AIDS, Condoms, and Sex...Knights of Columbus and other Catholics Promote Genocidal Stupidity

Theists often say, "What's so bad about religion? People believe what they want to believe and don't harm anyone."

When confronted with bad ideas and actions stemming from religion, theists often offer glib excuses such as "Religion isn't the problem, people are," "Oh, that person wasn't a TRUE CHRISTIAN," or "One person or one group doesn't represent the whole."

In 2003, a senior Vatican spokesman said that AIDS can pass through condoms and priests have said that condoms are laced with AIDS.

The WHO has condemned the Vatican's views, saying: "These incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million."

The organisation says "consistent and correct" condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90%. There may be breakage or slippage of condoms - but not, the WHO says, holes through which the virus can pass.

In 2009, Pope Benedict announced that condoms can make AIDS worse in a speech directed to Sub-Saharan Africans. About 2/3 of AIDS deaths occur in these very Catholic regions that are heavily influenced by the Pope. What other reason, do you think, besides religious belief, would lead a person to say something so false, dangerous, and deadly to a population plagued with AIDS? The church's teachings on condoms are clearly to blame for this comment of genocidal stupidity. Pope Benedict apparently thinks that not using condoms is more important than the lives of an entire population of people.

In another previous post of mine, I show that religious belief causes severe sexual health problems for various individuals - people are fed false information about sex and suffer because of it. According to the article,

Several physicians were claiming that with missionaries came more patients claiming that prayer would heal any malady they might face, and thus HIV prevention and/or treatment mattered little.
If asked about their husband’s condom usage, the answer was often “never.” After we explained the risks inherent in this behavior, one response from a woman was “God will protect me, I am a Christian.” Another said, “My husband is a Christian and says the Bible says not to use condoms.” Or better yet, I also heard, “If I get sick, it is God’s will.”

The Knights of Columbus follow up with the same nonsense in The Philippines. These Knights of Columbus members are fighting against the most effective prevention method in the battle with AIDS. According to the article from Catholic News Agency,

Knights of Columbus in the Philippines are preparing to rally against the government’s pro-contraceptive campaign as lawmakers debate population control programs that promote condoms and birth control pills. One organizer said the program is “an immoral and misguided weapon.”

The Philippines’ Department of Health has been advocating contraceptives and condoms to stop unwanted pregnancies and to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“Like what others are saying, we believe that there’s no such thing as safe sex,” Tan [the Knights of Columbus’ Luzon Deputy] added, according to CBCPNews.

“Widespread and indiscriminate promotion of condoms is an immoral and misguided weapon in our battle against AIDS.”

What do professionals have to say?

According to the CDC,

Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing heterosexual sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Research on the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing heterosexual transmission is both comprehensive and conclusive. The ability of latex condoms to prevent transmission has been scientifically established in laboratory studies as well as in epidemiologic studies of uninfected persons at very high risk of infection because they were involved in sexual relationships with HIV-infected partners.

In a 2006 Knights of Columbus publication linked on the KOC website, an author argues that promoting condom use is introducing people to "dangerous and immoral" lifestyles.

What are the main issues and ideas here?

  • In teaching kids how to use condoms, teachers communicate the message that they do not believe that they (teens) can live a moral life.
  • No condom can protect their heart and their soul, or ensure sound psychological development.
  • virtues training and abstinence
  • for the past 20 years, school sex education programs,or “safe sex” programs, have worked aggressively at trying to convince sexually active teens to use c o n d o m s .The result? During these efforts, sexually transmitted infections among youth have risen. Nevertheless, advocating condom use makes adults feel like they a r e d o i n g s o m e t h i n g about the problem, when in fact we may be making it worse
  • Promoting condom use can make the problem worse for teens in several different ways.
  • promoting condom use to kids promotes a risky lifestyle.
  • it is in fact immoral to allow anyone to believe that he is protected from infections by using a condom
The author says that "I believe that it is in fact immoral to allow anyone to believe that he is protected from infections by using a condom, when, in fact, the scientific data now show otherwise."

It doesn't logically follow that teaching teenagers about responsible sex will make them "immoral sex machines" who behave irresponsibly. If anything, teens who are informed about sex will act more responsibly. Condoms don't make STDs worse; they reduce the rates of STDs and AIDS.

