Last week I mentioned how poverty and poor health go hand-in-hand. The United Nations is well aware of this fact, and has a number of lofty goals they're encouraging countries all over the world to work toward:
Goal 1. Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Goal 2. Achieve Universal Primary Education
Goal 3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Goal 4. Reduce Child Mortality
Goal 5. Improve Maternal Health
Goal 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases
Goal 7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Goal 8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development
I also wrote previously how many religious leaders are finally coming around to the problem of HIV/AIDS, and are working to make a difference. In doing so, many of them work to acheive more than one of the goals listed above; indeed, the National Council of Churches has made the UN goals a part of their own mission. Sounds peachy, right?
By now, you may have realized (since I'm bringing all this up), that somewhere, someone opposes these goals. Indeed, just like Focus on the Family's opposition to Gates' and Buffet's generosity, PharmaBawd has spotted one: the Concerned Women for America, "the nation's largest public policy women's organization with a rich 27-year history of helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy," and founded by Beverly LaHaye (yeah, Tim's wife). Their senior fellow (and former Bush speechwriter), Dr. Janice Crouse, documents why the NCC and UN are wrong in these efforts:
First, the NCC proposal substitutes the United Nations (U.N.), a corrupt and bloated international organization with a long record of ineffectiveness and corruption, for Christian missions that historically have a strong record of integrity and success.
Second, the NCC proposal substitutes a leftist agenda for Biblical imperatives.
Third, the NCC proposal is basically a political document representing a naÃ¯ve view of the U.N., a critical view of the U.S., and is riddled with inaccuracies, overstatement and utopian rhetoric.
The facts, though, contradict the NCC criticism.
Fourth, leftist rhetorical manipulation permeates the NCC Study.
PharmaBawd has more on the specifics and rebuttals to Crouse's main points, so I just wanted to emphasize what CWA's Crouse has to say about the NCC's position on HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases: This session's distortion is astounding. The authors compare AIDS to the ancient disease known as leprosy (because it is associated with poverty, stigma and uncleanness). AIDS is not primarily a disease of poverty; nor are those with AIDS quarantined. The authors call for the church to react to AIDS by "inclusion, engagement, connectedness and continuity". While the study stresses the number of girls, women and children who contract AIDS, there is absolutely no mention that promiscuous men primarily perpetuate the disease.
So much of this is false. AIDS is largely a disease of poverty. Wealthier people--and countries--are better educated and able to protect themselves. Even if they do acquire HIV, they're much more likely to have access to antiretrovirals that keep the infection under control. Poverty limits not only access to education and treatment, but also frequently puts women in a position where they're unable to protect themselves from the disease from the noted "promiscuous men" even if they're aware of it. And no, people with AIDS may not be quarantined in the manner that lepers were in previous years, extreme stigma sometimes drives families away from their HIV+ loved ones, and some religious groups have been slow to encourage acceptance.
The CWA dislikes the NCC's recommendations because they acknowledge that these problems require more to be thrown at them than just evangelizing. They are complex problems that require multifactorial solutions. Simply going out and Christianizing the masses (which in some of the target countries are mostly Christian anyway) isn't the answer. I think it's a good thing that religious groups are focusing so much on these issues, but as I mentioned here, there's still much distrust about the motivations of some of these groups. The Concerned Women for America, at least, make their message crystal clear that conversion is forefront and everything else is secondary.
CWA's nuttiness is bothersome enough to me as a male, but were I a woman in America I would be furious with these goonatics. Their logo should be a cartoon depicting a caveman dragging a woman by the hair toward a forced sexual encounter.
I hear plenty of crazies claim that the ACLU is out to "destroy America," a statement that falls flat on its face in light of the fact that the ACLU is an American organization. Yet CWA seems absolutely emblematic of a group with such "suicidal" tendencies -- it's giddily bent on curbing the freedoms and well-being of its own members and supposed constituents in favor of raw, ancient ideology.
Christ in a codpeice.
Concerned Women of America, a bloated and corrupt organization that used to commune regularly with militants who urged the overthrow of U.S. government, with a long record of ineffectiveness even among friendly legislators, with a hate agenda that regularly opposes any proposal that might help any child of color or any child in poverty, might want to be careful about casting aspersions.
Some of those Christian organizations with a record of success may decide to go on a crusade against hate, and then wouldn't CWA be in trouble?
Thanks for the link Tara.
Hey Ed, do you have a link for some of that information on Concerned Women for America? That sounds like fun.