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Religious
conservatives oppose Global Fund projects

Religious
conservatives oppose Global Fund projects

Some religious groups oppose the Global Fund's support of condom programs.

Some conservative religious groups, though claiming to be supportive of HIV prevention and treatment programs in developing countries, are taking aim at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria due to opposition to the organization's support of condom programs, the Chicago Tribune reports. The U.S. Senate in March passed a nonbinding resolution calling for U.S. grants to the Global Fund to increase to $866 million in 2007, up from $445 million in 2006. But the move infuriated many right-wing religious organizations, which say that abstinence and monogamy--not safer-sex initiatives--should be the only tools the U.S. should advocate in fighting the global spread of HIV.

James Dobson, founder of the antigay group Focus on the Family, was particularly critical of the Senate resolution, saying the Global Fund promotes "legalized prostitution and all kinds of wickedness around the world," reports the Tribune. Dobson and the leaders of 29 other conservative religious groups, hoping to prevent the House from following the Senate's lead, have written to House leaders urging them to not increase funding for the Global Fund when they consider foreign spending bills later this year. Their letter claims the Global Fund pushes condom distribution programs "to the near exclusion of abstinence and faithfulness."

But not all religious leaders are supportive of Dobson's attacks on the Global Fund. Tony Campolo, a Christian activist, and televangelist Pat Robertson both support the Global Fund's work. If Congress bows to the pressure of Dobson and other religious groups and fails to extend adequate aid overseas, "we will look on this as a very mistaken time," Campolo says.

Global Fund leaders also say that the organization provides financial support for nearly 75 faith-based organizations, including the Salvation Army, Youth for Christ, and World Vision. (The Advocate)

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