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Biblical Reflections on Modern Medicine

Vol. 6, No. 3 (33) 

Contents:


Beyond Abortion: A Biblical Worldview

or

Will Those Who Are Pro-life Ever Mature? - Part II

by Hilton P. Terrell, M.D., Ph.D.

A Minnesota pro-life group has distributed "A.D. 1995: Restatement of the Oath of Hippocrates (Circa 400 B.C)." It begins, "I swear in the presence of the Almighty and before my family, my teachers, and my peers that according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this oath and stipulation."

Then, it states that doctors are to make our teachers "equally dear ... as our parents." So much for a Biblical definition of the family. My teachers are "all who have taught me this art" of medicine. Does that include the avowed homosexual who was an expert in microbiology?

And, we are to "treat without exception all who seek" our ministrations. Indeed! All? So much for economics. Medicine is suspended above economics by invisible wires. Deux ex machina will deliver these oath-takers wherein even Hillary Clinton could not. Even the Gospel ministers are worthy of their hire. But doctors? Oh, no! We are above such picayune considerations as mere money. Physicians today feign indifference to the worship of money. The Oath overturns this hypocrisy and replaces it with a feigned worship of indifference to money. Progress. The error of the extremes.

Money is not the root of all evil. The love of it is. One is tempted, sorely tempted, to call the office of some of the physician signatories and request a gratis appointment, not on the basis of inability to pay, for that is not a listed exception, but on the basis that the money is reserved for a trip to the waterslide at the beach.

There is one qualifier -- "so long as the treatment of others is not compromised." Now there is an elastic clause. My paying patients might have their treatment compromised if I cannot relax sufficiently after work on my yacht. For those non-physicians who endorsed the oath -- lawyers and professors - I suppose it is an empty promise to offer medical care without charge. By the same standard, as a physician, I am personally willing to dispense my legal services pro bono and even to sign a nuclear non-proliferation pact with North Korea. Some of these signatories are well-informed, thoughtful men, which proves that professors do write in their sleep -- at least their names. Maybe they didn't mean to include money. Maybe they meant we wouldn't discriminate against certain diseases, like AIDS. Ah, political correctness. I must keep my homosexual AIDS patients functioning, by oath, so that they can continue their practices, as a large majority of mine clearly do. Those who seek medical "ministrations" uncovered by Biblical advice risk seeking death, for themselves and/or others. But I carry my responsibilities too far, I know. Should I not sew up the cut hand because it might one day carry a knife? Probably, I should, but I'd like to keep the option free of an oath. All "research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that [particular] individual." I wonder what will happen to double-blind placebo treatment of lethal diseases. Maybe the placebo group will still be alive after we find that the treatment works and can give them the real stuff. The again, maybe not. No problem. This way we'll never know.

We are to swear that we will not speak of those things we see and hear in the lives of our patients if "they ought not be spoken abroad." Why this meaningless statement from the original oath is retained regarding confidentiality, is beyond me, since it does not describe even in the most general terms what it is that "ought not to be spoken abroad." The section could be shortened to, "I will not speak that which ought not to be spoken." Not very helpful. Since the oath ought not to be spoken, perhaps the insertion of this portion annihilates it.

This oath reminds me of the view of Jay Adams regarding the Hippocratic Oath. We have no Biblical warrant to produce oaths that are not squarely based on Scripture. This "Restatement of the Oath of Hippocrates" is only superficially related to the original oath, but a blood brother in its avoidance of explicit derivation from God's Word.

It is suitable for framing and hanging in the Museum of Error and Trivia as a minor exhibit. The hall devoted to late 20th Century Conservative Banality would be the obvious place, along with all the other exhibits designed not to convict and stir up but to bore and distract. A runner-up among lightweights. A real enduring document -- it ought to last as long as a potato chip on the New Jersey turnpike.

Dr. Terrell is Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at McLeod Regional Medical Center, Florence, South Carolina, and editor of the Journal of Biblical Ethics in Medicine.

