Pat Robertson: Gay Men Wear ’Special Rings’ to Spread AIDS
Today during his 700 Club television broadcast, while addressing the concerns of a viewer worried about unknowingly driving an elderly man with AIDS to church, host Pat Robertson told co-host Terry Meeuwsen that gay men cut themselves with special rings when shaking hands with the intent of spreading HIV. Although these remarks were seen during the live broadcast and edited out by Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network in the episode they posted online, Right Wing Watch obtained and posted the video clip (below)
Robertson's comments were in response to a viewer who wrote in to ask
"My Sunday School class was asked to give transportation for a man from a nursing home to Sunday services because 'His elderly father could not drive anymore.' I drove him 20 plus times over several months. I found out 2 weeks ago he is dying of AIDS. I think those driving him should have been told his diagnosis in a private way. A few people in church knew; I did not. I feel deceived - what if we had had an accident? Did someone have a moral obligation to tell the drivers the truth? I haven't been back to church since I found out. I'm going somewhere else until I sort this out."
Initially Robertson's response showed a fundamental ignorance in how HIV is transmitted. He then went into a homophobic claim, outrageous even by his own standards.
"I used to think it was transmitted by saliva and other things, now they say it may be sexual contact." the 83 year old televangelist and 1988 GOP presidential hopeful said, continuing "You know what they do in San Francisco, some in the gay community there they want to get people so if they got the stuff they'll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring's got a little thing where you cut your finger [...] Really. It's that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder."
This is far from the first or even most audacious claim the Christian media mogul has made against the LGBT population. As reported in Time, in September 2011, two days after the attack on the World Trade Center, he and guest Jerry Falwell credited the incident to divine retribution for abortionists, the ACLU and gays and lesbians secularizing America.
Ten years later, Robertson claimed that abortion was a conspiracy invented by lesbians to put themselves on an equal playing field with straight women. In May of 2013, when discussing hate crimes, Robertson compared gays to rapists, murderers and thieves.
As reported onMediaite - After the story made the rounds on the web, RightWingWatch's video of the exchange was removed from YouTube under a CBN copyright claim. The "AIDS ring" portion of the interview was also conspicuously removed from CBN's online version of the 700 Club broadcast.