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Every now and then the biomedical community and the legal system are presented with the opportunity to rediscover our collective humanity through the lens of animal rights and animal cruelty. More often than not that lens has insufficient power to correct their distorted perception of human dignity. Having just passed the ninth anniversary of Terri Schiavo’s death by starvation and dehydration, word comes today of the starvation and dehydration death of Roxy the dog, a boxer in England, who died at the hands of his solicitor-in-training owner, Katy Gammon.

Ms. Gammon has been in the employ of a law firm specializing in……

Medical Negligence.

It seems that Ms. Gammon retained Roxy who originally belonged to a boyfriend after the relationship ended. The dog was kept locked in the kitchen because it wasn’t housebroken. All was well until Gammon began staying with her mother a few blocks away and stopped coming to feed the dog after she injured her knee. A window into the collective soul from MailOnline:

Bristol Magistrates’ Court had previously heard that Gammon had confined the dog by tying a rope to the kitchen door handle and fixing it to a hook in the hall.

Roxy had frantically clawed at the door, leaving fragments on the floor, as she tried to escape before her death, which would have taken around six days…

Asked if she had deliberately locked her in the kitchen and left her to die, Gammon replied: ‘Yes, basically.’

The article continues with a description of what Roxy’s death was probably like. At this juncture it is worth noting that humans and dogs have very similar anatomy and physiology, and that dog experimentation has often been the last step before human trials of new medicines and medical treatments, because of our shared similarities. More from the article:

A vet said the pet would have taken up to six days to die gradually and painfully, becoming blind and falling into a coma before passing away…

‘A number of items had desperately been pulled out of cupboards. We believe this was a desperate attempt at searching for food or water.

‘Roxy suffered a slow, painful death which could have been prevented.’

And so it goes with human beings who are deprived of food and hydration as a means of hastening death. It is a slow and agonizing demise, as Roxy’s story indicates. Often the patient is unresponsive, but as the parent of any teenager knows, lack of responsiveness does not indicate a lack of sensory reception, or internal processing. Terri Schiavo was perhaps the most publicized case of the Roxys of our species.

However, shared physiology is where our paths diverge. Lower animals now possess greater dignity (from the Latin, meaning “standing”) in western jurisprudence than human beings. Consider the words of the sentencing magistrate as Gammon received 18 weeks in jail, and a lifetime ban on owning pets, for her crime:

Sentencing, magistrate Rod Mayall said: ‘You have shown limited remorse. You failed to behave as any normal person would have. This is the most serious case of animal cruelty encountered in these courts.’

And here is where the magistrate misses the mark by a mile. Humans are also animals. Additionally, we are a higher order animal, capable of at least as much pain (physical state) as a dog, and perhaps even more suffering (a psychological state). If this is the worst case of animal cruelty he has seen before the court, then it is because humans have lost their standing in the very courts they have created. Gammon has been sentenced to jail and a lifetime ban from owning pets so that she may never again be in a position to practice such barbarism. That’s a good thing.

However human beings who, on a daily basis, pull members of their own species apart, limb-by-limb, in the womb, and who similarly starve and dehydrate members of our own species to death do so with government-issued licenses and are considered practitioners in good standing.

The outrage in all of this isn’t that Gammon was punished for her crime against Roxy, it’s that the deaths of the Terri Schiavo’s among us aren’t considered criminal at all. It is that our legislators and judges do not, “behave as any normal person would have,” protecting humans with the same ferocity as they would if the subject in consideration were a dog.

The greatest tragedy of all is that humans have a long way to go before we enjoy equal dignity, equal standing with our pets in a court of law.

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Wesley J. Smith has a disturbing article dealing with Oxford bioethicist Julian Savulescu’s proposal to screen human embryos for intelligence. Smith quotes Savulescu:

A common objection is that being smarter does not make your life better. In this study, researchers were concerned with those with an IQ between 70-85. Below 70 is classified as intellectual disability but an IQ of 70 to 75 is similar to mild intellectual disability.

