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Playing political football with peoples' lives

By jardinier ·
I mentioned to a journalist colleague in Moscow that I considered Ronald Reagan had a lot to answer for in treating AIDS as a joke, as did Pope John Paul II for effectively denying access to condoms in some African countries.

His reply is most interesting:

You will see that his reply covers other American political issues as well. Oh, and by the way. I met this person through the Christian website to which I post.


I completely agree with you about both Reagan and John Paul II. Much of what I am about to say is going to brand me as "anti-Christian" in most fundamentalist and evangelical circles. This includes both Non-Catholic and Catholic circles alike. So be it. I believe that my veiws are scriptural and in the end I must face Our Lord and no living man as my judge. The reason I say this is simple. In the United States the mindset to equate "conservative" (which is actually "reactionary") politics to Christianity is completely entrenched among the fundamentalist and evangelical segments of both movements of our faith.

I could name five or six others aside from Reagan ... in the present US Government and in previous ones ... who are guilty of the same or worse at various stages since the epidemic became evident as well. This callous and cynical behavior effects both major parties but is far more prevelent in the Republican Party and is actively used by them as a campaign "weapon". If you will look at the public stances of the entire leadership of that party you will see exactly what I mean.

For politicians in the U.S. from either side of the spectrum, it's very simple. It is not just Reagan, it is the overall policy of his entire party. On the Democratic side they use the reverse strategy ... just as empty ... to try and accomplish the same thing. In the end they do nothing at all but the rhetoric "sounds good" to their "target audience" and garners votes.

As to the Pope, he is more guilty of a personal morality choice than are the politicians. While he was wrong, I believe that he was sincere. He was a product of a time and culture that bred such thought and behavior and a product of the most entrenched and staid branch of his Church on earth. The Catholic Church of Poland is conservative to the point of being reactionary simply becuause it was forced into such a stance in order to preserve the faith under Communist repression and persecution.

Before that, it was Nazi repression and persecution ... prior to that it was persecution of Roman Catholics in Poland and the Ukraine by the Orthodox Christian Tsarist Russians. Now, how does this excuse John Paul II? It doesn't. But it does explain him. He was still wrong and did much harm in this and other areas. He also did much good. His biggest flaw was being dogmatic and rigid and refusing to change.

This is a trait that we find not only in him but in most of those who went through the Stalinist and Nazi periods in nations effected by those plagues. Once again. He was sincere, but he was sincerely wrong. The thing is that none of his acts or beliefs were codified into official Catholic doctrine so change, although slow in coming, will come to the Catholic Chruch as a whole. We are begining to see it even now.

This is not so with the case of US politics. Much of the outright reactionary rhetoric and barbaric practices of politicians do wind up in legislation and legislation, like taxation, is never "temporary". It is almost impossible to rid oneself of once it is enacted.

When the Republicans go into office all semblence of health care, health research and health awareness goes out the window and down the loo. This is more evident than usual concerning AIDS since AIDS is a "political" issue to them linked to "homosexuality" which is a way of attracting votes from the conservatice, fundamentalist evangelical Christians in the country.

Recall what I said about "single issue" thinking and willingness to accept "authority" without question and you will see what is done. The "follow the leader because he is the leader" mindset and "single issue" mentality are so common among fundamentalist evangelicals and ultra-conservative Catholics that issues like this one can be used to produce a temporary unity on a "single-issue" basis that will sway an election in some cases. In short, they play Christianity against itself in order to form a political base ... something that Our Lord would weep over were he to be walking the earth today.

It's cynical and it's callous. It borders on the criminal but it is a very typical tactic for the Republican Party and has been so since it's founding a century and a half ago. The fact is that they can afford to alienate AIDS patients and their families and to attack homosexuals because of the relatively small numbers involved as opposed to potential votes that they can pick up. They hit this from two angles. The first is an artificial morality that condems the supposed behavior of the AIDS victim and the second is a "spending" issue that is linked to the "moral" one by asking "why are we spending millions to support immorality?" Once again it is callous, cynical and borders on the criminal.

Both major US parties have elements that are guilty of this but it is the Republican Party as a whole that inevitably uses such things as part of their official platform and overall rhetoric. It is also linked to their "immigration" rhetoric in that they insist that allowing 3rd world immigration simply "invites more AIDS". Rubbish. They have, like most nations, required a medical certificate for pemanent immigration for at least as long as my entire lifetime. Most people are simply unaware of this so it's good "bloody shirt" to wave. You will note the levels of revealed perversion in the Republican ranks and the toleration of the very things that they claim to be against.

Cheney is the most hypocritical of the lot since he claims that homosexuality is "evil" and "immoral" and that it is a "learned behavior" while at the same time not only has an openly homosexual daughter but had her managing his campaign for the vice presidency not once, but twice. This is the same man who routinely denounces research for AIDS as being "excessive" and ties it exclusively to homosexuallity and drug use as a way of garnering the votes of those who simply will not take the time to investigate and equate rhetoric to demonstrable fact.

