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Bush appoints anti-gay member to AIDS panel.
January 23, 2003 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Bush appoints anti-gay member to AIDS panel. Jerry Thacker runs the Scepter Institute, a Christian Ministry. Their website states that "Both Jerry and his wife, Sue, [are] HIV-positive. How could it be? Jerry and Sue were committed Christians." The L.A. Times notes that Thacker has described homosexuality as a "deathstyle," and describes significant revisions that have been made to the Scepter Institute's website. I wonder if Thacker will be applying for some funds to renovate Scepter's offices, now that he is providing such a valuable social service?
posted by stonerose (87 comments total)

 
Sorry for the newsfilter post, but I felt that this deserved a wide audience. I am also intrigued by the revisions made to Scepter's website. Do any other examples of politically-motivated "online makeovers" spring to mind?
posted by stonerose at 7:48 AM on January 23, 2003


Here's the Google cache of Thacker's proud display of his obvious qualifications to take this post, as shown in this speech delivered at Bob Jones University.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:52 AM on January 23, 2003


The L.A. Times notes that Thacker has described homosexuality as a "deathstyle,"

Well, Christianity is a "death cult", so it's really in the same family.
posted by four panels at 7:59 AM on January 23, 2003


Ahh so good for you to lower yourself, four panels, to Thacker's level...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:09 AM on January 23, 2003


"Sorry for the newsfilter post"

Actually it's a hot button topic guaranteed to devolve into bickering more than Newsfilter. But no matter.....

I don't understand what "anti-gay" is. This concept bothers me. Do anti-gay folks wish gays didn't exist? Do they try and deny gays are real? Do they think gay-ness should not be allowed?

What a bunch of weirdos.

"Studies have shown that thousands of homosexuals have been set free from this sin. It is a chosen lifestyle (deathstyle), not an inborn one."

This sounds like just the sort of person Bush would like to have on his Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Since he'd rather rant and preach than deal with cause and effect.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:09 AM on January 23, 2003


With a name like the "Scepter Institute" (howdy, Sigmund), I'm not buying the blood transfusion story...

But, really, what else did you people expect from Bush?
posted by troybob at 8:14 AM on January 23, 2003


Well, Christianity is a "death cult"

Really? The Catholic church is definitely against the death penalty, against the war in Irag, and against killing unborn children. While one may disagree with their stance on any of these issues, it is patently wrong to describe Christianity as a "death cult". Nice try though.
posted by jsonic at 8:15 AM on January 23, 2003


Iraq, that is.
posted by jsonic at 8:16 AM on January 23, 2003


Actually, I think it's more accurate to refer to a religion whose members symbolically drink blood as a "vampire cult."
posted by troybob at 8:20 AM on January 23, 2003


jsonic, I think four panels is referring to the fact that Christians have 'cultified' the death of Christ. So while the term "death cult" is perhaps uncharitable and apt to create misunderstandings, it's technically correct. But WE digress...
posted by stonerose at 8:24 AM on January 23, 2003


I'd like to think of Christianity as a "forgiveness cult," but this kind of polarization doesn't make it easy for me.

I'm a little suspicious of virulently anti-homosexual people who are HIV positive and claim they got it from a blood transfusion, but then, if could happen to Ryan White, it could happen to anybody.
posted by alumshubby at 8:25 AM on January 23, 2003


"it is patently wrong to describe Christianity as a death cult."

As an outside observer I don't have any trouble thinking of Christianity as a death cult. That term doesn't have anything to do with advocating death IMHO. It's more that the focus of Christianity is on the death of Jesus, going to a better place, and making yourself worthy for the after life.

If Christianity was focused on just living a good life and treating people right that would be one thing. But Christianity is more about saving souls and joining loved ones in heaven. It's a death thing. I'm sure Christians don't have a problem with that, but it seems wacky to me.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:32 AM on January 23, 2003


I'm a little suspicious of virulently anti-homosexual people who are HIV positive and claim they got it from a blood transfusion

"Hey mom, remember that mosquito that infected me? He's a 6'2" radiologist."
"Oh my god.... you're dating a doctor?"
-Doonesbury

Sorry, it was either that or "Him and Roy Cohn! It's like being told Satan's a fag" but I already did one KITH line this morning.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:33 AM on January 23, 2003


This really isn't that big of a surprise from an administration that appointed Dr. W. David Hager to lead the Food and Drug Administration's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. Hager, a Kentucky OB/GYN who frequently prescribes Bible study as a treatment for PMS.

It's been agenda versus science at almost every turn.
posted by machaus at 8:35 AM on January 23, 2003


but I felt that this deserved a wide audience

wider than the drudge report? i'm not sure it gets any wider than that (on the internet at least).
posted by probablysteve at 8:35 AM on January 23, 2003


As a sidebar, XQUZYPHR's link to the google cache is hours of reading entertainment. Scroll down to the prayer notes from 9/11/01 and see what I mean.

Also, this, from a screed on the evils of the internet:
If you need to go on-line, go in, get what you need, and get out; don't surf the Internet. Don't provide a way for trouble. Don't constantly live on the edge. If you're married, insist on sharing a password so you can't go on-line alone. Protect yourself with filters and Internet Service Providers. If you don't recognize a name use the delete button. Stay far away from temptation. If you can't trust yourself, then get the Internet out of your home. If you choose to spend time looking at trash and your only worry is getting caught, you have a serious heart problem.

posted by PrinceValium at 8:36 AM on January 23, 2003


While one may disagree with their stance on any of these issues, it is patently wrong to describe Christianity as a "death cult".

I think he meant because they worship an idol of a man being executed, and all that.
posted by mdn at 8:46 AM on January 23, 2003


XQUZYPHR,

I'm sure that the good, compassionate folks at Bob Jones booed this intolerant, dangerous fanatic off the stage.
Didn't they?
posted by matteo at 8:47 AM on January 23, 2003


"Stay far away from temptation. If you can't trust yourself, then get the Internet out of your home."

Sinnerz, sinnerz, my precious. they wants to take our modem from usss, preciousss...we'll show them precious...lead nasty little evangelicals up that way, that way precioouss, and she'll take care of them, and then we'll get the preciousss and....

Thankssses, XQUZYPHR
posted by troutfishing at 8:53 AM on January 23, 2003


If Christianity was focused on just living a good life and treating people right that would be one thing.

