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Posts Tagged ‘abstinence only’

AIDS in Uganda, the Rick Warren Connection

Posted by dystressed on January 7, 2009

This is an amazing story from The Daily Beast.

Rick Warren has been working closely with the Martin Ssempe, the charismatic leader of a booming born-again minister promoting abstinence only AIDS eductaion in Uganda, more or less scrapping all the success of the previous, hugely successful ABC program of the Ugandan government.

Ssempe enjoys close ties to his country’s First Lady, Janet Museveni, and is a favorite of the Bush White House.

Ssempe is a close ally of Warren and even gave the keynote speech at Warren’s 2005 AIDS conference at the Saddleback Church.

Another amazing insight is that Ssempe believes in witches and arresting homosexuals.

Dr. Helen Epstein, a public health consultant who authored the book, The Invisible Cure: Why We’re Losing The Fight Against AIDS In Africa, met Ssempa in 2005. Epstein told me the preacher seemed gripped by paranoia, warning her of a secret witches coven that met under Lake Victoria. “Ssempa also spoke to me for a very long time about his fear of homosexual men and women,” Epstein said. “He seemed very personally terrified by their presence.”

It’s interesting to see the parallel between witch paranoia and born-again Christians. Now compared to Ssempe, Warren is a dream choice to pray at the inauguration. I just hope that people realize his record on AIDS has an ugly, evil side.

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Knowledge or Excuses?

Posted by Skeptigator on September 8, 2008

The Washington Post recently published the article Study Links Gene Variant in Men to Marital Discord. Recent research out of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm shows that men with multiple copies of a particular gene variant, which regulates the hormone vasopressin, are more likely to have troubled marriages and/or dissatisfied partners than men with only one or no copies. In fact, they were roughly twice as likely, which is statistically significant. This latest research dovetails nicely with an earlier study which showed that when the hormone vasopressin was manipulated in animals that normally mated for life they became loners and vice versa.

This article reminded me of the recent podcast episodes (Part 1 and Part 2) from Point of Inquiry in which Michael Dowd is interviewed about the need to understand evolution and human biology. He speaks about research that found a significant correlation between extra-marital affairs and when men (and women) are promoted within a company or take a new higher profile position or are elected to office, local or national. The promotion or election appears to cause a surge in testosterone which in turn cranks up the libido. Michael Dowd retells the story of man who became a CEO and then subsequently carried on a series of affairs. Until the promotion he had been a devoted husband and the affairs eventually ruined his marriage and cost him his job. He thanked Michael Dowd because it finally brought this man some understanding as to why the apparently sudden need to run around on his wife.

The obvious caveat to all of this is just because we may have biological predispositions to a certain behavior doesn’t mean we are exempted morally from doing the right thing. “Sorry about that affair dear but you know how my DNA has an effect on me”, just doesn’t cut it.

Isn’t having the knowledge that something like a promotion at work could cause a surge of hormones of teenage proportions to go raging through your vains valuable? Could it help someone avoid a potentially disastrous decision? Have you ever avoided going out socially with someone because the Temptation Factor would be huge, especially where there will be alcohol? You can always abstain from drinking you unfortunately can’t turn off the horny hormones.

Speaking of hormones like a fire hydrant, this reminds me of the claims by abstinence-only advocates that if you teach teenagers about sexuality and safe sex you are implicitly condoning the activity. That somehow if you show a teenager how to put a condom on a banana you are giving them a license to have at it in the hallways. Doesn’t this information help give teenagers the tools they need to make good decisions? Or just permission?

Perhaps this is more stream of consciousness writing than anything that truly connects together. I guess if you are recently elected or promoted teenager you’ll be fornicating in the streets. Sorry sport, it’s your DNA.

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