Even for individuals with an IQ between 75 and 90 there are still significant disadvantages. Job opportunities tend to be the least desirable and least financially rewarding, requiring significant oversight…Individuals with this lower level of intelligence are at significant risk of living in poverty (16%), being a chronic welfare dependent (17%) and are much more likely to drop out of school (35%) compared to individuals with average intelligence.

Studies show that there is also an increased risk of incarceration and being murdered.

Read it all.

When it comes to eugenics, there is simply no end to the killing until a just people rises up and either kills or incarcerates the practitioners, as was the case with Nazi Germany. When forced sterilizations weren’t enough, there were detention camps, which gave way to concentration camps where people were shot and buried. When that proved too slow and cumbersome to effect the eugenic goal, gas chambers were built, with exhaust fumes from tanks pumped in. When that proved still too slow, larger chambers using cyanide gas were built, and ovens to cremate the remains.

Eugenics has a malignant mania that increases with demonic furor the further in one goes. When we go from preventing birth to active killing, a point of no return is reached and the killing can only be brought to an end by brute force. Consider Savulescu’s argument.

He begins with screening embryos for genetic signposts pointing to potential cognitive capacity. He justifies the killing by pointing to undesirable outcomes such as poverty, welfare dependence and dropping out of school, ignoring that the risks are all very low. Poverty, welfare dependence, and being a school dropout are reason enough in Savulescu’s cramped worldview to kill those who might end up there. By that logic, why should we tolerate those who do end up there? Ought we not have camps for such “human weeds,” as Margaret Sanger called them? And what happens when we tire of supporting the camps?

There are certain cardinal virtues that go with being a Ph.D. My life’s mentor, Father Luke McCann, Ph.D., once told me that those cardinal virtues are contained in the three little letters of the title:

Prudence.

Humility.

Decorum.

I would submit that Savulescu and his fellow travelers are bereft of all three. They are also bereft of the very intelligence they stake such a claim to possessing, as intelligence goes beyond capacity for factual recall, but involves the capacity for problem solving. Advanced intelligence goes beyond mere problem solving and involves the capacity for vision guided by empathy and moral principle. Ph.D.’s are not awarded our degrees for merely taking classes and passing tests. We are awarded the degree for making novel discoveries, for advancing the knowledge within our field of endeavor. In other words, one must demonstrate vision and match the vision with corresponding accomplishment. So where does Savulescu and his cohort get it wrong?

PRUDENCE

Their vision becomes constricted and they lose perspective on life. Intellect for its own sake becomes the pursuit, and they can’t tolerate the aboriginals spoiling their view of an idealized landscape. It becomes easier to kill the marginalized than to create systems that incorporate them more fully into society. How academia has fallen.

There have been several movements in psychology and medicine to give more humane treatment to the “insane.” Forward thinking physicians tried “Moral Therapy” as it was known, where patients were no longer locked in asylums that resembled dungeons. Instead, they were housed in the country and visited regularly by the physician who would bring a small cake, or other gift. In the 1970′s, the warehousing of the mentally retarded ended, and the Group Home movement began, a modern reincarnation of moral therapy. To society’s surprise we learned that “retards” could actually be taught and gainfully employed. So successful has this been that the terms “mentally retarded” and “retard” are uttered today only by boors. People enhanced with an extra chromosome are now graduating from college!

The community of parents with children who have autism are similarly on the march. Marginalization only happens when ignorance and fear trump reason and compassion.

HUMILITY

The jobs that exist on the margins are only marginal to pompous, effete academics. A closer look reveals the central importance of the work that the lowest-paid workers perform. Taking deliveries and stocking shelves in stores is vital work for those who do not produce their own food. So too for cashiers and maintenance workers, cleaning crews, and kitchen staff. They are the unsung and thankless jobs that make civilization civilized. When Martin Luther King Jr. called for blacks to stay at home and not go to work, whites got a good taste of how indispensable those they disdained truly are.

