Editorials and Commentary
Churches Must Tackle AIDS
April 26, 2002
"...AIDS is the leading killer of African-Americans ages 18-40. If this trend is to change, African-American churches must move into a mode of action. The churches have many resources waiting to be tapped, and can begin by being places of information and compassion.
"...Mayflower Congregational, where I am pastor, has held sessions for youth and adults. We have held community programs about the epidemic and hosted a winter camp for children who are infected with HIV at the Children's Hospital clinic.
"...Churches also can collect special offerings designated toward local or national AIDS service organizations. We must be supportive. We must pray for a cure, pray for healing and pray for our compassionate response.
"...With the high rate of premarital sex and the rampant use of drugs, the religious community can no longer just teach and preach 'just say no' to sex and drugs. The reality is that too many are being infected and affected by AIDS.
"...Today, I believe it might be better for some people to practice 'safe sex' if they cannot be celibate. And it might be better for drug users to use clean needles, if they must use, than to become infected with AIDS, suffer and die prematurely.
"African-American Churches must continue their history of impacting the behavior of people in and out of church. If people are changed and saved, then society will be changed and saved. This is what the church is all about.
"...Today, too many are perishing. Church members need to ask themselves, 'What would Jesus be doing about the HIV/AIDS problem?' The answer and example is clear: Jesus would treat HIV-infected people with the same love and compassion he gave to those who were lepers 2,000 years ago."
The author is pastor of Mayflower Congregational Church in Detroit.
Detroit Free Press
04.24.02; J. Michael Curenton
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.