A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Truth is Stranger than Fiction 2006.2

Town May Make Carrying Condoms Mandatory

By SERGIO DE LEON (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
January 11, 2006 5:34 PM EST

BOGOTA, Colombia - A western Colombian city councilman wants to require everyone in town 14 or older to carry a condom to prevent pregnancy and disease, outraging local priests.

William Pena, a councilman in Tulua, said Wednesday he will present a formal proposal to force all men and women - even those just visiting - to always carry at least one condom. Those caught empty-pocketed could pay a fine of $180 or take a safe sex course, he said.

"Sexual relations are going on constantly," Pena told The Associated Press by telephone. "If you carry a condom, chances are you'll use it during the day. It's not going to be there forever."

Tulua has one of the highest rates of AIDS in Colombia, he said. The proposal will be debated by other town leaders and could go into effect by March, he said.

Roman Catholic priests in the Cauca Valley town, 150 miles southwest of Bogota, were fuming over the plan.

The Rev. Jesus Velasquez said it would only encourage sexual relations and ridiculed it as absurd. The local newspaper El Tiempo on Wednesday quoted him as saying, "I would have to have a condom even though I'm clergy."

Another town priest, Roberto Sarmiento, said he that improved sex education would be a better solution.

"Nobody can force someone to carry a condom in their pocket," he said. "They should instead carry the responsibility of what sexual relations mean."

Ramiro Cano, a 19-year-old laborer in Tulua, said Wednesday that the proposal was the talk of the town, and said most young people he has talked to support it.

"I try to always carry a condom on me, especially if I go to a discotheque, in case I can pick up someone," Cano said.

The proposal is perhaps the most radical in a series of pro-condom efforts across a country where 190,000 people live with AIDS, a figure only surpassed in Latin America by Brazil, according to the World Health Organization.

The capital city of Bogota handed out more than two million free condoms last year as part of a campaign titled "Use it instinctively - make yourself sexy."

In the city of Tunja, where 17 percent of all pregnancies last year were from women under 18 years of age, condom dispensers will be installed in bars and movie theaters starting in February.


Brennan said...

Sorry, I've been away for a while, so I've missed some of your very entertaining posts. Anyways, I have seen the Narnia movie twice now, and I really like it, although as a friend has said, there isn't a feeling of "Narnia-happiness" that is a little more present in the books. What do you think?

As for the condom issue...yeah. It's pretty problematic. However, I think it's a tough issue, especially since people don't see sex as something worth having with someone you love, and not with someone you just met. The problem of commodity vs. commitment, no? Anyways, happy new year!

Allan R. Bevere said...


You are correct that there is not the kind of "Narnia-happiness" as you say, but I think more importantly the profound nature of the message is conveyed in quite a moving way.

The irony of the mandatory condom story, as I see it, is that those who support making condoms available in schools etc. are also those who tout "freedom of choice." Shouldn't people have the freedom to choose whether or not to carry a condom?

The problem of turning sex, and everything else, into a commodity is insightful. Living in a society where everything, including blood, has become a commodity, by necessity makes human beings, not subjects, but objects.