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Gene Gerard: Religion Running Roughshod Over Cancer Science

Posted on Jun 11, 2006
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From 1010wins.com

By Gene Gerard

The Food and Drug Administration advisory panel approved a vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV) last week. The vaccine appears to be 100% effective at protecting against the most prevalent viruses that cause cervical cancer. While public health professionals view the vaccine as miraculous, many conservative organizations oppose it on the grounds that it might encourage promiscuity among adolescent girls. Now that the FDA has approved the vaccine, conservatives are already working feverishly [http://feministing.com/archives/005183.html] to limit or even prevent its use.

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The pharmaceutical giant Merck produced the vaccine, known as Gardasil, which will be nothing short of a lifesaver for countless women. Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer killer among women in America, striking nearly 14,000 each year. Of those, nearly 4,000 die. Poor women and women of color will benefit the most from the vaccine, as Latino and black women suffer the highest rates of cervical cancer. Lower-income women typically lack the funds and health insurance necessary to have regular screenings for HPV.

Despite the benefits of the vaccine, conservative organizations began to rally against it last year. One of the most vocal opponents was the Family Research Council. The council, according to its mission statement,  ?promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free, and stable society.? Last October the council?s president, Tony Perkins, spoke against the vaccine. ?Our concern,? he said, ?is that this vaccine will be marketed to a segment of the population that should be getting a message about abstinence. It sends the wrong message.? He went on to say that he would not vaccinate his 13-year-old daughter.

Yet another organization that promotes abstinence is the Physicians Consortium. The head of the consortium, Dr. Hal Wallis, is also critical of the vaccine. In his opinion [http://www.aidsmap.com/en/news/3429199D-5FE5-4795-B0E6-CD957617C160.asp], ?If you don?t want to suffer these diseases, you need to abstain, and when you find a partner, stick with that partner.? The founder of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse also opposes the vaccine. This organization was formed ?to promote the appreciation for and practice of sexual abstinence (purity) until marriage.? Leslee Unruh, the organization?s founder, stated firmly, ?I personally object to vaccinating children against a disease that is 100% preventable with proper sexual behavior.?

Now that FDA approval is official, conservative organizations are strategizing to blunt acceptance of the vaccine. Much of this effort is directed toward the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). This committee is a part of the Centers for Disease Control, and is responsible for establishing the classification of vaccines that the government recommends. This recommendation prompts states to require a particular vaccination, typically guarantees that insurance companies will cover it and determines the level of public funding.

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In 2003 President Bush?s secretary of health and human services appointed a medical doctor, Reginald Finger, to the ACIP. Until last fall, Dr. Finger was also the medical affairs analyst for Focus on the Family, the nation?s largest and most powerful evangelical Christian organization. In an effort to gain the support of this group, Merck has been forced to aggressively lobby Focus. Merck has admitted holding numerous meetings with Dr. Finger at Focus headquarters. It?s troubling that a vaccine manufacturer has to be concerned with securing the backing of a conservative Christian organization. And Merck is likely to have an uphill battle.

Although children are required to have various vaccinations before attending public schools, conservatives are against the ACIP recommending such a practice for the HPV vaccine. The Christian Medical & Dental Associations is an organization that ?exists to glorify God by advancing Biblical principles in bioethics and health to the Church and society.? The group?s executive director, Dr. Gene Rudd, has stated [http://www.cmdahome.org/index.cgi?BISKIT=343567272&CONTEXT=art&art=3241], ?While accepting HPV vaccine is morally acceptable, it should not be mandatory.?

And the Family Research Council has gone even further. While testifying before an ACIP conference, the council?s spokesman said: ?Because parents have an inherent right to be the primary educator and decision maker regarding their children?s health, we would oppose any measures to legally require vaccination. There is no justification for any vaccination mandate as a condition of public school attendance.? And Focus on the Family issued a formal statement declaring that it ?supports widespread (universal) availability of HPV vaccines but opposes mandatory HPV vaccinations for entry to public school.?

But in most instances, parents can?t pick and choose what vaccinations they want their children to receive in order to attend public schools. Children are required to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, chicken pox and various other diseases. Public health experts recommend that the HPV vaccine be administered to children at about ages 11 or 12, before sexual activity commences. And there?s no scientifically defensible reason that it shouldn?t be universally administered.

Of course, there?s the rub: The objection to the HPV vaccine isn?t based on science; rather, it comes from a biblically based squeamishness about premarital sex.

Religious values, however, shouldn?t affect FDA approval or recommendation by the ACIP. From a public health perspective, we can?t continue to allow conservatives to depict science as a cultural bogeyman.

Gene Gerard has taught history, religion and ethics for 14 years at several colleges in the Southwest and is a contributing author of the forthcoming book ?Americans at War? (Greenwood Press). He writes a political blog for the world news website OrbStandard, at www.orbstandard.com/GGerard.

