Tuesday on the “700 Club,” Pat Robertson told co-host Terry Meeuwsen that gay men in cities like San Francisco attempt to spread HIV/AIDS to others by cutting them with a special ring when shaking hands.
However, one could not hear Robertson make the remarks on the episode his Christian Broadcasting Network posted online, as the company once again appears to have edited Robertson’s comments after they aired.
While responding to a question from a woman who wondered if it was wrong for the church not to inform her that a man she was driving to worship services is “dying of AIDS,” Robertson admitted that he “used to think it was transmitted by saliva and other things, now they say it may be sexual contact.”
“What to say if you’re driving an elderly man whose got AIDS? Don’t have sex with them,” Robertson said, “unless there’s a cut or some bodily fluid transmission, I think you’re not going to catch it.”
But Robertson didn’t stop there.
“There are laws now, I think the homosexual community has put these draconian laws on the books that prohibit people from discussing this particular affliction, you can tell somebody you had a heart attack, you can tell them they’ve got high blood pressure, but you can’t tell anybody you’ve got AIDS,” he continued.
Despite Meeuwsen’s best attempts to steer the conversation away from Robertson’s anti-gay paranoia, Robertson insisted that gay people use special rings to transmit the virus.
“You know what they do in San Francisco, some in the gay community there they want to get people so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” Robertson said. “Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder.”
UPDATE: CBN has also removed the YouTube video of the exchange.
UPDATE II: Robertson issued a non-apology to The Atlantic, saying that he “regret(s) that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said.”
Of course, unlike CBN, we provided the entire exchange:
I was asked by a viewer whether she had a right to leave her church because she had been asked to transport an elderly man who had AIDS and about whose condition she had not been informed. My advice was that the risk of contagion in those circumstances was quite low and that she should continue to attend the church and not worry about the incident.
In my own experience, our organization sponsored a meeting years ago in San Francisco where trained security officers warned me about shaking hands because, in those days, certain AIDS-infected activists were deliberately trying to infect people like me by virtue of rings which would cut fingers and transfer blood.
I regret that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said. In no wise [sic] were my remarks meant as an indictment of the homosexual community or, for that fact, to those infected with this dreadful disease.
UPDATE III: CBN has has had the video removed from YouTube and Vimeo, but DailyMotion has provided this copy:
UPDATE IV: A third party (we wonder who!) complained to DailyMotion and pulled the video, which you can find, for now, at Flickr.com:
At the 39:00 mark, you can see that CBN clearly edited out Robertson’s comments: