Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Truly Depressing Story

I read this article on today and just had to address it on this page. It's about a common belief in Africa regarding HIV/AIDS. As hopefully most of you know (not holding my breath on this one), some countries in Africa have HIV infection rates around 1/3 of the entire population! It's an absolutely devastating disease, and there is not enough appropriate education going on. Some of what education is being attempted is actually being sabotaged by the largest sect of Christianity; but more on that later.

The belief in question is that if a man is infected with HIV, he can cure it by having sex with a virgin. The first part of the article is below, and it's absolutely shocking:

Hope was 14 years old when her uncle raped her. "He trapped me to the ground and covered my mouth with his hand," said the 18-year-old from Zimbabwe. "He threatened to kill me if I ever told anybody."

So, she kept quiet.

"After a while people around the villages started saying that I looked pregnant," she said.

Hope was not only pregnant, but her uncle had infected her with HIV.

Like many young girls in Zimbabwe, Hope was the victim of a widely held belief that if a man with HIV or AIDS rapes a virgin he will be cured of his disease. This so-called virgin myth, perpetuated by Zimbabwe's traditional healers, has led to the rape of hundreds of girls, according to UNICEF. Some of those victims are too young to walk, much less protect themselves.

Betty Makoni has fought for nearly a decade to protect her country's young girls from sexual abuse. And she's witnessed some of the worst cases of the myth in action.

"The youngest girl I ever came across was a day-old baby who was raped," said Makoni, 37.

This really pisses me off! This is what happens when you are either ignorant of, or reject scientific knowledge!

Now there are probably a lot of you 'nice, loving', (but probably homosexual-hating and war-supporting) Christians who are saying, "We don't rape girls, we're not dangerous and we resent you comparing these people to us!"

Yes, you ARE that dangerous! You are now, you have been in the past, and you will be again in the future. Besides the past rapes and murders your religion has committed on a scale much larger than this; besides the wars you begin, and have begun, because you think your god is commanding you to; besides your witch hunts, residential schools and organised cover-ups of sexual abuse; you are also ENABLING this kind of shit to happen all over the world!

By not standing up for science and by not standing up for reason and rationality, you hold all of humanity back! Even the moderates among you hold us back by not attacking the ridiculous garbage being spewed from the mouths of the fundamentalists in your religion. The half of all Christians who are Roman Catholics hold all of humanity back, but also hold back the fight against HIV/AIDS in particular, when you allow your leader to tell Africa that condoms are not the answer, and don't revolt against him!

Religious belief is, was and always will be, dangerous. To the individual religious people reading this, you might not be out there raping girls, but you are every bit as stupid and gullible as these men are! You prove it every time you open your mouths about angels, gods, resurrections, ghosts or virgin births, and every time you question current scientific knowledge in favour of an ancient text. It will only take some charismatic leader to rise in the future to make you follow once again into dangeorus territory.

If you'd like to help in this cause, I have some suggestions:

1. Those of you who are Roman Catholic need to stop giving donations at your churches, and let your priest know that you will not be giving any more money until the Pope takes a pro-condom stance for reducing HIV infection rates in Africa. Organise with your fellow church members and encourage others to join you! Better yet, leave the religion altogether! Just be sure to explain to your priest why you're leaving.

2. The moderates among you need to start telling the fundamentalists just how disgraceful they are! Tell them that they don't represent you. It's time to stop holding back just because they believe in your god.

3. Fundamentalists need to shut the fuck up, or go kill yourselves. Go be with your god, and do the world a favour at the same time!

4. Any readers, atheist or religious, can check out the charity started by the woman in this article, the Girl Child Network, and make a donation.


tina FCD said...

Well that is sad to say the LEAST!

Pinkydead said...

Yesterday in Dublin there was huge march by the victims of institutional (read church) abuse. They represented over 165,000 people who suffered physical violence, sexual abuse and sometimes death at the hand of god-fearing priests and nuns over many decades - many for the heinous crimes of being 'born out of wedlock' or born into poverty.

There are your dangerous Christians for you.
The problem, however, is not with the individuals. The rapists/abusers are to some extent mentally ill or maybe a little simple.

The real problem lies with a system the allows the abuse to continue, and not only that protects and often reveres the dangerous dogma that creates the problem in the first. The mother that says 'shh' and the government inspector that kisses the bishops ring.

If there is a place for this mythology in society, it should never ever be with authority.

Anonymous said...

That this stupidity of belief is a bad thing I will grant you, but I defy you to prove that I am any danger JUST BECAUSE I believe in God.

Ylanne Sorrows said...

I am a Christian who supports gay rights and is a pacifist (so don't lump all Christians into one group, because, as you say quite clearly (and so do I in my work), the Fundamentalists do NOT represent all Christians), and I know about this virgin-AIDS myth, and I am appalled that anyone, atheist or religious, would go and lump all members of any one group under one category. Yes, the religious do it too and all the time, and it angers me just as much when they do it as when you have done it.

I don't claim to be loving or kind, or anything or anyone but Ylanne Sorrows, and I resent anyone who tries to label me anything, or who tries to tell me that I present myself as anything. I agree with the point of your article, nevertheless.

Religion is inherently dangerous. I believe it is neither necessarily good nor bad, but can be good. . . and has great capacity for evil. Check out the Crusades. Or Usama bin Ladin. You know what I'm talking about.

But that doesn't mean that everyone who believes in God is necessarily part of organized religion either. I'm not. Used to be - realized how much I felt that religion gets in the way of God, and now, I count myself as a person who believes in God. Not religion. God.

Anonymous said...

Do you athiests honestly think you are excluded from being responsible or accountable for what is wrong in the world simply because you decide God doesn't exist? Do you think you're better than anyone else and above reproach? Do you think there are no athiests who commit crimes and do wrong things? Well, if you are the most arrogant and WRONG person in the world!

Admin said...

Ummm... well, I don't believe in the imaginary man, and that makes me at least more rational than you. Do I think no atheists commit crimes? I don't recall writing that anywhere. But I know that I am not preaching anti-progressive, anti-scientific, and flat-out dangerous bullshit, just because I think my imaginary friend wants me to, which was the point of this post.

If you can't honestly see the point of this post, that irrational beliefs are extremely dangerous to millions of people, then you're an idiot, end of story. Get your dumb ass out of the way of science and progress!

Anonymous said...

Hey, this article is sad but I don't really see how Christians affected this. The people who serve God whole heartedly I know wouldn't do this and I hope you come to see that. Also the Bible tells us to love all so we don't hate homosexuals or encourage war. I hope you have a great day and you find what you need to in life. =]

Admin said...

I have what I need in life, thanks.

The Bible tells you to kill homosexuals.