After the Wrath of God: AIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion
by Anthony M. Petro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one of the best written non-fiction books I've read. This is the author's first book, so I look forward to reading what he writes in the future. According to his bio at Boston University his next two book projects look equally as interesting.
This book is about the religious rhetoric used during the early years of the AIDS crisis and how that rhetoric shaped public policy. This is a fascinating study exploring how left, right, and center developed moral language to grapple with the crisis. The study refutes any reductionistic notions of religious conservatives versus secular leftists.
The final two chapters discuss Cardinal O'Connor and ACT UP's confrontation of him. Reading those chapters made me very angry at the Cardinal.
In the final section the author explores how AIDS and gay activists developed their own religious and moral language, but he left me wanting more. I hope that comes in subsequent books.
Also, while he does treat of progressive Christian responses, they don't get as much discussion as conservative responses. This is probably because conservative responses dominated much of the public health debates at the time.
Petro is a keen intellect and engaging writer.
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