The rarefied air of universities often induces a case of intellectual and spiritual anoxia in those who never darken the chapel door. Savulescus are the result.

DECORUM

Savulescu above all should know that doctors are not free, but constrained. There are simply some groups that one never, ever goes after. If the privileges of the faculty club are the perks for years spent in advanced study and intellectual pursuits, then the unspoken rule is that one NEVER goes after others of unequal academic accomplishment because of their unequal accomplishment. This is especially true for those of unequal capability. There was a time when Savulescu would have been shunned by the academic community for doing so.

One of my professors in graduate school once told me that the Ph.D. is no big deal. “It’s a union card, Gerry. Nothing more. If you want to do this work, you need the union card. The big deal is your publication list at your retirement party.” How very true. It isn’t the degree, but what one does with it that counts.

Oxford now has some soul-searching to do. Do they tolerate a Savulescu in their midst under the soiled banner of “Academic Freedom?” Do they show him the door? If we are to salvage a crumbling western civilization, then the formation of our young in universities and colleges will need to be done by Ph.D.’s who understand and live the three cardinal virtues of academics:

Prudence, Humility, Decorum.

Absent brute military force, that’s the only non-violent response to eugenics.

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This letter is addressed to every physician, scientist, and genetic counselor who believes in a eugenic agenda that targets the unborn specifically because of diagnosed genetic anomalies. It asks a series of penetrating questions that invite thoughtful response, and are not meant to be rhetorical.

The first question is: WHO?

Who taught you in medical school or graduate school that we doctors of science and medicine are the custodians of the human gene pool? Who was it that told you it was your job to keep that pool “clean?” They are serious questions, as I never encountered this philosophy, let alone mandate, in my premed studies at Columbia University, grad studies at St. John’s University, or post-doctoral studies at the City University of New York. Neither in the Ivies, Catholic, or Public universities did I ever encounter this mandate that has seized hold in our hospitals. Whence comes this thinking?

In my undergraduate studies in the 70′s and 80′s liberal arts professors taught extensively about the corruption of the Third Reich, and the eugenic agenda in Hitler’s camps. What we were never taught was that this agenda predated Hitler and arose within the medical community of the 1920′s in Germany. Regardless, the properly educated man or woman in American universities in the 70′s and 80′s was taught that eugenics was repugnant, Master Race and all of that stuff… It leads to the next question:

HOW?

How have we progressed from that understanding to where we are today? How is it that we have come to view genetic anomalies as so terrifyingly painful that those who bear them are deemed “incompatible with life,” which is strikingly similar to Hitler’s, “Life unworthy of Life?” On what basis do you make such an assessment, especially in the case of Down Syndrome? Is this rooted in firsthand clinical experience? It can’t be, as these children and adults are some of the most beautiful and happy individuals among us. How is it that we celebrate “diversity’ with near-fanaticism in society while we shoot for genetic homogeneity with similar near-fanaticism? That of course leads to the question:

WHAT?

What is it that you believe you have been entrusted with that leads to this neo-eugenics? When I went to graduate school, we were entrusted with great knowledge of biology across the spectrum of life, and in my course of studies, great knowledge of human and microbial physiology. We were entrusted with the knowledge and training in molecular biology, techniques so powerful that they have equal ability to destroy life on earth as well as advance the cause for life on earth. What we did not receive enough of was training in ethics, and not the sort of algorithm flow chart-based policy crap devoid of any training in metaphysics and human anthropology. I received all of that in undergrad, thank God. It was expected of us that we would use this great knowledge and power only for good, but therein lies the problem.

How do we define the good? Who defines the good? What is the good?

It’s easy for those of us who were obviously born with all of the genetic capability to earn doctorates to look down upon the disenfranchised with disdain. It comes from an insecurity within that says, “I can’t imagine living like that,” which is precisely the soil in which a eugenic mentality takes root. A little guilt added in to spice up the toxic brew, and here we are. But ask yourself this question.

