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Is AIDS a just punishment?
  1. T F Murphy
  1. Center for Educational Development, University of Illinois, Chicago.


    There are religious and philosophical versions of the thesis that AIDS is a punishment for homosexual behaviour. It is argued here that the religious version is seriously incomplete. Because of this incompleteness and because of the indeterminacies that ordinarily attend religious argumentation, it is concluded that the claim may be set aside as unconvincing. Homosexual behaviour is then judged for its morality against utilitarian, deontological, and natural law theories of ethics. It is argued that such behaviour involves no impediment to important moral goals and is not therefore immoral. Where natural law might be used to condemn homosexual behaviour, it is argued that the theory itself is not well established. Consequently there is a prima facie reason for rejecting the philosophical version of the punishment thesis. This conclusion is further supported by noting the lack of proportion between the purported immorality of homosexuality and a punishment as devastating as AIDS.

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