“If people in America do not turn their hearts back to God there will be more fires, flood, tornadoes, drought, hail and winds than the year before.”
The above comment is in response to a report issued last week by a United Nations commission on HIV and the law. Extensively researched, the report suggests that laws can play a powerful role in people living with HIV and those vulnerable to acquiring HIV worldwide.
Among many recommendations, the report suggests legalizing prostitution worldwide. I couldn’t agree more. Here’s why. The way we currently view sex, through a punitive filter, suggests that if people have sex outside of religious law or civil law, then they should be punished accordingly by god or the legal system.
The problem is that a lot has changed in our understanding about the spread of HIV in the last few years. Breakthroughs concerning the spread of HIV are happening. Yet our current laws, mixed with the mentality of people believing in a punitive god, create an endless flow of obstacles to implementing practical solutions to the HIV crisis.
Furthermore, the UN report suggests that punitive thinking actually fuels the HIV epidemic worldwide by promoting risky behavior of people with HIV and those vulnerable to HIV, by hindering access to education, prevention tools and treatments, threatening prison time, promoting police violence and denying access to justice and even the most basic human rights of people with HIV.
The recommendations of the report are thoughtful and concrete. However, here’s my question: how do we move ahead when the community at large doesn’t want to believe in the facts? Is it possible to slow down a very real epidemic, when our faith is based in the unreality of an invisible man who punishes us for whatever we do with our genitals?