I wonder how many have heard about the strange “condom controversy” underway in Kenya.
It began when Doctor Nelson Muiru of the National AIDS Control Council made a strange series of claims. He admits that his organization is in possession of a banner that was stolen from Human Life International’s Kenyan affiliate, adding that the NACC will remove any other such banners placed in public places. Yet, NACC Regional Director Muiru also tells reporters, “I heard they are saying we confiscated their banner, that is not the case we are just holding it.”
We had hoped that the journalists of Kenya would have a field day with this, yet it has only been challenged by our affiliate. When an official like Dr. Muiru feels free to openly contradict himself in public, he expects some help from the media in covering it up.
Nor is this the NACC’s only contradiction. The more serious one has to do with Dr. Muiru’s odd statement: “We have made a great step towards achieving ‘Zero Infection’ but the church seems to be pulling us back to 1980s. We won’t allow this to happen anywhere in this country.”
The message on the stolen banner is completely factual, a graphic representation of the condom producers’ own admission and other researchers’ well known claim that, on average, one in twelve condoms fails. There is little factual debate over this, as Dr. Muiru and every knowledgeable public health journalist know. And if one in twelve condoms is likely to fail, how safe will you feel using one if you are with a person who has Aids? Should you feel safe?
Would you eat at a restaurant if every twelfth customer was poisoned?
Dr. Muiru’s continued employment with the NACC depends on you answering “yes” to these questions. A large part of his job is to get as many Kenyans as possible to feel “safe” using a product with a one-in-twelve failure rate, even when the failure of the product can lead to death. His agency, as every knowledgeable public health journalist in Kenya knows but has yet to report, receives a great deal of its funding from Western sources – the exact same groups who think that there are too many Africans and that “overpopulation” threatens the lifestyle of “elites” in the West.
Dr. Muiru knows that the HIV/Aids pandemic began not because people followed the ancient and very well-known position of the Catholic Church: that sex should occur only within the exclusive, lifelong, sacramental union of marriage between one man and one woman. Indeed, if men and women only had sexual relations with one person their entire life, every scientist knows that the disease would never have been able to spread. The disease was spread by those who clearly rejected this teaching and chose multiple sexual partners. Every epidemiologist knows this is true, yet they continue to blame the Church for the actions of those who reject Church teaching.
So Dr. Muiru’s most serious contradiction is not his nonsensical claim that his organization did not confiscate the banner that it now possesses and will not return. His most serious contradiction is in his propaganda that would have Kenyans feel “safe” using a product that fails, on average, with every twelfth use. Further, his attempt to blame the Church for the actions of those who obviously rejected Church teaching is common but flagrantly dishonest. Like his Western funders, he needs a “bad guy” to campaign against, even if he has to grossly misrepresent the facts. If he fails, he may well lose his job, and his sponsors will find someone who is better at getting Kenyans to feel safe as they engage in risky behavior with inadequate protection.
Our affiliate has gladly offered to hold a debate with Dr. Muiru and see if he can publicly address why he is telling Kenyans that they should feel safe using a product that fails as often as condoms do. They also hope to discuss the sources of funding, which are not listed on the NACC’s web site, but are easy enough to find with a basic web search. Let us discuss the incredible reversal of HIV infection rate in Uganda in the 1990s as the emphasis was shifted from a condoms-first policy to one of abstinence and fidelity, and why, as condoms are again being given priority in Uganda, their HIV infection rate is again on the rise.
By all means, let us have this conversation, even if the journalists of Kenya will not cover both sides of this very strange story. Our affiliate, their perspective mostly ignored in the press, has taken to the streets with their message of responsibility and chastity as the best way forward for a nation that wants to flourish.
Let us also further discuss all that the Catholic Church has done for Aids victims all over Africa, with corporal works of mercy performed by those whose love for Jesus Christ moves them naturally and joyfully to serve those most in need. These heroes see the on-the-ground truth of what sadly happens when the Church’s prophetic moral and social doctrines are ignored and hidden, even as the Church is blamed for not accommodating the pathologies of the mainstream culture.
We must be unafraid to proclaim that sin – including sexual sin – has eternal consequences for those who do not repent and turn back toward God. That these same sins have destructive earthly consequences will not surprise anyone who knows that we were made by the same loving Creator who created all of nature, who Himself continues to call us to accept his mercy and forgiveness if we will only seek it out and act accordingly, in truth.