Thursday, February 15, 2007

A plea for sanity

I would like to encourage all sane and rational folk to buy a copy of Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. You don't even necessarily need to read it, as it's basically a list of things that are common sense, such as:

Religion is the single most damaging factor in modern society.
The majority of Americans are frothing fundamental Christians.
The world is insane.

If, like me, you had a firm grip on these facts for a while now, then the book will provide the comforting glow of recognition. This is not why I suggest people buy it though. Everyone needs to buy a copy and send it to a publically-funded organisation in America, so we can prevent things like this from ever happening again.

You need to register for that article, so if you can't be bothered, here's a summary. In 2005, scientists developed a vaccine against the human papillomavirus, a very that every person carries on their skin. During sex, deposits of this virus are left in the vagina. It's fairly benign, as far as viruses go, but as with any virus, it can mutate cells via random insertion of DNA. The more exposure to the virus, the greater the risk of mutation, which is why the earlier a woman becomes sexually active is linked to an increased likelihood of cervical cancer.

The vaccine was 100 percent effective, meaning that cervical cancer could be effectively wiped out. There would still be some cases, but this would be close to a 100% reduction of cervical cancer. Just to reiterate, this is the closest we've ever come to a cure for cancer. It's cheap to produce, and could be rolled out to every girl at age 12, and prevent the suffering of millions.

So why is there not a nationwide vaccination program? Because it has been blocked by Christian pro-abstinence groups. They consider the increased risk of cancer to be a tremendous incentive for discouraging unmarried sex. The fact that you can get cervical cancer all the same from married sex seems to have passed them by. Not that I would ever genuinely wish it upon any one, but these people (I can only assume that they're male) need to have their loved ones suffer from this, and know that it could have been prevented. That is is their fault, directly, that their loved one is dying, dead, or has had their womb removed. They need this to happen, so they know what they have inflicted on future generations. I would strongly recommend anyone suffering from cervical cancer should contact these folk, and let them know about their suffering. I would also sugggest that they spare no detail. Conservative Christians can be a little bit sqeamish about the female reproductive system.

This is the single most twisted application of twisted Christian morality that I have ever encountered, which is saying something, given that I come from Northern Ireland. That one person could consider this is surprising. That the American government could listen to a group of these lunatics, and agree with them, suggests that these people are not only dangerously deluded, but financially powerful as well. And that scares the crap out of me. Because, coming from a rational standpoint, this isn't a dubious decision, morally. It's evil. It's flat-out evil. No two ways about it. In an attempt to scare a few teenagers out of having sex, they are directly responisble for the slow, painful deaths of 3700 women in the US per year. And I don't know about you, but that makes me feel physically sick.

If you're wondering why this vaccine isn't available outside of US, that's because it was developed with public funding in the US, and the patent should therefore be owned by the US governement. Way to fucking go.

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