Over the years, HIV-AIDS has been demonized and stigmatized, especially by religious reactionaries. Family “values” conservatives oppose condom use, even though it could save women’s lives, and the persistent use of HIV-AIDS in anti-gay propaganda makes women completely invisible.
The theme of a “homosexual plague” has always skimmed over gay women, who have the lowest levels of infection. On the other hand, the fastest-growing rate of new HIV infections is among straight women who are, by vast majorities, infected by heterosexual contact with husbands and boyfriends. As a result, women’s health and needs are sacrificed in the rabid pursuit of a homophobic agenda.
Here are some sample Bad Thoughts:
The poor homosexuals they have declared war against nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.
Patrick Buchanan, conservative politician and commentator, 1983
AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.
Jerry Falwell, co-founder of the Moral Majority, 1980s
A tattoo equivalent, one can imagine, might be ineffaceably implanted on a part of the man’s body not exposed except to those who intend intimate contact.
William F. Buckley, Jr., conservative columnist, 1985
With other dangerous and contagious diseases, all sorts of efforts are made to identify those carrying the disease, and to minimize their contact with the public. And yet, here we have homosexual rights groups working day and night to make sure AIDS victims ARE NOT IDENTIFIED! … Until action is taken, AIDS victims are free to infect anyone …
D. James Kennedy, founder of Coral Ridge Ministries, a Religious-Right organization, 1989
We have a bankruptcy of morality and AIDS is the consequence. 1986
It’s time…to treat this like any other disease and use all the public health standards including isolating the people who have it and knowing who they are and taking precautions about it. 1992
Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, host of the 700 Club
What kind of sex education programs are homosexual rights leaders advocating?… AIDS is not caused by people, they say, but by a virus — which is a little like saying John F. Kennedy was not killed by Lee Harvey Oswald but by a bullet. They also argue that AIDS is equally a heterosexual disease and that everybody is at risk … In this way, they deflect criticism of their own behavior … (Another) ingredient … is the fostering of sympathy for AIDS victims …Its political purposes become all too clear: Concentrate on the suffering of the victims and you will forget to oppose the kind of conduct that leads to such a monstrous malady.
Robert H. Knight of the Family Research Council, 1993
“Aids…has grown so fast because of the availability of condoms.”
The Archibishop of Nairobi Raphael Ndingi Nzeki, a conservative, 2003
“The Aids virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the ‘net’ that is formed by the condom.”
Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, President, Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, 2003
“Oh, you’re one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How’s that?”
Radio host Michael Savage to a caller, 2003
The fact of the matter is it’s (HIV) due to the behavioral recklessness of gay men in New York City, that they’re endangering the lives of everybody. So, you want to talk about the Catholic Church intervening in other people’s lives? The gay community has yet to apologize to straight people for all the damage that they have done — for contaminating the blood supply in New York City and around the country. And I find it amazing that, when people are acting so morally delinquent, that they’re asking for more rights at the same time.
William Donahue, President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 2005
I don’t mean to minimize those killed by AIDS. The point is abortion and homosexuality are not just issues that have nothing to do with AIDS. They are related.
Christian anti-abortion commentator Jill Stanek, 2006
It’s time to acknowledge the pink elephant in the room: fighting AIDS without talking against homosexuality is like fighting lung cancer without talking against smoking.
Peter LaBarabara of the right-wing Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, 2006
The spread of HIV and AIDS worldwide CAN come to an end ONLY when the promotion, acceptance and tolerance of homosexuality worldwide comes to an end
Ex-gay and gay “conversion” spokesperson Stephen Bennett, 2006
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, and in which 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. 1992
I don’t run from it, I don’t recant it. 2007
Republican Presidential candidate and former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee