Another Modest Proposal (That still doesn't involve eating babies)
First, let me state that I applaud the President for making a serious commitment to preventing AIDS in the developing world. Also, I support the idea of giving some (not all) of the money to religious groups, which frequently have local contacts, and an automatic platform to be taken seriously.
But of course, these are the Republicans, so there's a catch. To quote from the article:
For prevention, Bush embraces the "ABC" strategy: abstinence before marriage, being faithful to one partner and condoms targeted for high-risk activity. The Republican-led Congress mandated that one-third of prevention money be reserved for abstinence and fidelity.
The U.S. government provided more than 560 million condoms abroad last year, compared with some 350 million in 2001.
Condom promotion to anyone must include abstinence and fidelity messages, U.S. guidelines say, but those preaching abstinence do not have to provide condom education.Abstinence-only education doesn't prevent STDs. But as we've seen on this blog and others, conservatives aren't swayed by evidence, no matter how overwhelming. Their reasoning is based on logical extrapolation from (often flawed) premises. This applies just as much in the current abstinence-only education debate. Here is the logic:
Premise: people who don't have sex don't catch STDs. Again from the article:
"Why give an alternative [i.e. condoms] and have them take a risk?" asked the Rev. Sam Lawrence Ruteikara of the Anglican Church of Uganda, a U.S. grant recipient.
This premise, for once, is true, for obvious reasons.
Logic: We want to prevent people from catching STDs [while upholding our "values" of opposing promiscuity, homosexuality, and prostitution. Because God knows that conservatives don't support prostitution. Oh, wait...*]
Conclusion: We will give primary financial support to programs that teach abstinence primarily (or only)
(Aside: check out this wonderful parody site I found)
So now it's time for the modest proposal. Check it, yo:
Premise: a (well-planned) vegetarian diet is associated with a much lower rate of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers. This is proven by many medical studies and actively promoted by the American Heart Association.
Logic: We want to prevent people from dying of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers.
Conclusion: We will give primary financial support to programs that teach vegetarianism primarily (or only). Here is one such organization. Here is another. And here is a prominent individual.
Notice that the logic of my modest proposal is exactly the same as the conservatives' logic for supporting abstinence-based AIDS education. So how about it, Mr. President? To which organizations shall we distribute vegetarianism education money?
*Yes, I know this is a cheap shot, but the conservatives have had plenty o' cheap shots of their own, and dammit, I want one.