Friday, June 9, 2006
Seldom in this troubled world do we get to report a story so full
of promise for humankind. The FDA yesterday announced approval
of a vaccine against the virus that causes cervical cancer, the
result of a 15-year effort that began at the National Cancer
Institute (WN 6 Jan 06) .
Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted
disease, and the second-leading cause of death among women,
killing some 233,000 women each year. Death rates are highest in
countries where the Pap smear is not widely used. The vaccine
should be given before girls become sexually active, however,
some conservative Christian groups object, pointing out that the
vaccine is no more effective than abstinence. No doubt true.
A federal judge in Iowa ruled last Friday that a state-financed
evangelical Christian program to help inmates re-enter society
was "pervasively sectarian" and violated separation of church and
state. Prison Fellowship Ministeries, founded by Chuck Colson,
was using taxpayer dollars to proselytize inmates. Colson, of
Watergate fame, has done a little hard time himself. This sets
the stage for a test of a Justice Department plan to set aside
cell blocks at federal prisons for a private group to "counsel"
prisoners in a single faith to prepare them for release. Justice
insists the program is constitutional because it's voluntary and
participants will receive no special favors. But the issue is
whether they think they will receive special treatment. Recent
appointments to the Supreme Court take on a new significance.
This should have been the big story in today's news: To get the
number-one enemy of freedom, we first had to find the crazy
terrorist he was giving spiritual advice to. Crazy terrorists in
Iraq are a dime-a-dozen these days, but there is only one, Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi who gets his spiritual advice from Sheikh Abdel
Rahman. The plan was boldly simple: find al-Zarqawi and track
him until he leads us to Rahman. Then, call in an F-16 strike.
The problem in Iraq isn't terrorists, it's the clerics, who are
constantly inflating the number of virgins per martyr.
According to a Reuters story out of Kiev, on Sunday evening when
the zoo was crowded with visitors, a man lowered himself by rope
into the lion enclosure and walked up to the lions shouting,"God
will save me if he exists," thus proving himself to be a man of
faith. Without hesitation, a lioness severed his carotid artery.
The fastest growing carbohydrate-based religion now has its own
sacred book to combat the "intelligent design" dark side.