21 May, 2006

More Stupidity from the Religious Right

This one has really got my blood boiling. Just how stupid are these people anyway?

Merck cancer vaccine faces Christian-right scrutiny

Merck has a vaccine, Gardasil, which has been shown in clinical trials to be very effective, and could potentially wipe out much of cervical cancer – the types that are caused by the human papilloma virus, also responsible for 90 percent of genital warts. But, sure as the night becomes day, idiot groups like Focus on the Family and Family Research Council (Isn't it interesting how so many of these Christian Right groups use the work "family" in their names?) come out in opposition to making this drug part of the set of mandatory vaccinations that all kids must have in order to enter public schools.

Why? Because, as this idiot, Linda Klepacki from Focus on the Family said,

"This is a disease that is completely sexually transmitted," Klepacki said, unlike the mumps or measles, which can be transmitted by casual contact. "We believe that parents should have the final say on whether to vaccinate their children."

In other words, because it is a sexually transmitted disease, which implies that kids just might have sex, it should not be included because kids must might have sex. In the Christian Right world, nobody should ever be having sex unless they are married. They advocate "abstinence only" sex education programs despite the fact that such programs have been shown to be utterly ineffective. By their "logic," if you make a kid get a vaccine that prevents cervical cancer and genital warts that are caused by the HPV, then you are somehow giving them permission to go and have sex. This is the same "logic" by which these groups oppose teaching kids about condoms and contraceptives – by teaching them about such things, you are somehow giving them permission to go and have sex.

Here is the reality. Kids will have sex. Period. Kids have always had sex, kids will continue to have sex no matter what you tell then. Teenagers are crucibles of raging sexual hormones. In the past, it used to be that by the time kids went into puberty, typically around the age of 12-15, they were getting married off. In our industrialized society, who's moral rules were largely shaped by the Victorian era, we now say that you must wait until you are 18 before you can legally get married and have sex. While this age limit does have its merits – especially where emotional maturity is involved – it is artificially high as far as physical sexual maturity is concerned. Certainly by the age of 15 or 16, most kids are physically, sexually matured. They feel sexual, the look at each other sexually, and they explore each other sexually. It just happens. It is natural. And this is despite how much you tell them not to.

The reality is, the sex education programs that take a comprehensive approach, teaching them not just "don't do it," but, "If you are, here is what you need to know and do in order to protect yourself against disease and unwanted pregnancy," have been shown to be far more effective against spreading STDs and preventing unwanted pregnancies than have "abstinence only" programs. These are the facts.

It just angers me to no end that companies like Merck have to convince Christian groups to approve a drug like this before they are able to market them. This is about science and public health. Religion and religious "sensibilities" should be irrelevant in situations like this. Sadly, they are not. I truly do look forward to a day when the Religious Right oversteps their power and influence one too many times and people finally wake up to their undo influence and say "enough is enough" and put a stop to it.

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