The Pope has moved a teensy bit closer to sanity, recognizing that there are cases where condom use might be part of a strategy to reduce the incidence of STDS:
Pope Benedict XVI says that condom use is acceptable “in certain cases”, notably to reduce the risk of HIV infection, in a book due out Tuesday, apparently softening his once hardline stance.
In a series of interviews published in his native German, the 83-year-old Benedict is asked whether “the Catholic Church is not fundamentally against the use of condoms.”
“It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution,” the pope replies.
“In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality,” said the head of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics.
It’s a step, but an even smaller one than first appears. Male prostitutes don’t seem especially likely to listen to the Pope. Catholics who are married or in long-term relationships might be swayed, but the advice doesn’t apply to them — at least not clearly. It still seems as though the opposition to birth control trumps all, even a commitment to basic public health.
Watch the conversation between Rachel Maddow and a couple of guys from the John Birch Society (including President John F. McManus) on the Society’s webpage here. Is there a more charismatic television personality than Maddow out there today? You can tell how much she’s enjoying herself, how relaxed she is, and how well she understands the importance of actually talking to people with whom you most strongly disagree. (Compare: the lately unwatchable Keith Olbermann, who (just for instance) compared the Supreme Court’s corporate financing decision to…Dred Scott?!…in one of his increasingly embarrassing “Special Comment” segments. And this is a guy I mostly agree with!)
These John Birch nuts opposed the fluoridation of drinking water; listen and watch how well Maddow discusses the point with them, and how she somehow manages to resist arching her eyebrows when McManus discusses his view that there’s a straight line between forced fluoridation and (wait for it!) putting birth control substances into the public water supply. (Nuanced, these guys aren’t.) You might even learn something about iodized salt. All in all, a quick miseducation in public health.
Categories: conservatism, public health, Rachel Maddow arched eyebrows, birth control, charismatic television personality, CPAC, Dred Scott, fluoridation, iodized salt, John Birch Society, John F. McManus, Keith Olbermann, public health, Rachel Maddow, Special Comment