Is "sin" made in Hollywood?

"They that live in sin shall die in sin."

Did Ronald Reagan say that about people with AIDS?

See also the New York Times report on this story -- which fails utterly to confirm this remark. (via Virginia Postrel.)

Either Ronald Reagan made the above statement or he did not. I spent over an hour researching it on the Internet, and I am unable to find it. Regardless of President Reagan's personal moral conservatism (which I remember well and did not like), I would have bitterly hated him forever had he made such a callused statement about people with AIDS, and I would certainly have remembered it. I lost three lovers and over twenty friends to AIDS, and the experience nearly caused me to commit suicide, so this is not something I take lightly.

Moral conservative or not, Reagan had gay friends, and he lost some to AIDS. While he was slow to speak up about the AIDS epidemic, his surgeon general's promotion of condoms is inconsistent with a president wanting "sinners" to die.

I was never a Reagan supporter, but I am suspicious about these words which have been put in his mouth.

The whole thing is just too close to next fall's election.....

posted by Eric on 10.21.03 at 05:04 PM










Comments

I don't believe a word of it, some made-for-TV movie hatchet job. It's a despicable smear. For one thing, in the late 1970's, a homo-hater named John Briggs tried to promote an initiative to ban homosexual teachers and Reagan opposed it. I recall hearing that, some time after his Presidency, Reagan did an ad of some kind on AIDS.
And, above all, he gave us Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who gave us Romer vs. Evans and Lawrence and Garner vs. Texas.
"At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
Thank you, Justice Kennedy, for that. And thank you, President Reagan, for Justice Kennedy. And, because of President Reagan, the Russians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, etc., now have that liberty, too.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  October 21, 2003 6:45 PM

Thank you Steven! You're right about the Cold War, and about Reagan's appointments. My problems with Reagan's Culture War tendencies notwithstanding, he really can't be blamed entirely for the crackpots who evolved later and replaced laissez faire Goldwater conservatism with an in-your-face, busybody mentality. The moral conservatives today behave like Communists: relentless, stealthy, personally vindictive, and un-American.

This smear is particularly odious, because it is calculated to prejudice a new, younger generation that never knew Reagan -- while making anti-homosexual bigots find false succor in an American icon.

The goal, as usual, is to heighten the Culture War and further divide the country.

Eric Scheie   ·  October 21, 2003 7:42 PM

I'm willing to bet $ 100 that Ronald Reagan never said any such thing and since both Lou Cannon and Edmund Morris would have not failed to report such attitudes in their respective books I'll go on record predicting that this is nothing other than a malicious, Left-wing libel, soon to be exposed as such.

mark safranski   ·  October 21, 2003 8:28 PM

I must confess that, for a long time, I, too, was a Reagan-hater. His rise in 1980 coincided with that of Jerry Fartwell and later Pat Robertscum and the rest of that ilk. I assumed at that time and for a long time that Reagan was totally on their side. His nomination of Robert Bork was one of those things that made me think that. Now I'm quite certain that his Attorney General Edwin Meese put him up to it. It was after September 11, 2001, that I began seriously rethinking all of that as I moved to the "Right", or away from the "Left", on most spectrums. After Santorum opened his mouth, I moved away from and against both and concluded that a 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional spectrum (with a vertical as well as "Left"-Right" axis) is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  October 22, 2003 8:25 AM

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