A bushel of bad advice
PETER DALGLISH: GOOD MAN – WRONG CAUSE
It is sad to interview a guy who is well-intentioned, but stubbornly insists on giving out bad advice to all and sundry.
Peter Dalglish gave up a legal career and what he said was a “six-figure salary” in order to create Street Kids International, an organization which promotes independence and self-respect for youths living on the streets.
He tells kids when he talks to them that there is “…more to life than a BMW with a cellular phone.”
So far, so good.
So what does Dalglish suggest in his address to the national conference of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada on May 14 of this year, in Moncton, New Brunswick? He tells them that organizations dedicated to helping street kids have to shed themselves of theology. (I guess he means to get anything to do with religion right out of there.)
And Dalglish falls into the old Malthusian heresy that the world’s population “is growing at the highest rate in world’s history” and he blames it all on “the lack of reproductive health information provided for the children.”
This is a secular humanist dish of dried bones.
Dr. Andrew Simone, a Toronto medical doctor and founder of the Canadian Food for Children organization, disagrees with him.
Dr. Simone has raised funds and begged food to save the lives of thousands of starving children throughout the Third World. He says that there are not too many people in the world, but too many selfish people in the world.
Dalglish blunders into the error of endorsing condoms for street kids in order to save them from AIDS.
Doesn’t he know better?
“Dropping condoms out of airplanes is not the answer,” he admitted with a laugh.
Why is he recommending them then?
He suggests that street kids be given “proper information.” Street kids don’t need “proper education”; they need to face the reality of the decisions they make.
I spoke to him about an excellent one-page write-up in Newsweek April1, 1991, entitled “There is no safe sex” by Dr. Robert C. Noble.
Dr. Noble, professor of medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Ky, is an infectious-diseases physician and an AIDS doctor to the poor.
Those aren’t bad credentials.
Dr. Noble said it, and we published it prominently in a previous issue of The Interim, and it is still worth repeating:
“Passing out condoms to teenagers is like issuing them squirt-guns for a four-alarm blaze. Condoms just don’t hack it. We should stop kidding ourselves.”
Guess who read “There is no safe sex” and ignored it?
Right. Peter Dalglish.
Dr. Noble goes on to say:
“Doctors can’t fix most of the things you can catch out there. There’s no cure for AIDS. There’s no cure for herpes or genital warts. Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia infection can ruin your chances of ever getting pregnant and can harm your baby if you do.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer said in an article, “Troubled Teens,” (June 3, 1991), that one quarter of street kids are homosexuals.
If condoms are so “chancy,” would you still recommend giving them, Mr. Dalglish, to homosexuals to prevent them from getting AIDS?
BLAMES THE CHURCH
Dalglish tries to put the blame on the Catholic Church for being behind the times. He twists a quote from unsuccessful Democratic 1956 presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, who said the Republican party had to be “dragged, kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century…” Dalglish applies it to the Catholic Church – and “I’m Catholic,” he declares.
Dalglish is quoted in the article in the Moncton Times Transcript as saying that “the Catholic Church has to realize that abstinence is not a popular alternative among today’s youths in any country.”
I’ve got news for you, Mr. Dalglish: it’s never been popular.
Brother Ken Shatz, CMM, Director of Vocations of the Mariannhill Fathers, in an excellent article entitled “SIN,” in the My/June issue of Leaves, commented on the fact that when he gave vocation awareness talks in schools and parish churches in the United States and Canada, he found more and more young people who had no knowledge of sin or its consequences.
Brother Shatz complained that young people were getting a steady diet of sexuality and the responsibilities that go with that, but nothing about sin. He said that the subject of sin should not be whitewashed away.
No sex before marriage is impossible for street kids, Dalglish insisted. You might sell that ideal to WASPS (White, Anglo Saxon Protestants), he thinks, but not to street kids. He feels that the subject is much more complicated than we are walling to admit.
Has he never heard of St. John Bosco and his mission to the street kids of Italy? St. John never got down to their level – he brought them up to his. Teaching street kids to avoid sin is always a more difficult challenge than teaching them how to avoid AIDS.
Especially when all you’ve got to offer your clients is a leaky boat.