Ed's Note

It seems that Christians who are pro-life are obsessed with the resurrection of the Hippocratic Oath, as if it had some magical powers to right all the wrongs of modern medicine. I remind you that the oath is pagan to its core and has had no impact outside the Christian West! In my mind, it is a false hope that somehow a pagan conscience will be awakened by an modern version of that oath!

In the New Testament, God urges his children in numerous passages to "grow up" (e.g., Ephesians 4:11-16 and Hebrews 5:11-6:2). I have deep admiration and respect for the pro-life movement. I am part of it. However, Christians within it are compromising other Biblical truths. Partly, they do this in ignorance. Too many leaders today have little understanding of a coherent, consistent, comprehensive pro-life (Biblical) ethic. An army with huge gaps in its ranks with weapons that don't work is easily defeated.

Partly, they do this to attract "co-belligerents." I was once asked to speak at a state pro-life meeting, but not to mention Biblical principles except as generic "conservative" ethics. I declined. I will again, if asked. While we welcome non-Christian "co-belligerents," we disarm ourselves when we are asked to drop our "sword of the Spirit which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).

Pro-life Christians, take a look at those who work with you. How many are non-Christians? Not many, from my observations. What would you really give up by being explicitly Christian? What would you gain?

Ethically, we have made the fatal mistake that the end ("pro-life" or "saving babies") justifies the means (denying the source of truth). My dear readers, I will push you yet further to the logical extreme. That the end justifies the means is the very principle that we are fighting against. Again, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." More frighteningly, it is the very principle of socialism, communism, fascism, and terrorism.

Frankly, I am uncomfortable making such criticisms of my beloved "pro-lifers" who are valiant warriors with huge odds against you, and you have made many sacrifices for the unborn. However, my concerns are 1) that we develop a fully Biblical ethic, 2) that we win not just a few battles, but the long-term war, and most importantly, 3) that we not offend our God in the compromise of His truth.

Bob's Banter

Medical Malapropisms

The misspeaking of medical terminology can include common phrases that get turned around. For example:

"My son's nose is always constipated."

"My son was diagnosed with total body pneumonia."

The patient was asked, "How are your spirits." He answered, "I don't have any spirits."

"I had a pack smear." (Pap)

"I want the happiness shot." Should be "hepatitis."

"My headache was cured as soon as they swooped me into that MIA" (MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

S. W. Davis and T. M. Kenyon, "Medical Malapropisms (or a Stitch in Time Gathers No Moss), The Journal of Family Practice, 40(2):119-120, 1995. Re-printed by permission of Appleton & Lange, Inc. and the authors.


Modern physicians should be careful about their pride and dislike for lawyers. When physicians' predecessors were applying leeches, lawyers were writing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights!


Ed's note: The title, "Bob's Banter," was coined by me after humorous letters from a reader, Robert W. Robinson of Sequim, Washington, who once referred to us as "Convenient Enterprises."

Briefs and Commentary

Another "Significant" Way to Look at Statistics

A large review article reported a "statistically significant" reduction in total mortality when ACE-inhibitors were used in patients with "symptomatic congestive heart failure." By one measurement, mortality was reduced 27% (from 22/100 deaths in the control group to 16/100 in the treated group -- 6-22=27%). (The Journal of the American Medical Association, May 10, 1995, pp. 1450-1456)

(Other measurements showed benefit of the drugs, as well, but for the sake of illustration, I want to limit the numbers that readers must comprehend.)

Commentary: Wow! A 27 percent reduction! A miracle drug! Perhaps, let's look at the numbers another way.

Six of 100 people survived in the treated group. However, for the survival of these six, 94 people had to take the ACE-inhibitor. Thus, 94 people had the expense, side effects, and inconvenience of taking this drug for the benefit (as measured by survival only) of 6 people. Looked at this way (and limited to one parameter), this is not a miracle drug. It is a costly (not just in dollars) way to effect the benefit to a small group of people. The large group of people are made worse and have no net benefit. What would patients' reactions if we presented this drug in this way? "Mr. Jones, this drug has a 1 in 9 chance of keeping you alive for the next year."

