Did you know?
- By the end of 2004, an estimated 39.4 million people had HIV
- 4.9 million people were infected with HIV in 2004
- 3.1 million people died from Aids-related illness
A report in the UK's Independent reveals that 25-year-old Andrew Stimson tested positive for HIV in 2002. The following year, with no treatment or medical intervention, Stimson tested negative for HIV.
Researchers are asking whether it might be beneficial to investigate to find the key to a cure for AIDS within Stimson's immune system.
I believe that if there is a possibility to find a cure for people with AIDS, then we must do the research. Too many people are dying of this devastating disease. And, they aren't just homosexual men. They are babies in Africa; they are men and women; they are homosexual and heterosexual alike.
I visited South Africa about 2 years ago. Some friends ran a Christian group on the University of Cape Town campus. At the time, they had about 500 students who were part of the group. They informed us that one of their challenges was the number of deaths that occur among the group. Praying for the sick and attending funerals of those who'd died of this wretched disease played a significant part of their ministry on the campus. One out of every five people in South Africa dies of AIDS. It's not just those doing drugs and having illicit sex. We must seek a cure.
I feel compelled, however, to raise a critical point. One that I rarely hear brought up with this issue. In every discussion on heart disease, there's a note on prevention. In every report on obesity--even in ones revealing genetic connections--there is a mention of exercise and diet. However, it seems to be politically incorrect to say, "do not participate in activities that will put you at risk." That is, if you are having anal sex, stop. If you are shooting up, quit. If you're living a promiscuous lifestyle, change it.
We do people a disservice by telling them that they cannot change their behavior. We are not afraid to say it when it comes to food and exercise; but, we stay silent on matters of sexuality. If it's a life and death situation, we must speak up. (In reality, there are spiritual and emotional issues which also get ignored.) We cannot remain silent on issues that could save lives.
I do hope that the Stimson story will provide an important link for modern medicine. However, that will never take the place of prevention. So, if you are having anal sex, stop. If you are shooting up, quit. If you're living a promiscuous lifestyle, change it. Your life is worth more than that.
California Special Election
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
--Edmund BurkeIt's time for the controversial California Special election. Governor Arnold has taken quite a bit of heat for the measures on this ballot. It's now time for the commentary you've been waiting for :)
I must confess that I'm writing this for more than one purpose. Sure, I think these are critical issues that are at the forefront of both state and national politics. However, I do have an ulterior motive. Every election day I get a ton of phone calls from friends who ask me to, in essence, tell them how to vote. So, this post is dedicated to these beloved last-minute voters as well.
The summaries below come from a Concerned Women for America voter guide. I will comment on just a few of the ballot initiatives.
Prop 73 Requires that a parent be notified 48 hours before a minor can undergo an abortion procedure. Measure provides for judicial bypass and has an emergency exception.
YES: In public schools today, a student may not receive an aspirin from the school nurse without permission from a parent. When I was a teacher, even I would not be allowed to request an aspirin on behalf of one of my students. And, believe me, I tried.
How is it that the state does not currently already notify parents when their minor daughter is going in for a procedure of such consequence?! This measure is not about parents giving permission; this is about parents simply being notified. This is not about abortion; it's all about parents' rights. I believe that a YES vote on 73 will begin to correct one of the ways the state has usurped the authority and responsibility of a parent.
Prop 74 Extends probationary period for teachers from two to five years and allows for more streamlined dismissal of poor performing teachers.
YES: Again, I cannot help but draw from my experience. The year I began teaching, there was a science teacher who had been transferred from another school in the area who spent all his time in the school library. I didn't get it. Well, there was a story. It turns out that our school worked out an exchange deal with another school. It was common practice. In this case, our school sent a math teacher who'd just been caught kissing a female student for this science teacher who was a rehabilitating drug addict. Why didn't they just fire these guys? They were tenured.
Our children deserve better!
Prop 75 Requires annual written consent from union employees before dues for political purposes can be deducted from their paychecks.
YES: Here I go again. I thoroughly resented being required to join a union that spent my money on causes I would never support. As a matter of fact, they were sometimes causes I completely opposed. What happens to pro-choice advocates when it comes to this? I am pro-choice when it comes to how other people spend my money. I want the choice to opt out.
Prop 76 Provides budgetary reforms, including placing limitations on state spending and allowing midyear budget corrections. Prop 76 is a constitutional amendment.
YES: Why does government get to play by a different set of rules? We would never teach our kids or run our businesses the way we have handled finances in this state. Let's get some order and accountability. Isn't this why we elected Arnold? No more double standards.
Prop 77 Changes the redistricting process to make legislative districts more compact and, in some cases, more competitive. The goal is better representation for Californians overall. Prop 77 is a constitutional amendment.
YES: Another one that intellectually honest liberals and conservatives should vote for. Smaller districts translates into better, more accurate representation.
An estimated 5% of registered Californians will get out and vote. If you ever doubted whether your vote would matter, doubt no more. With voter turn out being so low, each vote will carry that much more weight. People around the world are dying--literally--for the right to vote.
John Quincy Adams wrote, "Posterity, you will never know how much it cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
Let's make good use of our right and our privilege as citizens of this great nation! Get out and vote!
Remembering Rosa Parks
"All I was doing was trying to get home from work." --Rosa Parks
Think about a long, hard day at your job, whatever it is (even for you stay-home moms). I don't know what the weather was like. But, I doubt there was either air conditioning or heating of any worth. Add to it being a minority in a pre-civil rights and pre-Politically Correct world. People had the same negative thoughts and feelings towards those they didn't understand. But, in her day, they expressed that prejudice in their words and actions.
It's so easy for us to talk about Rosa Parks as a hero, and she was.
However, it is important to remember that this was a women who simply worked all day as a seamstress and had one thing on her mind: to get home. I would imagine that the conditions under which she worked were not the most comfortable or pleasant. Far from it.
She walked to the bus station, then dragged herself onto the bus. She went to the open seat in the front row of the colored section. Not the front of the bus, the front of the back
Her refusal to let the white man take her seat was not planned. There was no strategy. She had no feminist movement or civil rights movement to join or to imitate. She was not trying to make a political, social or economic statement. No book deal to negotiate.
She was one woman, trying to make her way home.
So often, we associate heroes and celebrities with special status. They get to be super-human. They live in a world other than our own. They are somehow better than us. We can come to believe, perhaps subconsciously, that because they are inherently special, they are inherently courageous, articulate and virtuous.
Yet, what makes them special is that they are ordinary people just like you and me. They have the same struggles with insecurity and fear and the same love and concern for their loved ones. If they didn't have the same obstacles, then there would be nothing heroic about their actions. Rosa Parks was a normal, very human woman who could have done any number of things in the moment she was asked to give up her seat. She chose to stay. And, that decision changed the course of history.
As we take a moment to honor the "mother" of the civil rights movement, consider the opportunities facing us everyday. There is no way Rosa Parks, her family or friends could have predicted the weight and the consequence of that moment.
Every one of us possesses the same heroic potential. May we never forget the power of the choices we make. One man said, "When I consider the tremendous consequences of little things, I'm tempted to think that there's no such thing as a little thing."
Thank God for the "little thing" Rosa Parks did. We are forever grateful for and indebted to her.