I will not be surprised if there are few comments in response to this post. It's hard to focus on issues like the spread of HIV/AIDS in the black community when it's sexier to ruminate over Palin's craptastic ABC interview, or John McCain getting scorched by the women of The View. It's too bad because the influence and ignorance of the "values voter" religious right, and some elements of the socially conservative religious black community will have an influence in this election. There is a shared a disdain for reality-based thinking and people are dying because of it.

For instance, someone should send Rev. Chad Everette Cooper and his wife Alicia Robinson Cooper, the producers of irresponsible "Church Mess," a play that will be staged at Winston-Salem State University this month, these sobering statistics released yesterday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Coopers believe one can pray away the gay as well as HIV/AIDS.

Gay and bisexual black men 13 to 29 years old have the highest rate of infection. In 2006, 5,220 infections were reported in that group.

During that time, 3,330 infections were reported in young gay and bisexual white men and 2,300 in young gay and bisexual Latino men.

• For white gay men, new infections were more common among those in their 30s and 40s, prompting experts to call for renewed efforts to find ways to prevent new infections among older men.

Among women, blacks had the highest rate of infections, 56 per 100,000. The rate for white women was 3.8. For Latinas, it was 14.4.

The Coopers have a right to put on this ode to irresponsible sexual behavior in the face of the tragic spread of HIV/AIDS in the black community before a student body, however, there needs to be some sort of balance -- such as HIV/AIDS statistics and literature available at the door to counter this tripe.

[T]he play "features the religious church mother, the money hungry deacon, the financially strapped college student that is having an affair with the deacon, the choir member that lives an alternative lifestyle, the members that are in love with the pastor, the 'down-low brother' that's hooked on pornography, and the playboy minister of music."

It's not simply about entertainment or humor to promote a message that one can be cured simply through prayer. As I blogged yesterday, QNotes reported that the Coopers claim an associate pastor with AIDS has prayed his disease away. They are clearly not delivering any sort of responsible message in these critical times. The university is taking a hands-off approach about hosting the play, saying that it simply is renting the auditorium facilities for the engagement to C 3 Entertainment and that “the university does not conduct background checks for organizations that apply for its facilities.” Matt pressed them further and got this response:

Asked if the university thought it was a responsible move to allow C 3 Entertainment access to their facility, which will be primarily filled with students, given their radical and dangerous public health messages, Singleton declined to respond.

Below the fold is the video that appeared on TBN where the Coopers made the claim of the "healing."

This is an election issue - and as is the case with many issues of importance, there is a wide gulf between the candidates. Barack Obama has been very upfront that HIV/AIDS will be a priority in an Obama/Biden administration. Where is McCain/Palin on this issue? Well, I searched the site and all I could find was a feeble press release on National HIV Testing Day.

"AIDS is a national and international tragedy. An important step is to improve the awareness of people of their HIV status. Yet, right now, as many as 250,000 people in the United States may have HIV and not know it. National HIV Testing Day is an important reminder of how precious life is, the need to know your HIV status, and the opportunity to build a healthier and more productive future."