MANILA, Sept. 5, 2012—It is the Philippines that has the credibility to teach the Western world about STD prevention and self-control rather than the other way around, even if countries like the United States seem motivated to “help” developing nations with “safe sex,” said American songwriter, guitarist and dynamic speaker Chris Stefanick.
Stefanick, who wrapped up a speaking tour Saturday in Manila as part of Real Love Revolution 2012, pointed out that over 40,000 people will get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) today in the US, where condoms are made widely available including gas station rest rooms and schools, where these are provided for free.
He cited as an example the Thailand and Philippines comparison.
“In 1984 was the AIDS breakout in the Philippines and in Thailand at the same time. The response in the Philippines was to promote abstinence; the response of Thailand was to promote condoms. Twenty years later, the rate of AIDS infection in Thailand was 50 times higher than in the Philippines,” he said.
Say ‘No, thank you’ to well-funded pressure
“When it comes to well-funded pressure from the Western world saying ‘We know better than you, let us show you how to protect yourselves,’ can you say a big “No, thank you!”?” Stefanick boomed enthusiastically toward the audience, which responded with cheers.
He mentioned that nearly 9 million people per year below age 25 acquire an STD, then showed the findings of studies pertaining to condom use and incidence of STDs in the US, including those of a study done by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These showed the grim results of relying on prophylactics for practicing “safe sex,” with the device providing an 85% risk reduction for HIV AIDS, and 50%-60% risk reduction for gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV) and several other diseases.
“And for years they’re still calling it ‘safe.’ The only safe sex is no sex,” he asserted.
During the event’s open forum, Stefanick and fellow speaker Leah Darrow were asked of their thoughts on RH legislation, which is being pursued in both chambers of the Philippine Congress. Stefanick began by expressing his pride in his culture and country, particularly the soldiers who have offered their lives fighting for freedom of other nations. He was, however, ashamed of the subtle browbeating the US President Barack Obama was doing.
“I am ashamed of my president for putting pressure on yours to promote condoms, who wants to give extra money to your country if you do [promote condoms]. I’m ashamed of that. I’m ashamed that in my country where over 43,000 people will get a sexually transmitted disease today, we dare to have the pride to tell you we know better.
“You are the world leaders in chastity!” he continued. “We need to get the facts and learn from you and not ask you to learn from us,” the archdiocesan youth and young adult ministry director said.
‘Latex missionaries’ prioritizing ‘dogma’ over lives
“People have accused our Pope when talking about the AIDS crisis in Africa and how it’s not being solved… They accused him of putting dogma before lives. And they’re accusing you of the same thing. It’s not dogma, it’s facts, guys! You know who’s putting dogma before lives? The ‘latex missionaries’ who will not look at the facts! Their god is life-less sex and they will not accept facts and figures. They will not look at the facts that you guys are winning in the fight against AIDS and the countries promoting condoms are failing.”
“This is not just a faith issue. It’s a math issue! Look at the math! It shows that you’re doing the right thing!” he added, generating more applause from the nearly 15,000-strong crowd.
‘Solution to poverty is not less Filipinos’
Apparently learning that the reproductive health (RH) bill was a contentious issue, Darrow had done her homework. She recognized similarities between the direction the US and the Philippines had taken and said, “you see the devastating effects when you take out morality… What I can tell you and what I do know is that the solution to poverty is not less of you. The solution to poverty is not less people, it’s not less Filipinos. You are not the problem! “
“The problem is corruption,” Stefanick quietly interjected, eliciting thunderous applause.
For the poorest of the poor, their only wealth and legacy are their children, he said.
Toward the end of the event came a “pep talk” of sorts, with Stefanick urging the people in the audience to appreciate their culture, including their faith – and stand proud amid external pressure.
“Don’t be ashamed of your faith. Don’t ever be afraid to call this a Catholic nation!” he called out to the audience, pointing out that Israel is called a Jewish nation and yet only about 60% of the population is Jewish.
“You’re a Catholic nation! That doesn’t mean you hate people that aren’t Catholic or that you discriminate against them, but you have every right to have your Catholic faith inform your ethics,” he continued.
It should motivate the way the faithful interact with the world of business, politics or any part of life, he said.
“Be proud of who you are, and I mean that on every level,” he urged, relating that he was “blown away” as he noticed that the Filipinas on billboards along the streets looked Caucasian. “And I’m thinking, ‘why?’ You guys are beautiful, don’t do that. Your culture is beautiful.”
“When I talk in the United States about chastity, I feel like I’m trying to grab people out of the culture of death. Here [I] get a sense like [I’m] pushing it back. You have no idea how beautiful this culture is. Be vigilant, be strong, speak out and keep the culture of life alive!” (CBCP for Life)