Christianity is supposed to be about living a good life and treating people right. Being kind, loving, and forgiving are some of the core teachings of Christianity. Unfortunately, some Christians forget this and use their faith as a means to judge and hate others. Actions such as those go directly against what Christianity is all about. And unfortunetly, people see those mis-deeds and mistakenly think that being judgemental and attempting to force one's views on another is what Christianity teaches.

I think he meant because they worship an idol of a man being executed, and all that.

Do you really think the point of Christianity is to worship a dead guy? The cross is just a symbol of Christs desire to help people, even when it meant giving up his life to do so.
posted by jsonic at 8:56 AM on January 23, 2003


probablysteve... I'm heartily sorry for not having included drudge as part of my essential morning reading.
posted by stonerose at 9:06 AM on January 23, 2003


To be fair, although I am an avid atheist and have real problems with organized church, I have known people who reflect the type of Christianity that jsonic means; it's very rare and special, and I respect such personal practice immensely. I don't think the mindset requires a particular religious belief, but sometimes good people are just good people.

Not to detract from this, I should mention that I grew up close to BJ University, awash in Southern Baptists, and I can tell you from experience that my 'scepter' got more action from fag-haters there than it will ever see in San Francisco. A better writer could accurately describe the sensuality lurking beneath the souls of Southern Baptist men. Let's just say that when it comes to fag-haters, the squeaky wheel, more often than not, is quite accustomed to being greased.
posted by troybob at 9:14 AM on January 23, 2003


Alright, we've had a good go round about whether Christianity is, in fact, a Death worshiping religion, but how about some commentary re: the post? Doesn't this stun anyone, anymore? That in 1982 the President's Secretary of the Interior (Watt) was forced to resign for offhanded comments about the racial & gender makeup of his staff, but in 2003 the President would think it's acceptable to appoint a homophobic right wing zealot to his advisory committee? What has happened to this world, it's as though the American public was desensitized to insanity, and the Bush administration is testing, in little ways every day, testing what people will blink at.
posted by jonson at 9:27 AM on January 23, 2003


can anyone with an ounce of sense, honestly say this administration is in anyway better than clinton administration? the daily grim news from the white house is astonishing.
posted by specialk420 at 9:36 AM on January 23, 2003


y6y6y6: I don't understand what "anti-gay" is. This concept bothers me. Do anti-gay folks wish gays didn't exist? Do they try and deny gays are real? Do they think gay-ness should not be allowed?

Yes, kind of, and definitely.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:37 AM on January 23, 2003


The L.A. Times piece quotes a Bush official to the effect that Thacker was chosen because he can reach out to the right on AIDS/HIV issues. Isn't there anyone out there who can do this, but who isn't a total bigot? Not that it will happen, but let's imagine that public outcry led to Thacker's removal. Assuming we do actually want to reach out to the conservatives in good faith (pardon the pun) in order to fight HIV, who else could do the job?

And jonson: thanks.
posted by stonerose at 9:39 AM on January 23, 2003


it's as though the American public was desensitized to insanity, and the Bush administration is testing, in little ways every day, testing what people will blink at.

This is exactly what I have been thinking for a while now. I keep seeing and hearing that blonde lady screaming STOP THE INSANITY!!

There's a great line from a Tori Amos song "Pancake" referring to the current state of the world: "Seems in vogue to be a closet mysoginist homphobe."
posted by archimago at 9:40 AM on January 23, 2003


assuming that was't a completely facetious question
posted by gottabefunky at 9:40 AM on January 23, 2003


I'm sure Mr. Thacker was chosen for his sensitivity and his insight, and not because it must have been difficult to find an AIDS activist who is also incredibly anti-gay, right? While AIDS is not a disease that only affects homosexuals, it has had quite a profound impact on the gay community, and appointing this man is as much a slap in the face as appointing a Klansman to a committee on sickle cell anemia would be.

I don't understand what "anti-gay" is.

Oh, anti-gay folks are easy to spot. They're the mouth-breathers who thrill to the image of two women tearing each others' clothes off in a beer commercial, but are shocked.... shocked!... to see two men walking hand-in-hand down the street.
posted by turaho at 9:43 AM on January 23, 2003


What has happened to this world, it's as though the American public was desensitized to insanity, and the Bush administration is testing, in little ways every day, testing what people will blink at.

I think you put your finger on it, Jonson. I'd noticed the same thing myself - it's like we're living in an issue of The Onion. Or a Simpsons episode. Have irony and sarcasm become so prevalent in the media that we've come to expect the same out of reality?
posted by wanderingmind at 9:43 AM on January 23, 2003


> It's been agenda versus science at almost every turn.

Considering that putting a stop to gay fucking would certainly and factually put a stop to AIDS transmission by gay sex, it's a point of view that deserves representation on the AIDS Panel. I grant you it's a point of view that will find no welcome in queer theory, but then that's not science either.

I think W deserves some gratitude for not (yet) nominating to the panel someone pushing my own point of view, namely that anyone who picks up AIDS by voluntarily engaging in at-risk behavior has made his own bed and should have to lie in it. Remember, there's worse things than a Christian who at least professes to love the sinner.
posted by jfuller at 9:52 AM on January 23, 2003


jonson: it's a simple ploy. Ask for the stars. Settle for the moon and then complain. If you don't immediately get what you what. Whine. Call everyone "mean." Blame your mistakes on imaginary evil-doers.

The question is: how did my two-year become president?
posted by ?! at 9:52 AM on January 23, 2003


XQUZYPHR, one joke like that deserves (or at least triggers) another:

Q: What's the toughest part about being HIV positive?
A: Convincing your mom that you're Haitian.
posted by alumshubby at 9:55 AM on January 23, 2003


Would advocating hate against a group of people solve the underlying dilema? sure, if gay sex were outlawed, it still wouldn't put a stop to AIDs. And could it be outlawed in a practical manner, and even if it could, does the government have an obligation to legislate its view or morality?

Or would it be better to advocate safe sex, in lieu of an impracticle idea of no sex?

Just because gay sex leads to gay infection, it won't stop HIV from being spread if there were no more gay infections.

But hey, I suppose its just better to shove all the gay people back in the closet, treat them as second class citizens, and strip them of their basic human rights.

Sometimes I feel like the world is closing in on me, and I just feel so powerless to do anything sometimes. Every time I turn around, I have some fundamentalist in my face telling me I'm a sinner and going to hell. How Christian of them.

