Open letter to Ratzinger: lift birth control ban

The coolest thing about this open letter to Pope Ratzinger (I refuse to call him Benedict) is that it’s written by a coalition of Catholic groups! From the HuffPo story:

The initiative was spearheaded by Catholics for Choice, a Washington based pro-choice advocacy group, but the letter was signed by organizations from countries across the Americas and Europe.

Taking a half-page ad in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the groups said Friday that the Church’s ban on artificial birth control has had “catastrophic effects,” particularly in the fight against AIDS.

The ban on contraception “has had catastrophic effects on the poor and weak of the whole world, putting in danger the lives of women and exposing millions of people to the risk of contracting HIV,” the letter published in Corriere said.

The Vatican’s response: predictably, mind-numbingly arse-backwards.

[Vatican capo Reverend Federico] Lombardi denounced the ad “as paid propaganda for the use of contraceptives.” “Policies against AIDS based mainly on the distribution of condoms have largely failed,” Lombardi said in a statement. “The answer to AIDS requires deeper and more complex interventions, in which the Church is active on many fronts.”

“Paid propaganda for the use of contraceptives” eh padre? Well, I guess noone would know propaganda when they saw it better than a Vatican PR operative. I’ll tell you what the answer to AIDS requires, you pompous fucker: an effective preventive measure other than abstinence – the very kind of measure you and your hoods have actively been opposing since the respective inventions of the condom, The Pill and every other method out there that doesn’t involve a vow of celibacy (which, by the way, you guys suck at). I’ll tell you why policies against AIDS based on condom use have largely failed too: it’s because black-robed morons like yourself in those areas have been actively spreading bald-faced, anti-science & fucking lethal lies for years, such as the one about condoms having tiny holes, through which the HIV virus can pass through, which still makes my jaw drop to read.

Well, chalk up another retarded remark to the stormtroopers of Herr Ratzinger! It blows my mind that this organisation can continue to get away with this shit. Imagine if the Health Minister or Surgeon General of any civilised country said something like “chemotherapy doesn’t affect cancer, it just makes it stronger!” – that’s the order of magnitude of Pure Wrong we’re talking about here. Imagine the head of pretty much any organisation other than the Roman Christian Empire saying something that retarded! Not just retarded, but potentially fatal to any follower who believes it. This continuing and baffling desecration of human free will is as precise & glaring an illustration of the danger of organised religion that you could ever see – not the danger of a particular belief itself, as many people believe in Jesus’ divinity and don’t listen to Vatican idiocy – but of the effect blind faith & blind trust can have on a person, his family, town or whole country or continent, when that faith & trust is abused by people who should damn well know better.

So what’s behind this Vatican wrongheaded stubbornness anyway? Does it really say in the Bible “thou shalt not spill thy seed” or “thou shalt always conceive with thy booty calls”? If it does – unambiguously, that is, with no wiggle room for interpretation – then why are Papists the only ones who insist on enforcing it in such a lethal manner? So they can ensure a constant flow of believers to continue to fill their pews & coffers? The arch-cynic in me says a big, fat “yes”. The less cynical part of me is still in the dark about it. Is it scriptural? Then why are Catholics allowed to work on Sunday, eat meat on whatever day they want, skip Lent, have graven images in their temples (what’s a Catholic church without a bunch of statues of Jesus, Mary and selected saints standing around looking down on you), wear high heels or whatever else they’re allowed to do now that they couldn’t not so long ago?

The answer often comes back to control. The Vatican has let a lot of things slide over the centuries (noone’s getting burned for heresy or buying Indulgences anymore, for example), but they’ve always held onto two things tighter than Tarzan: the bans on divorce and on contraception. Two of the most private things concerning any human on the planet. So many other Vatican edicts and restrictions have been dropped like hot rocks, yet they continue to refuse to allow their followers to run their own sexual & family lives. Stinks like a control thing to me. It’s a classic control ploy actually: bear a child into a Catholic family, marinate that child in shame-inducing, fear-mongering dogma until its identity becomes inextricably wrapped in its religion, then impose upon it restrictions that could mean excommunication should the eventual adult wish to use its own judgement in deciding on two of the most important decisions in its life: whether to have children of its own or end a marriage that’s beyond saving, or perhaps was a mistake in the first place (we’ve all heard of young Catholic girls forced into marriage to avoid the shame of a bastard child).

What the Papacy says & does about contraception is thought control of the worst possible kind and I’m glad it’s a group of concerned Catholics that have raised this issue. Non-Catholic Christians, non-religionists and anyone concerned with human rights in general have been raising this issue contantly for years, but we now know it’s far from reasonable to expect anything but the usual, half-witted bullshit from the Vatican (and from many Catholics). Hopefully, the fact that quite a few Catholics themselves are having serious problems with the Vatican’s counter-intelligent stance on contraception and are speaking out about it will get some discourse going between other Catholics. Dissent in the ranks is likely to be the only thing to change the Vatican’s tiny mind on any issue – God knows appeals to reason, science and basic human freedoms do jack shit.

I’m still staggered that this debate continues to go on in the 21st freakin century, the third millenium of the Christian Era. We’ve landed men on the Moon (last century!), sequenced the human genome, looked backward in time 13 billion years to the birth of our universe and still we’re having a debate over whether condoms work. But hey, this argument’s with the Vatican: these people believe wafers turn into Jesus (mmm, a savioury treat!) – but only if a magic spell special prayer is said over them first. They still practise exorcisms for Chrissakes! And we’re having serious conversations with them! Would you have a serious chat with the psycho homeless guy on the corner screaming at the demons in his pocket? No! But hey, the poor homeless guy hasn’t been around for 1500 years and he doesn’t have a billion followers. That doesn’t mean the Papists are right, but it does mean they have a strong game it’ll take a lot for them to see sense. Shit, these people took 500 years to pardon Galileo.

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