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By Barbara Irish, October 18, 2006 at 10:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I know Leslee Unruh from WAY back!  Her mom had 6 six kids. Leslee has a house full of them.  Sex is pretty important to them, isn’t it?  But that’s okay…because they apparently don’t need sex anymoe.  So WE should do without it!  Premarital sex is not synonymous with promiscuity.  Any couple who gets married without first establishing that they are sexually compatible is NUTS!  If you want to get married, you should LIVE like you already are.  Complete with fidelity, respect, sexual responsibility, fiscal maturity and a healthy respect for saving money and establishing a good future for yourself and your children, IF you decide you want and can afford children.  Leslee and her husband are multimillionaires.  They can afford a baby a year.  Let’s send them all these unwanted babies they are praying for people to have instead of using birth control.  She’s not Catholic anyway and she was raised in contempt of Catholicism.  But, of course, she gets money now from the Catholic Church so she’s opposed to birth control.

Where the hell does she or any of her sanctimonious, hypocritical, self-centered, lying constituents and friends come off telling us that WE should be obligated to have children? 

No woman who doesn’t want a child should be forced to have one!

As for those freaks who were raped and chose to bring their baby into the world…what kind of psychopath wants to give her child the stigma of having the DNA of a rapist?  Obviously, a baby is her only form of validation as a human being.  But, I’ve got news for her…her pathology has shown her to be far from human because all she’s thinking of is herself!

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By Margaret Currey, September 28, 2006 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As far as people saying that this vacine will make people more apt to have sex early, I see the television shows doing that allready, so maybe the programs on t.v. should be stopped, maybe the news and radio should also be banned, there are a lot of influnces to make young girls have sex, they can be forced or by their own makeup seek sex before marriage, and this thing of sex before marriage has been going on for a long long time.

A senior woman from Vancouver, WA

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By Anodyne, June 26, 2006 at 8:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think that it is interesting that Viagra has been accountable for many cardiac related deaths, but no one yells and screams that Viagra may make people promiscuous or not able to abstain. I haven’t heard anyone complain about it or its health concerns. Why do these groups choose to trample on women’t rights??

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By Gabbi, June 22, 2006 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pure bullshit. There are other diseases besides HPV that you can contract from sex (not to mention PREGNANCY) that will serve as a deterrance. The fact is, 80% of women by the time they reach the age of 50 will be exposed to HPV. Who the hell does this group think they are? I already know 4 people with HPV, all under the age of 20. 1 might develop cervical cancer. Kthx Christians.

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By anonymous, June 20, 2006 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only way to prevent exposure to STDs including HPV is to remain celebate your entire life. I can control my own behavior but what if my spouse to be is like the virginity pleadgers who lie about their sex history denying they ever had sex at the rate of 28% of those repeatedly survedy about activity ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13088669 )? Then there is the risk of rape. 1 in 3 women are sexually abused, 1 in 5 when they are legal minors. about 1 in 7 boys are abused as well. to the person who says this is not a good enough reason to give the HPV vaccine poll your friends and family if you dare and see if they trust you with the truth. I know so many people who have been abused as kids and adults. most don’t tell anyone until many years after the fact and only then to a trusted few who they know won’t mock them for being victimised.

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By P. Edward Murray, June 19, 2006 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am a practicing Roman Catholic and I am not gay and live a chaste life. I think it is just totally unchristian to be against this vaccine.
Didn’t Jesus say “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me”? So that means you would prevent Jesus from having a life saving vaccine?

I’m sorry, but these folks are not Christian.

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By Oscar_Meyer, June 19, 2006 at 11:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I may be wrong about this but isn’t the Family Research Council listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center?  If that’s the case then why should these white supremacists (yes, that’s all they really are) be allowed to have any say in the matter at all?

Folks, this is nothing.  One day there will finally be a vaccine for HIV and then you will really see the proverbial shit hitting the fan with these Christian extremists/terrorists.  They will fight the vaccination through any and all means possible including the use of violence.  We’re already seeing that kind of influence with pharmacists who refuse to dispense morning after and birth control pills because of their religious beliefs.  It probably won’t be long before we hear a story in the news about a man or woman denied AZT by some pharmacist because of their religion too.

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By Mary, June 19, 2006 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The statements in this article are very biased against Christians. The fact that “behaviors” can be recognized as “risky’ and “negative” is not new nor is it applicable to sexual behavior alone. Therfore correcting negative behaiviors is not new either. It seems to me that the evidence that there is a patient with an addiction problem shows up with a patient is unable to recognize and admit they have a behavior problem. Our society is like that patient, an addict with a sexual behavior problem resulting in scores of health problems, physical, emotional and psychological not to mention outright criminal problems…. This drug is a “therapy” that continues that behavior problem and puts up obstacles to the patient recognizing and admitting the problem so they can have the “real” cure which is modifying the out of control problem that the patient has which in our society’s case is irresponsible premaritalm casual sex.

As to Christians having to be worried about being given the disease by others who have looser morals…that is a true fear. That is why is it important for everyone to recognize that this is one area where faith and scientific facts are lined up correctly. The ones who resist the knowledge right in front of them are an obstructive force to healing the run away epidemic of STIs in our culture.

