Category Archives: In Reason We Trust

On common holidays, live and let live. Everyone should have the​​ freedom to celebrate in their own way.

​This is the January monthly column, “In Reason We Trust”, I write for the Kennebec Journal.
 
On common holidays, live and let live. Everyone should have the freedom to celebrate in their own way.

The ancient tradition of celebrating the Winter Solstice and the new tradition of complaining about a War on Christmas has passed. Many cultures observe holidays that stem from the ancient practice of celebrating the Winter Solstice, a tradition that existed long before any religions were invented, even though some may know it by a different name and celebrate with their own traditions.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday, whatever you call it, and celebrated it in ways that were important to you. I also hope you took the time to wish others a good and happy life, now and always. It is one of the ways many cultures celebrate the Winter Solstice.

There are many traditional ways of wishing others well; Gift giving, dinner with friends and family, and helping out those less fortunate than yourself. Whether you say, “Happy holidays,” “Happy Hanukah,” “Merry Christmas” or any other cultural sayings, what’s important is to “live and let live” — to wish others well without forcing your interpretation of the Winter Solstice upon them.

Unfortunately some Christians celebrate Christmas by complaining that greeting others with “Happy holidays” is a sign of disrespect for their interpretation of the Winter Solstice; the birth of the Christian savior. They claim the natural celestial event of the shortest day of the year must be called Christmas and the official greeting must be “Merry Christmas.” E.J. Dionne Jr, a Washington Post columnist, asked, “What in the world is ‘Christian’ about insisting on saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to a devout Jew or Hindu who might reasonably view the statement as a sign of disrespect (of their own interpretation of the Winter Solstice)?”

What Christians call Christmas is simply a Christian religious holiday created by hijacking the secular Winter Solstice celebrations. As James Frazier, author of The Golden Bough, writes, “… it appears that the Christian Church chose to celebrate the birthday of its Founder on the twenty-fifth of December in order to transfer the devotion of the heathen from the Sun to him who was called the Sun of Righteousness.”

Many gods were invented long before the Christian god who had the same characteristics Christians attribute uniquely to Jesus: Born to a virgin around the Winter Solstice with a star in the east, became a prophet at 12, baptized at 30 and began their ministry. Had 12 disciples, healed the sick, walked on water and turned water into wine. Known as The Truth, The Light, The Good Shepherd and The Lamb of God. Betrayed by a disciple, killed, buried for three days, resurrected and went to heaven.

Horus, the Egyptian sun god, known as The Light and The Way, personified the battle between light and darkness, between good and evil, the primary qualities shared by the invented gods.

Krishna of India, born of a virgin with a star in the east, performed miracles, had 12 disciples and was resurrected three days after death.

Dionysus of Greece, born of a virgin, performed miracles such as turning water into wine, was known as King of Kings and The Alpha and Omega and was resurrected three days after death.

Mithra of Persia, born of a virgin, had 12 disciples, performed miracles, was known as The Truth and The Light, was buried for three days, resurrected and went to heaven.

Is it reasonable to conclude that the Christian god is the exclusive “reason for the season” when so many other gods with the same characteristics existed long before Christianity? History shows that allowing one religion to determine how everyone, believers and non-believers alike, must celebrate the holiday leads to conflict, not world peace.

One holiday that will help us focus on attaining peace for all, and not just for believers, is Human Rights Day. Celebrated on Dec. 10, it honors the U.N. adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, 1948. The United Nations website states: “The document outlines the minimum human rights standards that should be available in all countries of the world. They include ‘the right to life, liberty and nationality, to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to work, to be educated, [and] to take part in government.’ In 2011, a movement is growing to add equal treatment for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities to the human rights specified by the UDHR.”

I urge you to celebrate your holiday in ways that allow others to do the same.

​Thanks,
Tom​

Where Have All The Morals Gone? When will we ever learn?

Where Have All The Morals Gone? When will we ever learn?

Pete Seeger wrote an anti-war song “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” about the folly of doing the same thing over and over again and never learning from our experiences. The refrain is “When will we ever learn?” If Roy Moore is elected to the US Senate an updated title for the song might be “Where Have All The Morals Gone?”

