Throughout the world, research has consistently shown that drug criminalization forces people who use drugs away from public health services and into hidden environments where HIV risks become significantly elevated. Mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders also plays a major role in spreading the pandemic, as inhumane conditions and lack of HIV prevention or treatment measures in prison lead to HIV outbreaks and AIDS cases behind bars – and among families and communities once those imprisoned are released.
Yet in countries where addiction is treated as a health issue, the fight against HIV/AIDS is being won. New HIV infections in countries such as Australia, Germany and Switzerland have been virtually eliminated among people who use drugs, just as mother-to-child HIV transmission has been eliminated in countries that make medicines for pregnant women accessible.
In the United States, however, the federal government has resisted evidence-based HIV prevention strategies — costing us hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars. Congress re-instated a longstanding ban last December that prohibits using federal funds for syringe access programs — a move that will cost thousands of more lives in years to come.
Money talks- just remind your politicians that the money they are not spending on “immorality” is costing the taxpayers 1000x the amount in the long run…
The reaction of the Catholic hierarchy to the news yesterday that a federal court has declared California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional has been, predictably, negative. After all, the hierarchy, aided by over a million dollars from the Knights of Columbus, worked so furiously to get Proposition 8′s constitutional ban against marriage equality passed into law.
Bishop Gerald E. Wilkerson, president of the California Catholic Conference, and auxiliary bishop from Los Angeles, issued a response yesterday which included the following:
“We are disappointed by the ruling today by a panel of the Ninth Circuit that would invalidate the action taken by the people of California affirming that marriage unites a woman and a man and any children from their union. However, given the issues involved and the nature of the legal process, it’s always been clear that this case would very likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Marriage between one man and one woman has been—and always will be—the most basic building block of the family and of our society.”
But a reaction from an usher at Our Lady of Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles may indicate better where Catholics in the pew stand on this issue–even those who initially voted for Proposition 8. Ruben Garcia is quoted on the public radio website, spcr.org:
” As a parishioner and a Catholic and a married man, I do believe in the sanctity of marriage,’ Garcia said, ‘and I do believe that it should be between a man and a woman, but I’m torn because I also believe in the separation of church and state. “
That may be the crux of the argument. Catholics are twisted by the legal/moral argument of the hierarchy- if it’s immoral, it must be/become illegal. The problem in a deomocratic society is this: morals cannot be legislated effectively as representative of the entire population- because they are not representative of the entire population. Despite what bishops want to believe, the reality is that morals are not universal- there is no clear agreement on any number of moral issues.
And ignoring reality by trying to persuade by legislation will only make the remaining few points of agreement much less accessible.
Most of the other efforts to date of these holier-than-thous have been to wage war against women, particularly in the area of abortion. They can depend on their very ill-informed base’s jumping up and down with glee if they fuel the culture war and attack women and the LGBT community. Since their last foray into the fight against any form of equality for gays ended with repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” they have now turned their “guns” toward a woman’s right to choose.
It’s an excellent read- and don’t forget to post comments in favor of Ted’s becoming a regular contributor to Bilerico! Full text here.