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By Rev. K. Collins, June 17, 2006 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I find the position of the Anti-Family Non-Research Council incomprehensible. Everyone, especially as a teenager, does things they later regret. If we call the “thing we regret” a sin and the “regret” repentance, they are really just making sure that if their children sin, their repentance will do them no good.

This is like refusing to allow your son to where a helmet when he rides a motorcycle, with the rationale that if he drives his bike correctly, he won’t have an accident.

I’m not sure whether this is child abuse or child endangerment, but it is definitely one of the two. What it definitely is not is Christianity.

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By Karen Helgesen, June 16, 2006 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Regarding comment #11646 by Bill Sardi:
You wrote;
“Those infected women don’t develop cancer till after the age of 50 when immnunity declines.”  This simply untrue.  While maintaining a healthy immune system is essential, especially for women who have contracted one of the HPV strains that causes cervical cancer,  one does not have to be 50 years old or older before they can develop this cancer.  My daughter was only 20 when she had surgery to remove the cancerous cells found on her cervix caused by one of the strains of HPV.  This vaccine is not one which will prevent an STD such as HPV from occurring, it is one which will prevent cancer from developing if one should become infected wth one of the strains of HPV that are responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

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By R. A. Earl, June 14, 2006 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Karen, in 11607, wrote, in part “I regret the attitude of some of my fellow Christians.  However, calling them (Christians) “stupid” or “idiots” does nothing to advance this important discussion.”

No, Karen, it’s not likely very helpful but not because the allegation is inaccurate but because they wear such labels as badges of honor! Nothing bolsters a Christian’s resolve to hold onto his/her fantasy than to have it attacked by non-believers.

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By saul, June 14, 2006 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I started http://www.religionquestioned.com because I didn’t want these type of decisions left up the James Dobsons of the world.
The site doesn’t question Bible based religions on philosophical but what is actually in the Bible.
I have no organization skills, but the site offer much not seen anywhere else, and will gladly help anyone that wants to run with what is on the site.
It actually shows why the God of the Bible is a stupid baby killing liar and Jesus a stupid liar.
For anyone offended by this, there is an offer to shut the site down, so please feel free to take the offer or have your clergyman try

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By Impish, June 14, 2006 at 8:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is another piece of evidence showing the evil and immorality of christianity.

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By Grover Syck, June 14, 2006 at 5:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The self-righteous church of theo science over looks one minor point.

If their daughter marries a young man that has not been as sexually restrained as she, and he is infected, she pays the price of her fathers (not holy) stupidity.

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By Druthers, June 14, 2006 at 12:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great news that will save lives but perhaps the “medical minds” in the government are too preoccupied with the dangerous epidemic of “flag-burning” that is sweeping the globe to grasp the scope of this new vaccine.
Concentrated as they are on priority, Republican committe heads probably worry that even China might not be able to follow up on production of flags for these henious ceremonies.  Pollution caused by the smoke might be equated to some volcanic eruption and a menace for the planet.
That is what is so reassuring about Republicans, by keeping their eye on the ball they make us feel so safe.

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By Kim, June 13, 2006 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People like Nora claim they don’t need the vaccine because they are not promiscuous and they can control themselves—but what if she is raped by a carrier or her husband sleeps around behind her back and brings it to her?  The innoculation won’t work once you are already infected.  I don’t see why people don’t see this like a small pox or polio vaccine.  You’re kid gets the shot and she won’t know that it’s to protect her from a sexually transmitted disease unless you tell her.  As a parent, don’t you want to protect her?  If she’s raped or she marries an unfaithful man and down the road she dies of cervical cancer, will you be able to live with yourself knowing she could have avoided the suffering and early death of cancer if only you weren’t so narrow minded?

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By David Meller, June 13, 2006 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

doesn’t anyone here GET IT?!? You can remain abstinent all you want and have sex with just that one special person AND THEY MAY HAVE HPV!!! What then? The abstinence / moral / God argument is completely hollow. Not to mention that the virus is transmitted in numerous other ways. This whole line of reasoning is completely idiotic.

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By Arliss, June 13, 2006 at 11:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh and you republicans NEVER cheat on your wives?
Then you bring the virus home to your wife, who has not been vaccinated against it.
Then when your wife dies from cervical cancer who you gonna blame?

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By Mark L Stevens, June 13, 2006 at 10:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why should the religous fascists worry? All they have to do if their daughter gets HPV is take her to Benny Hinn. Mr. Hinn, for a fee, will perform two miracles. One, he will cure their daughter and two, he will convert their money into a thirty room mansion.

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By brian williams, June 13, 2006 at 8:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

if only such activity as blocking your child’s chance of living a cancer-free life could result in YOU getting cancer. If there really were a god, wouldn’t he/she want to smite such vile, evil sinners? Sometimes, a little targeted reprocussions of a biblic nature would be so wonderful.

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By GOPHater, June 13, 2006 at 6:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When are we going to rise up and rid our lives of these people?  It is way past time to take this country back.  Maybe we should resort to their own tactics.  A little reverse inquisition might be in order.