Readers, note two things. 1) I am reporting statistics, not personal recommendations. 2) I am commenting on one parameter only (mortality rate), not symptoms (chest pain, shortness of breath, etc.) that may be improved by this ACE-inhibitors. Here, I am only pointing out how efficacy can be over-rated by statistics.

"I Don't Care What the Study Shows"

"A recently publicized million-dollar study on day care finds -- four states, 800 day-care centers, and 2 1/2 years later -- that day care is harmful to children's health -- mental and physical -- and in some cases, is downright dangerous.

"But not to fear. The researchers, hailing from four major universities, assure us that stricter state regulation, and more state money will solve the problem." (Chicago Tribune, February 28, 1995)

Commentary: This quote could be rich for comment: the actual study and dangers of day-care or the worship of the moral ability of the state to make things right (with enough regulation and money).

However, my comment here is the ability of researchers themselves to believe other than what their study shows. Every medical student hears repeatedly during his matriculation that this study (or studies) shows this, but "In my experience..." or "At our institution..." -- something different has been found.

Medical science at its best is problematic. However, when teachers of medicine (and practitioners too) so easily discount a study, they have destroyed whatever basis in fact that medical studies might have. These authors have done the same. Fact -- day-care is harmful. Pure speculation -- day-care can work. Where is their faith? If they had any moral foundation (that is, thought based in the Bible), they would see that their study only confirms what God has already said: Children are to be raised in the home!

Is Medicine Above Politics? Not!

"Forget the debate over Dr. Henry Foster's qualifications as Surgeon General. The office itself has become obsolete in the battle for public health. It is now nothing more than a publicity tool to promote the political agenda of the White House and should be eliminated.

"The First Doctor doesn't practice medicine. A good thing, as most of the appointees, like Dr. Foster have been primarily academic bureaucrats for years. He doesn't practice for the benefit of patients; he practices media relations for the Oval Office.

"We don't need another uniformed nanny-in-chief pitching for the White House at taxpayers' expense." Donald Quinlan, M.D., Member, Board of Directors, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (Letter-to-the-editor, Chicago Tribune, March 3, 1995, Section 1, p. 30)

Commentary: 'Nuff said!

The Ravages of the Sexual Revolution Continue

"Ectopic pregnancies have surged sixfold (600 percent) in the last two decades to a record high because of sexually transmitted diseases, federal officials report..." (American Medical News, February 13, 1995, p. 10)

Commentary: "The wages of sin is death." While the Apostle Paul was emphasizing spiritual death, man is a unity of body and soul. Sinful activities cause physical disease and death. Ectopic pregnancies are a major threat to the lives of women and increase their risk of sterility.

That advocates of "sexual freedom" still preach their dogma in the face of overwhelming sexually transmitted diseases that maim and kill is beyond rational belief. Their obstinacy declares that they have an agenda other than the good health of mankind.

The Clinton Health Care Plan Is Here!

"The failure of the Clinton Plan was a setback, but the managed-care invasion continues across the country. What if all the criticisms of the Clinton Plan (loss of freedom, rationing, stagnation, and bureaucracy) came to pass without a single congressional vote." (Texas Monthly, March 1995, reported in AAPS News, April 1995, p. 1)

Commentary: Managed-care plans are sweeping the country. The larger of the groups have considerable power to close hospitals and even cripple medical schools according to whom they choose for their services. This trend is dangerous.

While managed care is proposed as an answer to the high cost of medical care, such care is going to increase the cost and decrease the availability of services and supplies. It is a solution directed to the symptoms of the problem, not the cause.

As I have reiterated on these pages, the primary reason for the high cost of medical care is government-controlled licensure, health-care programs (Medicare and Medicaid), and research. Physicians and patients have gone along with this control under the false notion that "more and modern is better."