Moore has been accused of making sexual advances 40 years ago to underage girls, clearly illegal and immoral, yet Alabama Evangelicals still support him. Given the extreme Republican opposition to Moore, Evangelical voters think it is awfully coincidental that these 40 year old charges suddenly surfaced just before the election. Despite the recent accusations and all the money and time the opposition invested to defeat Moore, Alabama voters are still likely to elect him to the US Senate.

Moore is unqualified to be a US Senator not just because he is accused of making sexual advances to minors but because he twice defied federal laws. Doing so clearly shows Moore’s profound lack of judgement, the most important skill every leader needs. Moore, the man the Southern Poverty Law Center refers to as “The Ayatollah of Alabama” became unqualified by defying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments statue from the Alabama Supreme Court building and for ordering Alabama justices to not issue same sex-marriage licenses in defiance of the US Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Evangelical voters don’t seem to care if the Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice makes illegal decisions, just so long as their Christian agenda is held above the law. Moore was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for not removing the Ten Commandments yet Evangelical voters reelected him. Moore was also removed from the court for defying the US Supreme Court yet Republican Alabama voters elected him to be their candidate for US Senate. That voting record makes it very likely Alabama will make Moore their next US Senator! When will they ever learn?

Most Alabama Republican politicians, including governor Kay Ivey, as well as over 70% of the state’s voters support Moore. They see Moore as the one person who can advance their Christian agenda. To quote Ivey; “I will cast my ballot on Dec. 12” and “I do believe that the nominee of the party is the one I will vote for (because) we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate” to vote for Supreme Court justices, among other things.

According to Debbie Elliott, a reporter for NPR, Roy Moore’s wife Kayla Moore, and other women supporters have rallied to support Moore. Linda Lewis, President of the Capital City Republican Women’s club in Montgomery, says “Moore has been in Alabama politics for decades and has always been above reproach.” and “As long as he is the Republican candidate, I will support him”.

Nationally, many Republican leaders have stated they don’t support Moore. McConnell, with a slim margin in the Senate, would prefer a Democrat than to have Moore, a Republican. Many Republican leaders who don’t support Moore have decided to remain silent. These are the same Republicans who opposed Trump, remained silent and now have buyer’s remorse. When will they ever learn?

Trump, also unqualified, would prefer a Republican who twice defied federal court orders and is accused of sexual misconduct, than to have a Democrat. Trump denies the sexual misconduct allegations made against him by ten plus women so is it any wonder he supports Moore, another Republican politician accused of the same thing simply because Moore also denies the accusations? I think not.

Although Sen. Scott (R) South Carolina correctly assessed that the Alabama election is a referendum on “the character of the country” that transcends partisan politics; it is too little, too late and amounts to lip service to the emotionally charged sexual allegations. Opposing Moore as unqualified when he refused to remove the Ten Commandments and/or defied the US Supreme Court would have demonstrated real leadership.

Sen. Graham (R) South Carolina spoke to the real objection Republicans have with Moore; his negative impact on the Republican agenda. According to Graham if Moore wins the election the sex scandal will detract from the Republican agenda. If loses, the Democrat winner will vote against the Republican agenda. Apparently neither the character of the man nor the character of the country matter when it comes to opposing Moore.

So where have all the Evangelical morals gone?

In Reason We Trust – Nov 2017 In times of gun violence politicians use religion to calm the nation’s fears or – “How to look good without doing anything”

In Reason We Trust – Nov 2017

In times of gun violence politicians use religion to calm the nation’s fears or – “How to look good without doing anything”

According to an article in the Portland Press Herald by Eugene Scott of the Washington Post “In times of tragedy, government turns to Christianity” (Oct 6), Trump used biblical language to comfort Americans after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The article also claimed that many US Presidents used biblical language to comfort Americans trying to make sense of a tragedy.

Most often these presidents, or their speech writers, quote relevant passages from the Bible or otherwise give “remarks marked by religious language and tenets of the Christian faith”. Apparently, as Scott claims, Trump looked to the language of the Christian faith to step into his role as “comforter in chief”.

