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Mickelson defends HIV/AIDS comments after Clear Channel rebuke
After being publicly rebuked by his employers two weeks ago, WHO-AM radio host Jan Mickelson defended his controversial statements about HIV/AIDS, saying Tuesday that the backlash is all about politics.
“You’re dealing with a religious cult and they’re advancing their worldview,” Mickelson said of the “homosexual lobby.” “And they’re using politics to do it.”
Mickelson stirred controversy late last month while discussing the Republican Party of Iowa’s decision to distance itself from a legislative candidate who made anti-gay remarks on his Facebook page. GOP Chairman Matt Strawn said in his statement that “HIV/AIDS doesn’t discriminate,” a point Mickelson strongly disagreed with. Mickelson said the disease discriminates against people who engage in “stupid behavior,” and since homosexuality is a “sexual disorder” that violates natural law, it “isn’t rocket science” to conclude AIDS discriminates against homosexuals.
Mickelson’s employer, Clear Channel Communications Inc., responded by publicly rebuking Mickelson’s statements in a statement read on air just before his program. Later that week, state Sen. Matt McCoy announced that he was organizing a boycott of Mickelson’s sponsors, saying local companies, “shouldn’t have a chief bigot as their spokesperson.”
After a caller brought up McCoy’s boycott on Tuesday’s show, Mickelson defended his original statements.
All I did was read the CDC reports on the nature of the issue and it suggested that it is a lifestyle disease, and certain lifestyles are unhealthy. This is not about what I said, however. This has nothing to do with the content of what I said that day. And you don’t have to take my word for it. This is just a tactic in the culture war.
I was told directly by e-mailers who were agreeing with Matt McCoy and One Iowa, I was told by e-mails and people who were just vilifying me, and also voice mails that were doing the same in just nasty, nasty language, and here’s what they said: “You try to take out our judges, we’re going to take you out.”
Mickelson is a supporter of the effort to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices over the court’s ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage.
“They understand the judges are advancing their agenda, they’re happy the judges are advancing their agenda and if you try to hold these lawless judges accountable for their mischief, the gay lobby understands what’s at stake, and I’m a pain in their keister so they try to get rid of me,” he said.
Mickelson said his sponsors have stuck with him, however, and told those hoping to get him off the air to “go play on the highway.”
Later, the caller that instigated the discussion pointed to discredited figures on the lifespan of homosexuals, saying the average homosexual male who does not have AIDs dies at 42, “and this is the lifestyle they are foisting on our kids.” Mickelson has made similar statements in the past about homosexuality shortening a person’s lifespan, but all studies that come to that conclusion have been overwhelmingly discredited, and as critics have repeatedly pointed out, the methods used were extremely flawed.
Dr. Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California-Davis, called these studies “absolutely worthless for estimating the life expectancy of gay men and lesbians.” A study published in 1997 by the International Journal of Epidemiology is often used as evidence of homosexuality shortening a person’s life span, but in light of all the attention their study was receiving from anti-gay groups, the study’s authors felt compelled to speak out in order to keep “homophobic groups” from misinterpreting their research simply to restrict “the human rights of gay and bisexuals rather than promoting their health and well being.”