Bryan Fischer says his AIDS denialism makes him ‘the best friend the gay community has’
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer posted a blog last week in which he defends his support for the AIDS denialism movement and Dr. Peter Duesberg’s claims that HIV does not cause AIDS.
Fischer hosted Duesberg on his radio program two weeks ago, and as The American Independent reported, the National Association for People With AIDS condemned the interview. Duesberg argues that HIV is a harmless virus that does not cause any disease in human beings. Instead, he argues, the disease syndrome known as AIDS is caused by promiscuous sexual liaisons and rampant illegal drug use among gay men.
But now Fischer says his support for AIDS denialism ought to make him a hero to the gay community.
But get this. If Duesberg is right, that HIV does not cause AIDS, then I am the best friend the gay community has.
Why? Because if HIV is a harmless passenger virus, there is no reason to lock people up for transmitting it.
(This does not, of course, mean that homosexual behavior itself should be endorsed or sanctioned by society, only that it should be contrary to public policy for other reasons. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control state flatly that men who have sex with men “have AIDS at a rate more than 50 times greater than other groups,” and are at “elevated risk for certain sexually transmitted diseases [STDs], including Hepatits A, Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.”)
He goes on to cite a blog by HIV activist Mark S. King that pegs HIV criminalization as the key civil rights issue for those living with the virus.
HIV activists around the country have been fighting laws that criminalize those living with the HIV based on a variety of actions — some of which can transmit the virus, some which don’t. The battle has reached Congress — in September, California Democrat Barbara Lee introduced legislation to encourage states to repeal HIV-specific laws, known as the Repeal HIV Discrimination Act.
King responded to an email inquiry from TAI by releasing the following statement about Fischer’s blog:
“I’m heartened to know that My Fabulous Disease has reached the outer fringe of HIV theory. Fisher’s broad interpretation of my posting may be off-base, but perhaps his readership will learn something from the links to my blog he generously provides.”
While King was dismissive of Fischer, Warren Throckmorton posted a piece over the weekend citing a statement released by conservative wunderkind preacher Rick Warren. Warren heads the massive Saddleback Church, which runs an AIDS ministry in the U.S. and in Africa. Throckmorton quotes Warren’s statement on the issue as follows:
Since AIDS was first discovered in 1981, 30 years of non-stop scientific research by the US military, the medical community, our government, and by every international health organization has proven over and over, with countless irrefutable results, that ONLY people with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) develop AIDS. To imply the disease is caused by anything besides HIV is quack science, like claiming the earth is flat, or the moon is made of cheese. Since 1985, when the virus that creates AIDS was isolated, every doctor on the planet, except Peter Duesberg, has known that HIV is the only cause of AIDS.
Duesberg’s denial of the entire body of research, and his rejection of thousands of scientific trials and papers, would be laughable if millions of lives weren’t at stake. But his view is deadly. Unfortunately, Duesberg convinced some people in Africa that HIV was not the cause of AIDS and as a result many people there needlessly became infected with the virus, and some have subsequently suffered and died.
It is frustrating – and frightening – for those of us in AIDS ministry to see someone like Dr. Duesberg play to people’s bias and prejudices. For the past eight years we have worked with thousands of churches around the world and in America who have ministries to those infected and affected by AIDS. No one deserves this illness, and we must not ignore those among us who are infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. There are numerous ways to acquire the virus – sexual activity, blood transfusions, being born to an HIV positive mother, dirty needles – but what matters isn’t how a person became infected as much as how we will respond. People with living with the virus are people that Jesus created, loves, and died for. Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan teaches us that when you find someone bleeding on the side of the road, you don’t say “Was it your fault?” You just help them in love!
Let’s be very careful about what reality we deny; lives are at stake.
Warren is not alone in condemning AIDS denialism. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has also censured Fischer’s blog and AIDS denialism.
“The science and medical communities have settled on this issue,” said Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “For anyone to promote the discredited theory that is HIV denialism is beyond wasteful and irresponsible.”
Photo: Bryan Fischer at the 2011 Values Voter Summit (AMERICAN INDEPENDENT/Sam Petulla)