More on the Pope’s visit to Africa as it progresses. But the New York Times and others are jumping, hard, on a first story: Pope Says Condoms Make AIDS Problem Worse.
He’s right, by logic anyone would recognize. But that’s not how the story’s being played.
The New York Times story starts by quoting Pope Benedict XVI speaking to reporters on the plane to Yaounde, Cameroon.
Pope Benedict says of the AIDS crisis: “You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.”
The Times allows for this explanation: “The pope said a responsible and moral attitude toward sex would help fight the disease.”
But it quickly marshals AIDS activist Rebecca Hodes answering back with: “His opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans.”
Nonsense. Rebecca Hodes’ sexual dogma is more important to her than the lives of Africans.
Think of it this way: Imagine the problem was about electrical wires instead of sex. Say the young men and women of Africa just loved to play on electrical wires, but many of them were dying of electric shock.
Activists from the UN Fund for Safe Playtime might say: “Everyone must fund our ‘wear rubber gloves’ campaign. We’re teaching young people that they must wear rubber gloves and then they can play on electrical wires all they want.”
Common sense would say: “Wait a second. Maybe they shouldn’t play with electrical wires at all. In other countries, it’s simply taboo. These countries have successfully avoided an epidemic of electrical wire deaths.”
Only in a world gone mad in its views of playing on electrical wires would serious people say: “Come on, kids will be kids. You can tell them not to play on electrical wires 1,000 times and you know what? They’re still going to play on electrical wires. Let them have their fun. Talk about the importance of rubber gloves, instead.”
In that world gone mad, the rubber glove campaign would spread throughout Africa. Orlando Bloom would appear in ads made by the UN Fund for Safe Playtime. He would appear swinging from an electrical wire and wearing a big rubber glove, saying, “I love playing on electrical wires, just like you. But I always wear my rubber gloves!”
The stigma about electrical wires would grow less and less.
And then ... More and more young people would die. Condom promoters may be the only ones who haven’t noticed that young people often forget or shrug off things like driving carefully, drinking responsibly, or avoiding other risky behaviors.
Once you promote playing on electrical lines with rubber gloves, you’re sure to have to deal with the zapped shells of kids.
And once you promote playing around with sex, you’re marching more and more young people to their doom.