Jerry Thacker withdraws from presidential AIDS advisory council after White House criticism
"Do not refer to people afflicted with Acquired Immune Disease Syndrome as victims. They are simply people with AIDS or AIDS patients," says our magazine's stylebook, Christianity Today Style. But it just might be fair to call Christian AIDS activist Jerry Thacker a victim—not of AIDS (though he has the disease), but of AIDS activism.

Nearly everywhere you look today, Thacker, who had been nominated to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, is being referred to as the man who called AIDS "the gay plague." Here's how various papers begin today's stories:

  • Jerry Thacker, a Christian conservative who has called AIDS the gay plague … (The New York Times)

  • Blasted by controversy over his characterizations of AIDS as a "gay plague," Christian activist Jerry Thacker … (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Jerry Thacker, a Christian activist who has described AIDS as the "gay plague" … (The Washington Post)

  • A Christian activist. … [characterized] the disease as the "gay plague." (Associated Press)

  • A controversial marketing consultant who once called AIDS a "gay plague" (Reuters)

  • The Christian conservative … [who made] earlier references to AIDS as "the gay plague." (Los Angeles Times)

But The Washington Times actually bothers to quote what Thacker actually said. Yes, he used the term "gay plague." But it's clear from the context that he's condemning those who see AIDS as such. "Before 1986, Jerry Thacker was probably a lot like you," Thacker's online biography said.

He had a beautiful family, a good church and a rewarding ministry. He knew vaguely about the 'gay plague' known as AIDS, but it seemed a distant threat. AIDS was something that bad people ...
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