HIV/AIDS crankery from a Catholic Archbishop

This is seriously disturbing. Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, who is head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique, is telling people that condoms are laced with HIV and HAART therapy is designed to finish you off. This is in a country with double-digit HIV infection rates.

Archbishop Chimoio told our reporter that abstention, not condoms, was the best way to fight HIV/Aids.

“Condoms are not sure because I know that there are two countries in Europe, they are making condoms with the virus on purpose,” he alleged, refusing to name the countries.

“They want to finish with the African people. This is the programme. They want to colonise until up to now. If we are not careful we will finish in one century’s time.”

This abstinence/anti-condom nonsense from the Catholic Church has got to stop. It doesn’t work. They are killing people with this message. And worse, Chimoio telling people that one of the truly effective methods of preventing infection is a cause of infection is one of the more despicable things I’ve ever heard. However, since they are opposed to condoms for any reason, I doubt that he will experience any kind of censure for spreading such obvious lies and distortions about condoms and HIV/AIDS treatments.

This “every sperm is sacred” nonsense isn’t just a joke anymore.

This policy of the church actually has the potential to kill people.

Comments

  1. #1 Mike Huben
    September 27, 2007

    Somebody should start an opposition message that the Archbishop is in the pay of American condom companies. That sort of corruption is even more believable than the difficult task of spreading AIDS by anything but bodily fluid exchange.

  2. #2 Chris Noble
    September 27, 2007

    At least it makes a change from the “latex rubber has pores 500 times bigger than HIV” crap that the Catholic church came up with last time.

    Now they’ve got a much better conspiracy theory. This one sounds like the one about polio vaccines being spiked with HIV.

  3. #3 Dunc
    September 27, 2007

    This policy of the church actually has the potential to kill people.

    I think I’d phrase it a little more strongly than that – this policy of the church is actually killing people. Still, as long as their souls are saved…

  4. #4 ChrisC
    September 27, 2007

    Really, this is nothing new from the Catholic church, they have been pushing this level of crankery for quite some time. It ranks up there with “Lemon juice will kill the virus”, yet still below the now infamous “having sex with a virgin will rid you of the disease” myths that have spread time and time again through Africa. These myths are killing people.

    While I’m on my soap box, USAID, the foreign aid program the United States, has recently seem massive increases in funding for “faith based” and “abstinence” programs (here’s one from a few years ago: http://www.usaid.gov/press/releases/2004/pr041005.html ).

    According to some sources, USAID is also cutting access to condoms in family planning clinics in some developed countries (see: http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=how_bushs_aids_program_is_failing_africans)
    I’m not sure of its accuracy, however it does seem to fit in with the general pattern of several reported problems with USAID). Currently, USAID does provide condoms to the developing world (as far as I know, it’s the largest supplier), however, it seems under the Bush Administration, there has definately been a change of focus.

    There is also the “Mexico City Policy”, known as the Global Gag Rule, that prohibits funding to organisation that offer, or provide advice on abortions. In some countries, there are only a handfull of family planning organisations, and those that refuse to withdraw abortion services (be they the actual proceedure, or just counselling and advice), lose USAID funded condoms. See:

    http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/9-24-2003-45820.asp

    This idiocy kills people, and it’s being activly supported by the US government. Sigh…

  5. #5 Suricou Raven
    September 27, 2007

    It wont change. It is as Dunc says.

    Remember that the CC believes any sex outside of a church-recognised marriage is a great crime against God and Nature, and will be enough to condemn the responsible individuals to Hell unless they follow it up with confession and genuine repentance.

    So, in their view, it doesn’t matter if condoms can save lives – in the process of saving lives, the condoms also destroy souls. Given the choice between brief mortal life or eternal salvation, is it at all surprising that church policy is to try at all costs to preserve the souls – even if doing so means sacrificing lives?

    And lying a little in a conspiricy theory is perfectly jusitfyable. If deception is what is needed to save people, then deception is what must be done – better for the people to be ignorant Catholics than educated Heretics.

  6. #6 factician
    September 27, 2007

    Potential to kill people? I dunno, if someone can get charged for attempted murder if they knowingly transmit HIV to people, I think giving advice like this counts at least as mass attempted murder, or even genocide.

