Anthrax, AIDS, and America

Wayne Jackson
If the Anthrax threat is alarming to America, why is the nation so passive relative to the AIDS problem?

For more than a month now our nation has been suspended in a state of acute anxiety as we anticipate possible future attacks by terrorists, such as those perpetrated on the infamous and dreadful Tuesday of September 11th.

First it was the hijacking of our domestic airline carriers, using them as sacrificial, human-laden missiles — to destroy major economic and military targets within our borders. This was calculated to cripple the nation economically and militarily. Further, it was designed to demoralize the American public and thrust them into a state of panic.

On the heels of that tragedy now has come the threat of biological devastation. Experts in germ warfare have hypothesized, for example, that one hundred pounds of the deadly Anthrax bacterium, dispersed in the atmosphere over a large city under ideal weather conditions, could take the lives of untold thousands in a relatively short span of time.

One person in Florida has died of Anthrax inhalation, and now we are discovering that others have been exposed to Anthrax bacteria as well. There is evidence that points to criminal activity in these episodes. Authorities are alarmed. Investigations are being pursued with all dispatch. Anyone known to be spreading this lethal killer purposefully will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. No rationalizations will be sufficient to brunt the force of legal and moral responsibility for the wanton distribution of a fatal disease within our borders. The gravity of this crisis is acknowledged by everyone.

But let us consider the principle in another context.

Since the HIV virus, with its ensuing Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), was classified as a “terror” of “epidemic” proportions, just a few years back, around 22 million people have died of this malady. Even today, some 35 million adults, world wide, have contracted the disease. In addition about 1.5 million children, under the age of fifteen years, now languish with AIDS. Last year alone, AIDS was responsible for the deaths of around 3 million people.

According to the Center for Disease Control, at the end of last December, there were 765,559 reported cases of AIDS in this country.

Published government studies reveal that of the cases identified, 46% were homosexual men. Another 25% involved drug users who shared needles. Some 6% were homosexual men who also used contaminated needles. A total of 11% had to do with AIDS contracted by means of heterosexual unions. Finally, 2% involved victims afflicted as a result of the use of contaminated blood or blood products, while 9% of the cases remained ambiguous.

These figures clearly indicate that a significant majority of those contracting and spreading this deadly plague are doing so recklessly by their immoral and illegal lifestyles.

This aberrant conduct has been disdained by noble societies since the dawn of time. Roman law (lex Scantinia — c. 226 B.C.) treated homosexual conduct as a crime, as did the later Justinian Code (6th century A.D.). Certainly both Testaments of the Bible condemn this form of sexual gratification.

Amazingly, however, the homosexual community, responsible for approximately one-half of the AIDS cases, is not held accountable for its visitation of terror upon this nation.

In recent American culture, “Gays” have been increasingly adorned with the mantle of respectability. They have been granted the “domestic-partner” status by a growing number of business concerns. For example, both United and American Airlines recently have enacted this policy. The “Gay-Friendly Skies” is more than a cliche.

Homosexuals and lesbians are featured in movies and TV programs as healthy, well-adjusted, valued citizens of the community. Even when prominent figures are associated with AIDS (as in the cases of Rock Hudson and Liberace), they are cast in a sympathetic light. They are the persecuted heroes, while folks who do not endorse their immoral and dangerous conduct are portrayed as ignorant, bigoted bores. Those who have the courage to protest their contaminating lifestyles of sexual debauchery are judged to be insensitive, uncaring, and homophobic. We are told that what people do in their own bedrooms is nobody else’s business.

It becomes the nation’s business when such conduct unleashes a world-wide plague!

Finally, the news media, with their ever-leftist slant, refuse to responsibly address this political “hot potato.”

And so, while medical and legal powers are attempting to remove the Anthrax “splinter” from America’s “eye,” there is an AIDS “log” protruding from the nation’s face. And, like the emperor who had no clothes, no one seems to notice.

We ought to agonize over the suffering of any person — no matter how sinful the circumstance that brought them to their painful level of existence. We can compassionately minister to their medical needs. Especially can we offer them the “good news” of pardon, through the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 22:16), for past transgressions — no matter how depraved their lives have been.

But a responsible society must not condone nor ignore the AIDS plague (and its causes) that is ravaging our nation.