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By Chris Christensen, June 13, 2006 at 6:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When are we going to be able to make our own decisions. Granded the idea that this White House is still here maybe is proof that some are not able. I don’t beleive the fringe should control the conversation from ether side, no matter what the subject is. Where is the outrage? Where is the media? Where is the Hill?

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By Lisa, June 13, 2006 at 6:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

YOU PEOPLE WHO THINK YOU HAVE THE MORAL HIGH GROUND SHOULD THINK AGAIN….THIS IS A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE…THAT YOU GET,AND DIE FROM,IF YOU HAVE SEX WITH MEN…TO COMPLAIN ABOUT GAYS OR LESBIANS,IS CRAP….I BEING A LESBIAN,ARE SAFER THAN YOU BOTTOM LINE…STOP TARGETED US AND HIDINg THE FACT YOU GET THIS. NO ONE PUTS IT AS A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE BUT THAT WHAT IT IS.WOMAN GET IT CONSTANTLY!!!! AND DIE FROM CANCER BOTTOM LINE BEING STRAIGHT OR BI IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN BEING A LESBIAN SO KEEP YOUR NASTY COMMENTS TO YOURSELF..PEOPLE IN GLASS DISEASED HOUSES SHOULD NOT THROW STONES!!!!

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By exarch, June 13, 2006 at 3:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nora:
Hey, what about personal freedoms?!?  Why should the government force me (or my children) to get a vaccine for a disease I can largely CHOOSE not to expose myself to?  What if I choose to abstain for reasons that have nothing to do with the “religious right,” like… to avoid HPV?  What if I don’t trust Merck and their “cures?”

There are lots of sane reasons to resist making this vaccine mandatory.  Just because their motives are screwy, doesn’t mean they’ve taken the wrong position, here.
Making it mandatory would just make sure that those who could otherwise not afford the vaccine can now depend on the government to protect their lives. Those who would rather play Russian Roulette with their lives (or more specifically, that of their daughters), can always do so on religious grounds, or acquire an exemption or something by taking the necesary steps.

100% preventable !! 4000 women dying every year in the US alone! What more do you need?

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By T. Badillo, June 13, 2006 at 12:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So “people of color” (a phrase probably invented by some white boy) would benefit
most from the vaccine? And religion is interfering with this process, huh? And to recommend abstinence is stupid, right? Last I heard the born out of wedlock rate was 25% for whites, 35% for Latinos and 69% for Black Americans. But the vaccine, not moral teaching will take care of all this. Yeah, right.
tony badillo

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By Mrs. D, June 12, 2006 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As it was in the days of Noah . . .

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By Bryan Ogburn, June 12, 2006 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I suspect that we can combat this massive stupidity by pointing out to wealthy Dominionists that their infant sons or daughters could get this skin contact virus by being attended or carried by the undocumented (with no SS paid)caregiver on a hot Florida evening. You don’t have to be horny to sweat.
Bryan, Austin, Texas

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By Bill Sardi, June 12, 2006 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So what happens if…........your first sex partner has the papilloma virus?? You can’t use imagined scenarios.  The vaccine is not the only option and certainly not fool-proof.  How did the vaccine become a debate between Bible believers and scientists?  The Bible believers can resist the vaccine for their children, but everyone else can play around?  That’s nonsense.  All young women need parenting and should be advised against multiple sex partners.  The facts are:

1. You don’t need the vaccine to ward off the virus.  You need an immune system.  Those women infected don’t develop cancer till after age 50 when immunity declines. 

2. You don’t need the vaccine if you get plenty of folic acid, a B vitamin.  Women with high levels of folic acid will be protected from the papilloma virus almost as well as the vaccine, and against more strains of the virus than the vaccine. 

3. The birth control pill depletes women of folic acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin B12, which reduces their immunity and abets the infection.  The birth control pill sets the stage for the infection.  Vitamin pills should be taken if using contraception.

4. While studies show the vaccine is 99% effective at reducing pre-cancerous changes, we still don’t know if it will really prevent cancer in the long run because the other strains of the virus may come into play, especially if women have more sex partners at a younger age.

5. The vaccine will not likely save as many lives as predicted since most American women undergo pap smears and 1 in 3 undergo a hysterectomy during their life. 

6. This is an issue of public health, not whether Christians are prudes.  So go ahead, have premarital sex with many partners and get chlamydia, herpes and HIV.  Just because one is protected from papilloma virus is no reason to think your kids (or anyone) can play musical sex chairs.

7. Women who do choose to have numerous sex partners need to boost their immunity with folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, vitamin B12.

8. Yes, children are born with this virus because their mothers transferred it to them.  Another reason why not to be promiscuous.

9. What I’m reading on this message board is “God loves us and forgives us when we have slept around.”  Yes, but He certainly doesn’t condone the behavior, for our own good.  I read “might as well get the vaccine since a lot of women will get raped in their lifetime.”  There’s some logic.(?) The public is being sold a bill of goods on the vaccine.  If you don’t care about the morals of your kids, at least care about their health, and advise them to avoid multiple sex partners. 