    Shit like this makes me *really* pissed off…

  7. #7 Joshua
    September 27, 2007

    Oh, I would love to see the Catholic Church brought up on genocide charges for their efforts to keep Africans dying of HIV at all costs. Because really that’s exactly what this amounts to.

  8. #8 G Felis
    September 27, 2007

    The best part? The previous generation of genocidal lies (the B.S. about pores in condoms cited by Chris Noble above) was spread from the office of none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. That’s right, der Papenfuhrer himself is one of the architects of the Catholic Church’s campaign to promote the spread of HIV.

    Mark, you’re behind the times. The policies of this church have been killing people for as long as it has existed, and killing people in this particular way (turning them away from disease-preventing condoms) for decades. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, simply because it is true: The Catholic Church’s lie-filled smear campaign against condoms in Africa is genocidal – not just in outcome, but by design. Church authorities tell lies that they must be fully aware are lies, and people who believe them on the basis of their religious authority die as a result. Thus they aren’t just morally responsible for those deaths in some secondary way: This is mass murder in the first degree.

  9. #9 Simon
    September 28, 2007

    Archbishop also lies. Condoms are very important for hiv+ people live me. most people can not be abstentious. Condom is the best choice.

  10. #10 Elizabeth Schmitz
    September 28, 2007

    From Schmtiz Blitz: schmitzblitz.wordpress.com

    It seems now that since the nexus of Christianity is shifting from the global north to the south, we’re getting more church leaders saying outrageously extreme things. I’ve written before about the down right hateful comments made by Bishop Issaac Orama (which are under dispute).

    Now there’s Archbishop Francisco Chimoio of Mozambique, who is now resorting to scare tactics in order to push the Catholic church’s position on abstinence only for AIDS prevention. He said:

    I know of two countries in Europe who are making condoms with (the) virus on purpose, they want to finish with African people as part of their program to colonize the continent… People must choose what they want between death and I propose to them that (abstinence) is the best way to fight HIV/AIDS.

    Apart from his paranoid delusion of a grand condom conspiracy, Bishop Chimoio’s words words have potentially deadly consequences. Married women are one of the most at risk groups for contracting HIV in Africa because they already face pressure from their husbands not to use condoms, and now they have a Man of God working against them as well.

  11. #11 grasshopper
    September 29, 2007

    ChrisC, you said

    … It ranks up there with “Lemon juice will kill the virus”

    > I recall the australian scientist Roger Short getting a lot of media attention when he proposed lemon juice as a cheap method of controlling AIDS. From my reading it seems that the HIV virus will not live in an environment where the pH is below 4, and that lemon juice will achieve this level. What seems to be the probem with lemon juice is not that it doesn’t kill the AIDS virus, but applying it in time and for long enough and in enough of a quantity to do so. Such a regimen seems to have been difficult to achieve in practical application.

    I don’t know if you were denouncing lemon juice as a myth, along with such things as the healing powers of crystals, or as a good idea that is unworkable in practice.
    http://www.ias2007.org/abstract.aspx?elementId=200703441

  12. #12 ChrisC
    September 30, 2007

    Grasshopper:

    Came across this the other day on the applicability of lemon/lime juice as a HIV microbicide:

    http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=2780&language=1

    However, your point is well taken, and I think I was wrong to include lemon juice as crankery. Difficult to implement and possibily dangerous, but not without some merit is a better way of describing it. More research required I supppose…

    While we’re on the subject on religion interfering with public health measures, rumours of polio vaccine being used to sterilise the population, spread by imamns, resulted in a ressurgence of polio in 2003:

    http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2004/01/11/muslims_fears_pose_barrier_to_fighting_polio_in_nigeria/

  13. #13 Suricou Raven
    October 1, 2007

    “Married women are one of the most at risk groups for contracting HIV in Africa because they already face pressure from their husbands not to use condoms.”

    Im not an expert on African culture, but as I understand, the men there are expected to be very macho types – using a condom is seen as a sign of weakness, an attack on manliness and fertility. A sort of’Real Men Dont Use Condoms’ situation. Combined with the high regard in which large families are held, the conditions do not favor condom usage. They need education.

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