How a President's Faith Can Affect Us All

Name that politician:
And what I have consistently talked about is to take a comprehensive approach where we focus on abstinence, where we are teaching the sacredness of sexuality to our children.
My view is, is that we should use whatever the best approaches are, the scientifically sound approaches are, to reduce this devastating disease [HIV/AIDS] all across the world.

And part of that, I think, should be a strong education component and I think abstinence education is important.
I do think that -- and I've said this when I was in Kenya -- that there is a behavioral element to AIDS that has to be addressed. And if there is -- if there's promiscuity and we are pretending that that's not an issue in spreading AIDS, then we're missing part of the answer.
If you said Barack Obama, you win a pony.

Those are all things he said at the Compassion Forum, "an evening with the Democratic presidential candidates to focus on the issues of faith and compassion and how a president's faith can affect us all," last night.

Yes, I have cherry-picked. Yes, he said things about contraception and medical care with regard to both reducing the need for abortion and HIV/AIDS. But do not even tell me I'm being unfair by taking these things out of context, because these are things I do not want to hear my president saying in any context, ever. I do not want a president who believes the "sacredness of sexuality" should be part of a comprehensive sex ed plan. I do not want a president who believes abstinence education is a "scientifically sound" approach to reducing HIV/AIDS in Africa, or that the driving force behind that epidemic is fucking promiscuity.

And I don't even have words for this, especially coming on the heels of the above:
But I also think that -- keep in mind, women are far more likely to be infected now between the ages of 18 and 25 than are men. And that's why focusing, for example, on the status of women, empowering women, giving them microbicides, or other strategies that would allow them to protect themselves when they sometimes in certain situations may not be able to protect themselves from having unprotected sex, all those things are going to be just as important, as well.
When women "sometimes, in certain situations, may not be able to protect themselves from having unprotected sex"? THAT'S CALLED RAPE.
"Since the beginning of the month, we have had 140 cases of rape and defilement," said Rahab Ngugi, patient services manager at the [Nairobi] hospital.

"We were used to seeing an average of about four cases a day, now there is an average of between eight and 10."

Almost half of the cases at the hospital's specialised clinic are girls under the age of 18, Ms Ngugi said. One case was a two-year-old baby girl.

She knows that such a dramatic rise in numbers presenting at the clinic indicates that the reality beyond is far worse.

Only a small percentage of women actually come to receive medical treatment and counselling in the immediate aftermath of a sexual attack, she said. It means they do not get access to the drugs which might prevent the onset of HIV...

Women's position of relative weakness in society is emphasised in times of conflict, Kathleen Cravero, Director of the UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery said.

"Battles are fought on women's bodies as much as on battlefields. It is not so much that women are targeted in some deliberate way but their vulnerability makes them easy targets for anger, for frustration, and for people wanting to cripple or paralyse other segments of the community in which they live."
And that's just Kenya. Liss and many other bloggers wrote yesterday about the hundreds of thousands of women who have been raped in the Congo. In February of this year, UNICEF called rape in African conflict zones an epidemic.

And Obama stands there and talks about abstinence education and fighting promiscuity, characterizing an epidemic of rape as "certain situations [in which women] may not be able to protect themselves from having unprotected sex."

And that's after yet more noise about how we need to listen to and respect the "people of good will" who want to overturn Roe, how "potential life" has a "moral weight" that must be considered when discussing abortion, and how he believes
abortion opponents should continue fighting the good fight trying to change the laws.

I've been accused numerous times of "only voting for Clinton because she's a woman" and ridiculed for that, as if white men haven't been voting on race and gender for the entire history of this country. Meanwhile, Obama has shown time and again that he is tone-deaf about women's issues at best, outright sexist at worst, and so worried about keeping conservative Christian voters on his side that he consistently uses their frames to discuss abortion, sexuality, and even rape. Yet I'm just playing irrational identity politics if I support the presidential candidate who famously declared that "women's rights are human rights," who does not waver on her pro-choice stance even when explaining it in the context of her Christian faith, who actually, manifestly gives a damn about the systematic oppression of women throughout the world--and who yes, takes these things personally, just as I do, because she's a woman.

Fine. Whatever. Just consider me proudly irrational then.

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