Some will hollar that "majority rules" and "if a majority disagrees with gay sex, then it would be ok to outlaw it"... but what if the majority agreed slavery was alright, would it then be ok to start that back up? Or is this a case where an individual's human rights supercede what a bunch of religious fanatics believe is the moral thing to do? It's the second one, just so you know.

AIDs is a terrible disease which needs to be tackled head on. Promoting "no gay sex" or even "no sex at all" is not the answer. The answer is knowledge of the disease and how to prevent it.
posted by benjh at 10:09 AM on January 23, 2003


Unfortunately, some Christians forget this and use their faith as a means to judge and hate others.

Hmmmm... I had to look up the official definition of "some", and technically it is broad enough to be equivalent to "vast majority", so I guess you can get away with this sentence.


What has happened to this world, it's as though the American public was desensitized to insanity, and the Bush administration is testing, in little ways every day, testing what people will blink at.

Er... I think the majority of our inanity sensors were completely burned out about one month into the administration, if not sooner.
posted by badstone at 10:12 AM on January 23, 2003


nice try, benjh, but i for one will let jfuller the Uber-Troll lie...

testing what people will blink at

i think there are two ways to look at it: either we are all in fact in a collective stupor from the collective effects of Watergate, Iran-Contra, Interngate, etc. and the general fraying of popular discourse...OR could it be that there are LOTS of people blinking and angry as hell over President Fratboy and his rampage of blunders? maybe, like, the half of the country that DIDN'T vote for him? and don't let hte media off the hook: up til Sept. 10, 2001, it was still OK to poke fun at W., now it's the fad to act all McCarthyesque.
posted by serafinapekkala at 10:12 AM on January 23, 2003


Troybob: You made me laugh. When I live in Nashville it was a similar situation with the sex industry. Nashville has a huge christian book publishing industry and a large population of fundamentalists. There are also a lot of nasty "bookstores" and strip clubs. I was amazed the first time I went to a strip club there. I think I saw the stripper's ovaries. There was an unhealthy amount of sexual suppression in that town.
posted by monkeyman at 10:15 AM on January 23, 2003


"People of faith have the ability to help people who are hurting over AIDS, including people in the homosexual community," Thacker said. "We call on everyone to change. We feel we are all human beings and all submit to sin. We all need to be transformed to Christ."

This man has been chosen to serve on the President's Advisory Council! What?

Wandering and Jonson have it completely right.

I recommend a retreat into beautiful solipsism, otherwise I might start screaming...
posted by cohappy at 10:16 AM on January 23, 2003


wow jfuller, you've got a forest for the trees thing going on there.

70% of men and 80% of women living with AIDS live in Africa. Homosexuality deserves very little time in this debate.
posted by machaus at 10:17 AM on January 23, 2003


sorry, that stat should be: 70% of the adults and 80% of the children.
posted by machaus at 10:19 AM on January 23, 2003


Deathstyle: I'm not sure if that's true, but you have to give some points for creativity to the guy.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:20 AM on January 23, 2003


Militant Islam is a deathstyle; homosexuality is just odd, and doesn't yield a next generation....
posted by ParisParamus at 10:22 AM on January 23, 2003


Considering that putting a stop to gay fucking would certainly and factually put a stop to AIDS transmission by gay sex, it's a point of view that deserves representation on the AIDS Panel.

Oh yeah; there's a practical policy stance. You know what? If the poor didn't have children, there would be a hell of a lot fewer poor children. Should the president have an advocate of forced sterilization of the poor among his economic advisors? If all criminals were executed immediately upon conviction, recidivism wouldn't be a problem. I think we need someone on the drug policy advisory council advocating mass executions in order to make sure that this policy option has an advocate. If everyone in the world just loved everyone else, there would never be war again. Is there someone on the national security council looking into that? If teenagers just didn't have sex, there wouldn't be any teen pregnancy. Do you see the president appointing advocates... uh. well. You get my point.

I think W deserves some gratitude for not (yet) nominating to the panel someone pushing my own point of view, namely that anyone who picks up AIDS by voluntarily engaging in at-risk behavior has made his own bed and should have to lie in it.

I take the same point of view towards the risks of heterosexual sex. We should eliminate all public funding of schools and child welfare programs. After all, if people are going to risk pregnancy by engaging in "heterosexual fucking", they should be willing to take responsibility for their actions, and not expect government to prop them up. Same for people who get in automobile accidents. They were foolish enough to get behind the wheel; why should medicaid and publicly funded hospitals pay to fix them when they're broken? Don't even get me started on the amount of money the government is wasting on tuberculosis screening. Get your own damn germ-free air, freeloaders!
posted by mr_roboto at 10:33 AM on January 23, 2003


the guy just withdrew (or was withdrawn) because of the controversy.

...He has described homosexuality as a condition that can be cured by Christianity.
Like the Bush administration, he promotes abstinence from sex as the way to prevent HIV infection. "For the unmarried, the only truly 'safe sex' is not to have sex," Thacker has written....


Good riddance to the idiot!
posted by amberglow at 10:39 AM on January 23, 2003


News flash: Thacker pulled out (excuse the pun).

My favorite part:

"The views that he holds are far, far removed from what the president believes," Fleischer said. "The president has a total opposite view. ... The president's view is that people with AIDS need to be treated with care, compassion."

His nomination certainly reflected that!
posted by troybob at 10:39 AM on January 23, 2003


...homosexuality is just odd...

Actually, Paris, I think they prefer "queer".
posted by mr_roboto at 10:47 AM on January 23, 2003


I second Jfuller. As a matter of fact, anyone who drives on the road at 2:00am when they know drunk drivers are out on the road deserve to be killed.
posted by PigAlien at 10:52 AM on January 23, 2003


jsonic: Unfortunately, some Christians forget this and use their faith as a means to judge and hate others.

badstone: Hmmmm... I had to look up the official definition of "some", and technically it is broad enough to be equivalent to "vast majority", so I guess you can get away with this sentence.