If you rise above the genetics and epigenetics and consider the quality of life to which you appeal in your headlong pursuit of stamping out the unfit, what training do you have in anthropology, psychology, sociology, comparative religion, transcultural psychology, aesthetics, philosophy? How well did you apply yourself to these studies when you were in pre-med, or were these the B.S. courses you needed to endure on the way to medical or graduate school?

I would submit that most physicians and scientists I have met who are pro-choice are severely deficient in these areas, and as such cannot render an informed opinion as regards quality of life, and only speak from their very narrow and cramped worldview.

The new colonialism.

Of course, this all begs the further question:

When?

When was it that we stopped looking for cures and enhanced therapies, and started taking the cheap way out? When did death and non-existence become the answer, rather than healing and wholeness? When did we receive a mandate to kill every baby we could in order to aid the patient in avoidance of suffering?

I would submit that the answers reside in the radicalization of the liberal arts over the past thirty years, and in the watering down of the college curriculum in that time. It’s a formation issue, from my perspective, one that has left many of our finest and brightest physicians and scientists impoverished and without the necessary spiritual and intellectual protections against the power of our biotechnology to twist and distort its practitioners.

Do you disagree?

I’m open to feedback and answers to the questions

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News today from Joan Frawley Desmond in the National Catholic Register that Nancy Pelosi will be honored with Planned Parenthood’s highest honor, the Sanger Award. From the article:

SAN FRANCISCO — On March 27, Planned Parenthood will bestow its highest honor on Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., minority leader in the House of Representatives and a self-identifying Catholic. The Margaret Sanger Award, named for the organization’s founder, who was a known proponent of eugenics, will recognize Pelosi for her legacy of “excellence and outstanding contributions to the reproductive health and rights movement.”

Desmond chose the right word for the award. It is a “legacy” recognition. The recipients are often feted for their lifetime achievement in advancing the agenda set forth by Margaret Sanger. Desmond also wastes no time in the article in getting down to brass tacks:

“Abortion and Catholicism never go together. When a national leader, such as Speaker Pelosi, conflates the two, it, unfortunately, can lead other Catholics — who believe there is no issue with pro-abortion beliefs and the practice of their Catholic faith — to miss the opportunity to reconcile their views with Church teaching,” Scot Landry, the director of Catholic Voices USA, told the Register.

“That is sad, a tremendous scandal in our Church and a disservice to all those who follow her example.”

In 2013, Cardinal Raymond Burke, who heads the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, stated in a published interview that Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law “must be applied” to determine whether Pelosi should receive the Eucharist.

“This is a person who, obstinately, after repeated admonitions, persists in a grave sin — cooperating with the crime of procured abortion — and still professes to be a devout Catholic,” said Cardinal Burke.

Read it all.

Cardinal Burke was quite correct, but back here in the States his admonition seems to have gone unheeded.

No More.

Planned Parenthood has changed the game with this recognition, and in a way that goes far beyond just Pelosi. This is about all of Pelosi’s fellow travelers from the Church: Biden, the Cuomo’s, the Kennedy’s, etc. They play as a team, and they have been winning as a team for generations with over 57 million dead babies to their credit. Add to that Obamacare and its malignancy, the HHS mandate, loss of religious freedom, advancing the culture of death in our schools… Why shouldn’t Planned Parenthood applaud such a malignant record? There is no way this could have been achieved without the Catholic squad on the Democrat team. Catholics such as the late “Lion of the Senate,” Teddy Kennedy, and Speaker of the House Pelosi have made Cecile Richards’ organization wealthy, powerful, and deadly. The reception of this award cannot go unaddressed by the Church. It is the final, defiant finger in the eye to the bishops.

