It seems that just about every time a Religious Right activist is asked by the press to comment on some outrageous thing that Right Wing Watch has caught them saying, they respond by simply asserting that those comments were “taken out of context” without ever explaining how our reporting supposedly misrepresented their statements or bothering to explain how understanding the real context would have in any way changed the meaning of what they said.
And this is exactly what David Barton, a member of the Republican National Convention’s platform committee and a longtime Religious Right activist, did when the the Daily Beast asked him to comment on two of the many offensive statements he has made about LGBT people, both of which were first reported by Right Wing Watch:
And David Barton, a committee member from Texas, believes that God is preventing the medical profession from finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, and claimed that gay people die “decades earlier” than others and have more than 500 partners apiece in their lifetimes.
Barton told The Daily Beast that these statements did not represent his views, and this was “an example of something taken out of context and mischaracterized. I’m an advocate for faith-based conservative values, which include love, grace, and truth, focusing on traditional family values.”
Since Barton doesn’t bother to clarify the “context” in which these comments were made, allow us to do so.
In the case of his claim that gay people die “decades earlier” and have hundreds of sexual partners, Barton said that on his radio program back in 2010, when he was somewhat facetiously making the case that the government should regulate gay people’s sex lives.
Barton argued that since the government seeks to regulate all sorts of things that are unhealthy, it should also regulate consensual sex between members of the same gender because it is not only dangerous for those who practice it but bad for society as well:
Homosexual/bi-sexual individuals are seven times more likely to contemplate or commit suicide. Oooh, that doesn’t sound very healthy.
Homosexuals die decades earlier than heterosexuals. That doesn’t sound healthy.
Nearly one-half of practicing homosexuals admit to five hundred or more sex partners and nearly one-third admit to a thousand or more sex partners in a lifetime.
There is no mischaracterization involved in quoting his statement that “homosexuals die decades earlier” and that some gay people “admit to five hundred of more sexual partners,” as that is exactly what he said.
The same goes for his comments about God preventing us from ever finding a cure for AIDS because doing so would eliminate the penalty for sin.
I don’t think they will ever find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. And I say that based on a particular Bible verse … Notice this, homosexuals receive in their bodies the penalty due them. The Bible says if you engage in homosexuality, your body will do things that will penalize you. So if you can have a vaccine for AIDS, then you’re keeping your body from penalizing you. I don’t think they’ll ever find a vaccine for AIDS.
Again, there is nothing “out of context” about this remark, which he has made multiple times.
Barton continuously makes unfounded and offensive remarks about LGBT people and has repeatedly suggested that God is punishing gay people with a deadly disease, yet the Republican Party continues to invite him to help shape their national platform — which just so happens to be extraordinarily hostile to LGBT people. Barton’s unconvincing attempts at denying his past comments shouldn’t let them get away with it.