As an example Scott reports that Trump offered these words to those who were directly affected by the Las Vegas shooting; “May God bless the souls of the lives that are lost. May God give us the grace of healing. And may God provide the grieving families with strength to carry on.” What was not reported was that Trump, while visiting the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, was asked by a reporter if America has a “gun violence problem”. Trump replied “We are not going to talk about that today. We won’t talk about that”.

Scott’s article also reported President Obama as saying, in response to the 2011 shooting of (then) Rep. Gabby Giffords in Tucson, “Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding,”

For a sitting US President to use Christian religious language to make sense of a tragedy, where no sense exists, to a religiously pluralistic society completely ignores those of us who are not Christian or who don’t believe in the supernatural. Even worse is to refer to text from one particular religion’s book that expresses the opinion that horrific tragedies, such as the shooting of Gabby Giffords or the more recent shooting in Las Vegas, “happen for a reason” is beyond absurd.

Scott’s article refers to accurate surveys that show “the percentage of Americans who are Christian is declining: In 1990, the number of Christians in America was 86 percent, according to the American Religious Identification Survey. That number is now 70 percent. And since the early 1990s, the percentage of Americans identifying as “atheist,” “agnostic” or “nothing in particular” has roughly tripled in size.”

These accurate figures are all the more reason for presidents to stay in the real world when offering comfort to those who are grieving over senseless mass murder. As one person commented, “Not all of us find superstition comforting”. In my opinion the best “comfort” a president can offer is an action plan to reduce the ever increasing incidents of mass murder.

One action plan could be the repeal of the 1996 Dickey Amendment. In 1996 the federal budget included an amendment, at the behest of the NRA that made it very difficult for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research gun violence. Technically the amendment just prevents the CDC from advocating for any gun control measures, no matter what the CDC’s prior research into the areas of youth violence, domestic violence, sexual violence, and suicide discovered. To ensure that the CDC was not able to continue researching gun violence, Congress mandated that any funds that had been previously allocated for gun safety research was to be spent on traumatic brain injury (TBI) research instead.

If any president wanted to truly assuage the fears of the nation about the ever increasing incidents of mass shooting they would adequately fund research to study both gun violence and TBI’s. Researching the effects of gun violence, discovering its causes and implementing policies that will reduce it will be far more productive than offering prayers after the next senseless mass murder is committed. Remember that 2 hands engaged in work will be far more productive than 1,000 hands clasped in prayer.

In Reason We Trust – Oct, 2017 Everyone Should Respect Our National Anthem, But only so far as the lyrics reflect your world view

In Reason We Trust – Oct, 2017

Everyone Should Respect Our National Anthem, But only so far as the lyrics reflect your world view

I take issue with the recent rambling and incoherent opinion piece “We should all respect our anthem” (Sept. 9). On the surface the article was laughable but read a little deeper and you find the disturbing values expressed are exactly what is wrong with America. A comment in the Portland Press Herald exposes the article’s disturbing values very well, “Despite references to the importance of ‘personal freedom’, unless actions meet a certain narrow prescription, they are demonized as inadequate and the basis of many ills”.

One of those disturbing opinions is the national anthem expresses who we are as Americans and shows our sacred respect for all who gave their lives on our battlefields to defend a democratic society. The Star-Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key during the war of 1812, referred to America as the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”. Those are lofty sentiments but the reality is that during the war of 1812 American Black slaves were doing all they could to be captured by the British. The slaves knew they were more likely to be treated fairly by the British than they were by Americans. Apparently Americans forgot to respect all the Black soldiers who gave their lives on our Revolutionary War battlefields to create a democratic society in the first place.

Those who protested making the Star Spangled Banner our national anthem in 1931 did so because they objected to calling America the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” and had long referred to America as “Land of the Free and Home of the Oppressed”. They also protested because they opposed the values of its author who said Africans are “a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community”.

Today many sports figures protest during the singing of the anthem to remind us that honoring Francis Scott Key is still un-American and that America has not yet lived up to the values expressed in either the Constitution or the anthem. For over 200 years the anthem has claimed to express who we are as Americans but Americans still deny minorities their full citizenship. This last is clearly expressed by a president who openly supported racists at the white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Anyone can see that the national anthem does not truly expresses who we really are as Americans.

