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Reged: 12/23/02
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Bush's nomination of Jerry Thacker
      #55697 - 01/23/03 06:44 PM

Hey Everybody,

Want to know about Jerry Thacker?, read the following story from the Sun-Sentinel. And if the article doesn't scare you enough, check out Mr. Thackers website:

To think that people like this are given positions of authority over hundreds of thousands of peoples lives, is positively mind-numbing. I shudder to think what else the conservatives are going to do to hiv and other important issues like abortion. People, we need to keep abreast of this kind of stuff and let our representative know that we want programs based on sound scientific principles and not some religious dogma.

WASHINGTON · The Bush administration has chosen Jerry Thacker, a Pennsylvania marketing consultant who has characterized AIDS as the "gay plague," to serve on the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS.

Next week, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson is scheduled to swear in several new commission members, including Thacker, a former Bob Jones University employee who says he contracted the AIDS virus after his wife was infected through a blood transfusion.

The 35-member commission, which makes recommendations to the White House on AIDS prevention, is the latest incarnation of a panel that has existed in various forms since the Reagan administration. Earlier commissions issued reports strongly critical of the national response to the AIDS crisis, helping to nudge the government and the pharmaceutical industry toward greater action.

On his Web site and elsewhere, Thacker has described homosexuality as a "deathstyle" rather than a lifestyle and asserted that "Christ can rescue the homosexual."

Administration health officials speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed Thacker's appointment, saying he was part of a diverse group that includes a member of the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian advocacy group; an AIDS adviser to the World Bank; and a state public health officer.

Thacker, this official said, "has a very powerful and tragic personal story and an ability to reach out to an audience we couldn't reach in the process." Thacker's assistant said Wednesday he would not speak to reporters until after he is sworn in.

"This individual is an extremist ideologue who persecutes and demeans an entire class of people impacted by this disease," said David Smith, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign. "That type of person has no business advising the president of the United States on how the government should address the epidemic."

Appointment criticized

Carl Schmid, a Republican gay activist who worked on President Bush's 2000 campaign, said he was disappointed and frustrated that HHS disregarded warnings that Thacker's selection would overshadow the valuable work of the commission.

"We need to have a scientific-based approach to the problems of HIV-AIDS and not this radical agenda he's pushing," Schmid said. Thacker's biography on the Web site of the Scepter Institute, a nonprofit organization that sells religious-based AIDS material, indicates he is a Bob Jones University graduate and was a "member of the university faculty for seven years."

In September 2001, Thacker returned to his alma mater to give two speeches, known as "Chapel Messages." The speeches, summarized on the university Web site, focused on the "sin of homosexuality" and the Thacker family's struggle with AIDS.

Not a professor

University spokesman Jonathan Pait said Thacker was not a professor but ran a radio station at the school. While the university "would not get involved" in the controversy, Pait, who knows Thacker personally, said he is "a man who does have great compassion for those who are suffering from AIDS and HIV."

Thacker's promotional materials stress the need for compassion toward all AIDS patients, urging churches to think "Christianly" about people with AIDS and to hate the sin but love the sinner.

"Be compassionate to those caught up in this sinful deathstyle," the Bob Jones summary said. "Only when homosexuals know it is a sin can they repent."

Commission Co-chairman Tom Coburn said he knew little about Thacker except that he is infected with the AIDS virus. Coburn said Thacker's views on homosexuality are irrelevant to the commission's efforts to stop the epidemic.

Co-chairman Louis Sullivan, former HHS secretary in the first Bush administration, said he only recently became aware of "the Thacker controversy" and wanted to speak directly to him before commenting.

"Clearly this is a virus that affects our general population," he added. "It is clearly not something that is only an issue for the gay community. It is an issue for the heterosexual community."

Good Health, Joe

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Good Health, Joe

Life is what happens, when you are busy making other plans.

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