Signaling a meaningful change from President George W. Bush's disastrous policies, the Obama administration last week endorsed a United Nations statement calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. The primary opponents of this measure were radical Islamist countries and the Vatican, representing a new unholy alliance across the globe.
The previous day on his way to Africa, the pope spoke to reporters about the role condoms play in the prevention of HIV. Unbelievably, the Pontiff said they make the epidemic worse.
"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane headed to Yaounde, Cameroon, where he began a seven-day pilgrimage on the continent. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."
Internationally, people were stunned at the pope's scientific ignorance and indifference to human suffering. Africa, after all, is a continent with more than 22 million people living with the disease. Only thin strips of latex have stopped this figure from rapidly multiplying and leaving behind an even more horrific trail of death.
How many people is this man willing to see die to defend his outdated dogma? How high must the body count be before the pope is no longer considered pro-life?
French foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier justifiably reacted with exasperation when he said, "While it is not up to us to pass judgment on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life." German officials called the pope's statement "irresponsible" urged the availability of condoms in Africa.
How ironic that a pope fixated on stanching the decline of the Catholic Church in Western Europe would declare something so out of touch with the modern world. His unconscionable cruelty has transformed him into crusty relic on the verge of irrelevance.
Appearing on Fox's O'Reilly Factor last week, I debated the pope's statement with writer Raymond Arroyo. I pointed out that UNAIDS, calls the condom the "single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV." Arroyo responded with a bizarre conspiracy theory saying that the United Nations group was only trying to "protect the government infusion of money to these condom programs that have demonstrably not worked at all."
Then I asked Arroyo point blank: "If all the condoms in Africa magically disappeared, would the number of HIV cases increase or decrease?"
He responded that HIV would decrease if people would model their lives on the pope's "ideal way in which to live."
In the ideal world promoted by Arroyo, priests would not rape little boys, while getting shuffled around parishes to protect the church. In the real world, the Vatican has spent millions of dollars to pay for child abuse lawsuits. In Arroyo's fantasy world, young people pledge abstinence until marriage. In the real world, studies show that teens taking virginity pledges were just as likely to engage in sex—and less likely to use birth control or condoms when they finally did.
It is such wanton disregard for reality and wearing of rose-colored shades to blind oneself from avoidable carnage that define fanaticism. There is something pathological and perverse in the psyche of people willing to do enormous wrong in order to prove their doctrine right.
The history books will not be kind to this pope. From rehabilitating Holocaust deniers, to rampant homophobia, to fighting against legislation allowing victims of child sexual abuse to sue, "Bumbling Benedict" seems to lurch from one avoidable crisis to another.
As he flails in his attempts to woo Europe and ultimately fails in the West, the Pontiff will increasingly dupe the developing world. His road show will focus on poor countries where people aren't as attuned to the ethical depravity of his unscientific proclamations. Indeed, few people will hear from those suffering after the pope goes home and they die in silent anonymity—victims of a flawed and fatalistic vision. Far from infallibility, this Pope has failed on so many levels that he has virtually no credibility on matters of morality.
During the show, Arroyo asked me, "What do you want him to do, hand out IUDs and condoms from the pope Mobile?"
If that's what it takes to save human lives, then the answer is yes. One would think that this is what a man of God would be commanded to do. But, sadly, compassion is out of fashion at the Vatican these days.
Copyright 2009 Wayne Besen. Besen is the voice behind TruthWinsOut.org .