines and would be away from their families for years was the main cause of increase. I know of my uncles who went to South Africa to work and only came back after three to four years. During that period they played around with prostitutes who took advantage of their situation.

  5. An interesting take on the situation, but I must take exception to some of your points.

    1 – The grey areas of the map include five of the ten most populous countries on the African continent yet they enjoy lower rates of HIV/AIDS infection than less populous countries further south.
    2- In re your comment regarding AIDS being ‘more prevalent amongst ex-colonies’ would you care to elaborate? Without wishing to be obtuse there are few countries that haven’t been colonised at one point or another, so your point is a rather vague one without clarity.
    To suggest that “the correlation between AIDS and Christianity seems to be spurious” is grossly incorrect. The countries enduring the worst rates of HIV/AIDS infection are Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabawe, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Cameroon. They are all Christian majorities. Is that mere coincidence?
    Many of the Northern countries on the African continent were colonies too, but they are predominantly Islamic, so your suggestion that colonialism begets both AIDS and Christianity is wide of the mark. Also it is worth noting at this juncture the use of condoms is permissible in the Islamic faith.
    3 – Further to your point regarding Catholics; central Africa has a population of 83.1million, 44% of which are Roman Catholic. These also happen to be the areas most affected by the spread of HIV/AIDS. Roman Catholics, as we know, believe that contraception is sinful, but many observant Christians of other denominations also believe that coitus interruptus is sinful.
    4 – Pope John Paul II’s point was/is perfectly utopian, but we don’t live in a perfect world (not that he would know that, as he spent a large portion of his life sat on golden thrones while his flock starved and died of disease and pestilence).
    His job as a spiritual leader should have been to ensure the physical and spiritual wellbeing of his followers. Not to sit in his ivory tower as a virgin casting down edicts damning his followers to a slow, painful death. He was an educated man. There is no excuse for his, or any other Pope’s, lack of insight.
    5. Papal recommendation of prophylactics would have saved millions of lives. To suggest otherwise is naïve or wilfully ignorant of the truth. Religious leaders hold the majority of power in Africa as education is sparse in large swathes of the continent. People look to their spiritual leaders for guidance and if those spiritual leaders (be they Christian or a.n.other African faith) recommended a course of action those recommendations would be followed en masse.
    Just look at the advice these poor, hapless fools follow in murdering children or adults to cure ‘curses’ and such like!
    6. Yes, Christian people do help in Africa, but they are shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. The state that Africa is in now can be attributed in no small part to the introduction of Christianity, so I don’t see why modern Christians deserve plaudits for their minor efforts to redress the damage done by their forebears.

  6. 1. The map looks at nominal figures, rather than per capita. Population in the red regions is much higher than in the grey regions, so you would expect the number of AIDS cases to be higher.
    2. Looked at globally, the correlation between AIDS and Christianity seems to be spurious. Globally, AIDS is more prevalent amongst ex-colonies, so it seems that colonialism caused both Christianity and AIDS, rather than Christianity causing AIDS. Specifically in Africa, AIDS correlates strongly with good governance, which is why rates are lower in the north than the south.
    3. It’s only Catholics for whom the use of condoms was traditionally banned, and many of the countries in Southern and Central Africa have quite low rates of Catholicism.
    4. Pope John Paul II’s position was to encourage monogamous loving relationships, through which AIDS would not be spread. He believed that condoms would result in more promiscuity, a large proportion of it without condoms, and therefore increase the spread of AIDS.
    5. It’s not clear that a Papal Bull would have resulted in more widespread use of condoms. There is a general anti-condom culture – think of Jacob Zuma, who’s not Christian at all. Anecdotally, people report that
    6. Christians do a lot of good in Africa – providing and strongly encouraging the use of condoms, education, HIV clinics, etc. For example, look at Christian Aid – http://www.christianaid.org.uk/images/HIVSAVELeaflet2010.pdf.

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