Surely, it must be Friday, for on what other day of the week would NYC Catholics condom consternation and North Dakota’s rejection of Bono make headlines? As for the first story, in an attempt to keep people safe and relatively disease-free, the city of New York started handing out newly designed, subway-themed condoms (lord knows I’ve seen enough discarded ones while in the subways) on Valentine’s Day. Cardinal Edward Egan and Bishop Nicolas DiMarzio, the progressive and contemporary Catholics that they are, said in a joint statement:
Our political leaders fail to protect the moral tone of our community when they encourage inappropriate sexual activity by blanketing our neighborhoods with condoms
Indeed; it’s slippery enough out there without a blanket of lubricated rubber making things all the worse for everyone. Apparently, such a large distribution of rubbers is expensive, costing $720,000 according to the Yahoo!News article (imagine the cost if they were producing Magnum-sized protectives), money that according to the church leaders “would be far better spent in fostering what is true and what is decent.” Well, let’s think about this logically then. People like sex, people are going to continue having sex (even *gasp* unwed Catholics!), sexually transmitted diseases are a problem, condoms can help lessen the prevalence of STD’s, the urge to be intimate with a loved one (or acquaintance, as they case may be) isn’t going away, married people might actually use them (silly, I know right?), and we all can’t be like St. Benedict and throw ourselves onto rose bushes in a display of masochism whenever we feel tempted. Abstinence-only policies do no work because it requires a puritanical mindset that is not natural, as well as opening up society to disease. Remember, when you use a public toilet, you’re sharing that seat with everyone who went before you and some hitchhikers (i.e. crabs) may see it fit to catch of lift with you. People are still going to keep going at it, protected or not (hence many an unwanted teen-pregnancy), and I would much rather two people have the means to protect themselves than “succumb to temptation” that results in spreading an STD or causing an unwanted pregnancy.
Given these truths, the “decent” thing to do would be to provide people with condoms (in the off chance they forgot to buy them, are too embarrassed, etc.) so that they act like mature and responsible adults. The continual pigheaded prudishness of the Catholic church (along with their rather bloody and deceitful history) was one of the reasons I was turned off by religion in the first place, and their continual archaic attitudes are not doing much to help anyone.
As for the other story, somehow related as Bono is praised as a paragon of virtue in many contemporary-minded evangelical churches, North Dakota lawmakers decided not to honor the singer for his advocacy involving debt relief for third world countries, primarily because Bono has no connection whatsoever to North Dakota. Yes folks, these are the types of things your government officials are spending their time on, rather than… oh, I don’t know… doing something to help the poor, spearheading ecological initiatives, working to better the education in our dilapidated public school systems, etc. The unwillingness of politicians and the people they govern to demand positive change absolutely baffles me; if half the time and effort spent in the gay marriage non-issue (because to me, there should not be an issue there) was spent trying to take care of any of the things I mentioned above, we’d all be better off. I don’t want to become a cynical young man, but the more I learn about what people are doing to the planet and each other, the harder it is for me to find any good in it all.