There are over 1 billion Catholics in the world, and over 2 billion total Christians (see here). Have you spoken with even a small representative fraction of these people? Or is your opinion formed by hearing a few annoying fundamentalists on the evening news? Maybe the vast majority are intolerant and judgemental. But implying that without actually knowing is blatent stereotyping.
posted by jsonic at 11:02 AM on January 23, 2003


Hmmm. Much like a European explorer claiming a new country in the 16th century, I hereby claim credit for diverting the course of this thread away from the Christianity/deathcult topic and rechannelling it into a grassroots movement culminating in the retraction of this lunatic from the nomination. Or am I overstating my influence here?
posted by jonson at 11:03 AM on January 23, 2003


Deathstyle: I'm not sure if that's true, but you have to give some points for creativity to the guy.

Actually, William Donahoe (of the Catholic League) already used that one on Donahue. It seems to be fairly common--no originality brownie points there.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:06 AM on January 23, 2003


serafinapekkala:

> Uber-Troll

My understanding of "troll" is to post something outrageous merely for the fun of stirring up a mass catfight, and then laughing at the poor dupes you fooled. A queen of the witches can, I hope, distinguish between that and stating a sincerely held belief in a forum where expressing that belief is likely to get you strung up.


mr_roboto:

> Don't even get me started on the amount of money the
> government is wasting on tuberculosis screening. Get
> your own damn germ-free air, freeloaders!

There's a difference in level of difficulty, don't you notice, between giving up breathing, on the one hand, and keeping your zipper zipped and your wick dry, on the other. If you can't, or won't, do the latter even though it might save hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of lives then I think you're living in monkey mode and you're a pretty sad case.
posted by jfuller at 11:10 AM on January 23, 2003


jonson, *I* am the founder of this movement. Now that we've accomplished our purpose, let the infighting begin! :-)
posted by stonerose at 11:17 AM on January 23, 2003


I'd like to think of Christianity as a "forgiveness cult," but this kind of polarization doesn't make it easy for me.

This works very well for when someone wrongs you and you, in turn, turn the other cheek. Thacker however is "forgiving" people who have not wronged him... seeking them out to say that he views their lives as vile, disgusting, and abominations in the eyes of God, but he "forgives" them just the same. That sort of thing tends to be viewed as judging, then attempting to take the moral high-ground to avoid criticism.
posted by 4easypayments at 11:22 AM on January 23, 2003


stonerose - you are merely the Marx to my Lenin! I'll never surrender my falsely acquired power. Off to my next thread, who knows what social change I will effect through my Mefi Postings?!?
posted by jonson at 11:22 AM on January 23, 2003


jfuller, I'm just saying that if someone is going to take the risk of living in a homeless shelter, where there's a good chance of encountering tuberculin in the air, they should be willing to live with the consequences. To lay upon the bed that they made, as you so eloquently put it. There are parks, national forests, and alleys that these people could move to if they wanted to avoid encountering these deadly infectious agents. Or they could get an apartment, or buy a house. I don't see why the government should take responsibility for their choice of spending time in a homeless shelter.

By the way--I did notice that you avoided every other point I made to focus in on this one piddling "tuberculosis" detail.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:30 AM on January 23, 2003


News flash: Thacker pulled out (excuse the pun).

who in the hell though this guy would be the right guy to be on the commitee?

this little twerp by chance?
posted by specialk420 at 11:35 AM on January 23, 2003


I hate it when people say things like, "well I respect their right to be gay, but..." or "well I may not agree with homosexuality but..." or "I don't mind people being gay, just so long as it's not in my face" or "I think your lifestyle is an offensive abomination but I think God might still love you if you defy genetics and buy some flannel shirts." it's akin to saying, "I'm not a racist or anything, but..."

the irony is that these are probably the same people that are still pissed off about "political correctness," but don't mind using it to mask their homophobia.

one thing you can't hide, is when you're crippled inside!
posted by mcsweetie at 12:05 PM on January 23, 2003


the guy just withdrew

Since the Bush administration is more poll- and politics-driven than any other in recent memory, it's interesting to try to sort out what they political thinking was on this one. Was Thacker's nomination an initial sop to the conservative fundie base? If so, then why his withdrawal and Rove's strong statements against Thacker's previous views in the CNN story? Is this just a standard fuck-up or a bizarre set-up in an attempt to distance Bush from fundie extremists in his own party?

My head's spinning.

Re: death cults - A few months ago, I watched a Catholic priest on the INSP network hold forth about salvation while brandishing a 3-foot-high crucifix in front of him. The crucifix was a detailed painted sculpture of a Jesus quite literally covered in blood; He was leaking gore from dozens of cuts over His body. Watching this priest proclaim the faith of an allegedly loving religion while brandishing one of the goriest statues I've seen outside of a Clive Barker art book was the creepiest reality television I've ever seen.

Death cult fits as a descriptor, in the most literal sense, for that guy's religion.
posted by mediareport at 12:43 PM on January 23, 2003


jfuller: point taken. but, in my view posting your opinion in terms of "putting a stop to gay fucking" and "made his own bed and should have to lie in it" *is* "outrageous." so i guess i should vehemently disagree instead of calling troll.

ahem. *adjusts witch crown*

as others have pointed out above, the gay angle is a tiny part of the global AIDS debate, though a politically potent one. globally, the focus should be heterosexual transmission and the millions of deaths and orphaned children that result, not haggling over the trope of gay promiscuity. but for the sake of argument, let's focus on that trope. on a literal level, your proposition makes sense: if we want to stop HIV transmission through high-risk anal sex, let's stop high-risk anal sex from happening. i will leave aside the fact that it's not only gay men who engage in HRAS, of course. even leaving aside the practical obstacles to the federal government getting a group of people to stop doing something they really like to do -- just like smoking, eating at McDonald's, driving, taking drugs, running up credit card debt, whatever (and of course i am being a bit sarcastic and simplistic in equating leisure activities with personal sexual identity and activity, but anyway) -- there is a deeper issue: motivation. Jerry Thacker and his ilk don't want to stop high risk gay sex from happening because they care about public health and want gay men to be healthy; they want to stop it because they see it as sinful, evil, corrupting behavior, and their language reflects that. I for one think it would be outrageous for the White House to back such a homophobic stance by putting someone who espouses it in a position of power. And it *is* homophobic to refer to gay men and gayness only in terms of sin (and/or redemption from said sin) and risk and disease, no matter where one falls on the personal or political spectrum. proposing to ban someone's sex life is not only impractical and naive, it clearly rejects the validity or value of that sex life to begin with. now, i am not saying that all gay men are really responsible and health-conscious: *no* group of sexually active adults is, gay or straight, and of course when dealing with a particular risk factor it makes sense to target those who are at risk. Do I think the government should do more to deter people from giving each other HIV? absoutely. Do i think the way to do it is to "let the chips fall where they may" for those who "choose to be unsafe," absolutely not --- it's just not that simple, and that second sentence can be a cover for saying "God hates fags, they deserve to get AIDS." we need to raise awareness *and* the level of discourse, I think.
posted by serafinapekkala at 12:49 PM on January 23, 2003


> By the way--I did notice that you avoided every other point I
> made to focus in on this one piddling "tuberculosis" detail.

