It’s [Still] the Sin, Stupid!
It is now reported that Louisiana’s rate of syphilis cases ranked No. 1 in the nation last year, while its gonorrhea rate placed second and its Chlamydia rate was third, according to federal figures released on November 8th. Louisiana’s syphilis rate is 7.4 cases per 100,000 people, compared with 2.7 cases per 100,000 nationally. The state’s gonorrhea rate is 234.4 cases per 100,000, while the national figure is 113.5 per 100,000. The Chlamydia rate is 485.7 per 100,000, compared with 319.6 per 100,000 nationally.
The Louisiana Director of the Office of Public Health claims that “The numbers have been high because we haven’t been able to do the things we need to do to intervene.” An epidemiologist at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine affirmed that “It’s an economic phenomenon; it’s a sociological phenomenon” that would change once “we start getting people to have protected sex….”
To those with spiritual eyes to see, the problem is not lack of money for testing or condom distribution or training in “protected sex.” No, the hard but inescapable fact is – to borrow James Carville’s attention-grabbing cliché – “it’s the sin, stupid!”
The most famous psychiatrist of the twentieth century, Dr. Karl Menninger, founder of the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, KS, shocked many with his 1973 book entitled, Whatever Became of Sin? The cover jacket contains these words: “If as [Menninger] believes, mental health and moral health are identical, the recognition of the reality of sin offers to the suffering, struggling, anxious world a real hope not of belated treatment but of prevention.”
Mark Twain put it a little differently: “You can straighten a worm, but the crook is in him and only waiting.” America desperately needs to dust off some hard truths:
- “Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.” – Thomas Jefferson
- “Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.” -Alexander Hamilton (thirty years old!) in Federalist #15
- “[B]ut what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” James Madison- Federalist Papers #51
Speaking of learning from history, Will Durant, writer of perhaps the most comprehensive history of the world, in his wrap-up volume, The Lessons of History, quoted Joseph de Maistre “I do not know what the heart of a rascal may be; I know what is in the heart of an honest man; it is horrible.” (page 51).