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Roman Catholicism
Causes AIDS Genocide

By Jack Nichols
From The Gay Agenda

In 1989 Bob Kunst, director of Cure AIDS Now (the Miami organization lauded by Peter Jennings' TV series AIDS Quarterly, as the most effective community-based AIDS organization in a state third-hardest hit by the disease), was invited to the first International Vatican Conference on AIDS. The previous year in Miami, Pope John Paul II evaded a reporter's question “Is AIDS God's judgment against homosexuals?” by replying that it is not easy to know God's intentions.

The Pope could, in a compassionate and civilized fashion, have laid the entire matter to rest by saying, “No, such an idea runs contrary to the kind of God I worship.” But such was not the case. The same day the Vatican newspaper called AIDS “nature's sanction” against immorality, CNN showed Bob Kunst suggesting that the pope “shape up or ship out” of Miami.

Perhaps because his AIDS organization was on a list, or because Vatican organizers never saw the CNN report, Kunst received his invite to the Vatican AIDS conference. Once inside the holy site, he offered immediate commentaries to the press. “The Catholic Church,” Kunst charged, “is so heavily into the condoms verses abstinence debate, they're really behind what's happening. My questions to church leaders are very simple. Where's the cure? Where's the cure? Where's the money for these things to happen? You are ignoring these questions.”

Kunst carried his message, "Cure AIDS Now," and pressed it in the form of a button into the pope's hand. It was expected that the thousand scientists, church officials, theologians, and health workers invited to the conference would greet one another with the usual serene pleasantries. Thanks to Kunst and about forty-nine others, Time called the conference "a tense meeting" and a "ruckus," reporting that the hoped-for calm was "disrupted by dissident caucuses and angry charges and counter charges."

Bob Kunst was at the center of the fray. The media quoted him addressing Archbishop Angelini, "This is the worst conference I've ever attended. It has been three days of gay bashing." Kunst had shot a flaming arrow into a Citadel of Darkness while the whole world watched. (from The Gay Agenda: pages 138-39)

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We who are members of gay and lesbian communities have long warned that AIDS would soon devastate the straight communities as well, and, because of our experiences, we know best how to make clear the horror of AIDS and how to struggle for its elimination. The New York Health Department's projection of 100,000 AIDS death in the state by 1997 meant nothing to those like Mary Cummins, who insisted health professionals sign loyalty oaths pledging, if they addressed classes, to stress abstinence as the only answer to AIDS. Her name and that of the (late) John Cardinal O'Connor, who gave her moral support, should be noted when anguished parents collapse in despair as teen body counts rise.

The Roman Catholic Church works at cross-purposes with itself. While its chiefs disallow life-prolonging condoms, Catholic volunteers help those in the terminal stages of AIDS to prepare for death. In many cases, people dying from AIDS give their last monies to a church that provides them with hospices and shelters built from necessity because of the very anti-gay prejudices that the church encourages. Lying on cots in these shelters, the dying faithful are served their last suppers by strangers because many 'virtuous' Catholic families scornfully reject their sons and daughters. (from The Gay Agenda: pages 139-40)

Pope John Paul II, an ultraconservative in collusion with Protestant fundamentalists, acts politically to stir up international opposition to condoms. In the age of AIDS, an orthodox clergy would give (unless ecclesiastical pipe dreams of premarital chastity become, for all people, a reality) green lights to the deadly virus, causing mass infections. Opposition by fundamentalists to abortion and birth control leaves large parts of the world unprotected against the crisis of overpopulation, now recognized by all but themselves. Mass starvation and irreparable damage to the environment are the result. (from The Gay Agenda: page 53).

Pope John Paul II made reference to the scriptural death penalties for homosexuals in a 1986 letter:

“In Leviticus 18:22 and 20: 13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion.”

A letter from the Vatican, intercepted and published in the Washington Post, ordered American bishops to oppose legislation that promotes civil rights for gay men and lesbians, labeling homosexuality, in opposition to the American Psychiatric Association's assessment, “an objective disorder.” The Post said

That the Roman Catholic Church has declared its support “for discrimination against gay people in such areas as public housing, family, health benefits, and the hiring of teachers, coaches and military personnel.” The Vatican, it is reported, insinuates that homosexuals are mentally ill and insists that the denial of rights to gays will promote family values. “The church has the responsibility,” says the letter, “to promote public morality of the entire civil society on the basis of fundamental moral values. The rights to housing and employment,” continues to missive, are not absolute, and employment, it says curiously, is “a privilege.” . (from The Gay Agenda: pages 56-57).

The Gay Agenda author Jack Nichols The Roman Church has long opposed “artificial” birth control methods by calling them incentives to promiscuity. Even the arrival of death dealing sexually-transmitted diseases has failed to soften that opposition. Fundamentalist Protestants link arms with Vatican policy makers on this issue, not only assuring that there will be no distribution of condoms to sexually overactive teens, but refusing, through their influence on many school boards, the right of teachers to mention condoms in sex education classes. County school boards under fundamentalist influences backed the Vatican in the matter just as AIDS was spreading among adolescents.

The response to the AIDS crisis has been criminally sidetracked by the need to stand up to fundamentalist pressures about condoms. Community leaders have been slow to face AIDS as the number one killer of young women (ages 25-29) in New York. And it is not taking smaller towns much time to catch up with this staggering statistic. But with the average time of AIDS incubation (five to ten years) we can look forward to today's youths dying like flies within the next decade. Will prudish religionists send them to their deaths from AIDS? Will we then think kindly of anti-sex “religious” crusades, as respectable teachers are forbidden to discuss condoms? Or could it be that we will see that decision as one taken by late-twentieth-century primitives who compromised with witch-doctory and perished as a result?

Many people began to see the popes as poor men's witchdoctors when Pope Pail VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968), signing, some said, what was perhaps the death warrant of humanity and making him the worst mass murderer of all time. Paul VI allowed only the rhythm method, described best by Catholic critics who called it “Vatican Roulette.” (from The Gay Agenda: pages 119-120).
Excerpted from The Gay Agenda: Talking Back to the Fundamentalists, by Jack Nichols, Prometheus Books, 1996.

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