Royce Dunn is and has always been an inspiration to me. For those of you not already aware of this, Royce was the creator of the Life Chain concept, and over the years, he has grown that pro-life activity into a nationwide witness in defense of life that always occurs during October, which is Respect Life Month.
The first Life Chain, held in 1987, drew over 2,000 participants. By 2008, there were over 1,600 chains across the North American continent. Surely, the Lord has blessed Royce’s vision in many ways.
Royce is not someone who will sit by idly and watch the deceptive rhetoric that seems to spew forth every time anything remotely moral is stated or spoken in a public venue. So recently, when Pope Benedict XVI made his comments regarding AIDS and the ineffectiveness of the condom, Royce felt compelled to send the following letter to the editor of his local newspaper:
Curbing AIDS in Africa with Truth
“In a time of universal deceit,” wrote George Orwell, “telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” That was confirmed by Pope Benedict’s recent comment about controlling AIDS in Africa—namely, that condom distribution worsens the epidemic.
While major media denounced the pope, informed defenders promptly spoke, including Edward Green,Director of AIDS Prevention Research Project at Harvard’s Center for Population and Development Studies. Green said “the best evidence we have” shows a “consistent association” between increased availability of condoms and higher HIV-infection rates. He attributed the increase to “risk compensation,” meaning false security leads to high-risk sex, as decades of research confirm.
Dr. Edward Herold saw the pregnancy controller he called “sexual guilt” fall from 41% to 8% when unmarried teens use contraceptives. For adults to provide or recommend contraceptives to youth has had catastrophic results and helps explain why teen pregnancy skyrocketed, why America’s illegitimacy rate climbed since 1950 from 4% to 40%, and why STD strains increased from four to over two dozen. Planned Parenthood style family planning deceives, fails, and kills.
Green said the “only” solution to Africa’s epidemic is a “spiritual and human renewal” that brings a “new way of behaving towards one another” and that involves “true friendship” with those who are suffering from AIDS. Africa’s success story is Uganda’s recovery, which applied what Green referenced: abstinence, monogamy, and care for the suffering. Green said successful programs are simple, low-cost, and promote “behavioral change.” Swaziland and Botswana have begun such programs.
A Protestant with a deep appreciation of truth versus fiction, Royce would be appalled at what a Catholic priest recently wrote in his blog about the very same papal statement. Monsignor Harry Byrne told his readers,
Regrettably, Pope Benedict XVI provided a graphic example of how his ideology denied and even contradicted the facts. On his recent flight Rome to Africa, he was questioned about the legitimacy of condom use to prevent AIDs. He responded by stating that condom use, not only did not prevent AIDs, but actually increased its risk. It was as though B16 had become a B29 as the bomb he had dropped exploded in a storm of protest from the scientific, media, non-Catholic and Catholic populist ranks. Immersed in his long and foursquare opposition to condom use for what he judged were moral reasons, he was found to be, not only denying facts, but actually twisting them to support his position. The storm blew back to the Vatican, where damage control efforts hurriedly got underway, reaching even to some twisting in Vatican editing and translation of the pope’s remarks…
Denial of facts by force of ideology is unfortunately too commonplace in our Church. In the condom dust-up, B16 insists that the African tribes practice sexual abstinence as the only effective way to combat AIDs… Is Benedict not living in an unreal world when he dismisses scientific facts to support his moral view about condoms? The much-needed reform in our beloved Church will come only when those in charge accord experiential reality its due recognition and acceptance instead of worshipping before the constructs of their own deductive processes. Like “Jesus was a man; therefore only men can be priests.” Please!
Note, if you will, how this Catholic priest insults Pope Benedict XVI, suggests that Catholic teaching is really nothing more than an ideology and moves on to suggest that the “real world” would permit Catholics to advocate sinful behavior! My, oh my! But the most egregious aspect of Monsignor Byrne’s rhetorical gymnastics is that he is still aligning himself with the Catholic Church and that his bishop has not sent him off to sell ice cubes to Eskimos!
Royce Dunn provides verifiable facts while Monsignor Byrne doodles in hyperbole and dissent. Which commentary would you believe? The stark contrast between these two pieces of writing goes hand in hand with much of the propaganda that is published under the guise of being truthful. Perhaps this is why an ever-increasing number of Americans not only differ with hard evidence, but also dispute it by resorting to name calling and rants rooted in ignorance.
But what about these statements made by professionals who are certainly not aligned with a religious organization of any kind, such as this? “You just can’t tell people it’s all right to do whatever you want as long as you wear a condom. It (AIDS) is just too dangerous a disease to say that,” quoting Dr. Harold Jaffee, chief of epidemiology, National Centers for Disease Control, USA.
Or this? “Simply put, condoms fail. And condoms fail at a rate unacceptable for me as a physician to endorse them as a strategy to be promoted as meaningful AIDS protection,” quoting Dr. Robert Renfield, chief of retroviral research at the Walter Reed Army Institute.
Or this? “Relying on condoms for ‘protection’ can mean lifelong disease, suffering, and even death for you or for someone you love,” quoting Dr. Andre Lafrance, a Canadian physician and researcher.
And finally this compelling commentary from Nigeria:
The West is addicted to technology as a substitute for free will and moral effort. If you eat too much, you get gastric banding surgery. If you’re depressed, you take Prozac. If you’re a smoker, you wear nicotine patches. Here in Africa, this fantasy has collided with the reality of the AIDS crisis. There is no technology to tame sexual desire. There is only self-restraint and faithfulness to your partner. These will eventually rein in AIDS; condoms won’t.
The point is that there is evidence, available in the public domain, that exposes the false nature of claims that the condom will protect loved ones from AIDS. The second point is that such evidence is denied, debunked or ignored. The reason for this disconnect with reality is that truth is inconvenient for our sexually saturated society, which obviously includes at least one Catholic priest. Far too many are unwilling to admit that abstinent behavior is the only foolproof way to protect against the spread of AIDS.
Finally, it is with a sincere debt of gratitude that I suggest to you that it would be a very good idea to visit the Human Life International web site and sign the petition that is going to be given to Pope Benedict XVI.
The words of the petition truly say all that needs to be said on this subject:
Dear Holy Father,
Please accept our heartfelt love and admiration for your prophetic and courageous proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in season and out of season. We are in deep solidarity with you against the terrible distortions and attacks by condom-promoters in the press and, even more shamefully, in governments.
The Vicar of Christ will always be a sign of contradiction to those blinded by ideology. Your words of compassion and common sense are to be praised highly. Thank you for your witness of hope and love to a world that is increasingly hostile to the truth, especially if it calls into question the foundations of the “Sexual Revolution.”