Ironic, is it not? The Clinton Plan was defeated, but we are getting it anyway.

Infant Mortality and Mothers' Morality

"Data compiled by (researchers) at San Diego State University showed that between 1978 and 1985 the infants of immigrant women in San Diego County, California, had significantly lower mortality rates than did those of U.S.-born women in the same county. The immigrants, however, had higher indexes of poverty, unemployment, welfare dependency, and late prenatal care than did their American counterparts....

"What was most striking was that the U.S.-born women had a history of more medical psychosocial pathology than the immigrants. For example, they had more sexually transmitted diseases and more alcohol and drug abuse than the foreign-born mothers. They also had more risk factors for AIDS and were more depressed." (Wall Street Journal, February 1, 1995, reporting on an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association)

Commentary: Dr. Kenneth Prager, a pulmonary physician at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and conservative writer places these findings in perspective.

"There are many reasons why the U.S. ranks 24th in infant mortality rates in the world, and they are not related to a callous or unskilled health care system.... Unless our public health agenda (and political directives - Ed.) is fueled by the sort of careful analysis that went into these researchers' efforts, we will perpetuate the simplistic and expensive notion that even behaviorally related medical problems can be solved by more and better health care facilities. (Ibid. Ed's emphasis.)

Book Review: The Government's Abuse of Families

Out of Control: Who's Watching Our Child Protection Agencies, by Brenda A. Scott, published by Huntington House, $9.99(pb), 208 pages. There are few books that I read that make me angry - this one does. "Every year, it is estimated that over 1 million people are falsely accused of child abuse in this country. You could be next."

Indeed, a relative of mine has already suffered this indignity. My son, with a newborn son, worries about disciplining him in public for fear of arrest. This book is timely and needs widespread distribution. The stories that Mrs. Scott tells will tear at your heart. A father accused of sexual abuse of his daughter (while the evidence points elsewhere) does not see her again for two years after lengthy and costly court battles. "Professional" social workers, psychologists, and others indoctrinate children with accusations against their parents.

Until I read this book, I considered myself "up" on this issue. I was not. The problem is far worse than I imagined. Like the IRS, accused parents are guilty until proven innocent. And, the child - the one supposedly being protected - is the one who usually suffers most.

Facts, stories, and history are all contained in this book. Health care workers need to read this book. We are often called upon to "tattle" to the "authorities" or to examine patients brought to us. We must be careful to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Order the book from your bookstore or Great Christian Books (1-800-775-5422, code 04HUNSCOTT--01) – today.

Near-Death Experiences: The Negatives

Raymond Moody started a popular fascination with near-death experiences with his book, Life After Life, in 1975. Since that time, there have been a plethora of other books, magazine articles, and personal testimonies to such experiences. Because some of these people were "clinically dead" (no heartbeat or respirations), some "scientists" and other "professionals" conclude that these experiences are evidence of an after-life.

Virtually all these testimonies were a positive experience, sometimes even meeting a "being" who gave off such good vibes that he must have been Jesus. Some of these "experts" have even gone further to suggest on this basis that there is nothing to fear after death. There are arguments against such a conclusion: one is empirical and the other absolute.

In 1978, Maurice Rawlings published a book, Beyond Death's Door (Bantam Books). It told of people who had negative, sometimes terrifying near-death experiences.

"I was resuscitating a terrified patient who told me he was actually in hell. He begged me to get him out of hell and not to let him die. When I fully realized how genuinely and extremely frightened he was, I too became frightened." (frontispiece)

This book did not attain the popularity of Moody's book, probably because pagans* hope that there truly is no Hell.

The absolute argument of life after death is, of course, the Bible and its numerous references to both Heaven and Hell. One verse, however, testifies absolutely that the people who had these near-death experiences were not dead, regardless of "clinical" criteria. It also testifies of a terrifying experience for the unsaved. "It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

What these near-death experiences are is anyone's guess. I suspect severely altered brain physiology because of the release of potent hormones secondary to severe oxygen deprivation and trauma to the body. More simply, intoxication by the body's release of its own drugs.