These Catholic leaders have been at war with the Church, with God, and with humanity for generations. Apart from a few lions through the years, the meek and timid response of the bishops in the face of the rising tide of the blood of innocents has been scandalous in itself. I have been told by some that the concern is a loss of our tax-exempt status. If the bishops can’t see that looming on the horizon anyway, then they are blind, indeed. The only hope to save that status, and the souls of countless Catholics is to rouse themselves at this turn of events.

We are beyond conversation about reception of the Eucharist at this point. The question is why we cannot acknowledge that legislators who vote specifically for abortion funding (not general budgets containing abortion funding) but specific legislation for protecting, funding, and facilitating abortion are formal cooperators in abortion, and as such have already incurred automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication as such? On the consequences of this there can be no more doubt or debate. None of the Catholics in the party of death have defended the Church against the Obama administration’s war on religion. They are all in, all the way.

We have nothing to lose that we have not already lost, or will lose soon enough. That said, what is most frightfully at stake is the very moral authority of the bishops themselves. Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion Catholic legislators are celebrating a lifetime of malignant success in the middle of Lent. The time has come for the bishops to recognize that milestone with a pronouncement of their own, one that is long overdue.

We lift them up in prayer as we witness this mockery of all that is sacred.

stethoscopeHeart

News today that Belgium has approved euthanasia for any age. From BBC:

Parliament in Belgium has passed a bill allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit, by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions.

When, as expected, the bill is signed by the king, Belgium will become the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice.

It may be requested by terminally ill children who are in great pain and also have parental consent.

Opponents argue children cannot make such a difficult decision.

It is 12 years since Belgium legalised euthanasia for adults.

In the Netherlands, Belgium’s northern neighbour, euthanasia is legal for children over the age of 12, if there is parental consent.

Under the Dutch conditions, a patient’s request for euthanasia can be fulfilled by a doctor if the request is “voluntary and well-considered” and the patient is suffering unbearably, with no prospect of improvement.

Today the Belgian people have ratified civilizational suicide. There is no turning back now, absent a national awakening through evangelization. There is so much wrong with this law that it hardly bears discussion. It is simply malevolent, and it brings me back to an experience of when Regina and I were engaged to be married.

It was 1990-1991 and Regina was still a new Pediatric Nurse at Cornell Medical Center in NYC. One of her patients (We’ll change his name and call him Daniel) was a young boy who was six years old and being treated for leukemia. This little charmer stole my fiancé’s affections, along with those of the entire nursing staff. The stories of Daniel’s antics were hilarious and non-stop. Against the backdrop of the hilarity was the constant encroachment of a disease that had a short-lived remission.

There came a point when “the trip” was brought up in regards to the timing of the leukemia’s progression; the trip to Disney for this little prince. Off went the family and an excited little boy who had never been to Disney World.

It was magical for him.

Pure joy.

For mom and dad, it was the unique blend of joy and dread experienced by so many parents of critically ill children. Back home, Regina steadied her young girl’s heart for the switch from heroic last-ditch efforts in oncology to palliative care not only for Daniel, but for his parents, who by now seemed like extended relatives. When the end came, it came hard and fast.

There was never an issue of unbearable suffering for little Daniel. His pain was adequately managed. I was at Regina’s apartment in hospital housing on that Sunday afternoon when the day-shift nurse called with the news. Daniel had slipped away peacefully and Regina needed to come over. Regina had a good cry and asked me to go with her. When we arrived, Daniel was there in his bed, surrounded by grieving family, nurses, and physicians. His father sat next to his dead son, encapsulated in a bubble of grief that was impenetrable. It was there that I finally met this extended family.

Daniel’s mother hugged Regina and the two just cried. She thanked her over and over for all of her kindness as his night nurse, for the loving way in which she cared for Daniel, and for all of the emotional and logistical support that Regina gave that went way over and above the requirements of her job.

I stood there in support but mostly a spectator to this beautiful, if heartrending, scene. There before me were some of the finest minds in medicine and nursing in the world, in an Ivy-League teaching hospital, in fast-paced and cynical New York City, and they cried, laughed, and loved unashamedly. To the very last moment of Daniel’s brief life among us, they lavished their finest clinical ministrations upon him, and supplemented that with generous amounts of love.

