Friday, February 25, 2005

The Vatican condemns condoms, praises disease and pain has an article on "Vatican officials decry 'religion of health' in affluent countries".

Short after the beginning of the article we find the basically reasonable statement "While millions of people in the world struggle to survive hunger and disease, lacking even minimal health care, in rich countries the concept of health as well-being figures in creating unrealistic expectations about the possibility of medicine to respond to all needs and desires -- The medicine of desires, egged on by the health-care market, increases the request for pharmaceutical and medical-surgical services, soaks up public resources beyond all reasonableness".

Yes, most of the world's population has no access to modern health care, and yes, health care resources should be managed, locally and globally, in such a way as to ensure as fair as possible a distribution of their benefits. Nothing to object here, but this is not the main thesis that Vatican officials want to defend.

The main thesis if formulated a few paragraphs later: in the words of psychiatrist Manfred Lutz, a Vatican academic, "Precisely in the handicap, in the disease, in the pain, in old age, in dying and death one can, instead, perceive the truth of life in a clearer way".

I think we should be grateful to this Vatican academic for expressing their naked core values and beliefs with this short sentence. It is so absurd that it should be easy to dismiss as stupid noise that goes against basic common sense. It should also be evident that perceiving things in a clearer way, including the "truth of life" if such a thing exists, requires a healthy body and a functioning mind.

For centuries the Church has blackmailed believers into accepting that suffering is good and being happy is bad. Now they realize that less and less people are willing to accept such nonsense, and are learning to hide it behind a pretense of social awareness and empty big words such as "human dignity". Thanks, Mr. Lutz, for telling the truth.

A few paragraphs below, we can find the old "Vatican's teaching against use of condoms". After this, it should be clear to all readers that these are the same folks who burned Giordano Bruno as heretic and hundreds of thousands of innocent women as witches.

Conservative Wants to Enslave Women to Make More Gay Babies

[via Amor Mundi] Republican Representative Brian Duprey has submitted a bill to the Maine State Legislature that would make it a crime to abort an unborn child if that child is determined to be carrying the as-yet-undiscovered and possibly-fantastical "homosexual gene."

Duprey calls this an "Act to Protect Homosexuals from Discrimination." One hopes that Duprey devotes comparable energies to protecting queer people from discrimination who have actually managed to be born. But I suspect that true to conservative form Duprey can smugly love the fetus and hate the child, protecting wee dykes and fags only so long as they are more or less wads of gum in Mama-incubator's womb, but always knowing full well that they can be bullied subsequently into suicide or clubbed to death by some Christian soldier in a full-froth of "gay panic" or forcibly therapized in an ex-gay ministry once they have actually burst fabulously upon the scene to find themselves in Bush's America or its devoted, deluded aftermath.

If you thought the vile "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of the American military was nonsensical, Duprey's proposal pretzels the paranoid conservative discernment of queerness into unprecedented convolutions. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has the effect of turning the declaration "I am gay" into the quintessential "act" of homosexuality itself, an act for which a soldier is queered and expelled dishonorably even if they haven't had a chance yet to engage in such key homosexual acts (to my mind) as buttfucking, giving a blowjob, or even watching an episode of Strangers With Candy and getting the jokes. But in this latest efflorescence from the conservative mindset a fetus can already manage to "come out" in the womb by exhibiting a genetic marker that predisposes it to develop into a homosexual should it be lucky enough to grow to such an age as to get dishonorably discharged for saying "I am gay" to the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Duprey reputedly got the idea for his bill from conservative fountainhead Rush Limbaugh. "I heard Rush saying that the day the 'gay gene' is determined to be real, that overnight gays would become pro-life," said Duprey. I can only hope Rush is as wrong in thinking such a thing as he usually is.

Setting aside reasonable suspicions that actual queer desires, acts, identities, and communities stand in a considerably more complex relation to genetic markers and dispositions than is conjured up in the weirdly stainless-steel technocratic fantasies of genetic determinists, I have to think lesbian and gay people know better in any case than to imagine a queer child would be better off being raised in a household so homophobic that a marker for a mere disposition to queerness would otherwise inspire their parents to annihilate them.

If a "gay gene" is indeed some day found and the genocidal energies of homophobic eugenicists are bodied forth by its discovery I can only hope that they will be a benighted minority too small to diminish through their sad shortsighted impoverishment of imagination the beautiful complexity and richness and diversity of the human family. But as far as I am concerned a woman's body is her own, and she is always absolutely right to end an unwanted pregnancy if she wants to -- even if she were my own mother and wrongly imagined she would have been happier to give birth to a straight child rather than to me.

The way to protect queers, people with disabilities (so-called), or other vulnerable humans from the fumigatorial fantasies of future eugenic moralists is to celebrate queer and differently-abled lives today, to display their joys and ennobling struggles, and to document their many contributions to us all here and now. Only a Bush-era conservative would pretend that the way to protect some vulnerable people from harm is to violate and enslave other vulnerable people.