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Not progressive

I am responding to an article written by Peter Wickham in the Sunday Sun of May 5, 2013, titled A Case of Intellectual Dishonesty, where he made reference to the US and UK as “progressive countries” and their respective leaders, Barak Obama and David Cameron as possessing “progressive positions” regarding “gay marriage”.

The World Book Dictionary 1993 edition defines the word “progressive” as “advancing to something better”. Am I to believe that “less progressive” countries the world over will be advancing to something better if they mount on the backs of the “progressive” ideas of these super power leaders regarding same sex unions and ride blindly into the same dark social and moral cesspools that these so called “progressive countries” seem to favour? I am wondering with whom does the “intellectual dishonesty” rest?

In his 1995 Party Conference speech, the then Prime Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, spoke of the urgent need to address “the wreckage of our (UK) broken society” and said that he will move the society from a “stakeholder society” to “a new moral purpose for our nation”. He was making reference to the myriad of social and moral ills with which Britain was struggling.

Fifteen years later on April 27, 2010 David Cameron said in a national speech, “let us mend our broken society” and mentioned among other things, “there are now 10,000 incidents of anti social behaviour every day”.

One year later on August 15, 2011 after the UK riots, Prime Minister David Cameron again refers to Britain as “this broken society” and pledged to “turn around the lives of 120,000 most troubled families back at the top of my political agenda … because the social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face”.

Are we therefore to understand that the UK with its perennial brokenness has the social and moral integrity to advance “less progressive” countries to something better as implied by Peter Wickham? I wonder with whom does the “intellectual dishonesty” rest?

In the US, Kathleen Sebellius, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, on February 4, 2013 highlighted the gravity of the mental health issues which faces that country. She spoke of bipolar and major depression being responsible for more than 300 million days per year in productivity loss and $63 billion in losses to the workplace.

She said that “mental health conditions place a greater burden on our economy than cancer or heart disease”. With three quarters of adult mental health conditions appearing before age 24, Sebellius said that her country has 38,000 suicides each year, more than twice the number of homicides.

My question is: Does this “progressive country” have what it takes to give healthy direction to “less progressive” countries for them to advance to something better according to Peter Wickham? I wonder with whom does the “intellectual dishonesty” rest?

On the question of gay unions in the UK, Dr. Danida De Angelis, at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit, said that HIV transmission among sexually active gay men remains a significant public health issue.

Science reporter Asha Tanna on February 1, 2013 said that the number of infections in England and Wales from men having sex with men is still around 2,300 to 2,500 per year.

In the US, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention states that “men having sex with men in 2010 accounted for 63 per cent of estimated new HIV infections in the United States and 78 per cent of infections among all newly infected men.

“Compared with other transmission groups, MSM accounted for the largest numbers of new HIV infections in 2010. That same year, young MSM (aged 13-24 years) accounted for 72 per cent of new HIV infections among all persons … and 30 per cent of new infections among all MSM.”

If, according to Wickham, the “progressive position” of these two “progressive countries” leaders is that of affirming gay unions in view of their own country’s frightening health findings and glaring future implications, I am just wondering with whom does the “intellectual dishonesty” rest?

I am convinced that the “progressive position” of these “progressive countries” is nothing but retrogressive, solid-waste colonial rubbish into which the “progressive minds” set the pace, and the “less progressive countries” jump behind them and comfortably embrace each other in the bed of premature death. I am still trying to find out with whom does the “intellectual dishonesty” rest?

Former US President Theodore Roosevelt was very insightful when he said that “to educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society”. By way of information, can anybody remind me where the University of Common Sense is located?

* Reverend Haynesley Griffith is a Family Therapist with Family Heartbeat International Network Inc.

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