Thursday, 21 March 2013

Kenyan Condom Ad

Surprise, surprise, religious leaders are trying to cause actual harm, this time in Kenya:
A TV advertisement promoting condom use in Kenya has been withdrawn after an outcry by religious leaders, health official Peter Cherutich has said.
The argument is at least slightly less obnoxious than usual:
Christian and Muslim clerics said the advert encouraged infidelity, rather than safe sex to curb HIV/Aids.
I say slightly less, because infidelity can cause actual emotional harm, instead of the fictional harm often invoked (see: Roman Catholic Church, passim.)  But I get the feeling that this implied message is: cheaters deserve whatever punishment they get.  After all, sex is only acceptable in marriage as that is a great tool of social control what god wants.

The pertinent facts about Kenya are:

Around 1.6 million people out of Kenya's population of 41.6 million are living with HIV, according to the UN.
A survey had shown that between 20% and 30% of married couples had other sexual partners, yet a majority of them did not use condoms, said Dr Cherutich, the deputy director of Kenya's National Aids and STI Control Programme.
Given this, we can either conclude that people who have affairs should be encouraged to use condoms; or we can try to prevent extra-marital sex.  The first of these is much, much easier to achieve, and following it is therefore likely to lead to a greater reduction in suffering.  Naturally, therefore, the Christian and Muslim churches in Kenya are opposed to it.  Still, they do make some rational and not-at-all hyperbolic claims:
The Kenyan Anglican Church's Bishop Julius Kalu said the advert, shown on free-to-air TV stations at peak audience times, had promoted extra-marital affairs and sex among school pupils, Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper reports.
Because mentioning the existence of something is the same as promoting it; see pretty much any religious opposition to homosexuality.

"The advertisement depicts this nation as Sodom and Gomorra and not one that values the institution of marriage and family," Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa, CIPK's organising secretary, told Kenya's Business Daily newspaper.
If infidelity is a moral problem1, clearly the solution is to pretend it isn't happening.  Still, I guess Sheikh Khalifa knows how to get quoted.

1 It's not.

No comments:

Post a Comment