Yesterday, one of my fellow teachers asked me how I dealt with students who believe in the literalness of the Bible. As someone who teaches history, I teach about prehistoric man, who was believed to have developed around 200,000 years ago, according to fossil records. However, biblical literalists believe the world is only a little over 6,000 years old, and they do not believe in the accuracy of radiocarbon dating. I told her that the term “day,” as it is translated in the Bible, is actually a Hebrew word that means a period of time. So we began discussing how so many things can be misconstrued especially when people have a closed mind.
Ignorance always saddens me, and most of the time, makes me angry. Such was the case when Pat Robertson delved into a discussion about AIDS during a recent episode of “The 700 Club,” in which he suggested that infected individuals in cities like San Francisco purposefully infect others by cutting them with special rings.
On Tuesday, Robertson and co-host Terry Meeuwsen responded to a question from a viewer about the disclosure of an AIDS status. Apparently, the viewer had been driving a nursing home patient to church and came to find out he has AIDS. The viewer was angry no one disclosed the man’s health condition to her.
Robertson said he “used to think it was transmitted by saliva and other things, now they say it may be sexual contact.” So, he advised the woman not have sex with the man.
“There are laws now… I think the homosexual community has put these draconian laws on the books that prohibit people from discussing this particular affliction,” he continued. “You can tell somebody you had a heart attack, you can tell them they’ve got high blood pressure, but you can’t tell anybody you’ve got AIDS.”
“You know what they do in San Francisco? Some in the gay community there, they want to get people. So if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” he said. “Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder.”
Right Wing Watch reported that particular comment from the broadcast was edited out of the clip the Christian Broadcasting Network later posted online. The Huffington Post could not immediately reach a CBN representative for comment.
Back2Stonewall writer Will Kohl dubbed Robertson’s statements “the worst and most horrible lie that has come out of Pat Robertson’s mouth in his history of anti-gay hate.” He asked for supporters to call CBN headquarters and demand the network force Robertson to apologize for his “outrageous lies.”
In an email to the Huffington Post Kohl added, “It’s well past time that members of not only the LGBT community but real Christians everywhere stand up to the anti-gay religious extremist like Robertson and say enough.”
Tuesday’s segment was certainly filled with fallacies.
AIDS develops from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is transmitted via infected persons by blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids or breast milk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These fluids must either come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream for someone to be infected.
In addition, the gay community has not put “draconian” laws on the books like the televangelist claimed. In fact, many states have partner-notification laws that make an HIV-positive person legally obligated to tell his or her partner or partners, according to AIDS.gov. In some states, the omission of this information could result in a criminal charge.
Finally, HIV/AIDS is not a “gay” thing. The diseases affect people of all races, genders, sexualities and creeds.