The article also admonished us to honor the Pledge of Allegiance “with liberty and justice for all”. I agree, just so long as ALL means everyone. Liberty and justice for all means any woman who wants an abortion should be able to get one and any same-sex couple who want to get married should be able to do so without restrictive laws and social stigma.

The author claimed that prayer will end bigotry, hate, violence and racism and quoted President Lincoln to support that position. Lincoln also said that “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other” and “God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time”. The South prayed to the same god the North prayed to but asked to continue a system of slavery based on bigotry, hate, violence and racism.

The article went on to say that we need to pray for our government to heal some of our flaws and injustices by creating a fair and affordable health care plan, more and better-paying jobs for all our citizens, laws that protect all our people equally and “respect for life in all its stages”. This last is a thinly veiled anti-abortion statement.

The four goals outlined above are attainable but there is the rub, how do we attain them? Many will pray that our government attain the above goals by repealing Obamacare, building “the wall”, deporting DACA children, ending same-sex marriages and reversing Roe v Wade. Many others, who pray to the same God, will pray for universal healthcare, giving amnesty to DACA children who know no other country, strengthening same-sex marriage laws and making a woman’s ability to choose a constitutional right.

So tell me, given that “God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time” and that people on both sides pray to the same god but ask for very different outcomes, how is prayer going to solve anything?

In Reason We Trust – Sep 2017 Mr. Moore Goes To Washington – How an Alabama Supreme Court justice who twice defied federal court orders could wreak havoc for Maine

In Reason We Trust – Sep 2017
 
Mr. Moore Goes To Washington
How an Alabama Supreme Court justice who twice defied federal court orders could wreak havoc for Maine
 
It is more than likely that Judge Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice who twice defied federal court orders and was twice removed, will be the next US Senator from Alabama. Unfortunately, unlike the Jimmy Stewart character in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, Roy Moore apparently isn’t interested in truth and justice. He is more like the 1882 Texas Judge Roy Bean, “The Law West of the Pecos”, except it appears to me that Judge Roy Moore wants to be “The Law West of Washington, DC”.
 
When Trump appointed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be the US Attorney General the Alabama governor appointed state AG Luther Strange to fill out the term that ends in Dec. The Alabama republican primary for the senate seat resulted in Moore (39%) becoming the front runner to Strange (33%) in a three way race. Now Moore and Strange will compete in a runoff election but Moore is heavily favored to win despite Strange being endorsed by both Trump and McConnell. The Republican runoff election will be held on Sep 26 and the general election will be held on Dec. 12.
 
So who is Judge Roy Moore, the man the Southern Poverty Law Center refers to as “The Ayatollah of Alabama” and why should Mainers be concerned about who becomes the new senator from Alabama? Those living in Maine should be concerned because Moore has demonstrated twice that he holds his god’s laws above America’s laws and, if elected to the US Senate, will help to further erode the rule of law in the entire country, including Maine.
 
Back in 2001 Moore, then the state Chief Justice, had a 5,280-pound granite monument of 11 of the 12 “Ten Commandments” erected in the Montgomery courthouse, the state capitol, in the dead of night at taxpayer’s expense. Somehow Moore forgot to tell the other 8 justices on Alabama’s Supreme Court but made sure that a Christian television ministry was invited to film the event. When Moore unveiled the statue a federal court quickly ordered him to remove it but Moore refused to do so.
 
Moore said he was right to defy the federal court order because “To restore morality we must first recognize the source from which all morality (and law) springs” and “They (the federal courts) have no power, no authority, and no jurisdiction to tell the State of Alabama that we cannot acknowledge God as the source of our law”. Senior Associate Judge Houston and the rest of the Alabama Supreme Court justices successfully removed Moore from office in 2003.
 
In 2015 the US Supreme Court finally recognized the right of same-sex couples to get married and soon after a majority of Alabama voters reelected Moore to be the Chief Justice again. One of the first actions Moore took was to prohibit same-sex marriage licenses being issued. For this action Judge Moore was again removed from office.
 
