Over the last several months, I have been reading a lot of books in my free time about religion and politics as research for a possible book I am thinking about writing. As such, I am regularly discovering interesting pieces of information that don’t really have any specific tie to current events but still seem worth highlighting. As such, I am going to start posting them here whenever I come across them so as to share them with others.
I’ll kick it off by highlighting this section in “Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite” by D. Michael Lindsay discussing the problems Surgeon General C. Everett Koop ran into when tasked with drafting a report on AIDS for President Reagan:
[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.”