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Heal, Do Not Proselytize

Did you hear about the Bush administration official and the madam? He is faith based and married. She provided him with “massages.” The public learned about this. So he resigned.

The faith-based official in question is Randall L. Tobias, until recently Deputy Secretary of State and the one running the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). To receive funding from PEPFAR a country or an aid organization is required to oppose prostitution.

Yes, indeed, the guy that used an "escort service" for "massages," was offering poor Africans help with AIDS but only if they do without prostitution. Only abstinence is allowed. Get that? The man who can't control his own sexual impulses tells poor and unfortunate Africans to control their sexual desires. If they do, they'll get money; if they do not they will not get money.

Would you call such a person a hypocrite? Of course. But the point I want to make is more important than hypocrisy. I don't care what government officials believe and I don't care if they sometimes do not conform to their beliefs. But I care very much how they act when representing the U.S.

PEPFAR is supposed to help fight the AIDS epidemic. It should be used to heal the sick, not to impose the morality of the religious right upon the poor of Africa. Obviously, abstinence always works. But just as obviously, few are those who can maintain their abstinence in the face of temptation. Prostitution has been with us since the beginning of man and woman and will stay with us indefinitely. Ask Randall Tobias about this.

To truly help stem the AIDS epidemic, we should offer funding without moralistic conditions. We should offer advice about ALL the possible ways of healing the sick and preventing HIV from infecting the healthy. Let's not adopt this holier-than-thou attitude and force Africans to adopt our (Bush administration) faith-based ways.

PEPFAR should help and heal, not politicize and proselytize.

Posted by Paul Siegel at May 3, 2007 4:00 PM
Comment #219247

You must have forgot that God speaks directly to George W Bush!

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 3, 2007 4:40 PM
Comment #219249

Paul: George W Bush speaks to the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus everyday. That is why we can’t leave Iraq, the Easter Bunny will be upset.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 3, 2007 4:47 PM
Comment #219253


I don’t understand why you consider abstinence to particularly “moralistic” or “faith-based.”
In fact, I believe that in the face of a deadly and thus-far incurable disease, some degree of abstinence is a necessity for survival. It also makes sense, for the same reason, that prostitution should be either outlawed or VERY heavily regulated in that part of the world.

We should offer advice about ALL the possible ways of healing the sick and preventing HIV from infecting the healthy.

All except the parts about abstinence and prostitution?

“To slow the spread of the epidemic, PEPFAR supports a variety of prevention programs: the ABC approach (Abstain, Be faithful, and correct and consistent use of Condoms)…”

Do you really have a problem with that particular part of the plan? Do you think we should take the “A” part out just because some religion happens to suggests it? If so, you are the one imposing morals.

Posted by: TheTraveler at May 3, 2007 5:40 PM
Comment #219254


I want to say that I agree with where you come out in your post, but I do disagree with how you got there. I agree with you in a very broad and basic sense, that faith should not be a prerequisite for obtaining help from a non-theocratic (cough, cough) government. Nor should the tenets of specific faiths be the way policy for aid programs (or any government programs) gets decided. However, I see nothing wrong with having rules for the receiving of aid by foreign governments in order to achieve larger goals, be they economic, social, or political, as long as they are not “faith-based” in and of themselves.

Let me put it another way. Where I think you and I differ is in the interpretation of the “offering poor Africans help with AIDS but only if they do without prostitution” phraseology. You see it as a tenet of faith pushed my Mr. Tobias down the throats of sick Africans, whereas I beleive there are many ways to see it. Perhaps it is an attempt to lower the instances of AIDS by convincing the governments of countries receiving aid that abstinence is a good policy to promote. This is simply an example of where a solid (although misguided and rediculous) policy happens to be shared by both the head of PEPFAR and the religion he belongs to. It does not mean that it is the policy because he belongs to that religion.

Posted by: sows_ear_soup at May 3, 2007 5:48 PM
Comment #219281

Paul Siegel, tonights Republican candidate debate was frought with such illogical hypocrisies.

One candidate actually said ‘the candidate who believes in their heart what they are doing is right will be the best president’ or words to that effect. By that standard, Osama bin Laden would be the best president. Truly laughable.

Then, another Republican candidate who is pro-war, anti-mission change in Iraq, actually said the sanctity of life is the most important of all values. Unbelievable.

I am confident however, at least 31% of Americans will vote for him if he is nominated. Now that is sad!

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 3, 2007 10:44 PM
Comment #219296


I hate to break the news to you, but abstinence is the one and only way to 100% prevent the sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS!

Your argument that abstinence is a Christian or fait-based morality is only partially correct. Yes Jesus taught that you should abstain from sexual relations with anyone you are not married to. However, with your spouse it is a different story. Just read Song of Solomon.

Below is a web link to a site for One Life Revolution One Life that will provide you with a clearer picture of the HIV/AIDS epedemic in Africa. Be forwarned it is a site that is a joint venture between 2 faith-based organizations.

Mr. Tobias despite his shortcomings which we all have (remember Christian teaching is that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God) he was attempting to make a difference for countless people effected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Unfortunately those most effected tend to be innocent children orphaned by this killer. I am also trying to make a difference for these kids. If you are interested in my efforts you can go to my site One Life Ride . My question to you is are you trying to do anything to improve the HIV/AIDS situation in Africa or simply playing politics with the issue and Mr. Tobias’ shortcomings?

Posted by: Kirk at May 4, 2007 2:14 AM
Comment #219301

At least Tobias did the right thing and resigned. The dems call them victims and promote them…

Posted by: Cliff at May 4, 2007 8:42 AM
Comment #219303

David Remer,

I’m confused by your remarks…

Believing in doing the right thing is unbelievable?
Valuing life is laughable?

So that means:

Having no belief in doing right is believable and valuing death is is no laughing matter.

What’s up?

Posted by: Will at May 4, 2007 8:49 AM
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