Having reread your post I continue to think that you, like the hedgehog, had One Big Point, namely that we try to share the burden among ourselves, where there are burdens that do burden us all -- raising children, having car accidents, breathing microbe-laden air -- and those with more resources feel or should feel especially duty-bound to take a greater share of the burden than those who have much more limited choices (as between living in a homeless shelter or under a bridge.)

So that's the point I responded to, and my response (which applies equally to all your examples) is to distinguish situations where people really have little choice whether to take a risk (e.g breathing in tuberculosis from the air; I feel a duty to help) and where they have all the choice anyone could possibly want (e.g. with whom or with what to rub fuzzies) but still elect to take the deadly risk, no matter what burden that choice places on the rest of us. (I feel no duty to help.)
posted by jfuller at 1:04 PM on January 23, 2003


Do you really think the point of Christianity is to worship a dead guy? The cross is just a symbol of Christs desire to help people, even when it meant giving up his life to do so.

do you really think christianity would have happened if jesus hadn't been martyred? Even most christians see this as an essential part of "god's plan."

I respect your interpretation of christianity and I encourage you and others to live according to it if religion is the best motivator for you for acting in love toward others and treating others as you would be treated etc. But a lot of your peers are more focused on worshipping a dead guy and the way he died, and then a bunch are mostly focused on their own death.

so there, stonerose & jonson.

just didn't have much to say about this guy except, that sucks, what a nut, and then with the withdrawal, whew. Though it is interesting trying to discern what was planned and what accidental...
posted by mdn at 1:09 PM on January 23, 2003


Where would Christianity be if Jesus got eight to fifteen years, with time off for good behavior?
-- New York Senator James H. Donovan commenting on capital punishment.
posted by jonson at 1:15 PM on January 23, 2003


So that's the point I responded to, and my response (which applies equally to all your examples) is to distinguish situations where people really have little choice whether to take a risk (e.g breathing in tuberculosis from the air; I feel a duty to help) and where they have all the choice anyone could possibly want (e.g. with whom or with what to rub fuzzies) but still elect to take the deadly risk, no matter what burden that choice places on the rest of us. (I feel no duty to help.)

You should reread again. Heterosexuals can choose celibacy or homosexual sex if they do not wish to bear the burden of raising children. Nevertheless, society chooses to support the inevitable result of heterosexual sex (pregnancy and children) with publicly funded healthcare for pregnant women and public schools for the children of heterosexuals. If people want to engage in heterosexual sex, they should pay for their own schools, don't you think? After all, they have all the choice they could possible want--if you don't "rub fuzzies" with someone of the opposite sex, you're guaranteed not to have children.

And guess what. The suffering and death caused by AIDS does burden us all: straight, gay, or celibate. At least those of us with an ounce of common humanity. Or there are the economic impacts, if you're a policy robot.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:32 PM on January 23, 2003


Have you spoken with even a small representative fraction of these people? Or is your opinion formed by hearing a few annoying fundamentalists on the evening news? Maybe the vast majority are intolerant and judgemental. But implying that without actually knowing is blatent stereotyping.

Yep, I was raised a Catholic, and during that period was a member of three different churches. So, my sample size is in the neighborhood of a few thousand people, the vast majority of whom were quite hateful and intolerant of those different from themselves. It might not be enough to qualify as a scientific poll, but it's enough for me to be plenty jaded before I even turn on the evening news. The evening news just provides the evidence I need to safely extrapolate out to the rest of the oranized religious communicty in general.
posted by badstone at 1:35 PM on January 23, 2003


But a lot of your peers are more focused on worshipping a dead guy and the way he died, and then a bunch are mostly focused on their own death.

Off topic, but I'd like to point out that Christians don't worship a dead guy. In Christian belief, he rose from death 3 days after his crucifiction. Further more, he was crucified in the first place to redeem us from sin whereby we could have eternal life and freedom from death. Regardless of whether I share these beliefs or not, I do respect them. Calling Christianity a "death-cult" is somewhat ignorant of what its supposed to be about.

Watching this priest proclaim the faith of an allegedly loving religion while brandishing one of the goriest statues I've seen outside of a Clive Barker art book was the creepiest reality television I've ever seen.

Love the description. This reminds me of my ex-brother-in-law. He got attached to a fundy-christian and was ranting about how evil Catholics were. When pressed about why he actually exclaimed that it was all those "Roman Catholics" who threw the early Christians to the lions!!! I see nothing wrong with the application of suffering in making the point that Christ died to defeat death. It can indeed be the case that Christianity is about love. The Romans felt somewhat differently about life, as the graphic crucifix showed. Getting hung up on the symbols is a mistake made by Christians and their detractors alike.

(/off topic)

jfuller, by singling out the case in which you feel no compulsion to help another, you've opened Pandora's box to a whole realm of arguments I think you'd find unsavory, but nevertheless, true to your beliefs. I don't believe you omniscient enough to decide who carries fault for their own afflictions and who doesn't. And despite your blanket response to serafinapekkala, there is no hindsight that will help to adjudicate what prevention you're duty bound to support and what you're not. You use car accidents as an example of a faultless affliction. Blame is ussually assigned in a car wreck. Do you contend that if someone is found at fault, that we leave them without medical care (fuckin'a they deserved it)? Or do we prevent such fault by trying to prevent ALL car accidents?
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:47 PM on January 23, 2003


From the google cache of Thacker website:

HIV . . . is still primarily contracted by homosexual men

I get the feeling he hasn't spent much time in South Africa lately.

Many people believe that AIDS is the judgment of God on our nation, but Mr. Thacker believes that homosexuality is the judgment of God on America. [My emphasis].

