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Bush's antigay nominee
Bigots are okay by the White House

February 7, 2003 | Page 2

THE BUSH administration must think it can get away with anything. Recently, the White House nominated Jerry Thacker--a former employee of the ultra-conservative Bob Jones University--for a spot on the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS. Apparently, it didn't matter to the administration that its nominee referred to AIDS as a "gay plague."

Thacker, who says that he contracted HIV himself after his wife was infected by a tainted blood transfusion, has described homosexuality as a "deathstyle" and claims that "Christ can rescue the homosexual."

According to the Washington Post, after word of his selection for the commission leaked out to the media, some of the most offensive of Thacker's remarks disappeared from his Web site. But Bob Jones University was still proud enough to print his homophobic remarks.

"When he and his wife discovered in 1986 that they had contracted HIV, the most horrible thought was that it was a disease connected with the sin of homosexuality," reads a Bob Jones University summary of two speeches Thacker gave at the school in 2001. "They didn't want anyone to think they were homosexual because they knew what the Bible said about homosexuality."

Eventually, Thacker was forced to withdraw his name. And the White House scrambled to distance itself from its former nominee. "The views that he holds are far, far removed from what the president believes," said White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer. So why exactly did Thacker get nominated in the first place?

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