At his rally Tuesday night, Newt Gingrich claimed that President Obama’s Administration was “declaring war on the Catholic Church” (luckily the church does not often practice Jesus’ teachings of non-violence, otherwise they would be severely out-gunned). 

Gingrich was referring to the President’s health care reform law that would require all employers – including religious institutions – to include contraception coverage and other preventive health services for women in their insurance plans. Note that this law does not require women to use contraception; women would simply be choosing to do so under their own free will, a will that the Church is ironically trying to restrict.

However, this article will not focus on whether churches should be forced to provide health insurance plans that cover contraception, rather it will address why their organization would prevent its constituents from accessing an incredibly effective means of preventing the spread of disease.

The Catholic Church is officially against the use of any kind of synthetic contraception.  As you may imagine, Jesus walked the dirt roads of Iron Age Palestine and offered few parables of condom use. One of the only biblical passages on this matter comes from an Old Testament story (Genesis 38:6-10), in which Onan was put to death for spilling his semen because he refused god’s command to have kids with his dead brother’s wife.  For this, god killed Onan.  Incidentally, it was god that killed his brother as well. The remaining justifications for anti-contraception practices stem from post-Bible church teachings, i.e. from the teachings of centuries-old men, rather than from actual scripture.

The Catholic Church began heavily campaigning against condom use in the late 1980s.  Some of this campaigning has occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, where since 1998 AIDS-related illnesses have claimed at least one million lives annually. This region of Africa houses 12% of the global population and 68% of the world’s AIDS burden.  Though most Catholics chose to ignore such practices, it became evident that some in Africa had put faith into the church and as a result received a similar fate to that of Onan and his brother.

Here is something that’s funny: a group of old, white, single men in robes giving advice on marriage and sex.  Here is something that’s not funny: human beings in poorer countries dying from AIDS, a disease that is preventable with proper use of contraception.  Though the church is not directly responsible for the transmission of this disease, it is surely responsible for propagating impractical teachings and poor health practices that have considerably contributed to its spread and thus the region’s astounding mortality rate.

As with the majority of scientific advances that have contradicted and defied religious doctrine over thousands of years, once again religious moderates and local apostates should team up to drag the Catholic Church and like institutions into practicing 21st century health care. Given that Pope Benedict referred to the spread of AIDS in Africa as “a tragedy…that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems,” it seems as though we may have quite a few furlongs over which to drag them.

Priests, cardinals, bishops, and other church figures may appear on television claiming that this piece of health care legislation will be detrimental to their organization. However, is it not more detrimental to your organization to wipe out significant numbers of your followers by promoting the spread of disease?

Two-thousand years have passed and the Church has yet to learn the lesson that humans, regardless of their beliefs, were subversively blessed with the instinct to have sex. The church may consider once again discarding outdated teachings of medically ignorant and sexist men (as they have always been forced to do), make the appropriate modifications to their doctrine through revelation, and allow the rest of us to haul them into a loving embrace of technology that is far healthier for us than dogmatic superstition and fear of human sexuality.

Article published by ology.com on 2/1/2012

By Brian T. Murphy

Condoms and Catholicism: Thou Shalt Not Cover Thy Neighbor's Goods

Condoms and Catholicism: Thou Shalt Not Cover Thy Neighbor's Goods

Here is something that’s funny: a group of old, white, single men in robes giving advice on marriage and sex.  Here is something that’s not funny: human beings in poorer countries dying from AIDS, a disease that is preventable with proper use of contraception.

Think for Yourself. Dissolve your Allegiances.