Mitch McConnell endorsed Strange because he had supported McConnell’s political machinations and McConnell needs to keep his two vote majority in the Senate. Also, Moore came out against McConnell telling the Conservative Review that if he gets elected to the Senate he would vote against McConnell to continue as the Senate majority leader. McConnell is prepared to spend 8 million to ensure that Luther Strange remains an Alabama senator.
 
Will McConnell’s money help Luther Strange win? Maybe yes, maybe no but consider this, Alabama voters and Steve Bannon support Moore.
 
Over 70% of Alabama voters support Moore because they see him as the one person who can get Trump back on track. Alabama overwhelmingly voted for Trump in 2016 but voters have been disillusioned by his inability to advance the Christian / alt-right agenda.
 
According to Politico, Steve Bannon supports Moore and characterizes the election as a point where the Trump administration either swings towards the center or takes a decidedly hard right turn. Bannon’s support could also help Moore win because billionaire Robert Mercer who largely funds Breitbart and Bannon’s other political schemes will, more than likely, help fund Moore’s campaign.
 
For those who believe that prayer works I advise you to pray to the god of your choice and ask him or her that Roy Moore doesn’t get elected to the Senate. Trump was a bad choice for America but a Sen. Roy Moore will make Trump’s political machinations look like child’s play.
 
Roy Moore did win the primary. Republicans are doing all they can to defeat Moore. Apparently Moore is so toxic the Republicans would rather have a Democrat elected to the Senate than Roy Moore! Mark Dec 12th on your calendar, the day Roy Moore will most likely be elected to the Senate!

In Reason We Trust – Aug 2017 The Hidden Cost of Taxpayer Supported Religious Privilege

In Reason We Trust – Aug 2017

The Hidden Cost of Taxpayer Supported Religious Privilege

Lately I have been hearing of more people who claim they can’t do their job, bake a cake, deliver flowers or serve someone because doing so would violate their religious privilege. These small business owners or employees usually do not have the money to defend their religious privilege and would get swallowed up by the “war on Christianity” unless some miracle happened.

I also hear of well-funded and powerful 501 (C) (3) non-profit legal firms that provide legal representation, free of charge, to those who cannot afford to go to court. The impression these law firms seek to create with the public is what a wonderful, generous, agnanimous gesture for a rich and powerful legal firm to do the Christian thing and offer their legal services to the persecuted without charge. Nothing could be further from the truth.

These law firms are engaged in the business of creating laws that favor Christian privilege. That goal far outweighs any cost to local or state governments in their zeal to, in their opinion, “Make America a Christian Nation Again”. These Christian law firms employ a business model of offering free services up front because they know large and generous tax deductible donations will follow. This business model allows them to take in more money than they ever would if they simply charged their client for their legal services. Defending their clients is important but taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations is essential to funding their religious crusade.

In 2015 the Liberty Council, a Christian law firm, persuaded Kim Davis, the Clerk of Courts for Rowan County, Kentucky who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, to participate in a frivolous law suit. The goal of this law suit was simply to make private, personally held religious beliefs trump state law. So far this farce has cost the taxpayers of Rowan County $225,000 in court costs despite the Liberty Council stating the case would cost taxpayers nothing because the law firm was representing Kim Davis free of charge.

Taxpayers are also increasingly being forced to pay to defend religious privilege when school boards decide to teach religion in public schools or government entities attempt to allow only Christian prayer to open their meetings.

In 2005 the Dover, Pa. public school board, prompted by the Thomas Moore Law Center, another Christian law firm, decided to teach Creationism. That decision ended up costing the Dover taxpayers one million dollars. The court ruled the plaintiffs were entitled to two million but the plaintiffs, in recognition of the small Dover school district budget, would only accept one million.

The Thomas Moore Law Center had searched for several years to find a school board that would teach Creationism, would participate in a court case that was sure to follow, and was naive enough to think they could actually win such a case. They found their mark in Dover, Pa.

The Thomas Moore Law Center litigates cases where, in their opinion, the nation’s so called Judeo-Christian heritage, Christian religious privilege, traditional family values, or the sanctity of life is under attack. Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann, both fundamentalist Christian evangelicals and former members of the Senate and House respectively, have served on the law firm’s board.