This subject may seem "old hat" because these books were written two decades ago. However, the near-death experiences continue to pop up here and there, as well as "authorities" on the subject. I wanted you to know of one book that counters all the positive experiences. I doubt that it is still in print, but you might find it through a used book service.

* Note: I have started to use "pagan" more often to identify non-Christians. It is the designation of Christian antiquity and more descriptive of their godless, and often anti-God, approach to life.

The Oklahoma City Bombing:
The Horror of Psychology

All Americans were stunned and grieved over the horrible bombing that took place in Oklahoma City on April 19. However, there is an accompanying horror that may receive comment only on these pages: the repetitive focus of psychologists, psychiatrists, and other "mental health workers" on the "emotional scarring" of children and adults involved in some way with this bombing.

I make two observations. 1) As late as two or three decades ago, pastors were called in to both comment publicly and comfort personally the injured and grieving. In this disaster, the "mental health experts" were all over the television and "all over" the injured and mourners. These professionals have truly become the priests of our society (and the Church - see comments on James Dobson in this issue).

This priesthood has no concept of placing such a tragedy within a religious framework, so they wring their hands and say how deeply scarring these events will be for the people involved. And thus, they aggravate what they hope to heal.

People grieve in different ways with different time periods according to their religious beliefs, culture, family-training, and other life experiences. Most people work through their grief and continue their lives. These modern "priests," however, want people to focus more clearly on their tragedy and the fears that it brings. They dwell on it too long and explore too much.

Considerable evidence now exists that too much emphasis on memories and "emotional experiences of the past" can bring false memories and unnecessary problems in personal relationships in the present. Further, numerous studies show that the level of training by a "psych" worker has no relationship to his effectiveness in helping his "clients" to work through their problems. That is, friends and family are likely to be as helpful as these "professionals". (I think that they will be more helpful.)

William Kilpatrick (Psychological Seduction) and others have called psychology an alternative and competing religion. Its professionals are the priests of modern society and have thoroughly infiltrated the Church of Jesus Christ. With grief, as with most other problems, they compound rather than help because they know not the applicable truth of God's Word.

Dobson Blasphemes?

"Dobson Blasphemes" was the title of an article in PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter (March-April 1995, pp. 4-5). However, what he said is not primarily blasphemous. James Dobson writes:

"There is only one cure for the cancer of bitterness. That is to forgive the perceived offender once and for all, with God's help. As strange as it seems, I am suggesting that some of us need to forgive God for those heartaches that are charged to his account. You've carried resentment against Him for years. Now it's time to let go of it.

"Please don't misunderstand me at this point. God is in the business of forgiving us, and it almost sounds blasphemous to suggest that the relationship be reversed."

Dr. James Dobson has not only blasphemed, he has committed heresy! "To blaspheme" is "to speak of the Supreme Being in term of impious irreverence" Webster Dictionary - 1828). "Heresy" a is "fundamental error in religion" (Ibid.).

The most "baby" Christian understands the centrality of forgiveness in the Christian faith. A knowledgeable and orthodox theologian or pastor knows that forgiveness is a non-negotiable tenet of the Christian faith. Thus, a misunderstanding of forgiveness is a serious problem for the "baby" Christian. A misunderstanding of forgiveness by one of the most well-known Christians today is a matter for judgment by the Church.

Before I get to Biblical truth, it is obvious that the matter of "forgiving God" can be traced to modern psychology. You won't find that teaching in the Bible. You won't find it in orthodox theology. You do find a fuzzy kind of forgiveness in psychology (Baker's Dictionary of Psychology, p. 425-428).

Relative to Christians' wholesale acceptance of secular psychology today, I have one major question, "How can rebellious, anti-God, total humanists have discovered truths about the morality of a mind created by Almighty God?" That question alone ought to make anyone with any rational thought be wary of proposals from such experts. But, there is no wariness or caution by many. There is wholesale acceptance. The Trojan Horse is welcomed and worshiped.