...what does the data really show?

Condoms greatly reduce the risk of getting or passing on many STDs, including HIV.

Studies on couples where one partner is infected show that with consistent condom use, HIV infection rates for the uninfected partner are below 1% per year.

High rates of condom use have resulted in dramatic drops in the numbers of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). After condom use rates rose among Thai sex workers from 14% in 1989 to 94% five years later, STIs dropped from 400,000 to 30,000 per year. Condom use in Thailand and Cambodia has resulted in drops of HIV rates of more than 80% since the peak of the epidemics.

Overwhelming scientific evidence indicates that latex condoms stop the spread of HIV and therefore save lives.

Latex condoms, used consistently and correctly, are 98-99% effective in preventing HIV
transmission. Two rigorous studies of couples in which one person is infected with HIV and the other is not (known as “discordant couples”) indicate that HIV is very rarely transmitted when condoms are always used.

  • In one study of 123 discordant couples who used condoms every time they had sex, none of the uninfected partners became infected. But among 122 couples who used condoms inconsistently, 12 uninfected partners became infected.

  • In a separate study of discordant couples, three of 171 (two percent) uninfected female partners became infected when their HIV-infected partners reportedly always used condoms. However, eight of 55 (15 percent) inconsistent condom users became infected.

Studies cited by some to question the effectiveness of condoms in HIV prevention generally have significant design flaws. For example:

  • Certain studies do not distinguish between consistent and inconsistent condom use – which is similar to studying the effectiveness of seat belts but including people who do not
    always use them.

  • Some studies do not always assess HIV status before enrolling participants; therefore, it is
    likely that some “uninfected” partners were actually infected before entering the trial.
In a 2010 speech to the Knights of Columbus, "Most Rev. Rodolfo F. Beltran, Ph.D, D.D.
Apostolic Vicar- Bontoc Lagawe" talks about "battles" that the Knights must fight. Included in this "battle" is fighting against the production and open distribution of condoms.

We have other battles to fight against. The battle against the family. Charity begins at home—an element of neighborliness. Brother Knights we continue with firmer determination to lift up and sustain the true meaning of married life and love. There’s no substitute for chaste love. Let us make our homes holy. Let us safeguard the vocation of marriage and the central place of the family in society.

We have the battle against the production and open distribution of condoms by the Department of Health to reduce the fast growth of population. Let us strongly uphold the truth and continue to live by our soled moral principles. Let us earnestly enlighten our people with our solid ethical stand that such gadgets are not only anti AID or anti population measures, but promote promiscuity on the young and infidelity on the married couples. Likewise, our consistent stand against abortion and contraceptive pills which are anti life.

...and condoms aren't the sole weapon in the battle of STD/AIDS prevention. Know your partner. Be responsible. Be informed.

Comprehensive school health education -- including encouraging teens to delay sexual activity and providing them with appropriate, scientifically accurate information on the effectiveness of condoms – is critical.

Teens are among those most likely to have multiple sex partners and engage in unprotected sex, and therefore are at highest behavioral risk for acquiring most STDs.

Extensive research indicates that comprehensive school health education programs that include information on condom use do not encourage teens to initiate sex at an earlier age or engage in more frequent sex if they are already sexually active.

  • In a recent Swiss study of 16- to 19-year-olds, a sex education program did not increase either the level of sexual activity or the number of sex partners. Importantly, though, among those who were sexually active, condom use did increase.

  • A World Health Organization review of 19 studies of sex education programs found there was no evidence that sex education leads to earlier or increased sexual activity in young people. In fact, six studies showed that sex education programs actually led to a delay or decrease in sexual activity. Ten of the studies showed that educationprograms increased safer sex practices among young people who were already
    sexually active.

It's quite clear - responsibility, education, and facts are effective ways to prevent AIDS. Stopping the distribution of condoms, promoting abstinence-only education, and saying that condoms make AIDS worse are condemning people to death.

Of course, not all Catholics and Knights of Columbus members hold the views of the Vatican or some Knights of Columbus members, but this doesn't take away the responsibility of Catholics of Knights of Columbus members. If you are a Catholic and/or a Knights of Columbus member, you should speak out against this genocidal stupidity. The positions that the Knights of Columbus, The Vatican, and various Catholics hold are untenable.