God Is Moral Part Five
An earlier part of our study indicated that, when God created mankind as male and female, He revealed the fixed, inflexible, moral order that He established for human sexuality. That order is as follows: All human sexual relationships are to take place exclusively within the bonds of male-female marriage, and marriage is to be a lifelong union of a man and a woman. Any deviation from that order violates and perverts what God intended and has tragic consequences for mankind. This article will examine some of those tragic consequences.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
The spread of sexually transmitted diseases (referred to as STDs) is a major, tragic consequence of mankind’s failure to follow God’s order for human sexuality. STDs are “infections that can be spread by having sex with another person who is infected.”1 Some have plagued mankind for much of human history. But today there are more than 30 new STDs, and 30 percent of them have no cure.2 STDs are spreading at alarming rates. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “estimates that 19 million STD infections occur annually” in the United States.3 To grasp the gravity of the situation, it would be helpful to observe the more prominent STDs and their consequences.
Trichomoniasis. This extremely common STD is caused by a parasite and can produce vaginitis. It can be transmitted between persons through sexual relationships. Since the parasite can survive for several hours on damp towels, washcloths, and swimsuits, this STD can be transmitted via these items.4
Chlamydia. This STD is a bacterial infection. If neglected, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. In addition, it can make the transmission of HIV easier.5 Chlamydia can be passed to a baby from the mother during delivery and cause pneumonia and conjunctivitis in the child.6 It is estimated that 2.8 million new cases of Chlamydia occur each year in the United States.7
Gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection. If left untreated, serious consequences can result. For men, it can cause epididymitis (genital swelling and pain) and infertility. For women, it can infect the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries; cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility; and increase vulnerability to HIV transmission.8 The Nemours Foundation, one of America’s largest children’s health systems and the operator of the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware, reported gonorrhea during pregnancy can inflict the newborn baby with “meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord) and an eye infection that can result in blindness” if left untreated. For both men and women, gonorrhea can also “affect other organs and parts of the body including the throat, eyes, heart, brain, skin, and joints.”9 It is estimated that 718,000 new gonorrhea infections occur each year in the United States.10 Increasing bacterial resistance to the treatment of gonorrhea is causing concern.11
Syphilis. Syphilis is a bacterial infection. If left untreated, it can spread throughout the entire body and infect the brain, heart, spinal cord, and bones. It also causes walking problems, numbness, blindness, and death.12 It can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy and “cause stillbirth, death soon after birth, and neurological problems in children who survive.”13 Syphilis also makes a person more susceptible to HIV.14
Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver that can be transmitted through sexual relations or unsterilized needles that have been used by an infected person. Nemours said it leads to “liver damage and an increased risk of liver cancer. Ninety percent of babies born to women who have the hepatitis B virus will have the virus unless they receive special immune injections and the first dose of vaccine at birth.”15
Genital Herpes. This STD is a viral infection. It can be transmitted by any kind of sexual relationship with a person who has a herpes simplex virus (HSV). Most persons who have this virus have few or no indicators of it. Normal indicators are blisters that break to form a sore. The HSV virus can be transmitted from a person who has no sores and is unaware that he or she is infected. Because this disease is caused by a virus, there is no cure for it. Thus, once herpes infects a person, it can remain in the body permanently and reactivate blisters periodically.16 In the United States “at least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or one out of five adolescents and adults, have had genital HSV infection.”17 An actively infected pregnant woman can transmit that infection to her baby with possible results of meningitis, seizures, and brain damage. Herpes also makes a person more susceptible to HIV.18
Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This STD is a viral infection. Thirty of the more than 100 types of HPV viruses are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact in all kinds of sexual relationships. HPV is one of the most widespread causes of sexually transmitted disease in the world. In the United States, genital HPV is more prevalent than any other STD. Approximately 5.5 million new cases are reported each year, and at least 20 million Americans have it. Some types of HPV cause genital warts as an indicator of the infection, but many victims receive no indications. As a result, those people can unknowingly spread the virus to other sexual partners and are unaware they could develop more problems. There is no cure for human papillomavirus. Some types of HPV can cause cervical, anal, and other types of cancer. Women who have genital warts bear children who develop throat warts that block their breathing passages.19
HIV/AIDS. HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, attacks the body’s immune system, rendering it incapable of protecting the body from infectious diseases. Once a person’s body becomes immune deficient, that person contracts AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), the disease that renders a person defenseless against all infections.20
HIV/AIDS has spread rapidly since the first AIDS case was diagnosed in 1980. More than 27 million people have died of AIDS since then. At the end of 2003 approximately 37.8 million people worldwide had HIV/AIDS. Of that, 35.7 million were adults; 2.1 million were under 15. By the end of 2004, 4.9 million new infections occurred.21 It is estimated that an additional 70 million people will die from AIDS by 2025.
