12-10-2016  8:38 am      •     

Until the government is willing to spend as much money on AIDS and education as it does on searching for Osama bin Laden, then I'm going to keep preaching what I'm preaching.
The United States has promised money for the AIDS pandemic that the United Nations has called the world's worst health crisis.  But the United States won't deliver any money unless the country, the program, the people or the recipients of the U.S. aid subscribe to the insane policy of "abstinence only!"
We are still fixated on who is sleeping with whom while people are dying like flies! 
"Herman," our first congregation member to die of AIDS had me over to his home to confide in me about his condition. We sat in his three-story home with nothing left but the carpet on the floor. His wife had packed up the children and all of their belongings while he was at work and left him with nothing in the home but his carpet. She did not want to be around him, nor did she want their children around him because he had AIDS.  "Herman" said to me: "Nobody should have to die like this, Rev."
The United Church of Christ has been the "whipping boy" for the conservative, right-wing press and public when it decided to ordain homosexuals into the Christian ministry, so I was not concerned about the stigma an AIDS Ministry might bring on our congregation. I don't do the ministry, however, to what the public thinks or the press thinks. I do ministry, and we do ministry as a congregation because of what the Prince of Peace thinks. 
The Black community was slow to respond because many Black Christian families believe in their heart of hearts that AIDS is God's curse upon the homosexual, those churches and the larger community were slow to respond.  But the response is much better especially since the pandemic has begun to affect heterosexual African American females. If we're going to catch up, I think the religious community needs to do several things.
First, it needs to educate its pastors and its congregations that the reality of HIV/AIDS is a biological problem, not a theological problem. It is a medical issue, not a moral issue. The religious community also needs to hold workshops and teach-ins with its members of all ages, even its seniors about sexually transmitted diseases and how HIV/AIDS is spread. It also needs to teach preventive measures to cut down on the incidence of persons becoming infected. Further, congregations need to form HIV/AIDS ministries to serve families of people who are infected. And finally, the religious community needs to lobby the political realm just as it did back in the civil rights movement. It needs to lobby politicians to get the laws changed so that the poor and the needy can have access to anti-retroviral drugs at generic prices.  
God loves everybody. God says everyone who believes in God's Son shall have everlasting life. That includes people with HIV/AIDS, heterosexuals and homosexuals; therefore, our theological approach comes straight from the Bible. We have workshops on safe sex. We have a Teenage Sexuality Ministry in our church and sex is a constant discussion when it comes to the educational ministry of the church. We talk about it right from the pulpit.


Until the government is willing to spend as much money on AIDS and education as it does on searching for Osama bin Laden, then I'm going to keep preaching what I'm preaching.
The United States has promised money for the AIDS pandemic that the United Nations has called the world's worst health crisis.  But the United States won't deliver any money unless the country, the program, the people or the recipients of the U.S. aid subscribe to the insane policy of "abstinence only!"
We are still fixated on who is sleeping with whom while people are dying like flies! 
"Herman," our first congregation member to die of AIDS had me over to his home to confide in me about his condition. We sat in his three-story home with nothing left but the carpet on the floor. His wife had packed up the children and all of their belongings while he was at work and left him with nothing in the home but his carpet. She did not want to be around him, nor did she want their children around him because he had AIDS.  "Herman" said to me: "Nobody should have to die like this, Rev."
The United Church of Christ has been the "whipping boy" for the conservative, right-wing press and public when it decided to ordain homosexuals into the Christian ministry, so I was not concerned about the stigma an AIDS Ministry might bring on our congregation. I don't do the ministry, however, to what the public thinks or the press thinks. I do ministry, and we do ministry as a congregation because of what the Prince of Peace thinks. 
The Black community was slow to respond because many Black Christian families believe in their heart of hearts that AIDS is God's curse upon the homosexual, those churches and the larger community were slow to respond.  But the response is much better especially since the pandemic has begun to affect heterosexual African American females. If we're going to catch up, I think the religious community needs to do several things.
First, it needs to educate its pastors and its congregations that the reality of HIV/AIDS is a biological problem, not a theological problem. It is a medical issue, not a moral issue. The religious community also needs to hold workshops and teach-ins with its members of all ages, even its seniors about sexually transmitted diseases and how HIV/AIDS is spread. It also needs to teach preventive measures to cut down on the incidence of persons becoming infected. Further, congregations need to form HIV/AIDS ministries to serve families of people who are infected. And finally, the religious community needs to lobby the political realm just as it did back in the civil rights movement. It needs to lobby politicians to get the laws changed so that the poor and the needy can have access to anti-retroviral drugs at generic prices.  
God loves everybody. God says everyone who believes in God's Son shall have everlasting life. That includes people with HIV/AIDS, heterosexuals and homosexuals; therefore, our theological approach comes straight from the Bible. We have workshops on safe sex. We have a Teenage Sexuality Ministry in our church and sex is a constant discussion when it comes to the educational ministry of the church. We talk about it right from the pulpit.

Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. is senior pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago..

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