Friday, November 25, 2005

"Fighting" AIDS and the deaths caused by morally silent Christianity

World Vision, a Christian group, recently published on Five Ways to Fight AIDS. They note that in the last year an estimated 3,100,000 people have died of AIDS, which is more by a huge margin than the tsunami and the hurricanes combined. Their suggestions? 1. Pray; 2. Sponsor; 3. Be an Advocate; 4. Run, Walk, Bike, or Swim; 5. Spread the Word.

The World Vision article is typical of many, and the remainder of this entry does not concern World Vision in particular, but the general "morally silent Christian" approach of which they are an example. Of that approach, it is all very kind and well-intentioned. But it is not helpful in stopping the spread of AIDS in the same way as reducing the top risky behaviors -- IV drug use and promiscuity. This morally silent stance is supposed to be non-judgmental. And it is. It's also directly culpable in letting people continue at high risk of death, so that millions more are expected to die.

It's no big surprise when some secular groups are against what Christians would recognize as morality. Despite the obvious destructive effects of drug use and promiscuity, secular groups are slow to speak against these actions because of their determination to be anti-religious, even if that stance costs millions of lives a year by current estimates. It is, perhaps, testimony to how intense is the secular hatred of religion that they will not consider "monogamous and drug-free" among the solutions. This despite the fact that simple monogamy and refraining from drug use would be the most cost-effective and long-lasting way to solve the problem. Still, that is not even permitted serious discussion. The permissive approach looks at the root of the problem and absolutely refuses to tackle it. This ensures the continued spread of the disease. Due to the constraints of reality, the "preventive" measures will occasionally fail, but promote the continuation of the exact behaviors that spread this deadly disease.

It may be predictable that secularists take this approach. What is less excusable is when Christian groups consign millions of people to die because they are afraid of being called names. Who cares if people call us names if we are saving lives? Are we really so frightened of name-calling, or so naive as to think the anti-Christian bias from the secularists will stop if only we won't condemn today's popular pet sins? Do we really think we're doing a favor to those at risk of dying by allowing them to feel unjudged in their destructive behavior? Do we imagine they'll thank us when they're dying that at least we didn't speak up when it could have helped? Or are we so confused about morality ourselves that we're unwilling to preach it in order to save lives, as if that were not among the legitimate purposes of morality?

The best thing we could do for high-risk AIDS areas is to send missionaries to teach forgiveness of sins and new life in Christ's name, and to stop living decadent lives. A condom protects you from AIDS today but not when the box is empty; monogamy protects you from AIDS for free and forever. Clean needles protect you from AIDS while you have a supply of clean needles; not shooting up protects you permanently.

I hope to follow up in the future with why Christians must reclaim monogamy as a good message.

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