Another religious privilege case, Bormuth v. County of Jackson (Michigan) is being litigated right now by the First Liberty Institute, a Christian law firm that is also representing Maine’s very own Toni (I will pray for you) Richardson, the Cony High School educational technician. At issue is whether or not only Jackson County Commissioners will be able to offer exclusively Christian prayers at their monthly meetings. The cost to taxpayers is anyone’s guess as the longer a case is litigated the more it will cost. The county won by a district judge’s decision, lost on appeal by a 3 judge panel decision and now the county has asked the entire 15 member appellate court to hear the case. Depending on that decision, SCOTUS may hear the case in 2018.

Christian law firms such as the Thomas Moore Law Center, Liberty Counsel and the First Liberty Institute are in business primarily to win cases that will help create laws that favor Christian privilege. So when you hear of a butcher, baker or candlestick maker refusing service on religious grounds and being defended for free, remember the case is not about them, it is about creating religious privilege for one group at the expense of another, and YOU are paying the bill.

In Reason We Trust – July 2017 Six members resigned from the presidents HIV/AIDS advisory council. How does this affect you?

In Reason We Trust – July 2017

Six members resigned from the presidents HIV/AIDS advisory council. How does this affect you?

Scott Schoettes and five other members of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) resigned. After six months of trying to work with the president, it became obvious that Trump doesn’t care about HIV/AIDS research, treatment, education or prevention. To date there is no national policy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic (something every president since 1995 had done by now). Trump does not ask for advice from any of the twenty-one (now 15) members of the council, proposes a budget that cuts spending on HIV/AIDS research / treatment, approved legislation that will make it prohibitively expensive for most people with HIV/AIDS to get treated, and supports the Republican “so called” healthcare plan that will make major cuts to Medicaid, a program that more than 40 percent of people with HIV/AIDS depend on.

Some think Trump’s “I don’t care” attitude stems from Pence’s evangelical Christian influence. When Pence first ran for the senate in 2000 he posted on his campaign website “Congress should support the re authorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Given Pence’s long history of anti LGBT activism, he was advocating reducing funds for HIV/AIDS research and de-funding community based organizations that work to educate people about HIV/AIDS in order to fund the impossible, changing one’s sexual orientation through Conversion Therapy. Will he get his wish?

According to Schoettes letter in Newsweek, “While many members of the public are unaware of the significant impact that HIV/AIDS continues to have in many communities— or that only 40 percent of people living with HIV in the United States are able to access the life-saving medications that have been available for more than 20 years—it is not acceptable for the U.S. President to be unaware of these realities, to set up a government that deprioritizes fighting the epidemic and its causes, or to implement policies and support legislation that will reverse the gains made in recent years”.

Time magazine reports that the administration’s HIV/AIDS policies, or the lack thereof, go directly against the National HIV/AIDS Strategy developed by the Obama administration. That policy helped contain the HIV/AIDS epidemic by increasing funding for HIV/AIDS research, drug development, testing and increasing access to life saving drugs and treatment. These newly developed drugs are effective in treating HIV, in lowering the HIV virus levels so others don’t get infected and in helping one from contracting HIV/AIDS in the first place.

By decreasing funding for HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education there is bound to be a dramatic increase in the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the near future. This will mean that because HIV/AIDS makes infected people more susceptible to other illnesses, illnesses that can and will be transferred to others through casual contact, everyone’s healthcare will be at a heightened risk

Time Magazine also reports that Dr. Ada Adimora, professor of medicine at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a PACHA member who decided to stay is concerned that the proposed cuts in Medicaid would negatively affect the 40% of people who are HIV positive and depend on Medicaid for health care services. She states that “Cuts in Medicaid funding will also directly affect people living with HIV”. “Anything that threatens health care access is a threat to people with HIV and a threat to public health in general”. “What is keeping the epidemic at bay in the U.S. is access to care, which includes access to drugs and clinicians. It’s not that the virus is becoming less virulent.”

I urge you to contact your member of Congress and encourage them to do what they can to have an effective national policy on HIV/AIDS that increases funding for research, treatment, education and prevention. The nation’s healthcare depends on it.