Julian, there has been enough money spent on this barbarous war in Afghanistan and Iraq ... a war that the most conservative polls show that 82% of the American people (not to mention the entire civilized world) are not only against but want ended immediately ... to fund all forms of cancer and AIDS research for half a century. The costs are in the billions of dollars ... that's "billion" with a "b"... per day. How many fully equipped and fully staffed research facilities will that build ... on a weekly basis? How many years worth of treatment would it pay for ... for every AIDS and cancer sufferer in the United States ... on a weekly basis? Understand me. I am 8th generation professional military in my family ... in the U.S. alone. Two of my children are professional military. I am not a "pacifist" nor am I "anti-war'. I am "anti-stupid and senseless war". I am "anti-wasteful and mindless war". I am "anti-war of raw greed and aggression". This war, costly in dollars but far more costly in lives and the honour of those waging it ... is being waged by the last major nation on earth that does not provide at least basic and rudimentary health care for it's citizens. This is obscene.

I live in a country that has risen from total economic and political collapse back up to 1st world (and major 1st world) status in a period of just over 15 years. Even in the depths of our trials this country alloted funds for basic health care and care for orphans ... and people gladly did without other things to provide this.

How can a land of plenty like the U.S. go literally from surplusses to the greatest public debt in the world ... in a period of six years ... and still deny it's people the basic necessities of life? How can they justify killing on a daily basis while their own people die in misery of cancer and AIDS? To me the answer is fairly simple. It is a matter of morality and conscience. Those who prosecute such wars have sufficient funds to provide for their families. Their friends have sufficient funds for such. None of their children are in any danger of going to war. They simply do not care. They will say anything and do anything to remain in power ... a hypocritical song and dance done among smoke and mirrors that preys on the feelings, conscience, and true emotions of those that they manipulate. The false concepts that they shout from the rafters such as the sacrifice of basic needs in the name of "patriotism" and "security" and the virtual abandonment of research that would save the lives of thousands per year simply covers over their own personal and political aims.

Your nation and Canada ... UK and even India have some of the best public services in the world yet none of those four nations had the obscenely huge budget surplus that the United States enjoyed in 2000 or any year previous to that. The difference is in the mindset of the people and their priorities and their ability to think things out and elect leadership that will actually see to their good and carry out their wishes.

The US has a taxpayer base that is shrinking daily due to an aging workforce and the loss of jobs to overseas sources in the 3rd world (kept deliberately poor to provide a cheap labor pool) and expenditures on wasteful, meaningless and in my own opinion almost criminal avenues. The tax rate grows yearly in proportion to the shrinkage of the taxpayer base. The result is cutting necessary domestic and foreign funding to finance adventurism and provide breaks for the rich.

In the end this is resulting in a debt that is completely unpayable and known to be so by those incurring it. Eventually there will be an overall collapse that will result in a rethinking but it will be horrendous in it's human cost, not to mention its economic one. Yet they can still spend billions a day on war and nothing on saving and preserving lives either at home or abroad.

Conservatives who genuinely are opposed to higher taxation ... and rightfully so ... are being duped into believing that "savings" in health care, medical research, health care for the aged and disabled and other "overtly wasteful" areas are actually saving them money which is being spent to give them "security" and "fight for Democracy". They fail to see that the major corporations and the wealthy class which support such things are not the least interested in the welfare of the people as a whole ... or in "Democracy".

None of the major US corporations has any trouble at all conducting business and maintaining actual production in China or Vietnam ... where the majority of their work force is prison labour ... those who have been imprisoned for actually promoting real Democracy. Nor do they dare say that both of these nations have something that the US still lacks ... national public health care that actually works (after a fashion). Once again, profits grow and people suffering from cancer, AIDS and a number of other killers that I could name continue to die.

The entire concept is terrifying but if you look at actual records you will see that what I am saying is precisely what is happening. The Christian community is being used against itself and as a base of power to produce obscene profits and pursue an aggressive, oppressive and near colonialist agenda while they are being told that it is being done in the name of "morality". Our Lord told us "by their fruits ye shall know them". The sad fact of the matter is that all too many simply listen to the words and do not bother to examine the documentable fruits of those who lead ... and mislead them ... and people continue to die needlessly because of it from a multitude of wholly avoidable causes.

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re: '...being done in the name of "morality".' - define 'morality'

by Absolutely In reply to Playing political footbal ...

conceptually, not as a mere list of allowed & prohibited behaviors. The inability of certain believers (both in deities & in non-theistic forms of dogmatism) to do so is the reason for their inability to reason, and the impossibility of reasoning with them.

Another excerpt I found interesting:

'They hit this from two angles. The first is an artificial morality that condems the supposed behavior of the AIDS victim and the second is a "spending" issue that is linked to the "moral" one by asking "why are we spending millions to support immorality?" Once again it is callous, cynical and borders on the criminal.'

What is surprising about the fact that practitioners of a faith which celebrates the ritual sacrifice of its own primary hero-deity for the forgiveness of their own sins, would be willing to sacrifice mere humans, thousands of miles away, whose deaths are characterized as payment for their own 'sins', as 'sins' are defined by the believers, not the AIDS patients? Only after the premise is accepted that 'sacrifice' is a virtue, does it become imaginable that sacrifice of all who have AIDS is morally acceptable, because some who have AIDS have been promiscuous.

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I don't think I need to point out to you

by jardinier In reply to re: '...being done in th ...

that in order to be a Christian it is necessary to accept blindly and live with certain irreconcilable contradictions.

That is why I have never, and presumably will never, wear the title of "Christian." Although my personal ethical system is derived largely from certain teachings of Jesus and Paul, I regard fundamental Christian doctrine as absurd.

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A more rational religion is available

by NickNielsen In reply to I don't think I need to p ...

In the beginning HE created a moutain, a tree, and a midget.

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