Bill Sardi

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By John, June 12, 2006 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It seems that the Christian “Taliban” is alive and well in the US and trying to make sure that all women and girls are treated as property.  To heck with science, to heck with reason, “I have the word from the ONLY GOD and the rest of the country will do it my way or else!”

I guess with one of their own in the White House those who didn’t pay attention in the last Presidential election are getting what was expected.

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By NancyP, June 12, 2006 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

HPV is a contagious disease that leads in some cases to cancer and in some other cases to minor disease. No different from vaccinating someone against Hepatitis B, which can also lead to one-time non-cancer disease (acute hepatitis), or chronic disease leading to the non-cancer disease of cirrhosis, which may lead to liver cancer.

I favor “mandatory” vaccination with opt-out as the best approach. Parents may opt out of the vaccine for their children for religious reasons, or stupidity reasons, or valid medical reasons. However, making vaccination mandatory for school attendance has the effect of making vaccination available to the poor insuranceless population through the health department and public funding. These are often the individuals at most risk of developing serious HPV-related disease, because they are less likely to get regular checkups with Pap smears.

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By Ann Vilivabol, June 12, 2006 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These religious rights really believe that they are pleasing GOD. Let’s see:

GOD sent his angels TO KILL all the first borns of Egypt.

GOD killed all the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

GOD killed everybody on Earth except Noah’s family.

This GOD is very comfortable in KILLING people.

After giving the TEN COMMANDMENTS to Moses, GOD helped Moses and Joshua INVADE territories, ANNIHILATE its inhabitants, and OCCUPY the lands. GOD broke his own commandments THOU SHALT NOT KILL and THOU SHALT NOT STEAL. This is the JUST GOD?

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By Art, June 12, 2006 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Folks, the resistance of the funda-mental-ist wingnut crowd is hardly a surprise.

(I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED to find out that BIOLOGY is going on!!!)

They ARE idiots and I don’t care if anyone likes it or not - I don’t care if it ‘advances’ the ‘discussion’ because there IS NO DISCUSSION…not with these Christofascists.  THEY are right and everyone else is wrong and is going to hell.  Everyone who doesn’t go to their church.  All the OTHER churches are ‘of the devil’ and their members are all headed to hell.  Except THEIRS.

Karen, I am agnostic, but truly am glad that your daughter has turned her life around. And you as well, I truly rejoice in that.

I do not believe that GOD, Buddha, Allah, Krishna, Jehovah, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster had anything to do with it, but I still am glad for you.

But our “reality based commmunity”, the community that thinking humans belong to, is beginning to realize that these crazy folks are not just a danger to themselves, but to ALL of us. 

They don’t CARE if your daughter dies.

They don’t care if THEIR daughters die, either, because the MAIN TENET of fundamentalism is that NONE OF THIS IS REAL, that the universe that we live in is not real, our lives are not real, our pain and death are not real…because God is coming…anyday now…to take us all away from the evils of life, so who gives a crap if we all suffer and die?

In fact, it’s GOOD for us to suffer (e.g., Calvin, Catholicism, other craziness) so we will appreciate ‘heaven’ more. 

It’ll take the erasure of these fools from the face of the earth before the rest of us can EVER live in a rational, peaceful, loving world.  I hate to say that, and I DO NOT look forward to - or want - their death, but THEY DO.

They are just plain mentally incompetent, too incompetent to make rational decisions.

It’s NOT the ‘morality’ of the vaccine to them.  It’s NOT the ‘fact that abstinence is better’.
It’s NOT the ‘freedom of choice’ to not have their children vaccinated.

It’s just that life doesn’t matter, because they think they are going to have “pie in the sky, by and by, when they die”...just plain crazy.

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By Gar, June 12, 2006 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The argument that the vaccine will encourage sexual promiscuity simply does not hold water. You still have all of the other sexually transmitted diseases out there such as AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea & the strains of HPV that the vaccine doesn’t protect against.

I can’t understand the attitude of a parent that would condemn their daughter to cancer over a false moral choice. Did it ever occur to them that their daughter might marry someone that unknowingly carries HPV or that her spouse might cheat on her one day? You don’t have to be sleeping around to be a victim of HPV.

Most people with HPV are unaware that they have it.

Let’s hypothetically accept the promiscuity argument for one minute. Say a teen makes a mistake of youth and raging hormones. Would the parents give them cancer as punishment as opposed to sending them to their room for example? Just don’t see how anyone that loves their children could be so cold or unforgiving.

The example of Christ when a woman was caught in the very act of adultery was forgiveness & no condemnation. So I do not see any Biblical basis   for opposing a life saving vaccine as Christ also healed the sick. Luke was also a physician which tells me that the Bible was not opposed to science.

The rise of fundamentalism has become a dangerous thing in America. This is the tyranny that the founding fathers warned against.

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By Satiric Phenomenologist, June 12, 2006 at 11:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Again, fundamental Christians have more in common with fundamental Muslims than with the majority of Americans as the patriarchs of each are more than willing to sacrifice the lives of their daughters in pursuit of a sexual ideal they only pretend to live up to themselves.  Here’s another statistic that the “pious” tend to ignore:  child abuse and incest is proven to be higher than the national average among families who self-identify as fundamentalist Christians.

