AALARM Defends, Clarifies Position On Gays

The Association Against Learning in the Absence of Religion and Morality (AALARM) defended itself yesterday against accusations that it is anti-gay and charged that the homosexual 'lifestyle' is immoral.

AALARM's statement came in a letter delivered to The Crimson Tuesday evening, immediately following a demonstration by the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Student Association (BGLSA) and Strategic Offense Systems (SOS), previously known as the Strategic Offense Society.

"The Crimson is completely inaccurate in describing our group as 'anti-gay," reads the letter, which was unsigned but attributed to the "Presidential Council of AALARM."

AALARM has not been an official student organization since 1993, when the group stopped applying for College recognition, according to Tung Q. Le '96, former president of the group.

Although Le did not claim responsibility for the letter, Brian E. Malone '96, a member of the group's executive board, said yesterday he and Le would accept responsibility for the letter. Malone would not name the members of the "Presidential Council" to whom the letter was attributed.

"We are not anti-gay," the letter reads. "We believe that the homosexual 'lifestyle' is destructive to both the person who practices it and to the society which permits it. While we are opposed to the homosexual orientation, we have nothing but Christian love for those who describe themselves as homosexual."

Le said the group, which postered the Yard last week with signs reading "AIDS: Sodomy=Death," intended the statement to clarify their message, which does not dissaprove of homosexuals but rather of the act of homosexuality.

"Homosexuality is immoral," Le said. "[AALARM] is against anything immoral that a politically correct society condones."

AALARM's statement comes in the midst of an ongoing dispute between the group and the BGLSA.

The BGLSA responded to the AALARM postering campaign with a demonstration Tuesday evening in front of Widener Library.

After a brief introduction by BGLSA Political Chair Joshua L. Oppenheimer '96-'97, members held candles and sprawled on the cement, as a symbolic memorial to those who have died of AIDS.

A member of SOS dangled in a harness from a tree in a mock hanging to represent the group's belief that organizations such as AALARM are responsible for deaths from AIDS because they impede political support for research and prevention programs, according to James A. Clayton '97, a member of SOS.

"Their rhetoric in general doesn't discourage our cause," Le said in response to BGLSA's criticisms.

Malone said he was present at the demonstration, which he said mischaracterized AALARM's position.

"The whole idea of attacking AALARM on the basis that we some-how believe that homosexuals are being punished for their homosexuality by getting AIDS is a caricature of our position," he said.

"Most of the groups on this campus hold up condoms as the answer to the AIDS epidemic," Malone said. "I don't think they realistically consider the best way to prevent AIDS, which is abstinence."

Malone said the AALARM sings addressed sodomy before heterosexual sex because it is a "high-risk behavior for AIDS."

AALARM's letter reads, "While we have compassion for those who are suffering and dying from AIDS, we refuse to pretend that sodomy is not a high-risk behavior."

"We feel that by stating this simple fact, we have done more for AIDS education on this campus than the AIDS Education Outreach has done in four years.