The President doesnâ€™t read newspapers, why should you? Only nerdy intellectuals waste their time with facts and news stories. Curt is a very curt fellow. He sums up all of the political news that is going on in Orange County in just one word.
Yesterday, December 1, 2008Â was the Twentieth World AIDS Day. On this Day, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA gave President George W. Bush the first “International Medal of Peace.”
For 21 years I have lived with HIV-disease. I have watched Ronald Reagan ignore the AIDS pandemic, I watched George H. W. Bush continue that legacy by ignoring common sense prevention strategies that could have stopped the spread of new infections, though to his credit he did sign into law the Ryan White CARE Act in 1990 which providedÂ vital funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and services. I watched with hope as President Bill Clinton worked to expand HIV/AIDS treatment, care services, AIDS drug funding and HIV prevention efforts. I then watched in horror as George W. Bush and his administration of zealots worked to dismantle all the progress that had been made.
Warren issued his medal to Bush “in recognition of the Presidentâ€™s tireless efforts and unprecedented contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases, came on the heels of the Presidentâ€™s announcement that his Presidentâ€™s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) had fulfilled its commitment to support treatment for 2 million people ahead of schedule.”
There is no dispute that the money spent on the President’s Initiative has provided vital anti-retroviral medications to millions of people in Africa. There is also no dispute that in many cases that very funding has had so many strings, including abstinenceÂ before marriageÂ “only” prevention programs, that those efforts have only served to further the spread of AIDS in Africa. Funny, it seems the real winners from his program are the pharmaceutical companies who get funding for their drugs, faith-based missionaries who receive funding to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the cover of HIV/AIDS prevention while contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS, thusÂ providing a continuous supply of people needing those anti-retroviral drugs. I guess you could call it the circle of life, and death.
But what is more disturbing to me is the fact that Pastor Warren has taken an acronym P.E.A.C.E. which stands for Promoting reconciliation, Equip leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, Educate the next generation and transformed it into the word peace. There is no relationship between the war criminal George W. Bush and peace, other than the fact that Bush is the antithesis of peace.
Tens of thousands of people have died as a result of the acts of aggression of George W. Bush and his doctrine of unilateral preemption. Millions more will likely die because of his administrations misguided belief that abstinance before marriage is an effective prevention method against the spread of HIV/AIDS.Â Add to this the billions of dollars that will be spent to care for theÂ hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans who will ultimately die as a result of the same failed policies.
Rick Warren and his flock of 1,700 plus churches can believe as they wish. But to presume the mantle of peace, in the name of a single faith, well that’s just dogmatic idiocy. Jesus did not say that His church would bring peace to the earth? If you are to take the Gospel as it was written, what Jesus did say is:
Mat 10:34Â Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35Â For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36Â And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37Â He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38Â And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39Â He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Beware false prophets. Beware those who use the misfortune of others to promote their own faith. Beware those who twist the very meaning of peace to support their narrow vision of faith.Â The only medal George W. Bush deserves is the metal of shackles reserved for criminals of war. Certainly, he deserves neither the Nobel Peace Prize or an International Medal of Peace.