The most prevalent means of contracting the HIV virus is direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected partner in sexual relations. Less prevalent means include use of unsterilized needles (previously used by an infected person for injecting drugs or medicine, tattooing, or ear piercing), being born to an infected mother (HIV can be passed to the developing child through the umbilical cord and contact with the mother’s blood and body fluid during birth passage from the mother), and drinking an infected mother’s milk.22
In the United States the total estimated diagnosed cases of AIDS through 2003 was 929,985. Of that total an estimated 440,887 men contracted AIDS through male-to-male sexual relations, and an additional 62,418 from a combination of male-to-male sexual relations and injection drug use. Through heterosexual relations with infected partners, 56,403 men and 93,586 women got AIDS. 175,988 men and 70,558 women acquired it through injection drug use. And 14,191 males and 6,535 females contracted it through other means, including blood transfusions.23 In light of this latter means, a man who has had even a single homosexual relation since 1977 is forbidden by the Red Cross to be a blood donor.24
There is no cure for AIDS.25 Modern drugs have slowed the time it takes the HIV virus to progress to AIDS. A person may now have 10 years before HIV turns into AIDS. But early in 2005 a new strain of HIV was detected. It is highly resistant to these drugs and seems to progress to AIDS in several months. This has caused great concern.26
Anal Cancer. Cases of anal cancer have increased in recent decades.27 Studies have demonstrated “significant associations between measures of sexual promiscuity and the risk of anal cancer in both men and women.”28 There is “strong evidence that a sexually transmitted infection causes anal cancer.”29
The spread of sexually transmitted diseases has economic consequences as well. This is especially true of the HIV/AIDS crisis. One consequence is the cost of treatment. The average wholesale cost of medication is about$14,000 per year for an HIV patient and approximately $34,000 per year for a person with AIDS.30 Such costs are bound to affect health insurance premiums significantly.
In addition, the deaths of so many working-age persons from HIV/AIDS can have serious, long-range consequences for economies. Markus Haacker, the primary author of a report issued in 2004, stated, “The economic and social consequences of the increased mortality and morbidity associated with HIV/AIDS are serious and diverse.”31 The report warned that HIV/AIDS deaths could cause an economy to shrink “to about one-third its size in three generations.”32 The children of young adults who die from HIV/AIDS will “be less able to attend school” and won’t learn “the life-skills that parents teach their children.”33 As a result, they will be “less able to provide for their children’s education, and so on.”34
The only sure way to escape receiving an STD is as follows: total abstinence from sexual relations before marriage, marriage with a person of the opposite sex who is free of STDs, and complete faithfulness in the marriage. In other words, follow God’s moral order for sexuality.
