If We Can’t Have More, No One Should Get Any

The Boston Globe reports that the Senate is considering upping the US contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria to $700 million next year – and the Right is not pleased.  

According to the Global Fund’s most recent fact sheet, more than 500,000 people around the world who are infected with HIV/AIDS are receiving Antiretroviral therapy, while millions more are receiving help fighting Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The Global Fund is raising and spending billions to fight these diseases, but some on the right are now demanding that the Bush administration cut off US support because religious organizations that believe abstinence is the only way to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS aren’t getting enough money

“There’s cancer in the fund,” said Peter L. Brandt, senior director of government and public policy at the Christian group Focus on the Family. “It does such an unbelievable job in discriminating against faith-based organizations.”

Brandt said he wants the government to eliminate all spending on the Global Fund’s HIV programs because it is not providing sufficient money to faith groups and has given little support to abstinence messages. Brandt said the government could continue to support the fund’s tuberculosis and malaria programs.

Some other Christian activists, such as Raymond Ruddy, president of the Gerard Health Foundation in South Natick, which gives about $2 million annually to anti abortion and abstinence programs worldwide, want all US money cut from the fund.

Some on the right, such as Focus on the Family, have been complaining recently that it is unfair to accuse them of not caring about anything other than their own narrow social agenda – but such complaints ring hollow when they try to cut off funding for global HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment simply because their right-wing approach isn’t getting a big enough slice of the pie.