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Politics is full of mixed agendas. During the Civil War, some sacrificed to preserve the Union while others gave themselves to abolish slavery. Despite these differing agendas, Americans accomplished both goals. The genius of good politics is to bring people of differing agendas together in a common cause.

In January, gay activists forgot this important principle when they attacked Christian aids activist Jerry Thacker. Thacker had been nominated to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and aids, a panel charged with crafting recommendations for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to help alleviate the pain from this disease. Thacker, his wife, and his daughter are all HIV-positive from a contaminated blood transfusion in the mid-1980s. The one-time marketing consultant now speaks to churches and organizations on aids policies, the realities of the disease, and the importance of abstinence and fidelity.

Gay activists apparently consider panels like this one to be their territory. They fed key media a story that would not have stood up had they checked it out. But The New York Times, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the AP, and Reuters carried stories that claimed Thacker had called aids "the gay plague." Tom Daschle hyperventilated, saying it was like "putting a Dixiecrat on the Civil Rights Commission." The Bush administration panicked and distanced itself from Thacker. Thacker graciously withdrew his name.

What Thacker had actually said (and what only The Washington Times took the time to check out) was this: On his website, Thacker wrote that before 1986, when he discovered he was infected, he "knew vaguely about the 'gay plague' known as AIDS." Now that is what the medical community and many ...

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In the Magazine

April 2003

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