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By Kate, June 12, 2006 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wonder when the REAL Christians are going to take back Jesus from these crazies who have abducted Him?

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By Commonsense, June 12, 2006 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why don’t all you Christians abstain from sex all together? The rest of us will fend for ourselves, thanks…

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By Nora, June 12, 2006 at 11:28 am Link to this comment
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Hey, what about personal freedoms?!?  Why should the government force me (or my children) to get a vaccine for a disease I can largely CHOOSE not to expose myself to?  What if I choose to abstain for reasons that have nothing to do with the “religious right,” like… to avoid HPV?  What if I don’t trust Merck and their “cures?”

There are lots of sane reasons to resist making this vaccine mandatory.  Just because their motives are screwy, doesn’t mean they’ve taken the wrong position, here.

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By Julie, June 12, 2006 at 11:27 am Link to this comment
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Poor women and women of color would certainly benefit the most, but this vaccine is expensive and takes a series of 3 shots over 6 months.  I really doubt those women will have the opportunity to get the HPV vaccine due to lack of insurance and restrictions in policies.

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By Mark, June 12, 2006 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
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It’s always religious people who want to stop progress.  In the 1800s, when inocculations were first being administered, religious people fought it tooth and nail as ‘negating the will of God’s wrath’.  Imagine that!  Actually being able to negate an all powerful God. 

Suprisingly, the inocculations worked.  Negating their all powerful God.

That’s what this issue is all about.  They tell the public that their God is all powerful.  When something simple like an vaccine does away with the ‘wrath of God’, it’s taking the power and control from ‘God’, eg, THEM, and putting it in the real world.

Christians have been taught to ignore or negate the real world.  Those in control of the religious masses don’t want them to see that there are real solutions to real problems that go against the very edicts in their illusory Bible.

So, this latest blow to their attempt to have total control over their followers’ minds will show their followers once again that the real world actually exists.  They hate that.

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By Steve, June 12, 2006 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
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I saw a Steve Martin skit-Theodoric, Barber of York- in which he plays the main character practicing medieval medicine. Bleeding of patients, frog warts with eye of newt potions, and the caladrias bird prognosticator were the spoofed methods of healing in which most patients died. This is maybe what these anti-vaccine conservatives want and deserve rather than proven science. They seem not to want to eliminate pain and suffering when means are available AND they want to impose their doctrines on the rest of us who see the value of proven science. The Bush people are anti-science about global warming. They too seem to want the end of people to be nearer. The neocons have me befuddled.

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By Mrs. Robinson, June 12, 2006 at 10:40 am Link to this comment
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Mont D. Law writes:

“Does the state have the right to force Mr. Perkins to act against his religious and political beliefs to save his daughter from a disease she may or may not get.

Nobody should be cavalier about extending government power like this.”

You are missing the point by a wide mile. Eighty percent of adults carry at least one HPV virus (there are dozens of variants). About 15% carry one of the handful of variants that can cause cancer. Which means that anyone who’s had more than six or seven lifetime partners—or sleeps with someone who has—has an almost certain chance of acquiring a high-risk HPV.

Furthermore, while you can test for the high-risk strains in women, there is no test that will detect them in men.

In direct answer to your question: no, nobody will force Mr. Perkins to get his daughter vaccinated if he has a religious objection to vaccination in general. The law already allows people to decline to be vaccinated for religious reasons.

But, as several other commenters upthread noted, Mr. Perkins is a fool if he thinks his daughter is somehow safe if she arrives at her wedding day with virginity intact. She isn’t.

As for his political beliefs: His political beliefs are turning the bodies of all American women in to poltiical battlegrounds. His right to his beliefs end where my Constitutional rights (and his daughter’s) begin. Indeed: Nobody should be cavalier about extending government power like this—but that never seems to stop the religious right.

This issue will die a quick and violent death the day one of these righteous prigs loses a wife or child to this deadly cancer. Sadly, the more successful they are, the sooner this day will come.

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By not- so Rich, June 12, 2006 at 10:07 am Link to this comment
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This has nothing to do with “religion.” This is a matter of control freaks saying “think the way I tell you to or die.” Religion is just a front for some very sick bullies.

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By Tammie, June 12, 2006 at 9:36 am Link to this comment
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*sighs* The problem here is that HPV is NOT always preventable - Some are born with it.
What happens if the love of your life dies or you get *gasp*! (Unheard of!), a Divorce?
Having intercourse with just ONE other person can cause this virus. Is it the contention of the R.R. that after our partner dies or goes away we never fall in love again? Good luck with that defense. And when, someone PLEASE tell me, has a teenager been overly concerned about the chance to get cancer from having sex? This vaccine will not make them more likely to have sex.

