U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who has been sharply criticized by many of his fellow evangelical Christians for his positions on AIDS, has struck back in an interview in the June issue of Charisma & Christian Life.
The 72-year-old Presbyterian, who will leave his federal post Oct. 1, specifically criticized positions taken by James Dobson, president of the Pomona-based Focus on the Family, and the Rev. D. James Kennedy, a prominent television preacher and outgoing moderator of the Presbyterian Church in America.
Koop debunked several assertions made by author Gene Antonio in his book "The AIDS Cover-Up," such as the contentions that AIDS could be spread by kissing and mosquito bites. Then interviewer Steven Lawson said: "James Dobson, James Kennedy and other Christian leaders have referred to some of the same conclusions as Antonio. These are very credible voices within the Christian community."
In response, Koop said that "the Christian activity in reference to AIDS of both D. James Kennedy and Jim Dobson is reprehensible. The first time that Kennedy ever made a statement about AIDS, I saw it on television. It was so terrible, so homophobic, so pure Antonio that I wrote him a letter."