Windsor Humanist Society

March 30, 2009

The Sins Of The Christian Church

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The Roman Catholic Church is preying on my mind. There are several immediate reasons, some entirely obvious. Pope Benedict XVI embraces an excommunicated bishop whom everyone but he (we are told) knew was a africademented Holocaust denier. Pope Benedict pronounces, as he departs for Africa, that condoms actually increase the AIDS problem. HIV and AIDS remains an out-of-control plague across southern Africa and the Pope has again done incalculable damage to AIDS prevention.

But it’s not just Benedict. As I prepare to leave on my own Africa trip — to Rwanda to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the genocide of its Tutsi people — I also think of Benedict’s charismatic predecessor. John Paul II wanted to be known as the great healer who apologized on behalf of the Church for its multiple sins and crimes of the past. Most renowned was his apology for the 2000 years his Church fomented anti-Semitism among Catholics. But he too was a ferocious public foe of condoms, for which he never sought forgiveness. Equally infamous but less well-known was his steadfast failure to apologize for, or indeed to even acknowledge, the notorious role of his Church in setting the stage for, enabling and ultimately participating in the genocide in Rwanda.

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March 29, 2009

Medical journal says Pope distorting condom facts

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In an editorial The Lancet says the Pope has “publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on the issue.”

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) – A prestigious medical journal on Friday accused Pope Benedict of distorting scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine by saying that condoms increase the spread of AIDS.POPE/

The Lancet in an editorial called on the Pope to retract the comments made last week, saying anything less would be an immense disservice to the public and health advocates fighting to contain the disease.

“When any influential person, be it a religious or political leader, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record,” the editorial said.

“By saying that condoms exacerbate the problem of HIV/AIDS, the Pope has publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on the issue.”

During his first visit to Africa, the Pope told reporters that AIDS is a problem that “cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms; on the contrary, they increase it.”

The comment ignited a firestorm of criticism from health officials, activists and politicians who criticised that view as unrealistic, unscientific and dangerous.

The Church teaches that fidelity within heterosexual marriage and abstinence are the best ways to stop AIDS. The Vatican also says condoms can lead to risky behaviour but many contest that view.

Health experts say there is no scientific evidence showing that condom use spurs people to take more sexual risks and in fact studies show that condom use reduces the risk of acquiring HIV infection.

The AIDS virus infects an estimated 33 million people globally, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, and has killed 25 million. There is no cure.

March 21, 2009

More Americans Say They Have No Religion

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A wide-ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman Catholic population has been shifting out of the Northeast to the Southwest, the percentage of Christians in the nation has declined and more people say they have no religion at all.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 200sanfranblue1 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state.

“No other religious bloc has kept such a pace in every state,” the study’s authors said.

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March 18, 2009

Canada’s Science Minister a Creationist?

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Science Minister’s Coyness On Evolution Worries Researchersgary-goodyear-cp-5769292

 Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Federal Science Minister Gary Goodyear’s refusal to say whether he believes in evolution has left scientists questioning what that means for Canadian research.

Dolph Schluter, a professor at the University of British Columbia, told in an email that he was “first flabbergasted and then embarrassed” when he heard Goodyear’s response to a reporter’s question about whether he believed in evolution.

“I’m not going to answer that question,” Goodyear, federal minister of state for science and technology, told the Globe and Mail in an article published Tuesday. “I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.”

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