Cult of the con­dom

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Pope Bene­dict XVI is un­der fire for re­it­er­at­ing the Catholic Church’s op­po­si­tion to con­dom use while on his first pil­grim­age to Africa. The pon­tiff told re­porters that con­doms are not the so­lu­tion to the AIDS epi­demic rav­aging the con­ti­nent; rather, they “ag­gra­vate” the prob­lem.

His com­ments sparked a firestorm. “My re­ac­tion is that this rep­re­sents a ma­jor step back­ward in terms of global health ed­u­ca­tion, is en­tirely coun­ter­pro­duc­tive, and is likely to lead to in­creases in HIV in­fec­tion in Africa and else­where,” said Quentin Sat­ten­tau, a pro­fes­sor of im­munol­ogy at Bri­tain’s Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity.

Even the French gov­ern­ment got in­volved. “While it is not up to us to pass a judg­ment on the doc­trines of the church, we con­sider that such re­marks put in dan­ger pub­lic health pol­icy and im­per­a­tive needs re­gard­ing the pro­tec­tion of hu­man life,” a For­eign Min­istry spokesman said. We can al­ways count on the French to fight — to the last man, if nec­es­sary — for the right to strap on a plas­tic rub­ber for recre­ational sex.

How­ever, Pope Bene­dict sim­ply re­stated the church’s longheld view that sex­ual ab­sti­nence and fi­delity within tra­di­tional mar­riage is the most ef­fec­tive way to pre­vent the spread of HIV in­fec­tion. He is right: AIDS is a dis­ease caused by be­hav­ior; it is not hered­i­tary or ge­netic. HIV is most com­monly trans­mit­ted by sex be­tween men, in­tra­venous drug use and het­ero­sex­ual sex. It is a dis­ease that pri­mar­ily plagues ho­mo­sex­u­als, drug users and those who en­gage in pro­mis­cu­ous sex with mul­ti­ple, over­lap­ping part­ners. Cor­rect­ing th­ese be­hav­iors will dra­mat­i­cally curb the HIV in­fec­tion rate.

More­over, dis­tribut­ing con­doms has not been ef­fec­tive but has only made the sit­u­a­tion worse. Nearly 22 mil­lion peo­ple in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa are in­fected with HIV. The AIDS cri­sis threat­ens the con­ti­nent’s eco­nomic and so­cial sta­bil­ity. Africa is short on many things — food, wa­ter, good gov­er­nance — but con­doms is not one of them. United Na­tions, health and fam­ily plan­ning agen­cies have re­lent­lessly pro­moted them for years. Yet, con­doms are not the so­lu­tion for one sim­ple rea­son: Their use en­cour­ages reck­less sex­ual ac­tiv­ity, a ma­jor source of the pan­demic.

Con­trary to the claims of so­called “ex­perts,” con­doms are not in­fal­li­ble. Many of them break, tear or come off dur­ing in­ter­course. Wear­ing a con­dom while hav­ing sex out­side of mar­riage is a form of Rus­sian roulette — a high-stakes game that comes with a po­ten­tially dev­as­tat­ing price.

Birth con­trol leads to higher rates of sex­ual ac­tiv­ity. Con­doms cre­ate the il­lu­sion that they of­fer pro­tec­tion from the moral and phys­i­cal con­se­quences of sex. Hence, in­di­vid­u­als in­creas­ingly en­gage in per­mis­sive, risky be­hav­ior, ex­pand­ing their ap­petite for more sex­ual plea­sure. The re­sult is a sex-ob­sessed, pro­mis­cu­ous cul­ture in which some­times con­doms are used and other times they’re not, de­pend­ing on the per­son’s “mood.”

Thus, AIDS is metas­ta­siz­ing across Africa be­cause too many peo­ple have no re­gard for their bodies, and are will­ing to en­gage in deadly be­hav­ior. All the con­doms in the world will not change this dys­func­tional cul­ture. Only a spir­i­tual re­vival — one that is be­ing led by the Catholic Church — can ul­ti­mately al­ter hearts, minds and ac­tions.

