Friday, March 24, 2006

Africa, Sex, Religion and AIDS

From this and this previous posts, readers of "The Salon" know where I stand on sexual matters, and sexual taboos on the continent. Part of the problems linked to sexuality, is this AIDS business, and how it relates to the -IMHO sometimes very irresponsible - attitude of the various churches on sexual profilactics. Especially for the catholic church, who has several countries where their influence on rural populations is unequaled. But the problem is that the men then use the rules of the church to subdue the women, and force them to engage in unprotected sex. But we almost forgive all that, in the name of freedom of religion, right? And then they turn around, and do this:
BBC NEWS | Africa | Burundi's HIV church wedding ban: "Roman Catholic Church leaders in Burundi have told priests not to conduct wedding ceremonies for people who are HIV positive.

Couples in the central African state will have to give an HIV test certificate to the priest. Aids activists said this was discriminatory.

Guidelines in a booklet issued by the church authorities also forbid church weddings for pregnant women."

""The church will not bless the engaged couple if they do not present this document."

But an association of people with HIV, ANSS, said it was against "forced tests", reports the Reuters news agency.

"The church has a duty to moralise to people, but to moralise to people or give good advice... does not mean becoming a policeman or giving orders," ANSS head Jeanne Gapiya said."
AIDS victims have sometimes little time to look forward too, and much pain to look forward too. When they find someone willing to support them through the pain, when they find love - yes that happens in Africa too, you @#$%^# - they are going to make it imposible for them to get married? That is the compassionate Christian church? This is unbelievable!!!! Outrageous!!! [Update 03-29-06: The BBC has since said that contrary to initial reports they would be able to marry anyway]. I am fuming, because it seems like the church is not realizing the extent of the problem of AIDS on the continent. Neither do the leaders of the countries; case and point:
IRIN Africa | Southern Africa | NAMIBIA | NAMIBIA: Calls for the legalisation of prostitution | Gender issues-Health-HIV AIDS-Human Rights | News Items

"WINDHOEK, 24 Mar 2006 (IRIN/PLUSNEWS) - When former Namibian health minister Libertina Amathila made an emotional plea five years ago for prostitution to be legalised, her cabinet colleagues, parliament and the churches shot her views down, saying they were unacceptable.

Amathila argued that legalising the trade would empower sex workers to negotiate safer sex and help slow the spread of HIV, because they could then be tested, treated, counselled and educated about sexually transmitted diseases.

Richard Kamwi, Amathila's successor, said the government would not revisit the matter, but the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) has insisted a rethink is necessary in a country with an adult HIV prevalence rate of over 21 percent."
Even when the problem stares them in the face, and people offer viable potential actions, they reject it without remorse, in the name of some hypocritical moral ground that is contributing in killing our population; hypocritical because many of the leaders get prostitutes delivered at their palaces. We need to stop the hide and seek game with AIDS, because it will always win. Wake up Africa!!!


Roger said...

Dear Afro Voltaire,

You are not being very honnest in ommiting the following excerpts form the BBC website:

"Contrary to initial reports, those who are found to be positive can still be married - the church says it wants both partners to know the other's status."


"We do not demand that the fiances show us the test results, but we demand the proof that they have taken the test and told the truth."

This could still amount to forced testing but does not stop those "AIDS victims have sometimes little time to look forward too, and much pain to look forward too" and want to concretize their love to get married. Beside, if they are already AIDS victims, they already have such testing done.

I am not sure if I agree or disagree with this but I could see one positive aspect of it: Women will know if their future husband has been fooling arround and will be able to protect themselves.


TheMalau said...

Roger I can say in all honesty, hand on my heart, that at the time I wrote my post, those sections were not there. They must have added it as an update (this is why I provide a link to the article itself,just in case I miss something, or something is changed). It makes the story quite a bit different, I will grant you that...

Still the Catholic church needs to start coming up with empowering actions to fight AIDS and STDs, rather than these types of - rather ineffective, IMHO - punitive actions.

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