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By Karen Helgesen, June 12, 2006 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
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As the Christian mother of a daughter who contracted one of the strains of the HPV virus which causes cervical cancer,  I regret the attitude of some of my fellow Christians.  However, calling them (Christians) “stupid” or “idiots” does nothing to advance this important discussion.  It just divides.
 
My daughter, at the age of 20, had to have surgery to remove the precancerous cells found on her cervix.  These cells would eventually have invaded her cervix and resulted in a full blown case of deadly cervical cancer. She will have to have Pap smears every three months for the next one or two years.  So far, she has had three “clean” ones, thank God. Perhaps she should not have had the surgery if , morally speaking, she should have also not have had the vaccination that could have prevented it to begin with. She made mistakes, many of them.  But, through the GRACE OF GOD, has been forgiven for them.  Jesus hung out not with the already pure of body and heart, but with people like my daughter and myself (who also has a very checkered past.) I am grateful that there is a God in heaven who saw the goodness in my sweet daughter and was just waiting for her to see the goodness in Him.  She will (and has) reach many young women with the message of God’s forgiveness and healing because she experienced it firsthand. 

The only thing that would have been affected had she been vaccinated against HPV would have been her message.  Not her lifestyle.  We did not bring her up to have sex outside of marriage anymore than we wanted her to become addicted to meth.  But, it happened anyway.  She has also been clean and sober for a long time now and is in the unique position of reaching others who are in the grip of this deadly drug.  She is also a very active member in our church and is a group leader for our high school youth group.  She works for a non profit organization which helps employ disabled young adults, made a trip to Miss. with her church “buddies” to aid the victims of Katrina (long before the government did much of anything.)  She is dating a wonderful young man who is also very active in his Christian life.  He loves her even in spite of her past.  Imagine that. What a waste had cervical cancer eventually claimed her life.

But, that is just my take on things.  Being a Christian means far more than fighting a vaccination that has the potential to save lives.  Precious lives.  Women who the Lord loves and wants,  diseased or not.

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By C Quil, June 12, 2006 at 8:39 am Link to this comment
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Any parent who prevents his or her daughter from receiving this vaccine should be charged with reckless endangerment. I cannot even THINK why anyone would not allow their daughter protection from cancer. As parents, they should INSIST on it.

Maybe this is a case where a child should be able to choose for herself whether she wants to be vaccinated if parental permission is not given.

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By Paul M Smith, June 12, 2006 at 7:05 am Link to this comment
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Idiots to the left of me, idiots to the right of me grumbled & blundered! I’ve stopped asking when or will these religious nutbags someday get the message and move into the present instead of longing for the ignorance of the dark ages. The reason I stopped asking was I finally realized these kooks have no sense of logic (or even decency). By their rationalization on this issue of vaccinations they would also not have their kids drive cars because some people get laid in the back seat of them, or sleep in beds because people do the ‘nasty’ there, too. Get a grip you religious perverts. More lives are at stake here EACH YEAR than died on 9/11, or US soldiers who have been killed in this incredibly stupid war you wholeheartedly supported from the start. Your morality, decency, ethics, logic, and common sense have been warped by keeping your noses buried in ‘the’ book way too long. You’re disgusting, but you don’t have to stay that way forever. Preferring a crappy life here, and betting everything on the ‘rapture’ is a fool’s bet, and makes no sense…oh, but I keep forgetting, you have no sense. Get a grip you stupid pinheads!!!

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By Bess, June 12, 2006 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
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I am a Lutheran wondering if members of the Religious Right undergo lobotomies following their baptisms. Leslee Unruh’s assertion that HPV is a disease that is 100% preventable with proper sexual behavior is ludicrous. 1 in 6 American women have been the victim of rape, regardless of their religious affiliation. Additionally, a woman’s abstinence is fairly moot if she marries an “experienced” man.

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By lifewriter, June 12, 2006 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
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Standing in the way of a cancer vaccine…what could be more Christian?  Malignant neoplasms, or cancers of the human body, make up almost a quarter of all fatalities in the US annually (22.8 %).Contrast this against the number of people killed in car accidents annually, and you’ll get a close run for your money. 

The alleged Christians rallying against this vaccine might be asked if they’d be willing to remove the airbags out of their children’s cars, as removing this preventative measure might assist in those speed hungry youngsters in abstaining from driving recklessly.  It seems that our friends attending Bible Camp are too focused on their families to understand the statistical significance of what’s at stake here.  But really, it comes as no surprise.  Part and parcel to the HPV vaccine, as it will be administered to pre-teen youths will likely be other “choice friendly” sentiments about safely engaging in pre-marital sex (education on using condoms), and making informed decisions about one’s reproductive health (education on abortion).  http://www.plannedparenthood.org/pp2/portal/files/portal/medicalinfo/sti/fact-HPV-virus.xml

But both of these defenses are misleading.  Condoms do not wholly prevent the spread of HPV, as this virus is transmitted on a skin to skin basis; not direct via genital contact.  Anti abortion advocates are alarmist here (in the eyes of the Christian Block), because they know that once discussion on this topic is introduced, the slope gets increasingly slippery, and soon enough we’re off to the clinic for a late term abortion.  Information, it might seem, is at the heart of this issue.  But what about the real motivator of all things?  How might money (contribution cash, that is – tithing) play a role here?

