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hiv discrimination for volunteers in the church nursery
Jan 8, 2004

I am hiv+ and have been actively envolved in my church for over 11 years. My church recently adapted an application process for anybody volunteering to work with children. One of the questions on there is if you are hiv+. If you are they will not allow you to work with young children or babies. They say it is dangerous to the babies due to biting incidents. Is this legal? Is is wrong to even ask this on an application? Aren't churches obligated to follow the ani discrimination laws even on volunteer basis?

Response from Ms. Breuer

Churches are exempt from many federal regulations. Their concern is exaggerated and unrealistic, but they do have the right to establish those discriminatory rules. I encourage you to decide on one of two courses of action: as a concerned volunteer, strongly encourage HIV education of the church staff and leaders so that they do not needlessly increase the suffering of someone with HIV. Or, if you don't wish to take that on, find another way to volunteer in the church. I'm afraid those are the only two options I see right now.

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