"The Council Call": A Commitment on HIV/AIDS by People of Faith
We are members of different faith communities called by God to affirm a life of hope and healing in the midst of HIV/AIDS. |
The enormity of the pandemic itself has compelled us to join forces despite our differences of belief. Our traditions call us
to embody and proclaim hope, and to celebrate life and healing in the midst of suffering.
AIDS is an affliction of the whole human family, a condition in which we all participate. It is a scandal that many people
suffer and grieve in secret. We seek hope amidst the moral and medical tragedies of this pandemic in order to pass on
hope for generations to come.
We recognize the fact that there have been barriers among us based on religion, race, class, age, nationality, physical
ability, gender and sexual orientation which have generated fear, persecution and even violence. We call upon all sectors
of our society, particularly our faith communities, to adopt as highest priority the confrontation of racism, classism, ageism,
sexism, and homophobia.Advertisement
As long as one member of the human family is afflicted, we all suffer. In that spirit, we declare our response to the AIDS
We are called to love: God does not punish with sickness or disease but is present together with us as the source
of our strength, courage and hope. The God of our understanding is, in fact, greater than AIDS.
- We are called to compassionate care: We must assure that all who are affected by the pandemic [regardless
of religion, race, class, age, nationality, physical ability, gender or sexual orientation] will have access to
compassionate, non-judgmental care, respect, support and assistance.
- We are called to witness and do justice: We are committed to transform public attitudes and policies,
supporting the enforcement of all local and federal laws to protect the civil liberties of all persons with AIDS and
other disabilities. We further commit to speak publicly about AIDS prevention and compassion for all people.
- We promote prevention: Within the context of our respective faiths, we encourage accurate and comprehensive
information for the public regarding HIV transmission and means of prevention. We vow to develop comprehensive
AIDS prevention programs for our youth and adults.
- We acknowledge that we are a global community: While the scourge of AIDS is devastating to the United
States, it is much greater in magnitude in other parts of the world community. We recognize our responsibility to
encourage AIDS education and prevention policies, especially in the global religious programs we support.
- We deplore the sins of intolerance and bigotry: AIDS is not a "gay" disease. It affects men, women and
children of all races. We reject the intolerance and bigotry that have caused many to deflect their energy, blame
those infected, and become preoccupied with issues of sexuality, worthiness, class status, or chemical dependency.
- We challenge our society: because economic disparity and poverty are major contributing factors in the AIDS pandemic and barriers to prevention and treatment, we call upon all sectors of society to seek ways of eliminating
poverty in a commitment to a future of hope and security.
- We are committed to action: We will seek ways, individually and within our faith communities, to respond to the
needs around us.
Portions of the text of this document were taken, with permission, from The African American Clergy's Declaration of War on HIV/AIDS (The Balm in
Gilead Inc., 1994), and from The Atlanta Declaration (AIDS National Interfaith Network, 1989).