It’s clear that the Christians are standing up against this vaccine in unison because other, more cryptic messaging to their youth lies in the balance.  What’s absurd is that the “baby with the bathwater” concept, in this case, being acted out publicly.  If a safer, more educated sex partner will save kids from contracting a potentially fatal disease, and keep them less at risk, where’s the problem?

Well, the problem may well be that, statistically (and I site this as a financial concern that Focus on the Family may be silently harboring), once high school kids begin to engage in sexual activity, their interest / focus on their Christian ethics are quickly tossed out the window.  It’s likely that our lobbying Glory Bringers are looking at statistics, and demographics as well; the number of the faithful youth will decrease by an order of magnitude once they begin to autonomously engage in sexual intimacy and start thinking for themselves…soon, they’ll see that all those Sunday mornings are better spent having sex.  They may well put down the bible and “see God” through the bond that a strong sexual partnership can carry.  And once that decision is made, I’m guessing that our Promise Keeping youth of yesterday don’t often make a prodigal return into daddy’s loving arms. Seems they’ve found a warmer embrace elsewhere.  And all of that discretionary spending that used to wind up in the donation basket will be lost, as these kids spend more on things that actually have significance in their lives.  And all Pat Robertson can do is pray for their souls…and pay off his Senators to prevent this travesty from happening in the first place.  Abstain from the bible and be saved.  Word.

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By Ian Parker, June 12, 2006 at 3:26 am Link to this comment
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You don’t necessarily have to be promiscuous to be at risk. You may just have one boyfriend who has been “around a bit”.

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By Julie B, June 12, 2006 at 2:50 am Link to this comment
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So, what happens to Tony Perkins’s daughter if she remains a virgin until marriage, but then falls in love and marries a man who was not a virgin - something she had no control over - and he ends up being a carrier of HPV and she gets the virus anyway, which leads to cancer.  Does her dad then say, “Sucks to be you”??

Seems like her virginity has little to do with the eventual consequences….

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By Laura, June 12, 2006 at 2:40 am Link to this comment
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Has it ever occurred to any of these people that their daughter’s marriage partner might not be a virgin & might be infected with HPV? Idiots! Even if they manage to keep their daughters from sexual activity, they can’t guarantee the boys. And with the double standard alive and well, chances are good that the boy she picks will be “experienced”.

The CDC says that 80% of us are infected with HPV. The vaccine makes sense. The only person whose behavior you can control is you.

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By anonymous, June 11, 2006 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment
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as I told an abstinence-only supporting friend you may behave yourself but what if your future spouse did not? What if your future children follow your rules but one of the spouses-to-be did not? What if you or your future children are sexually abused by someone carrying HPV? Your own chastity won’t save you from other’s actions.

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By Mont D. Law, June 11, 2006 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment
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It’s not like this is isn’t horrible and these people are not criminal in their idiocy but I have a problem with compelling it for school attendance.

In Canada all vaccines required for school are for contagious diseases. The state compels not to protect any single child but all children. This is, I think, an important line.


The state has a right to insist that Mr. Perkin’s kid is vaccinated against polio, whatever his religious or political beliefs because his child could infect lots of other kids.

Does the state have the right to force Mr. Perkins to act against his religious and political beliefs to save his daughter from a disease she may or may not get.

Nobody should be cavalier about extending government power like this.

Mont D. Law

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By R. A. Earl, June 11, 2006 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment
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“Last October the council’s president, Tony Perkins, spoke against the vaccine. “Our concern,” he said, “is that this vaccine will be marketed to a segment of the population that should be getting a message about abstinence. It sends the wrong message.” He went on to say that he would not vaccinate his 13-year-old daughter.”

It is my fervent hope that his daughter will have the brains to understand that this is HER life, not her parents’ or anyone else’s, and go get her own vaccinations.

Sometimes, when parents are unwilling or unable to offer valid advice by reason of insanity or religious zealousness (pardon the redundancy), the child must go elsewhere for his/her own protection.

Mr. Perkins: The “message about abstinence” and a vaccination against a potentially deadly virus ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE issues… you MORON! You can have BOTH if you must, but if you must choose only ONE, CHOOSE the vaccination! Preaching abstinence to hormonally supercharged adolescents works only in the minds of the mental midgets who promote it.

When will we have a vaccination against STUPIDITY?

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By Ga, June 11, 2006 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment
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Oh joy. I can’t wait to hear from all the Christians about this.

I am sure people fought measles and polio vaccinations etc. And there are always to be concerns about these things (as there are about everything).

But let us hope that Christians look after the “sexual purity” of their own children and not other people’s children.

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By James, June 11, 2006 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment
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Working with patients I can already see the polarized reactions to this new vaccine:  “You calling my baby daughter a whore?!! She doesn’t need this crap” versus “Great!  Hopefully they’ll have a cure for AIDS soon, too!”

Read more at http://secondepinion.blogspot.com/

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