But, let's get back to a more direct argument. Dear readers, an understanding of forgiveness is not difficult. "Forgive us our trespasses (debts, sins)..." is the Biblical model from (what we call) The Lord's Prayer. Simply, forgiveness is asked for. That's the first part.

The second part is that it is refused or granted by the one asked. God graciously grants forgiveness whenever He is asked of the basis of His Son's sacrifice on the cross.

Dobson's (and many others') first error is to miss the two-way process. A person cannot be forgiven until he asks. Yet, they teach that we must forgive others who have never considered asking our forgiveness nor recognize that they need to. Some of those who are supposedly to be forgiven are dead!

Dobson's major error is the same error that he makes in other ways. He does not limit Christian truth to the Bible. If he did, why would he "suggest" forgiving God when there is nothing in the Bible about our forgiving Him."

Forgiveness also requires an offense. How can the perfect, Holy God make an offense? Certainly, we can be offended by something God does in our lives. However, our "offense" is a mistaken notion that we can judge God. It is a false sense that we know better than God. When "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God" (Romans 8:28), how can there be a real offense against Him? There cannot be.

Some theologians reading this may be quivering by now. "There is so much deeper and more complex about forgiveness that Ed has not covered." Indeed, there is more -- much more. However, I have said enough for readers to question Dobson's thinking. He ought to be questioned on a variety of other issues, for example, self-esteem, forgiving self, and the authority of the church.

I have said enough for "those who have (spiritual) ears to hear" and to investigate further. I wonder at other Christian leaders who endorse and co-sponsor with Dobson. I wonder where the status of the church is today with such gross error and apparent heresy. I don't wonder why the church is so weak in its effect on our culture.

I usually lose a few readers when I criticize Dobson. Amen -- "so be it."

Note 1: For those that want the theology and practical application of forgiveness, see From Forgiven to Forgiving by Jay E. Adams, Presbyterian and Reformed.)

Note 2: Dr. Dobson has a Ph.D. in psychology, not an M.D. Some continue to confuse his degrees.

Note 3: Perhaps, what is meant by forgiving others without their asking is to love them in spite of their real or perceived offenses against you. "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." Otherwise, offenses are to be dealt with according to Matthew 5:23-24 and 18:15-18.

Praise God: A Journal on the Right Track!

Can you believe a state medical journal that criticizes OSHA, attacks irrational environmental concerns, proposes a sane approach to wetlands, cautions against government prosecution of physician-corporation arrangements, recognizes the government regulation in the high cost of medical care, reveals the ineffectiveness of Medicaid, and praises Frederick von Hayek in its May 1995 issue?

I am proudly speaking of my own Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. However, I can take no credit as I only recently discovered that an outspoken conservative, Dr. Miguel A. Faria, Jr., had become Editor. Thus, I have renewed my membership which I had dropped ten years ago. Dr. Faria is also a member and supporter of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the most conservative and right-minded physician organization.

The Journal does lack one perspective. It needs to see the central role that religion plays primarily in defining principle and ethics and secondarily in health matters. Perhaps, that perspective will yet be realized.

Subscription rates are $60.00 per year (12 issues) to non-members of the Medical Association of Georgia. Address: 938 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309-3990.

AIDS: Issues and Answers

Vol. 9, No. 3 (58) May 1995

The Numbers

The numbers of AIDS cases in 1994 have been compiled and reported in the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Through December 31, 1994, 441,528 cases of AIDS had been reported, of whom 273,688 (62%) have died.

Of the total, 245,849 were reported under the original ("Pre-1987") definition. Some 100,272 under the 2nd ("1987") definition, and 95,407 under the last ("1993") definition.

