By Sean Kosofsky
It is time to condemn right-wing conservative Christian activists for actively working to compromise public health. Each day, right-wing activists toil away at policies whose intent or effect is to harm or even kill people. I love checklists, so allow me to catalogue detrimental doctrines from the right.
Limit access to condoms. All evidence points to the fact that condoms save lives and help prevent unwanted pregnancies. So it only stands to reason that the fundi’s want people to get sexually transmitted infections or get pregnant so they can force you into parenting against your will – possibly dashing your dreams for a better career or a higher standard of living.
Abstinence only education. Children and adolescents are not allowed any exposure to sexual imagery or behavior. When they are told about sex, they’re only allowed to hear that sex is bad, dirty and wrong, except when you are married. Even though data suggests that our emotional and sexual health improves if we have a satisfying sex-life, it really must be repressed. And don’t forget, once you’re married you are stuck for life, even if your sex life stinks or if it is abusive, manipulative or non-existent. Better stick it out or you’ll burn in Hades. We don’t wait for the day our children plan to cross the street to tell them to look both ways, so we shouldn’t wait until it is too late to tell them how to prevent infection, pregnancy or worse.
Science is wrong…the Bible is right (except when we say so). Scientology says you don’t need doctors when you are sick and Word of Faith church and other “healers” don’t put much faith in science over prayer and sacred texts, especially when it comes to evolution. But, science guides their lives every day in the cars they drive, the pills they take, the labels they read and the advice they take from others. Focus on the Family has not increased anyone’s life expectancy – science has!
Force women to bear children. Being forced to bear a child could be traumatizing for a woman and could diminish the quality of life for the mother and the baby. Banning abortions will only push them underground, so instead of doctor-prescribed abortions, unclean, unsafe and unregulated back-ally procedures will send more women to the hospital and possibly to therapy. But, hey, gotta keep making babies because overpopulation has had no negative impact on the planet at all. The right wing now opposes Plan B (the morning after pill), which actually prevents pregnancies. They fear it may encourage more pre-marital sex, so they would rather have more unwanted pregnancies instead. Knowing that some of these unwanted pregnancies will end in abortion, and knowing that banning abortions won’t end them, tells us that these extremists don’t care about life, they care about controlling women’s bodies.
Force women to get STD’s. There is a new vaccine that could be available soon that would save untold lives and countless other problems by preventing HPV (Human Papillomavirus Virus) in women. HPV is unpleasant, leads to cervical cancer and can be fatal. The Christian right is working hard to prevent this vaccine from being approved by the FDA because it might encourage more pre-marital sex. Once again, it is more important that women suffer and die than have sex before marriage. This is nothing short of murderous and scandalous behavior. This is like telling auto-manufacturers they should not put seat belts in their cars because if people just drove responsibly in the first place, there would be no need for them.
There are numerous other ways in which religious fanaticism stands in the way of good, solid public policy. The Christian Right is dangerous for all Americans, even themselves. They like to attack gay families and say that we are unfit parents and that we are wrecking heterosexual marriages and spreading disease, when in actuality they are to blame for so much grief, unnecessary illness and psychological torment. The debate needs to change. The wing-nuts need to answer for what they are doing to our country. We have laws against people harming other people. Too bad you can’t prosecute a movement for poisoning the populace.