I have two words for Thacker: Ancient Athens.
posted by deadcowdan at 1:54 PM on January 23, 2003


Whoops; posted too soon. Here's the rest of my response for jfuller:

The suffering and death caused by AIDS does burden us all: straight, gay, or celibate. At least those of us with an ounce of common humanity. Or there are the economic impacts, if you're a policy robot. Doesn't it make sense to implement policy that alleviates that burden, rather than accepting the fact of the damage with an uncaring shrug? If policy can be implemented to stop the spread of the disease, why not implement that policy?

Actually, this political conversation took place about twenty years ago; I don't know if you're old enough to remember. Certain conservatives (including Reagan, for a time) resisted funding medical research into AIDS and public education to prevent the spread of AIDS because they felt it was a "gay" disease, brought upon its victims by their own irresponsible behavior. Eventually, however, saner (and more humane) opinions prevailed. AIDS research and education was funded by the federal government: these efforts resulted in a radical slowing of the spread of the disease and the creation of the "drug cocktail" that today allows people with HIV to live relatively normal lives with the virus. Tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of lives were saved. Would you have these people dead? Would you bear the responsibility for their pain and suffering? This debate ended twenty years ago; your side, jfuller, lost the debate, and the world is better for it.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:54 PM on January 23, 2003


Calling Christianity a "death-cult" is somewhat ignorant of what its supposed to be about.

What it's about is one thing. How it is actually practiced is another. Maybe it's not so much a death cult, as an afterlife cult. Going to church is an insurance policy for a cushy spot in the afterlife. They have no interest in the real world, hence no feeling of responsibility to, compassion for, or interest in their fellow humans and their condition. Why should they care about this complicated, painful place, when they have infinite pleasure waiting for them on the other side, provided they don't say any naughty words? (Or let other people say naughty words.) Christianity, as taught by Christ, died a very long time ago.
posted by badstone at 2:00 PM on January 23, 2003


Getting hung up on the symbols is a mistake made by Christians and their detractors alike.
Nicely put, Wulfgar!. (As usual.)

They have no interest in the real world, hence no feeling of responsibility to, compassion for, or interest in their fellow humans and their condition.

I'm by no means a fundamentalist Christian, and there's an awful lot of organized religion that really pisses me off. But there are a lot of people on MetaFilter who willfully don't seem to understand the message of Christianity. You can make big generalizations and you can always judge any religion by its most extreme adherents. And, the most extreme viewpoints are always the ones that get the most volume. (As in all those Iraq/al-Qaeda/I/P threads). badstone's comment seems to do this in spades. Quiet generosity doesn't make the evening news.
posted by Vidiot at 2:09 PM on January 23, 2003


(off topic)

Going to church is an insurance policy for a cushy spot in the afterlife.

Uhhhn, no. Not in any Christian religion I've studied, (except maybe the Mormans ;-}).

They have no interest in the real world, hence no feeling of responsibility to, compassion for, or interest in their fellow humans and their condition. Why should they care about this complicated, painful place, when they have infinite pleasure waiting for them on the other side, provided they don't say any naughty words? (Or let other people say naughty words.)

Way too broad a brush you're using there.

Christianity, as taught by Christ, died a very long time ago.

I strongly disagree, and would like to point out that your stating it or willing it doesn't make it so. The covenant and commandment as proffered by Jesus was very simple: Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. This ethic was reiterated by Kant's catagorical imperative. I hardly think that that message has died, in or out of the Christian community. Perhaps we just disagree, but you might want to check out Stan's exciting new project.

(/off topic)
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:15 PM on January 23, 2003


I'd like to point out that Christians don't worship a dead guy. In Christian belief, he rose from death 3 days after his crucifiction.

interesting spelling there, for a believer :)

Yes, I know the belief is he isn't dead; my point was just that for some people there's a personality cult thing going on. Women especially often seem to have a kind of non-sexual crush on their imagined version of jesus. In my view, the guy died, so...

Further more, he was crucified in the first place to redeem us from sin whereby we could have eternal life and freedom from death.

so it is all centered around death, then. If he hadn't died, he couldn't have redeemed you, right? And eternal life is the important part, which is what happens after you die, so life on earth is just like a little preview (figure the ratio between 70 years and "eternity", and explain how this life could hold much meaning for a christian...)

Regardless of whether I share these beliefs or not, I do respect them. Calling Christianity a "death-cult" is somewhat ignorant of what its supposed to be about.

The thing about christianity is it's practiced by so many people, pretty much all of whom believe that the way they do it is the right way - but they have many & varied forms of it. Like I said above, I'm supportive of people who use religion as a motivating force for being good to one another & living a good life. I think reason & philosophy is a preferable route, but we humans hunger for metaphor and symbolism and stories, so I appreciate that it can work to improve people. It's just that it can also be used to turn in directions full of hate or spite or self-righteousness or pity for those unlike yourself, and that is detrimental to society in my opinion.
posted by mdn at 3:12 PM on January 23, 2003


In Christian belief, he rose from death 3 days after his crucifiction.

interesting spelling there, for a believer :)


I wondered if anybody was gonna' catch that. Well done, mdn. And despite my earnest support, I'm not as much of a believer in the religion as I am a supporter of the morality. There is much that is good in Christianity. I just get hung up on that whole "reason and philosophy" thing...
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:28 PM on January 23, 2003


This is all moot, since the asshole's stepped down already.

Also, christianity sucks.
posted by interrobang at 3:28 PM on January 23, 2003


Sorry, that last comment was supposed to contain this link. I just got ahead myself.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:31 PM on January 23, 2003


(yes, I know I should just let it go. Jerks will be jerks, but...)

interrobang, Why is a discussion of Bush's completely inappropriate choice for this position moot simply because people screamed and the administration reacted (with their balls sucking up into their chests, no doubt)? Many of us are Americans, and we have the right, the will, and the duty to discuss our governments disdain for what we see as our interests. That isn't negated just because the assholes realized that they'd pushed too far.

Also, your "christianity sucks" comment is woefully lacking in support. Do you care to elaborate, or were you simply attempting to silence something you didn't care to read? If the latter, you really should learn how to exercise some self control and skip the parts you find distateful. Otherwise, you're likely to find people labeling you a troll. Just sayin' ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:45 PM on January 23, 2003


mdn: i know what you mean. Reason and philosophy really can be warped to turn people to hate, spite and self-righteousness now and then.
posted by turbodog at 3:51 PM on January 23, 2003


And mad props to four panels for derailing this thread after only 3 comments.
posted by turbodog at 3:56 PM on January 23, 2003


Wulfgar!: I added the bit at the end only because I didn't want to derail this thread about whether or not christianity sucks by making a statement about this "Jerry Thacker" fellow. Sorry.
posted by interrobang at 4:14 PM on January 23, 2003


Dashboard confessional sucks too..... oh wait.
The Christianity thing here is a terrible derail. I don't feel much sympathy for either the atheists or the theists at this point.

