Archive for the ‘AIDS’ Tag

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http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/john-fugelsang-prop-8-doma-and-why-easter-matters/

 

From the March 28, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”

John Fugelsang:

Easter’s always a special time; a time when parents teach their children the story of Jesus by convincing them a rabbit entered their home to leave teeth-rotting candy. It’s a time when pro-death penalty Christians can mark the execution of anti-death penalty Jesus and it’s all irony free.

But whether you regard the Bible as ancient poetry, literal fact, parable — like the way Jesus spoke — the Easter story does have relevance for all of us. It’s a story of pain and suffering, of death and rebirth.

In the story of course, Jesus shows up in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, gets a hero’s welcome. Over the course of the week he preaches love, drives the money-changers who are exploiting the poor out of the temple.

The conservative religious bosses, the Pharisees, get very nervous and conspire with the occupying European imperial government to have him arrested. And by Friday, the very people who welcomed him have been spin-doctored into demanding his death.

And almost everybody abandons him. He’s locked up by the soldiers, sold out and abandoned by his friends. He’s executed by the state, a naked, bleeding, humiliated, outcast, criminal loser.

And of course, as the story goes, he rises from the tomb on Sunday and does not seek any kind of revenge, just keeps talking about love.

Now we’ve just witnessed what may have been the most powerful few days in the history of the struggle for LGBT rights in America — and it happened during Easter week.

With not one, but two anti-gay laws going before the U.S. Supreme Court, an American public decidedly on the side of gay marriage, and a seemingly endless procession of politicians from both parties who once opposed equality, but have now come to view it as an essential human right.

And none of this would’ve happened without the unspeakable tragedy of the AIDS crisis.

Kids born after the mid ‘90s have no memory of those awful first few years of AIDS, when people suffering from HIV were targets of scorn and cruelty and ignorance. Scientists begged for funding, politicians did nothing and thousands of people died. And if you’ve ever been close to someone who died of HIV-related disease, you know it’s a painful, degrading and demeaning way to go.

But gay people didn’t give up. They organized. They came out of the closet. The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, was formed and began leading demonstrations designed to make the rest of America very uncomfortable. People didn’t wait for their rights; they demanded them.

And as more people came out, more Americans realized they didn’t really hate gay people. They already knew some.

In 2012, the first openly gay and openly bisexual Americans were elected into Congress and that same fall the president of the United States came out in favor of marriage equality before an important election. No doubt the White House had focus-grouped this thing to death and they knew the reality: that America was ready to be on the right side of decency and the right side of history.

And what did we see through this revolution of culture, this evolution of the heart? The greatest, swiftest advancement for civil rights for any minority group in the history of the human race. And all this good happened because of a plague.

That’s the story that led us to this particular Easter week. And that’s the story of Easter

 

 

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John Fugelsang:

Every year on Ronald Reagan’s birthday there’s always so much pressure about how to best celebrate.

Should I declare ketchup is a vegetable for all those overfunded public school kids or shut down all those defunded mental hospitals so those nice folks can get some fresh air? Or just never mention AIDS? Oh, too late, I just mentioned AIDS. Well, maybe I should just bake a big expensive cake that most Americans will never get a piece of and then make your grandkids pay for it.

The point is, there are so many ways to honor Reagan’s achievements.

Achievements like vetoing any sanctions against South African apartheid while talking a lot about freedom. Or union-busting the air traffic controllers even though he used to run a union and all. Or signing California’s Therapeutic Abortion Act of 1967 into law. Just Google that. He really did that.

How about running for president promising to never negotiate with terrorists, then secretly selling arms and weapons to the same Iranian terrorists who helped kill our Marines in Beirut while already arming the Iraqis that they’re at war with — arming both sides in the same war — using that money to illegally fund the contras in Central America after Congress passed a stuffy old law saying he couldn’t, lying about the size and amount of shipments, saying he forgot he did all that stuff, and then helping his VP become president, who then pardoned everyone convicted so they could all walk away clean?

Pretty impressive when you consider Bill Clinton couldn’t even pull off one lousy Hummer.

Now, some of our conservative brothers and sisters might think this is mean, my reciting several actual things Reagan actually, really did. But Reagan always seemed like a nice guy. I don’t want want to be mean to him. If I was gonna be mean, I’d mention how he tried really hard to keep Martin Luther King Day from ever becoming a national holiday — because he did.

So what about the positives?

Like raising the debt limit 17 times. Or raising taxes 11 times because the economy needed it. Giving amnesty to 10 million undocumented immigrants. Obama’s only offered the Dream Act, which makes them actually work for it.

Reagan talked to our enemies, dreamed of a world with no nukes, he grew government by 61,000 jobs — he did, Department of Veterans Affairs. Ronald Reagan banned all torture and did all kinds of other stuff Fox News really wants you to forget. Reagan even defunded the public school system, which wasn’t a good thing, but it probably led directly to MTV picking up “Jersey Shore.”

Look, I’m gonna celebrate by remembering the young president of my union, the Screen Actors Guild, the young Ronald Reagan who once said, “One of the most elemental human rights is the right to belong to a free trade union.”

And I’m gonna wish peace on his soul, and I’m gonna support an assault weapons ban — just like gun violence victim President Ronald Reagan did in 1994.

http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/john-fugelsang-celebrates-reagans-birthday-by-remembering-what-fox-news-wants-you-to-forget/