The AIDS epidemic is a going concern for the world… well, at least, the part of the world that has a conscience and a sense of compassion. Monsters like Bryan Fischer, the head of the American Family Association, instead see it as a punishment for acting outside the religious framework they have decided is best. They have decided that their twisted version of faith trumps human decency and, indeed, even medical fact. For years, Fischer has been using any and every opportunity to push his homophobic agenda. Some of his greatest departures from reality include saying “homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler,” and that straight people have been bossed around by “this tiny little cluster of belligerent bullies,” also known as gay people.
About a third of the passengers killed on the Malaysian flight that was shot down over Ukraine were on their way to an international AIDS conference. They were scientists, researchers and activists, some of whom have already changed and saved thousands of lives with their work. Bryan Fischer is incensed that Barack Obama acknowledged that important work. Still competing with Westboro Baptist Church for the coveted “hateful nutcase of the year” award, he tweeted, “Obama politicizes deaths of AIDS researchers on Malaysian plane. We know how to stop AIDS: persuade men not to have sex with men.” The blatant and overwhelming ignorance and bigotry encapsulated in those few words is staggering. Mr. Fischer evidently disbelieves in the existence of women with the disease, or straight males, or children who never had sex in the first place. In Bryan Fischer’s world, AIDS is only a gay disease, and thus doesn’t need to be cured.
Let me close by making one additional comment. On board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 there were apparently near 100 researchers and advocates traveling to an international conference in Australia dedicated to combating AIDS/HIV. These were men and women who had dedicated their own lives to saving the lives of others, and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence. In this world today we shouldn’t forget that in the midst of conflict and killing, there are people like these, people who are focused on what can be built rather than what can be destroyed, people who are focused on how they can help people that they’ve never met, people that define themselves not by what makes them different from other people but by the humanity that we hold in common. It’s important for us to lift them up and to affirm their lives. And it’s time for us to heed their example. The United States of America is going to continue to stand for the basic principle that people have the right to live as they choose, that nations have the right to determine their own destiny, and that when terrible events like this occur, the international community stands on the side of justice and on the side of truth.
It was the part about America standing for freedom of lifestyle (because, you know, Land of the Free) is what really ground the American Family Association’s gears. I mean, that’s completely antithetical to what they believe in, really. From his radio show: “That’s President Obama saying that the United States is committed to the proposition that people ought to be allowed to live as they choose. Once again, using this tragedy to advance the normalization, the legitimization, of, of homosexuality… President Obama politicizes this event to turn it into an opportunity to advocate for the normalization of sexual deviancy.” They believe your freedom to live is encapsulated in the boundaries of what they find acceptable in their hidebound, conservative, faux-Christian mindset. As such, they wouldn’t see any value in the lives, or tragedies in the deaths, of people fighting to beat a disease they see as a punishment from God. I have to think that they missed out on the whole New Testament; most modern Christians believe that God’s not really in the vengeance business anymore, something about a guy dying for our sins? They’ve also missed out on the whole “all men are created equal” thing. Maybe they should leave the American part out of their name… they don’t seem to grasp the concept of freedom upon which the country is based. The Family part is questionable too.
There are a wide range of medical advancements the researchers on that plane helped create, including access to treatment in developing nations and antiretrovirals to reduce mother-child spread of HIV/AIDS. And of course, they’ve affected the lives of millions of gay men who have contracted the disease. Men who are just as worthy of medical care as anyone else. Men who were ignored by Reagan when the HIV outbreak first happened, which actually made the disease spread farther and faster before anyone knew how it was transmitted. Men who are fellow human beings, much to the dismay of the American Family Association. They would much rather that such people, if they even regard them AS people, be forced to live loveless, broken, shamed lives, tortured through so-called “reparative therapy”. It must cause their black little cinders that reside in their chests instead of hearts such anguish that the Supreme Court “betrayed” them in ruling California’s ban on that barbaric practice legal.
Obviously we all knew the American Family Association was a den of hate and ignorance. In case you were wondering, since it’s been a while since we heard from them, what with same-sex marriage getting legalized in a new state every week or so, whether they were still homophobic soulless monsters? The answer is yes, yes they are.
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