Former U.S. AID director Randall Tobias, who resigned yesterday upon admitting that he frequented a Washington escort service, oversaw a controversial policy advocated by the religious right that required any US-based group receiving anti-AIDS funds to take an anti-prostitution "loyalty oath."
we already knew tobias was a bit of a hypocrite for being an abstinence advocate and anti-condom crusader during his time at USAID. but forcing aid organizations "renounce prostitution" all while he was getting "massages" from central american prostitutes... now that is truly bush administration-level hypocrisy.
let's look deeper into the boston globe article that thinkprogress found:
USAID required groups to sign an anti-prostitution pledge despite concerns over its constitutionality. The pledge required all organizations receiving USAID money overseas to renounce prostitution, which some groups interpreted as abandoning efforts to prevent prostitutes from spreading AIDS.
The Brazilian government, which has had success in decreasing AIDS by working with prostitutes, refused to sign the pledge and lost a $40 million grant.
In an affidavit for a lawsuit over the matter, Pedro Chequer , director of Brazil's AIDS program, said his country strived to adhere to "the established principles of the scientific method and not allow theological beliefs and dogma to interfere."
A centerpiece of the religious right's agenda for USAID is a law passed by Congress and signed by Bush in 2003 that requires any US-based group receiving anti-AIDS funds to adopt a policy against prostitution.
The law says funding cannot be given to any group "that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking." Supporters said they hoped the legislation would ``eradicate" prostitution and thus curtail the spread of AIDS.
While few, if any, aid groups support prostitution, many expressed concern that the US policy was so broad -- and applied even to their private funds -- that it would obstruct their outreach to sex workers who are at high risk of transmitting the AIDS virus.
In some countries, half of all prostitutes are infected with the AIDS virus, according to congressional testimony. As a result, USAID's leaders originally were sympathetic to groups that resisted the anti-prostitution pledge.
The issue seemed to be resolved when the Justice Department advised USAID that the law was unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated free speech.
But the decision set off a firestorm of protest from the religious right and its allies in Congress, after which Bush's Justice Department reversed itself.
okay, so the policy wasn't tobias' idea, but he enforced it with bravado nonetheless. as thinkprogress also notes:
During an "Ask the White House" online chat in 2004, Tobias defended the policy, saying the U.S. was "partnering with communities" to begin "fighting sex trafficking and prostitution, while still serving victims of these activities." Tobias added that he was overseeing several "highly successful" relationship programs "aimed at men and boys to help them develop healthy relationships with women."
yup, healthy relationships with women. for example, these central american gals come over to my place, give me a "massage", and after i've ejaculated, they take my money and go home. it's a straightforward business relationship.¶