The appointment of an anti-gay activist was a seriously dumb idea on the administrations part. We can only guess why anybody in the white house thought that was a good idea. I lean toward the theory W. is trying to appeal to his more conservative constituencies by providing "balance" to a committee that does have gay activists on it as well. unfortunately it doesn't matter who is on the committee as I (cynically) figure any of it's decisions will be either window dressing for W.'s policies or disregarded as created by the bureaucracy.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:23 PM on January 23, 2003


The Christianity thing here is a terrible derail.

Really? I'm not convinced that it is. So many here have tried desperately hard to tie Thacker's beliefs to Christianity as a reason to discount his appropriateness for the nomination, thereby calling as suspect any Christian nominated for the post. Thacker is a homophobe asswipe, and Christianity is not guilty by association because of that. I, for one, just want to make that clear. Of course, your mileage might vary.
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:04 PM on January 23, 2003


Wulfgar!:

> Heterosexuals can choose celibacy or homosexual sex if
> they do not wish to bear the burden of raising children.
> Nevertheless, society chooses to support the inevitable
> result of heterosexual sex (pregnancy and children) with
> publicly funded healthcare for pregnant women and public
> schools for the children of heterosexuals.

I support these things not for the parents but for the children, whose choice whether or not to be born to irresponsible parents who can't support them properly was nil. If it was just the parents, then I'm like "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"


> You use car accidents as an example of a faultless affliction.

Faultless, no. Reduced-fault, yes. I use it as an example of a situation where civil society makes some collective effort to pick up the pieces when an individual accident ...um participant... has sudden overwhelming needs that would go unmet if it were not for collective safety-net type efforts; e.g. an insurance system in which healthy people who don't make claims pay heavy premiums anyway, e.g. an emergency medical system that wouldn't exist without major public subsidies. I'm willing to support this because I know it's virtually impossible, in the society we have built in industrialized nations, to stay out of cars and off the road. Having to drive to work, to the doctor, to buy food and so on, are situations where the element of choice whether to take the risk is severely limited. That the choice whether or not to drive is highly constrained and coerced makes traffic accidents not faultless, like being born with a deformed leg, but of reduced fault -- reduced to the point where, fascist that I am, even I am willing to support that collective effort to pick up the pieces that I first mentioned. (I walk to work, be it noted. Home, too.)


machaus:

> 70% of men and 80% of women living with AIDS live in
> Africa. Homosexuality deserves very little time in this
> debate.

It's not about homosexuality, it's about being unwilling even to consider the possibility of restraining your sexual appetite, not even when you are faced with death transmitted by sex.

I am indeed aware of Africa:

http://www.time.com/time/2001/aidsinafrica/

Lighting up a cigarette, the jaunty driver is unusually loquacious about sex as he eyes the dim figures circling the rest stop. Chikoka has parked here for a quickie. See that one over there, he points with his cigarette. "Those local ones we call bitches. They always waiting here for short service." Short service? "It's according to how long it takes you to ejaculate," he explains. "We go to the 'bush bedroom' over there [waving at a clump of trees 100 yds. away] or sometimes in the truck. Short service, that costs you 20 rands [$2.84]. They know we drivers always got money."

Chikoka nods his head toward another woman sitting beside a stack of cardboard cartons. "We like better to go to them," he says. They are the "businesswomen," smugglers with gray-market cases of fruit and toilet paper and toys that they need to transport somewhere up the road. "They come to us, and we negotiate privately about carrying their goods." It's a no-cash deal, he says. "They pay their bodies to us." Chikoka shrugs at a suggestion that the practice may be unhealthy. "I been away two weeks, madam. I'm human. I'm a man. I have to have sex."

What he likes best is dry sex. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, to please men, women sit in basins of bleach or saltwater or stuff astringent herbs, tobacco or fertilizer inside their vagina. The tissue of the lining swells up and natural lubricants dry out. The resulting dry sex is painful and dangerous for women. The drying agents suppress natural bacteria, and friction easily lacerates the tender walls of the vagina. Dry sex increases the risk of HIV infection for women, already two times as likely as men to contract the virus from a single encounter. The women, adds Chikoka, can charge more for dry sex, 50 or 60 rands ($6.46 to $7.75), enough to pay a child's school fees or to eat for a week.

------------------

Plenty of women in bush villages need extra cash, often to pay school fees, and female students know they can profit from a teacher's favor. So the schoolmasters buy a bit of sex with lonely wives and trade a bit of sex with willing pupils for A's. Some students consider it an honor to sleep with the teacher, a badge of superiority. The girls brag about it to their peers, preening in their ability to snag an older man. "The teachers are the worst," says Jabulani Siwela, an AIDS worker in Zimbabwe who saw frequent teacher-student sex in his Bulawayo high school. They see a girl they like; they ask her to stay after class; they have a nice time. "It's dead easy," he says. "These are men who know better, but they still do it all the time."

------------------

casual sex of every kind is commonplace here. Prostitutes are just the ones who admit they do it for cash. Everywhere there's premarital sex, sex as recreation. Obligatory sex and its abusive counterpart, coercive sex. Transactional sex: sex as a gift, sugar-daddy sex. Extramarital sex, second families, multiple partners. The nature of AIDS is to feast on promiscuity.

------------------

Especially in matters of sex, the man is always in charge. Women feel powerless to change sexual behavior. Even when a woman wants to protect herself, she usually can't: it is not uncommon for men to beat partners who refuse intercourse or request a condom. "Real men" don't use them, so women who want their partners to must fight deeply ingrained taboos. Talk to him about donning a rubber sheath and be prepared for accusations, abuse or abandonment.

