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Sweethearting is the main cause of the AIDS/HIV crisis

Dear Editor,

Conservatism is defined as the commitment to traditional values. The Bahamas is generally regarded as a traditionally conservative country. Five personalities who dominated the American conservative landscape in the 1980s were former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Rousas John Rushdoony, William F. Buckley, Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop, the late surgeon general in the Reagan administration. All five men are now deceased.

Schaeffer and Koop collaborated on a book and documentary film entitled “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” was Schaeffer’s and Koop’s clarion call for the ending of abortion in the U.S.

Koop, by all accounts, was a dyed-in-the-wool social conservative and an evangelical. As U.S. surgeon general, however, Koop ruffled the feathers of the conservative community when he recommended in his 36-page AIDS report the use of condoms as one of the ways in which people could protect themselves from the AIDS virus. By recommending the use of condoms and sex education in elementary schools, Koop was accused by the evangelical community of unwittingly promoting sexual immorality. To his credit, Koop called for the voluntary testing of American adults for AIDS, as mandatory testing would only drive those at the greatest risk underground. Koop’s recommendation for AIDS testing is eerily similar to Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands’ call for a nationwide HIV testing campaign.

According to his ministry, one in 50 people in The Bahamas has the HIV/AIDS virus. The Bahamian population is a little over 391,000. Yet we rank 17th in the world for HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate – the highest in the world outside sub-Saharan Africa. It remains to be seen if Sands is recommending mandatory testing for Bahamians. Sands’ acknowledgement of sex being our national pastime underscores the rampant promiscuity of adult Bahamians. I wholeheartedly agree with Sands’ assessment that The Bahamas is currently undergoing an AIDS/HIV crisis of epic proportions, much like the U.S. during the 1980s while Koop was surgeon general. But I disagree with his suggestion that the state make available condoms as a means of mitigating the impact of the AIDS epidemic. I think the condom suggestion is inconsequential, as virtually every sexually active person in this country has access to condoms. Yet, despite the universal availability of condoms, The Bahamas is still in the midst of an AIDS/HIV epidemic. Bahamians, by and large, like their global counterparts, prefer bareback sexual intercourse, especially women. Unless the state is prepared to closely monitor its denizens in the bedroom, how will it enforce the use of condoms?

Moreover, I disagree with Sands’ subtle scapegoating of conservatism for the rampant promiscuity of Bahamians. There are no correlations between sexual promiscuity and conservatism. Conversely, the correlation exists between an immoral, nonchalant attitude toward human sexuality and the STD crisis. I know what I am talking about, because many of the AIDS victims I have encountered throughout the years all had one thing in common: They were all promiscuous. Many of these AIDS/HIV victims have slept with multiple partners. Bahamians, by and large, practice a moderate form of polygamy. How many well-to-do businessmen in this country have assembled massive harems? Many of us have heard sordid stories of wealthy politicians and successful unconverted pastors keeping sweethearts.

Sweethearting is a Bahamian pastime among heterosexuals and homosexuals.

Heterosexual monogamy is seldom practiced outside the church. I have never met a dyed-in-the-wool conservative who strictly adheres to the biblical injunction against sexual immorality suffering with AIDS or any other STDs for that matter. Not once.

Bahamian social conservatism, much like its American counterpart, is deeply rooted in the evangelical Christian worldview. The Bible condemns all forms of sexual encounters outside the traditional bounds of marriage. Consequently, true people of faith abstain from sexual intercourse if they are not married. Those who are married only do so with their covenant spouse.

Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

First Corinthians 6:18 instructs us to “flee fornication”.

So who or what should we blame for the high prevalence of AIDS/HIV in The Bahamas? The blame must be placed squarely at the doorsteps of our immorally bankrupt culture. I know the following has been said ad nauseam, but until this country undergoes a true spiritual reformation and decides to follow the biblical worldview regarding human sexuality, AIDS and other STDs will continue to wreak havoc in this country.


– Kevin Evans

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