Children such as Daniel simply do not think about suicide. They are hard-wired for hope in the future. In Regina’s quarter of a century as a pediatric nurse, never once has she come across a terminally ill child who ever wanted to end it all, who ever thought in those categories. That is a category introduced by the adults in their lives. The permanence of death simply escapes children.

There is only one antidote for the Belgian experience, and it revealed itself to me through my young fiancé and her colleagues a long time ago. At the wake and funeral it was a celebration of love, and the entire staff turned out in force for the family and for each other. A month later, Regina received a video from Daniel’s family asking that she remember him. His prayer card remains on Regina’s dresser to this day. A few times through the years, I have taken out that video and watched, and remembered, and learned.

It’s all about the courage that comes from love. That courage propels us to advance the field of palliative medicine, while allowing families to work through their bitter sorrow without succumbing to despair.

In that private room so long ago, it was evident that death came like a silent thief amidst an enormity of love. Daniel didn’t die at the hands of Regina and her colleagues. He lived at their hands, and more fully and beautifully because of their love and the love of his family. And when it was all said and done, his parents took up the rest of their lives having been lovingly supported and affirmed by a staff of professionals who honored the love that begat the little prince who stole my fiancé’s heart.

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In a speech reported in the Times Union this past Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated unequivocally that anyone who is pro-life, anti-homosexualist, and in favor of an undiluted Second Amendment has no place in the State of New York. From the Times Union:

You have a schism within the Republican Party. … They’re searching to define their soul, that’s what’s going on. Is the Republican party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party? That’s what they’re trying to figure out. It’s a mirror of what’s going on in Washington. The gridlock in Washington is less about Democrats and Republicans. It’s more about extreme Republicans versus moderate Republicans.

… You’re seeing that play out in New York. … The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

If they’re moderate Republicans like in the Senate right now, who control the Senate — moderate Republicans have a place in their state. George Pataki was governor of this state as a moderate Republican; but not what you’re hearing from them on the far right.”

Here the Governor has made the case for his own impeachment, if for no other reason than he has demonstrated both an ignorance of the founding political philosophy of this nation and its Constitution, and has engaged in the sort of stigmatizing political rhetoric aimed at stripping whole swaths of citizens of their political rights that every tin horn dictator has used throughout recorded history

There are two immediately troubling issues with Governor Cuomo’s comments.

The first is that he defines people acting in accord with the tenets of his own Church as extremist and unwelcome in the state. That is a declaration of war on religion by the governor. This incendiary rhetoric is meant to turn New Yorkers against one another, breeding into the political bone marrow a strain of hatred and intolerance that will take generations to purge.

The second follows on the first. Such rhetoric, aimed at the consolidation of political power by stigmatizing people of faith as the source of society’s woes, is reminiscent of the tactics and rhetoric in Germany during the 1930′s and 40′s. Lest we forget, a people of faith were ridiculed and demonized, and driven from their homeland all in an attempt to scapegoat them for society’s woes. We know how that story ended, and we are fools to think that we are immune from a similar ending here.

The truth of the matter is that abortion hurts women badly, and there is an abundance of scientific and medical literature that chronicles the harm. But facts don’t matter to bloated political hacks who trample the rights of man underfoot. In truth, the governor and his party have become a grotesque caricature of a party that was once filled with noble men and women for whom words like “tolerance” and “inclusivity” were the means by which the cry of “Never again!” could become reality in the wake of the Holocaust.

We have a governor who looks at the many peaceful, prayerful marches for life and sees lepers, while abortionists who maim and kill women and men clad in pink underwear or only thongs and Indian headdresses marching in the Gay Pride parades are citizens of the first order.