------------------

Much has been written about what South African Judge Edwin Cameron, himself HIV positive, calls his country's "grievous ineptitude" in the face of the burgeoning epidemic. Nowhere has that been more evident than in the government's failure to provide drugs that could prevent pregnant women from passing HIV to their babies. The government has said it can't afford the 300-rand-per-dose, 28-dose regimen of azt that neighboring nations like Botswana dole out, using funds and drugs from foreign donors. The late South African presidential spokesman Parks Mankahlana even suggested publicly that it was not cost effective to save these children when their mothers were already doomed to die: "We don't want a generation of orphans." Yet these children — 70,000 are born HIV positive in South Africa alone every year — could be protected from the disease for about $4 each with another simple, cheap drug called nevirapine. Until last month, the South African government steadfastly refused to license or finance the use of nevirapine despite the manufacturer's promise to donate the drug for five years, claiming that its "toxic" side effects are not yet known.

------------------


http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2000/aids/stories/war.africa.aids/

Africa is home to more than half of the world's refugee population -- about 12 million including those internally displaced. Refugees make easy targets for sexual predators, many of whom carry HIV, the AIDS virus.

West African soldiers, for example, fathered some 25,000 children during peacekeeping missions in Liberia between 1990 and 1998. The Nigerian contingent accounted for 50 percent of the cases and soldiers from Ghana, Guinea and Sierra Leone the rest, according to Teniola Olufemi, coordinator of the charity known as the ECOMOG Children Project Inc. All the fathers abandoned the children. (Reported by the Pan African News Agency, September 21, 1998.)

------------------

Girls and women are often forced to have sex with men in male-dominated African cultures. In fact, says journalist Thomas, in some areas infected men "believe they can be cured by having sex with a virgin, and 12-year-old girls become infected." This cruel myth is being perpetuated across Africa. In a bid either to avoid or to cure their HIV infection, men are targeting younger and younger girls as sexual partners, willing or not.

------------------

Not one African head of state bothered to attend last (2001) September's annual conference on AIDS in Africa in Lusaka, Zambia. Notably absent was the president of the host country, Frederick Chiluba, whose office was just minutes away and whose own minister of local government and housing, Bennie Mwiinga, died of AIDS on the eve of the conference. (The official cause of death was listed as something else.)


Oh yes, I'm aware of Africa.


mr_roboto:

> AIDS research and education was funded by the federal
> government: these efforts resulted in a radical slowing of
> the spread of the disease and the creation of the "drug
> cocktail" that today allows people with HIV to live
> relatively normal lives with the virus.

Yep. With this result. HIV Rate Starts To Increase In Many US Cities

Jeffrey, who is gay, says he frequently found himself in the company of men who were HIV-positive yet whose outward appearance suggested perfect health. He says the specter of contracting the HIV virus did not seem terribly ominous at the time."Most of the guys that I was attracted to were (HIV) positive, guys that looked like they could be on the cover of a men's fitness magazine,"

Just won't stop the squishy-squishy, will they? No matter what risk to themselves. No matter what risk to others. But I have not the slightest duty to pay for their fun.


serafinapekkala:

> proposing to ban someone's sex life is not only impractical
> and naive, it clearly rejects the validity or value of that
> sex life to begin with.

Yes, indeed. What we're dealing with here is a bunch of sailors who says "We know there's plague on board the ship but us and our fleas demand our shore leave now! It's our right and that's all we have to think about."

Jfuller correctly rejects the validity and value of such a sex life. As for banning, they restrained Typhoid Mary and they were right to do so. Society's right to combat a deadly epidemic takes precedence over any individual's or group's "right" to get down and get off -- as much as an elephant takes precedence over an ant.


jonson:

> I hereby claim credit for diverting the course of this
> thread away from the Christianity/deathcult topic and
> rechannelling it into a grassroots movement culminating in
> the retraction of this lunatic from the nomination. Or am I
> overstating my influence here?

fuller tugs forelock.
posted by jfuller at 5:54 PM on January 23, 2003


But I have not the slightest duty to pay for their fun.

Ignoring the inflammatory language ("their fun").... The federal government funds AIDS research, outreach, and education, as well as medical care for indigent and elderly people suffering from HIV/AIDS. The money to supply this funding comes from the federal income tax. To the extent that you are obliged to pay your taxes, you are obliged to pay for your share of these programs. It is your civic duty, like it or not. Do you think these programs should be done away with? People will suffer and die if they are.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:16 PM on January 23, 2003


But I have not the slightest duty to pay for their fun.

True, but the rest of the world is under no obligation to live like monks just to appease you. Sounds like you'd do pretty well in a remote monastery, though, where you wouldn't have to deal with the pesky little details of society.
posted by dnash at 6:57 PM on January 23, 2003


Regardless of how you feel about Christianity, no one ought to be fooled by this guy's "love the sinner, hate the sin" rhetoric. The people who openly condemn gay lifestyles in order to whip up political support never openly condemn divorce with the same gusto. Which is fascinating, since Jesus never mentions homosexuality in the New Testament, but specifically forbids divorce.

Of course, the issue here is not what is truly condemnable; rather, it has to do with picking a problem that your constituency does not have to face and condeming that. I'm guessing that there are a lot more divorced people in the Bush League than there are homosexuals.

As for me, I'm a Christian and I'm one of the most tolerant, liberal people you're apt to meet. I try to practice what I preach and I don't condemn others for believing what they choose to believe. So you can add one to your list of counterexamples of Christian suction. (Note that this has nothing to do with True Suction, which is another matter entirely.)
posted by vraxoin at 7:13 PM on January 23, 2003


well gang, now we can settle this issue by reading Andrew Sullivan critique an article on thrill-seeking gay unsafe sex in Rolling Stone!

also, congrats to jfuller for proving the point. *sigh*
posted by serafinapekkala at 7:18 AM on January 24, 2003


There's also a Newsweek story where several of the people quoted in that Rolling Stone piece insist they were completely misquoted - that they never said anything like what the article claims they did.
posted by dnash at 7:54 AM on January 24, 2003


As for me, I'm a Christian and I'm one of the most tolerant, liberal people you're apt to meet. I try to practice what I preach and I don't condemn others for believing what they choose to believe.

well, the main intolerance thing is the belief that people with different customs or religions are bad & will suffer eternal torment. If you're a universalist, or maybe have some kind of middle-unspecified belief that I think a lot of everyday christians go for, where obviously bad people go to hell but most regular folk get heaven whether or not they were christians, then you're tolerant. If you think all us decent human beings will be roasted alive for unending centuries because we don't follow your dogma, then no matter how nice you are to us, you're intolerant. You're cool with our massacre.
posted by mdn at 11:44 AM on January 25, 2003


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