The pope’s crit­ics do not have to look at Africa for ev­i­dence that con­doms are in­ef­fec­tive in com­bat­ing AIDS. All they must do is look closer to home: Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

The District’s of­fi­cial re­port two weeks ago was as­tound­ing: The num­ber of peo­ple with HIV in­fec­tions rose 22 per­cent from 2006 to 2007. More omi­nously, the re­port said 6.5 per­cent of the city’s black men are in­fected — that is more than 1 in 20. The dis­ease is dec­i­mat­ing not only the District’s gay com­mu­nity, but its African-Amer­i­can neigh­bor­hoods. Yet, the city has a ma­jor con­dom dis­tri­bu­tion pro­gram: More than 1.5 mil­lion con­doms were dis­trib­uted in 2008. In other words, it is rain­ing con­doms and still the District’s AIDS rate is soar­ing. The an­swer is not free birth con­trol or more sex ed­u­ca­tion, but a re­turn to the old Judeo-Chris­tian moral or­der — mar­riage, ab­sti­nence and per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity.

From its in­cep­tion, con­tra­cep­tion was in­tended to sup­plant tra­di­tional moral­ity; to re­place the ethic of self-con­trol, chastity and sex for pro­cre­ation with a new one of sex­ual recre­ation. Ar­ti­fi­cial birth con­trol was one of the most rev­o­lu­tion­ary — and de­struc­tive — in­ven­tions of the 20th cen­tury. It has fos­tered a shal­low sec­u­lar­ism based on he­do­nism and amoral in­di­vid­u­al­ism.

The sex­ual revo­lu­tion of the 1960s de­stroyed the old Amer­ica, which was char­ac­ter­ized by the nu­clear fam­ily and Chris­tian­ity. Rad­i­cals, such as Her­bert Mar­cuse and other New Left gu­rus, un­der­stood that over­throw­ing bour­geois civ­i­liza­tion and cap­i­tal­ism de­pended upon de­stroy­ing their cul­tural un­der­pin­nings. Mar­cuse cham­pi­oned the “plea­sure prin­ci­ple,” ar­gu­ing for a new so­ci­ety cen­tered on sex­ual grat­i­fi­ca­tion. He openly called for “poly­mor­phous per­ver­sity,” such as con­tra­cep­tion, free love, abor­tion, pornog­ra­phy, ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and di­vorce.

For left­ist rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies, the pill and the con­dom have served as the ham­mer and sickle of cul­tural Marx­ism. “Birth con­trol ap­peals to the ad­vanced rad­i­cal be­cause it is cal­cu­lated to un­der­mine the au­thor­ity of the Chris­tian churches,” said Mar­garet Sanger, founder of Planned Par­ent­hood. “I look for­ward to see­ing hu­man­ity free some­day of the tyranny of Chris­tian­ity no less than cap­i­tal­ism.”

That day has come. The 1960s coun­ter­cul­ture has tri­umphed. Its deca­dent val­ues now reign supreme, slowly sap­ping the West of its moral vi­tal­ity. It has failed, how­ever, to smash the Catholic Church. The Vat­i­can is the last line of re­sis­tance.

The lib­eral elite know this. Hence, their re­lent­less as­sault on Pope Bene­dict. The re­cent at­tacks on him have noth­ing to do with Africa or stop­ping the scourge of HIV. The deadly virus has killed 25 mil­lion around the world — part of the sex­ual revo­lu­tion’s count­less vic­tims. No other so­cial in­sti­tu­tion has done more to fight AIDS or as­sist Africa’s poor than the Ro­man Catholic Church. The real is­sue is more ex­is­ten­tial — and bel­liger­ent: the re­place­ment of Chris­tian­ity with the new quasi-re­li­gion of sex­ual lib­er­a­tion.

It is the cult of the con­dom, and it does not tol­er­ate any other gods.

Jef­frey T. Kuh­ner is a colum­nist at The Wash­ing­ton Times and pres­i­dent of the Ed­mund Burke In­sti­tute, a Wash­ing­ton think tank.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.