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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 20, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 03
Pastor Rick Warren vs. AFA leader Bryan Fischer
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Pastor Rick Warren vs. AFA leader Bryan Fischer

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Anti-Gay Pastor Rick Warren has joined the near-universal condemnation of so-called 'HIV denialism' - the theory that AIDS was a scheme concocted by scientists in order to justify their research grants, and not a disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Warren weighed in on the issue on January 16, in a statement posted on conservative psychologist Warren Throckmorton's website. The statement was a response to a recent radio interview in which American Family Association head Bryan Fischer endorsed HIV denialism.

By coincidence, the fact that Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul once publicized similar views on AIDS in his notorious Ron Paul Newsletter came to light at about the same time.

Fischer interviewed Dr. Peter Duesberg, author of 'Inventing the AIDS Virus,' who asserts that the symptoms attributed to AIDS are really caused by overindulgence in recreational drugs and casual sex.

In the interview, and in a January 5 statement on the AFA website, Fischer explicitly endorses Duesberg's crackpot views.

'So what is the cause of what we know as AIDS?' Fischer writes. 'What is the cause of this condition that is killing people? Duesberg's answer can be found in one word: drugs.

'And specifically, drug use connected with the kind of sex that is far too common in the homosexual community.

'Anonymous sex in public places like bathhouses, public parks, and public restrooms is an all-too-frequent occurrence in the Gay community, and homosexuals will frequently attempt to have multiple sexual encounters in a single night, often with total strangers. The only way this is possible is through taking stimulants that heighten sexual pleasure and make multiple sexual experiences possible.'

Calling Duesberg's theory 'quack science, like claiming the Earth is flat, or the moon is made of cheese,' Warren said his views 'would be laughable if millions of lives weren't at stake.'

'But,' Warren continued, '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.'

South Africa's former president Thabo Mbeki was a well-known HIV denialist, whose policies impeded HIV/AIDS programs in his country. South Africa's current president, Jacob Zuma, reversed Mbeki's policies and has actually publicized the results of his own HIV tests.

Although Warren is close friends with Uganda's Martin Ssempa, one of the main supporters of his country's 'Kill the Gays' bill, his statement denies any ill will towards people living with HIV/AIDS.

'No one deserves this illness,' Warren says in his statement, 'and we must not ignore those among us who are infected or affected by HIV and AIDS.

'People 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.'

In a January 18 post on the AFA blog, Fischer struck back at Warren. Noting that Warren believes in a human cause for global warming - another scientific conclusion that he rejects - Fischer says Warren has been 'duped.'

'Warren was wrong on the global warming scam, and he is wrong on the AIDS scam,' Fischer says.

'If you want to solve the AIDS crisis, the solution is simple, and it's not found in a test tube,' Fischer continues.

'If you're a man, stop using poppers, stop having sex with other men, and don't shoot up. The beauty of that solution is that it doesn't require billions and billions of dollars.'

'[U]nbiblical behavioral patterns can in fact be responsible and people do in fact reap what they sow.'

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