December 02, 2006

Mixed Bag in South Africa

The nation of South Africa is on the cutting edge in two important areas these days, one good, the other horriffic.

South Africa recently joined the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and Canada in legalizing same-sex marriage, and they're lining up to do so. There is already such a backlog that many couples will have to wait until at least January to exchange vows. That's wonderful news.

The bad news is that many South African teenagers are not likely to live past their 60th birthday because of the overwhelming AIDS crisis in that country.

When I saw that headline, I couldn't believe it was true. After all, living in the United States, we hear a lot about how life expectancy is increasing so much that it threatens the solvency of our Social Security system. This report states that 15-year olds currently have a 56% chance of dying before they turn 60, up from 29% in 1990. Life expectancy in South Africa has dropped like a rock, from 63 in 1990 to 51 in 2006. Estimates are that over 11% of the country's population is infected with the HIV virus.

Reading that just makes my blood run cold.

These people need help, and they need prayer or else the gains they made in GLBT equality could literally be short lived.


  1. Wonderful that the first gay marriage in South Africa took place yesterday.

    Jip, South Africa is the world leader in HIV/AIDS...also the mesothelioma capital of the world.

  2. I've actually just barely finished reading a fictional yet historically accurate and poignant book that includes a sympathy to the plight of the South African people as one of it's main themes. This book also takes a very cynical view of a certain brand of fundamentalism and the poor adaptation of it's tenets on foreign soil. I feel a balanced view on Christianity is presented as the book also includes characters who have adapted their faith well in order to help those around them in the Name of God.

    The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver