Taming hate speech with science and statistics: HIV/AIDS and homosexuality

December 5, 2014

AIDS

Pastor Steven Anderson (from his Facebook profile)

Pastor Steven Anderson (from his Facebook profile)


By Joseph Lachman

Published 12/5/2014

Pastor Steven Anderson, a fringe anti-Obama conservative Christian pastor, called for mass extermination of homosexuals as a way of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As his evidence, he cited scripture. In his video, he stated:

“Turn to Leviticus 20:13,” he says in the video, “because I actually discovered the cure for AIDS.”

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them,” Anderson read aloud.

“And that, my friend, is the cure for AIDS,” he said. “It was right there in the Bible all along — and they’re out spending billions of dollars in research and testing. It’s curable — right there. Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant.”

(Normally I would include the source here, which is his YouTube channel, but I don’t feel compelled to bring unnecessary attention to his videos.)

This kind of extremist hate speech does not deserve much attention, but I will show a few statistics that demonstrate why his words are not only hateful, but also easily disproved.

First of all, I will not deny the fact that there are higher rates of transmission in the U.S. among homosexual and bisexual men.

However, transmission among heterosexuals and drug users cannot be ignored. The Centers for Disease Control provides estimates for some very important statistics in the U.S.

  • Around 90,000 heterosexual people have died after being infected through intercourse with an opposite-sex partner since the epidemic began.
  • in 2010 84% of 9500 new infections in women were from heterosexual contact, and 16% were from drug use.
  • Drug users represented 8% of new HIV infections in 2010, and 15% of those living with HIV.
  • Around 185,000 injection drug users have died of AIDS since the epidemic began.

This statistics and more are available through the CDC website’s page, HIV in the United States: At a Glance.

This is to say nothing of the rest of the world of course, where HIV/AIDS problems can be even worse when countries have poor public health systems.

I doubt a large number of people Christian or otherwise will take anything this hateful man has to say seriously, but we should take this as an opportunity to learn about a serious issue. And perhaps we should pity this pastor; it must be painful to live with this much hate inside.

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About jslachman381

I'm a Yale graduate who majored in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health.

View all posts by jslachman381

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