The confusion on the part of the Governor resides in the notion that there is a difference between being elected to serve in a pluralistic society with representative government, and being appointed to rule. Men and women are not cattle to be driven or disposed of by the state as the state sees fit. Our leaders are elected to represent us, and if there are leaders in Albany who hold to views Cuomo finds repellent, then that’s just too bad. Those leaders arrived in Albany because they represent a constituency. In his address, Cuomo stated,

“I believe in my heart and I believe the people of this state believe that — forget the money and the campaign contributions and what people give — I’m going to do what I believe is right for them, I’m going to make the decision that I’m proud of.”

That is the duty of every public servant, and not a luxury for the Governor and his pals. The “extremists,” whom he despises have the same moral obligation of conscience as Cuomo, and our Founders established an Assembly and a Senate where the great issues of the day are to be debated, where deals can be made, and where final legislation is referred to the Governor for approval or veto. It would seem that Cuomo has grown impatient with that system and has moved to inciting hatred and fomenting violence in its nascent stage: stigmatizing the opposition.

This is a very deadly serious turn that has been taken in Albany. If the liberals in the legislature have any integrity at all, they will vote to censure this dangerous demagogue.

If they really espouse tolerance, inclusivity, and patriotism, they’ll take a walk over to the Governor’s mansion and tell Cuomo that it’s time for him to go.

Real New Yorkers can take the heat of debate and opposition.

Cowards incite violence.

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Building on yesterday’s post regarding CDC’s documentation of the continued rise in HIV, Syphilis, and Gonorrhea among men who have sex with men (MSM), in almost every document on the matter CDC offers the following:

Complex issues like homophobia and stigma can also make it difficult for gay and bisexual men to seek appropriate care and treatment.

That’s code for the principled stand taken by people of faith. In other words, it’s our fault that many MSM do not seek appropriate medical treatment. It’s because of our deeply held and abiding religious beliefs that MSM do not seek confidential and professional care. That is a very ominous declaration by a governmental agency; to declare an abiding religious belief as hatred so profound that it stigmatizes and drives a public health calamity. It makes bigotry against orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and Islam a key component of STD epidemiology; one that will need to be eliminated as one of the root causes.

It’s also pretty patronizing toward MSM.

The truth of the matter is that physicians and nurses are bound to nonjudgmentalism in the delivery of services. But in the warped perspective that is gay activism and hedonism, any counseling against promiscuity, which is a major cultural element in many quarters of the gay community, is bound to be interpreted as homophobia. No critique, even if sound lifesaving advice, is tolerable for some.

So it is the fault of those who oppose the lifestyle on either principled moral ground, or on principled medical ground. Changing mores, as we are seeing, does not change the laws of nature, particularly where infectious disease is concerned. Unlike humans, the microbes always remain true to their nature.

Back to the big lie:

Complex issues like homophobia and stigma can also make it difficult for gay and bisexual men to seek appropriate care and treatment.

The photo essay in this post shows images from New York’s Gay Pride Parade, images that debunk the myth of enduring stigma that would prevent seeking confidential treatment. The juxtaposition is remarkable. Note the throngs of well-wishers several rows deep (Contrasted with the sparse attendance at Memorial Day parades). Note, too, the costuming of the participants. These are among the thousands of images available by Googling “Gay Pride Parade”. They are also the cleanest.

Finally, note the police officers marching, and the throngs in the line of march.

Stigma? Where?

Helping the MSM community out of the holocaust it is in requires dealing with the truth openly and honestly, as openly as the pride expressed at parades around the world. Blaming those with differing world views merely panders politically to the very community with whom CDC needs to be most concerned, and creates needless ill will, which then generates the stigma it claims to be driving this epidemic.

That makes CDC, and not the faith community, the source of stigma.

MSM deserve better, and so do we.

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Photo credits (In Order) Images via:

ABC News
Bob Jagendorf
http://www.amny.com
http://www.brooklynvegan.com
thedailybeast.com
http://www.nytimes.com
digihairshirt.blogspot.com

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