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Better Babies Get AIDS than Promiscuous Mothers get treatment – Sen. Shultheis

posted by Gus diZerega

I had earlier blogged how religious zealot Rep. Scott Renfroe of Colorado argued that according to the Bible gays should be executed.  Later, in the comments, one reader who identified himself as a ‘Reverend’ applauded Renfroe’s words.  I quickly commented that people who worshipped a deity making such demands seemed to worship a demon rather than a God.

Might I have gone overboard?  Consider this second example I have just encountered, also from Colorado, a beautiful state which seems to harbor some of the mot benighted people on the continent as a significant part of its population.


State Sen. Dave Schultheis, of Colorado Springs opposed a bill requiring pregnant women to be tested for HIV so that, if infected, their babies can be treated to prevent their getting HIV themselves.  The Rocky Mountain Times reported on Feb. 25 that the Senator said in debate

“This [problem of babies with HIV] stems from sexual promiscuity for the most part, and I just can’t go there,” he said.

“We do things continually to remove the consequences of poor behavior, unacceptable behavior, quite frankly. I’m not convinced that part of the role of government should be to protect individuals from the negative consequences of their actions.”

This argument is false. Sponsoring Senator Lois Tochtrop pointed out during the debate that sexual intercourse is not the only way a woman can contract HIVand that  treatment of an infected mother can dramatically reduce the likelihood that HIV Is transferred to the developing fetus.  I might ad that if a woman is married to a man who sleeps around, she could still get AIDS while being monogamous herself

The vote was 32-1 in favor, and the bill passed, moving on to the Colorado House.  But bad as Shultheis’s words and reasoning were, they got far far worse.  According to the Times, afterward his vote Shultheis said

What I’m hoping is that yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that. The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years … begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior.

He has since blamed the reporter for accurately reporting words she should have known he did not mean.   I, for one, have a hard time imagining such words spewing from a politician’s mouth without his either meaning them, or seeking to pander to a constituency that did, or both.  And this bring me to my main point.

Shultheis is a poster boy for why religion should be kept as far from politics as possible, EXCEPT as a personal motivating force for a position that can be advocated on grounds potentially acceptable to any well-meaning citizen.  But he represents an even more important point. 

As with Renfroe’s bloodthirsty spirit, I think it is pretty clear that
a spirit whose followers advocate babies get AIDS to punish the mother
is more demon than deity, and a person who worships such a spirit is a
demon worshipper.

Religious people who emphasize values such as compassion, love, forgiveness, and mercy, serve the betterment of humankind and honor to the divine forces that sustain us, regardless of their tradition.  From this Pagan’s perspective, there are conservative Christians for whom this is true.  Many are wonderful people in their personal lives and their theology is their own business, not mine, so long as they do not seek to use it to impose on others.  Theology is not as important as a good heart.  

BUT ‘Religious’ people who emphasize instead the supposed anger and wrath of their deity, its threats to annihilate those who differ, along with ‘collateral damage,’ and its hatred of those who are different as one of its defining characteristics, serve neither the sacred nor humankind, but only their warped sense of egoic superiority over people different from themselves. They set up an idol that is in fact a mirror reflecting demonic narcissism.

To fail to distinguish between these two groups is to be spiritually and morally blind.  Spiritual traditions will be vulnerable to the less than informed criticism of the Sam Harrises and Richard Dawkins of the world until they speak out strongly against those who mistake the demonic for the sacred.



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Viktoria

posted March 4, 2009 at 6:27 am


Well finally someone said it! I’ve long since honestly wondered just who these blowhards were REALLY worshiping! I think it’s long time – indeed it’s far past time – that we start calling a spade a spade here.
Blessings,
Viktoria



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Ananta Androscoggin

posted March 4, 2009 at 10:29 am


Indeed, as anybody who has read the Malleus Maleficarum may have noticed, it is repeatedly declared that none of the devils or demons are able to actually DO anything to humans without the permission of Yahweh. This at the very least is dogma that makes Yahweh an accessory to every act of the Christian god of ultimate evil.
But wouldn’t Occam’s Razor bring us to conclude that perhaps it is more likely that “Satan” is really nothing more than an alias used by Yahweh ?



