President Trump’s administration, infested by a truly terrifying array of Christian fanatics, has added yet another lunatic to its collection: Dr Robert Redfield, the new head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Redfield, according to this report, is a devout Roman Catholic who was associated with Americans for a Sound AIDS/HIV Policy (ASAP), a Christian organisation headed by W Shepherd Smith Jr.
ASAP backed the idea of mandatory testing for HIV and isolation or identification of those infected with HIV. Redfield also wrote the introduction to Smith’s 1990 book, Christians in the Age of AIDS:
It is time to reject the temptation of denial of the AIDS/HIV crisis; to reject false prophets who preach the quick-fix strategies of condoms and free needles; to reject those who preach prejudice; and to reject those who try to replace God as judge.
The time has come for the Christian community – members and leaders alike – to confront the epidemic.
Redfield, a former US Army major, named the breakdown of family values and increasing number of single-parent households as key factors responsible for the spread of AIDS, and treated army personnel found to be HIV+ via mandatory testing, with extreme cruelty.
A number of media outlets slammed Redfield’s appointment, calling him a “homophobe” and a “quack”, and CNN pointed out that he had ignited a controversy:
Because of his dubious qualifications for the job and the over-the-top salary offer that came with it. Initially slated to earn $375,000 a year, Redfield faced questions from Democrats, led by Senator Patty Murray of Washington, and last week agreed to work for $209,700 instead.
Last August, writing for The Los Angeles Times, Phil Zuckerman – a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College and the author of Living the Secular Life – wrote:
Evangelicals have never had it so good, politically speaking.
Since President Trump took office in January, the White House has become a Christian roundtable, with just about every top-tier seat filled by a faithful member of the fold or someone who is happy to further the fold’s agenda.
The line-up of believers who are in positions of power is truly dizzying. Betsy DeVos, who leads the Department of Education, has stated that her goal as a public servant is to “advance God’s kingdom.”
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry employed mass prayer as a means of addressing social problems when he was governor of Texas.
Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, believes that the theory of evolution was encouraged by the devil.
It doesn’t stop there. Atty Gen Jeff Sessions has said that people who don’t believe in God can’t be truthful.
Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency chief, is a devout Baptist who denies that climate change is real.
Mike Pompeo, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency [now Secretary of State], is an evangelical who opposes abortion even in cases of rape.
The President’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, another evangelical, has defended school prayer at the Supreme Court, and Trump’s spiritual advisor, Paula White, is a Pentecostal televangelist who teaches that if people give her church thousands of dollars, God will reward them with favors.
Vice President Mike Pence might be the most piously anti-gay politician in America.