For what may arguably be the first time in its history, the Catholic Church has anticipated a new technology, rather than lagging a few centuries behind, as is more traditional.
Last year, Pope
Sidious I Benedict XVI announced the addition of seven new deadly sins to the old list of seven deadly sins (which, frankly, I believe is flawed to begin with). On the new list is genetic engineering, which th Vatican defines broadly to include anything which changes DNA.
Eleven months later, researchers announced a major breakthrough in fighting HIV: a therapy that extracts the patient’s cells, genetically alters them to make them resistant to the AIDS virus, and then re-introduces them into the patient’s body.
The circle is now complete, as Darth Vader says. For the first time, with the newly updated list of deadly sins, the Catholic Church has a complete, end-to-end policy on HIV:
It’s wrong to wear condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, and it’s wrong to use gene therapy to treat AIDS.
Like many other religions, the Catholic Church has long viewed HIV as a behavioral problem, and felt that rigorous control of sexual expression, rather than condom use or research, are the ideal solution. They don’t go quite as far as to say that HIV is a punishment from God, but approaching HIV as a behavioral problem rather than a n epidemiological one still falls flat to me.
Folks who think that HIV is a consequence of an immoral lifestyle or a punishment for wickedness would do well to consider the case of a man who called in to the Playboy Radio talk show I was a guest on several months ago; he was HIV positive not because he’d had wild, deviant unprotected sex, but because he witnessed a car accident. One of the accident victims was thrown through the windshield and badly lacerated. In his efforts to save her life, he cut his hand on the glass and was exposed to her blood. She was HIV positive; now he is, too. Frankly, and I want to be very clear on this point: any omnipotent, merciful, benevolent god who is OK with that can
suck my cock kiss my ass. If there is a god who would be fine with that, I think such an entity is manifestly and plainly not worthy of adoration.
But I digress.
Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other “sin” is invented nonsense. The idea of criminalizing lifesaving research by holding that certain forms of medicine are inherently sinful–and not just sinful, but mortal sins–that’s a level of wrong I can’t quite even find the words for.