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Rowan Fairgrove

posted March 4, 2009 at 11:19 am


Wow. I hadn’t seen those quotes. I am truly astonished by the attitude.



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Cheryl

posted March 4, 2009 at 3:21 pm


I certainly hope THEIR days as Senators are over. Their reprehensible comments should get them ousted from office.
And people in Colorado should be ashamed of themselves for electing them in the first place.



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Aron G.

posted March 4, 2009 at 4:51 pm


I think these sort of arguments beg the question about whether they actually worship the Gods or just themselves. Leaning more towards polytheism might change the question, but I’m not sure it makes it any less complicated.
I would question the humanity of anyone who worships a being filled with obvious hatred and lack of compassion.



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Cassaundra

posted March 4, 2009 at 8:01 pm


It truly is an insult, to the many gentle caring, giving souls that I am blessed to know and commune with, who call themselves Christians, to be grouped with these Evil liars. But I wonder why this desert God draws so much of this behaviour? Those from the “big 3″ spend so much time fighting over their different forms of worship of the same deity, and so much time fighting over such barren land. Perhaps those who attain that grace and peace i see in my friends who follow this “God”, have attained it despite the form of their worship, not from it? I have no answers, Gus just keeps giving me more and more questions!



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jaundicedi

posted March 4, 2009 at 9:48 pm


That brings to mind something that has seriously troubled me for a while. There are a lot of sick extreme Dominionist types like the Senator who salivate over the prospect of the heretics and unbelievers suffering the torments of the lake of fire. They seem to be growing in numbers of late. These people pour a lot of dark energy out through their hateful prayers. Does this “pollute” the thoughtform of the Christian God so that it manifests differently in the world when invoked? I know this sounds all “New Agey” and I am putting it badly but there is a feedback loop in Magic and prayer is a very basic crude invocation. Maybe this just a different way of stating the question posed by Gus.



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Makarios

posted March 5, 2009 at 12:59 am


This sort of thing is of a piece with the Roman Catholics who oppose the use of condoms even for disease prevention, and with religious zealots who oppose the use of HPV vaccine because it would “condone promiscuity.” It’s slow-motion honor killing. “You think you can sleep around and get away with it? Have a nice funeral, you pervert!”



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Your Name

posted March 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm


In response to Cheryl
“And people in Colorado should be ashamed of themselves for electing them in the first place.”
I live in Colorado and I certainly did not vote for either of these gentlemen. Not everyone in the state is responsible for their election. Colorado Springs is home of Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family) and the mega New Life Church. This is a very conservative area and it makes it easier to simply disregard Shultheis.
In all fairness Boulder can be seen as the balance to Colorado Springs. :)



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kenneth

posted March 7, 2009 at 6:30 pm


I don’t think you went over the top in calling him out on this. This country has long been plagued by christians who feel called to be god’s special prosecutor:
His [Calvin's] religion was demonism. If ever a man worshiped a false god, he did. The being described in his five points is … a demon of malignant spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no God at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious, attributes of Calvin.
– Thomas Jefferson, Works, 1829 edition, vol. 4, p. 322, quoted from Franklin Steiner,
Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon that the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.
– Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1794)



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HIV Chat

posted March 8, 2009 at 6:46 pm


All I can say it’s good they test pregnant mothers for HIV as they can reduce the risk of contraction to less than 1% by following the CDC guidelines (C-section birth, 6 weeks of AZT for baby/mom).



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Cheryl

posted March 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm


Okay, “Your Name”, instead of “And people in Colorado should be ashamed of themselves for electing them in the first place.”
I really SHOULD have said, “And people in Colorado who voted for those idiots should be ashamed of themselves for electing them in the first place.”
It’s obviously what I meant. After all, I didn’t vote for George Bush OR for his daddy either.



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