For the calendar year of 1994, there were a total of 79,674 cases in adults (over 13 years of age). Of these, 44% occurred in homosexuals, 27% IV-drug abusers, 5% both homosexual and IV-drug abusers, 10% in heterosexuals (see below), 1% in recipients of blood products or tissue, and 12% "Other/risk not reported" (mostly due to incomplete investigation). There were 1,017 cases in children, 92% acquired from their mothers during pregnancy.

Five sub-categories comprise the "Heterosexual" group: sex with IV-drug abuser, sex with bisexual male, sex with person with hemophilia, sex with transfusion with HIV infection, and sex with HIV-infected person, risk not specified.

In 1994, 53% of AIDS cases in men were in Blacks and Hispanic. Some 87% of AIDS cases in women were in Blacks and Hispanics.

Commentary: Without being repetitive from previous reports, the "epidemic" remains almost completely confined to illegal, immoral, and reckless behavior. There is no heterosexual epidemic in the United States apart from these behaviors.

A Prediction

(Note: HIV-infection precedes AIDS which is the later stage of the infection when it becomes more severe.)

Only 2-3 years ago, best estimates were 1 million HIV-infected people in the United States with new infections of 40,000-50,000 cases per year. Now, reported AIDS cases exceed the rate of HIV-infection. Graphs already show a leveling of AIDS cases, including the 1993 definition. Thus, reported AIDS cases in 2-5 years must actually decrease as this "pool" of 1 million HIV infections progress to be reported as AIDS cases.

The "fueling" of the epidemic is dependent upon the behaviors that spread it. There is no AIDS epidemic. There is only an epidemic of behaviors that are deadly within themselves. HIV/AIDS adds another grim reminder of that epidemic of death. (See "Women..." below.)

The Lie of Condoms

"Here is the estimated chance that microbes will be transmitted from one infected partner to the other during one single act of intercourse (without using condoms): gonorrhea is 50-90% male-to-female and 20% female-to-male, genital herpes is 0.2% male-to-female and 0.05% female-to-male, and HIV is 0.1-20% male-to-female and 0.01-10% female-to-male." (Consumer Reports, May 1995, pp. 320-325)

Commentary: Anyone want to play Russian roulette? HIV is a deadly disease, and gonorrhea has severe morbidity. However, your odds are good with herpes!

Keeping up with condom-mania has not been one of my pursuits. Condoms are wrong whether or not they work when they are used in immoral situations. I believe that the moral argument is stronger than a concern with condom failure.

However, for those interested, this article brings one up-to-date on the material in condoms, what tests have been done, the appearance of latex allergies, and a brand name analysis. The issue can probably be purchased from Consumer Reports or copied from your local library.

Women Infected with HIV Dying from Other Causes

"Of the 142 women (infected with HIV) who died over the last seven years, 22 suffered from non-AIDS, chemically dependent-related illnesses, such as liver disease that led to death, six overdosed on drugs, and two were stabbed to death by lovers." (Chicago Tribune, February 26, 1995, Section 1, p. 22)

Commentary: This evidence only corroborates what I said above that HIV infections occur almost entirely within a milieu that is itself deadly, with or without HIV/AIDS.

One in 85 Million? I'll Take Those Odds!

"A study of 11 National Football League teams during the 1992 season, in which there were 575 bleeding injuries, showed that the risk of the AIDS virus being transmitted to another player was less than 1 per 85 million contacts..." (Chicago Tribune, February 26, 1995, Section 5, p. 3, reporting from an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine)

Commentary: And, what will change about the mandatory pulling of players in professional football games who have bleeding injuries in 1995-1996? Nothing. These players are at greater risk of killing each other physically than at risk for AIDS. But, the game of football goes on, while we must (irrationally) prevent that enshrined disease.

(contiuned on p. 8)

AIDS Around the World: Brazil

Some 59,000 cases have been reported in Brazil since cases were first reported in 1982. "Officials" estimate that 1 million of a population of 178 million, are HIV-infected.

"Lower-middle-class monogamous housewives are one of the fastest-growing groups to get the deadly disease, largely due to the widespread bisexuality of their husbands."

