"Commemorating" World AIDS Day With The Religious Right

Today is World AIDS Day, a day for "people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died."

Which, of course, means anti-gay activists like Peter LaBarbera decided to "commemorate" it with press releases calling for cutting AIDS funding while promoting efforts to "re-stigmatize" homosexuality.

So, in this vein, let us "commemorate" World AIDS Day by highlighting a few of the Religious Right's more outrageous AIDS-related statements from recent years:

You know if you just look at it in practical terms, which has destroyed and ended the life of more people? Terrorism attack here in America or HIV/AIDS? In the last twenty years, fifteen to twenty years, we’ve had maybe three terrorist attacks on our soil with a little over 5,000 people regrettably losing their lives. In the same time frame, there have been hundreds of thousands who have died because of having AIDS. So which one’s the biggest threat? And you know, every day our young people, adults too, but especially our young people, are bombarded at school, in movies, in music, on TV, in the mall, in magazines, they’re bombarded with ‘homosexuality is normal and natural.’ It’s something they have to deal with every day. Fortunately we don’t have to deal with a terrorist attack every day, and that’s what I mean.

  • A quote from former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop from the book "Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite" claiming that Gary Bauer fought his efforts to inform President Reagan about the AIDS crisis:

[In 1986] President Reagan asked the surgeon general to prepare a report on AIDS as the United States confirmed its ten-thousandth case. Leaders of the evangelical movement did not want Koop to write the report, nor did senior White House staffers who shared Koop's evangelical convictions. As Dr. Koop related to me, "Gary Bauer [Reagan's chief advisor on domestic policy] ... was my nemesis in Washington because he kept me from the president. He kept me from the cabinet and he set up a wall of enmity between me and most of the people that surrounded Reagan because he believed that anybody who had AIDS ought to die with it. That was God's punishment for them."

  • And who can ever forget Mike Huckabee standing by his 1992 remarks calling for "carriers of this plague" to be removed from society and placed in quarantine:

"It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population," he said. "This deadly disease, for which there is no cure, is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.

"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague."