How oblivious is President Bush to the realities of the world?
On November 30, 2007, the eve of World AIDS Day, at the Calvary United Methodist Church the President stressed the role of faith-based groups in the fight against AIDS.
Bush had just asked Congress for an additional $15 billion to fight AIDS and announced plans to visit the sub-Saharan Africa to see the programs at work.
After meeting with representatives of faith-based religious and community groups at the church he said, “Faith-based groups like these are the foot soldiers in the armies of compassion.”
Is this true?
No doubt there are many religious groups that are helpful and committed to fighting the spread of AIDS but the $15 billion coming from a secular source, the US government, makes most faith-based efforts seem puny in comparison.
But NOT puny are the efforts by the faith-based to actually spread AIDS that make the President seem naïve and uninformed.
Maputo Archbishop Francisco Chimoio in the country of Mozambique was instrumental in ending that country’s 16 year civil war and has earned some respect. Archbishop Chimoio is NOT a fringe extremist – he is in the mainstream of the Roman Catholic Church, the world’s largest Christian denomination. His country’s population which is 17% Catholic, however, is now suffering under the scourge of AIDS, with over 16% infected in this country of 19million.
But this is his advice regarding the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS: “Condoms are not sure because I know that there are two countries in Europe, they are making condoms with the virus on purpose," refusing to name the countries.
"They want to finish with the African people. This is the programme. They want to colonise until up to now. If we are not careful we will finish in one century's time."
Of course, imagine how utterly depraved the Archbishop must assume that Europeans are if he truly believes that they are deliberately spreading AIDS among Africans! This should not be a matter of casual conversation in a BBC interview—it’s a crime against humanity the Bishop is alleging! Why wouldn’t the Bishop name names in such an atrocity as this? Is he a coward or does he know he is lying? Either way, he is certainly not the moral leader he pretends to be.
Of course, it’s all nonsense; the Bishop probably knows this but he is also so out of touch with reality that he believes that this is what one should expect of secularized Europe and that his unsupported claims are reasonable and believable to his flock. He could actually be lying, sincere and crazy at the same time.
(For the BBC story go to http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7014335.stm.)
And what about the President, and his touting of the role of faith-based groups in the fight against AIDS? If a secular group were trying to discourage people from using condoms knowing people would die because of it, would he be silent? Perhaps, if only to mollify Catholic voters…
So while President Bush is about to spend $15 billion to fight AIDS, at the same time, the Roman Catholic Church is working to undermine the effort.
Maybe these “faith-based foot soldiers” are fighting on the other side.