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Blasting ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal, American Family Association claims ‘gay sex = domestic terrorism’

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, June 10, 2010 19:25 EDT
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There’s a rumor going around that the Afghani Taliban is embedding dirty syringes and razors in improvised explosive devices, making hypothetical “HIV bombs,” or some variant of the term.

This has yet to be confirmed, but was claimed by Patrick Mercer, a British member of parliament and former soldier. UK tabloid The Sun ran with the allegation, saying the practice had been “exposed,” but presenting no actual evidence.

The story was carried in a number of other online venues, but at time of this writing it appeared that the only “mainstream” U.S. news bureau to feature the claim was Fox News, which erroneously — and perhaps mistakenly — called the scheme “a bid to infect British troops”.

How exactly these alleged Afghan bomb-makers could design HIV-laced weapons that target soldiers based on nationality, Fox News did not explain. The network instead cited The Sun as its only source, although not even the British tabloid made such an unusual statement.

The allegations were apparently enough for the American Family Association (AFA) to weigh in. As a conservative non-profit group best known for attacking marriage equality and homosexuals in other walks of public life, the focus of their response might have been expected. Instead, the AFA declared in a Thursday blog headline: “Gay sex = domestic terrorism”.

Writer Bryan Fischer opined:

“It is because of the risk of HIV transmission that the FDA will not allow a male homosexual to donate blood if he has had sex with another male even one single solitary time since 1977. The second riskiest behavior for HIV infection is injection drug use.

“Now if gays are allowed into the military, they will be inevitably be put in battlefield situations where donated blood from soldiers may be necessary to save the lives of wounded comrades. An HIV-infected American soldier whose blood is used in those circumstances may very well condemn his fellow soldier to death rather than save his life.

“If open homosexuals are allowed into the United States military, the Taliban won’t need to plant dirty needles to infect our soldiers with HIV. Our own soldiers will take care of that for them.”

He would appear to believe HIV and AIDS is exclusive to homosexual communities, which it is not. Either that or the AFA is impugning the integrity of the Armed Services Blood Program, which — like any blood donation program operating up to medical standards — screens donated fluids for disease.

A call to the U.S. Army Medical Command seeking comment on Mr. Fischer’s assertion was not returned at time of this writing.

The military’s blood program also accepts donations from civilians, though collection centers are on military facilities and staff adheres to the Food and Drug Administration’s rules on screening donors.

Currently, gay men are prohibited from donating blood in the U.S., but like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” that’s being reconsidered.

The Los Angeles Times noted on Wednesday:

“Pressure for a review of the policy has been building for several years. The push has been driven by improvements in testing, which can detect HIV in the blood within two weeks of a person having been infected.

“There were nine known cases of HIV having been transmitted via blood products between 1994 and 2002, and none, in tens of millions of transfusions, between 2002 and 2007, the last year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has complete data.”

The paper added that Sen. John Kerry had attacked the gay blood ban as an “unscientific double standard.” The American Medical Association has also recommended gays be allowed to donate blood, especially in lieu of an ever-present national shortage.

In documents provided by the U.S. Military Medical Command’s public affairs office, military policy on donated blood not approved by the FDA [PDF link], seen plainly in the second paragraph of a publicly available memo issued March 19, 2010.

The AFA’s claims are based on misleading assumptions triggered by an unverified claim from a politician who was recently selected to lead the British parliament’s Defence Committee.

Furthermore, Federal News Radio’s Pentagon reporter J.J. Green cited an unnamed U.S. military official as calling the allegation of an HIV-laced bomb “‘absolutely’ ridiculous”.

“Questions have arisen about where the Taliban would get the needles and how they would know they’re infected with HIV,” he added. “British military explosive ordinance disposal teams have reportedly have been issued special gloves to handle IEDs.”

In any case, considering the small number of HIV transmissions by blood donor in the last two decades, it would seem fair to argue that the words “hateful and “ugly” are used objectively in describing the AFA’s latest rhetorical assault on homosexuals.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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