HIV/AIDS is also rampant among IV-drug abusers and homosexuals. (Chicago Tribune, 3/5/95, Sect. 1, pp. 1,21)

The Many Faces of HIV

"The AIDS virus (HIV) becomes resistant to many members of a promising class of drugs if it is exposed to just one of them, according to a study (in Nature) that offers new evidence of just how slippery HIV is. The study involved protease inhibitors, which are drugs designed to stop the virus from reproducing by disabling crucial enzymes." (Chicago Tribune, April 6, 1995, Section 1, p. 8)

Commentary: In 1988, I first wrote of the "slippery" nature of HIV. As much more has been learned about it, its ability to re-adjust itself is nothing short of amazing, as this study says. It is almost as though this virus were designed to overcome every obstacle thrown in its path.

Despite reports of "progress" in the treatment of AIDS, I remain skeptical that any significant progress has been made against limiting the HIV's attack on the human body.

Alternative Medicine:
A Kinder and Gentler Look

In 1990, 34 percent of Americans used at least one alternative therapy. Of these, one-third visited alternative providers at least 19 times. The most frequent users were better-educated, upper-income whites 25-49 years old. More than 70 percent did not tell their physicians of these encounters. The most common problems for which this help was sought were chronic, non-life-threatening conditions, such as back pain, allergies, and insomnia. Out-of-pocket costs totaled $10.3 billion.

In the near future, two peer-reviewed journals committed to research and trends in alternative medicine will appear: Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

In 1992, the Office of Alternative Medicine under the National Institutes of Health, was started. It had its budget increased to $3.5 million in 1994, up from $2 million.

Alternative medicine, then, has attained a legitimacy within orthodox medicine. One physician remarked, "The medical profession will take it all in stride, because the best of the alternatives will be just good medicine." (American Medical News, October 17, 1994, p. 17)

Commentary: This article points out a dichotomy of thought that I have noted more than once. Patients are willing to trust alternative medicine for "chronic, non-life-threatening" problems, but not for emergency conditions.

And, the question arises, "If alternative medicine becomes mainstream, will it lose its appeal?" The answers is, "Yes" and "No." Yes, many people are always distrustful of standard approaches that do not seem to work and will seek exotic answers. No, alternative approaches will develop at a far greater rate than will be time or money to investigate. And, many treatments will have their believers regardless of scientific evidence.

Regardless, practitioners of orthodox or alternative medicine will always be successful. More than 80 percent of patients who seek health practitioners get better regardless, and often in spite of, what the practitioners do. Now, in any market, 80 percent success will get you a large following and a good income indeed!

Throw Out the Lifeline to Others!

I am told that 80 percent of residential long-distance service belongs to AT&T which has supported homosexuality, feminism, and other liberal, anti-life agendas. (MCI and Sprint have sponsored immoral TV programs.) They are starting to take notice of Lifeline, a long-distance service that gives 10% of a user's long distance bill back to the organization of his choice.

Lifeline is a real opportunity for you and me. It is first an opportunity for you to impact one of the nation's largest companies about their anti-life support. It is second an opportunity to support the pro-life cause of your choice.

Of course, I hope that you choose Covenant Enterprises. Because I am not non-profit (although none has yet been made), I receive few donations. However, recipients of Lifeline's 10% do not have to be non-profit.

Thus, you can help. Subscribe yourself. Get others in your Bible study or church to subscribe. Emphasize the pro-life message. It is a real opportunity to advance our message.

Get this newsletter free! Yes, for every subscriber to Lifeline that designates Covenant Enterprises as your recipient, I will give a subscription to Reflections as long as you subscribe to Lifeline. Many have done so.

To switch your long distance service, call 1 (800) 800-7550. Designate Covenant Enterprises as NPO #23022.

Your current carrier will try to get you back! They will offer all kinds of incentives. Just remember what they stand for and be firm.

My most sincere thanks are offered to those who have already made this switch.


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