Focus on the Family Promotes Culture of Death, Says TWO

NEW YORK — (TWO) condemned Focus on the Family today for distorting Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics on HIV and encouraging the very sexual behavior that spreads the disease. By doing so, Focus on the Family is promoting a culture of death and encouraging sexually active people to act recklessly and irresponsibly, says TWO.

Last week, the United States acknowledged it had underreported new cases of HIV. It revised the statistics from approximately 40,000 new infections in 2006, to 56,000 – a 40 percent increase. Focus on the Family spokesperson Jeff Johnston shamelessly exploited the revised data to oppose safer-sex practices, which would have prevented nearly all of the reported infections. Instead, he implied that gay men should marry women they did not find sexually attractive:

“Outside of a faithful marriage between a man and a woman, there is no ‘afe sex,'” said Johnston. “It is irresponsible to teach people that you can have ‘afe sex’ or ‘afer sex’ outside of marriage.”

“It is undeniable that safe sex works and has saved the lives of millions of people,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “Contrary to Focus on the Family’ death-promoting dogma, there is no HIV crisis for gay or straight men who practice the very safe sex techniques that they have irresponsibly dismissed. Furthermore, how is a gay man in a relationship any more at risk than a heterosexual man in a relationship? Focus on the Family’ propaganda defies science, logic and common sense.”

It is also odd that Focus on the Family presumes that marriage is a panacea that makes teaching safe sex unnecessary. Mike Trout, the longtime co-host on Focus on the Family’ radio program, said on Oct. 17, 2000 that he had an inappropriate relationship with a woman other than his wife.

“Right wingers should learn about condoms too, so when they cheat on their spouses, they do so safely and not bring STD’ into the home,” said Besen. “This is particularly true in Bible Belt states which have the highest divorce rates in the nation. It is never helpful to promote ignorance over education — and that is precisely the sex education paradigm embraced by Focus on the Family.”

In a CitizenLink press release, Focus on the Family also distorted the proportion of reported HIV infections in 2006 that were attributable to men who have sex with men.
“The Centers for Disease Control reported that 53 percent — barely half — of new HIV infections in 2006 were attributable to MSM. Focus on the Family inflated this statistic to “almost 60 percent’ and falsely attributed this exaggeration to the CDC,” said Truth Wins Out’ news director Mike Airhart.