There are groups that resist teaching this sure way and insist that it actually hinders the battle against HIV/AIDS. They claim the effective way to combat the disease is through the distribution and use of condoms.35 But this approach has two problems. First, even when used correctly, condoms have a “13 percent failure rate against HIV,” a “50 percent failure rate against gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydeous,” and a “100 percent failure rate against genital herpes and human papillomavirus.”36 Second, in a little over 10 years, HIV/AIDS infection rates dropped from 21 to 6 percent in Uganda as a result of that nation emphasizing abstinence before marriage, faithfulness in marriage or a monogamous relationship, and the use of condoms. By contrast nations with the greatest use of condoms have greater infection rates.37
A Serious Inconsistency
Government agencies, businesses, the media, and schools try to persuade people to avoid smoking, a known cause of serious illness and premature death. Why, then, do they support and promote acceptance of the gay lifestyle, a known cause of serious illness and premature death to so many? Opponents of that lifestyle are accused of being hateful and unloving. But in reality, it is hateful and unloving to support and promote acceptance of something that can have serious consequences for a fellow human being. As God said,
The fear of the Lᴏʀᴅ is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death (Prov. 14:27).
- “Sexually Transmitted Diseases—The Basics,” American Social Health Association <www.iwannaknow.org/basics2/index.html>.
- Andree Seu, “In the Know,” World Magazine 19, no. 23 (2004), 71.
- “Trends in Reportable Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the United States, 2003,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention <www.cdc.gov/std/stats/2003SurveillanceSummary.pdf>, 1 (hereafter cited as “Trends”).
- “Trichomoniasis,” Nemours Foundation <http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/stds/std_trichomoniasis.html>.
- “Trends,” 1.
- “Chlamydia,” Nemours Foundation <http://kidshealth.org/teen/infections/stds/std_chlamydia.html>.
- “Trends,” 1.
- Gonorrhea,” Nemours Foundation <http://kidshealth.org/teen/infections/stds/std_gonorrhea.html>.
- “Trends,” 2.
- “Syphilis,” Nemours Foundation <http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/stds/std_syphilis.html>.
- “Trends,” 4.
- “Hepatitis B (HBV),” Nemours Foundation <http://kidshealth.org/teen/infections/stds/std_hepatitis.html>.
- “Genital Herpes—CDC Fact Sheet,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention <www.cdc.gov/std/Herpes/STDFact-Herpes.htm>.
- “Genital Herpes,” Nemours Foundation <http://kidshealth.org/teen/infections/stds/std_herpes.html>.
- “Human Papillomavirus and Genital Warts,” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, July 2004 <www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/stdhpv.htm>.
- “HIV and AIDS,” Nemours Foundation <http://kidshealth.org/teen/infections/stds/std_hiv.html>.
- “AIDS/HIV Facts,” American International AIDS Foundation <http://aids.com/facts.htm>.
- “Basic Statistics,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention <www.cdc.gov/hiv/stats.htm>.
- Joel Belz, “The Red Cross Standard,” World Magazine, December 20, 2003 <www.worldmag.com/displayarticle. cfm?id=8371>.
- “HIV and AIDS.”
- “Across The Nation/New York City Health Officials Announce Detection of Rare Drug-Resistant HIV Strain, Issue Alert,” The Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, February 4, 2005 <www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index. cfm?hint=1&DR_ID=28138>.
- “Sexually Transmitted Infection as a Cause of Anal Cancer,” The New England Journal of Medicine, November 6, 1997 <http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/337/ 19/1350>.
- “XIV International AIDS Conference: UAB’s Unique Research Contributions,” UAB Health System, January 30, 2006 <www.health.uab.edu/show.asp?durki=53217>.
- “New Report Warns of Long-Term Economic Impacts From HIV/AIDS,” The World Bank, December 1, 2004 <www.aidsmedia.org/files/805_file_MACROECONOM-ICS_OF_AIDS_Press_release_FINAL.DOC>.
- Mary Rettig and Jenni Parker, “Harvard Doc: Abstinence, Monogamy Can Help Win War on AIDS; Still, Condom Camp Keeps Turning Blind Eyes to Evidence,” March 9, 2005 <http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/ 3/92005c.asp>.
- R. Schoenle, “A Pharmacist’s View on Gay Marriage,” June 29, 2004 <http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/6/292004js.asp>.
- Rettig and Parker.