The Church's Commitment (or Lack of) to Fighting the AIDS Pandemic - U2 Feedback

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Old 12-07-2004, 04:24 PM   #1
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The Church's Commitment (or Lack of) to Fighting the AIDS Pandemic

Here is a very interesting article posted for World AIDS Day by Cathy Falsani, Religion writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, and an avid supporter of Bono's and DATA's efforts to stop the AIDS pandemic and extreme poverty in Africa:

http://www.suntimes.com/output/falsa...ws-fals03.html

I think that there is actually a bigger issue here.

Not only is there still a hesistancy to pick up these struggles in the Evangelical churches, but in the Church overall, whether liberal or conservative, Black or white, mainstream or unconventional.

The question is: WHY?

If the New Testament has 2103 references to our responsibilities to take care of the needs of the poor, the homeless, the orphaned, the sick - then why aren't our churches (ALL DENOMINATIONS) picking up the struggle against AIDS and extreme poverty in our world?

And are we doing all that we can within our churches, temples, mosques, etc to keep our religious organizations' feet to the fire on this one?

Like Bono says, history will judge us harsely on what we do or don't do on Global AIDS and extreme poverty, but God will "judge" us harsher.

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU'RE DREAMING, IT'S WHAT YOU'RE GONNA DO....
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Old 12-07-2004, 06:10 PM   #2
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AIDS is the 21st century church's leprosy. I pray they tackle it aggresively....
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Old 12-07-2004, 11:55 PM   #3
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The only reason I can think of is that AIDS is linked to sexual behaviour and the Church has always had a big hangup with sex and how to do the whole "remove the speck from your eye before you get the log out of your neighbor's eye". (And I am speaking for myself as well in that global "church") In my experience, many Christians just cannot get beyond the mentality that if you have AIDS, it is somehow your fault and that if they reach out to help, they are condoning immorality. I know that this was the mindset I grew up with living in a conservative Evangelical community. So I really believe that until we can put on the mind of Christ and see people as people, loved and created by God as the children of God, that they need help and love regardless of what we think of what they may have done or not done, I think the Church will continue to neglect the AIDS crisis.
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Old 12-08-2004, 04:27 AM   #4
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Beautiful thought, sulawesigirl4, and I think you're (unfortunately) correct.

And that is the challenge for those of us who care about the lives that are being lost and the countries that are slowly being destroyed by AIDS and extreme poverty - to continue to outreach to religious groups and to continue to put them to task to LIVE UP TO THEIR THEOLOGY by putting aside their judgments of others and simply do all they can to help save lives.

I appreciate comments and thoughts on this issue - the biggest moral issue of our day.

And I wish you well in your activities in Mali - a magnificent and ancient place.

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Old 12-08-2004, 09:08 AM   #5
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'Feed The Children", "Compassion International", "World Vision", etc., etc., etc...

What do all of these have in common? 2 things:

1)They care for and feed the hungry children of the world

2)They, like other organizations too numerous to mention, are Christian organizations, run by Christians, and probably most of the donations come from Christians.

Like I said in another thread, I admire and respect Bono, but I think he's wrong to slam the church for the perceived "failure" to give to the AIDS crisis.

I think his support for the AIDS crisis is wonderful, and I am sure it is God's will for his life. But why do people automatically assume that it is God's will for everyone to get involved in that? Why is the AIDS cause more important than feeding hungry children, or fighting breast cancer, or lung cancer, or cerebral palsy research (my personal favorite), or any charitable work, for that matter?

How can Bono judge the church while night shelters and missions (many, if not most, run by Christians) feed, clothe and shelter the homeless? Or while Christian missionaries by the hundreds of thousands put their own lives on hold and even on the line to help irrigate the land, build houses, grow crops for hungry people in 3rd World nations? Many of these missionaries are killed while doing this work.

That's not to mention the millions of dollars the church brings in every year for charities.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
The only reason I can think of is that AIDS is linked to sexual behaviour and the Church has always had a big hangup with sex and how to do the whole "remove the speck from your eye before you get the log out of your neighbor's eye". (And I am speaking for myself as well in that global "church") In my experience, many Christians just cannot get beyond the mentality that if you have AIDS, it is somehow your fault and that if they reach out to help, they are condoning immorality. I know that this was the mindset I grew up with living in a conservative Evangelical community. So I really believe that until we can put on the mind of Christ and see people as people, loved and created by God as the children of God, that they need help and love regardless of what we think of what they may have done or not done, I think the Church will continue to neglect the AIDS crisis.


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Old 12-08-2004, 04:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
In my experience, many Christians just cannot get beyond the mentality that if you have AIDS, it is somehow your fault and that if they reach out to help, they are condoning immorality
it' not about how much money christian organizations are giving for me. It's about politics of the church and it's actions and I dont know how you can preach "love your neighbour" and then turn your back on those who need you most.

It's the most important lesson the catholic church taught me you know to translate our everyday lives and what we do into love,you know love your neighbour, regardless if they be the person beside you or across a continent ...and we will all be blessed for it
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But I hate to paint everyone in the "church" with the same brush because you have great people Archibishop Desmond Tutu and many many others doing right by this.
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Old 12-08-2004, 06:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Katey


it' not about how much money christian organizations are giving for me. It's about politics of the church and it's actions and I dont know how you can preach "love your neighbour" and then turn your back on those who need you most.
What I don't know is how anyone can say the church doesn't help those who need it most.
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Old 12-09-2004, 02:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


What I don't know is how anyone can say the church doesn't help those who need it most.
In some ways I agree with you 80sU2isBest. The church has lead the way throughout history in caring for those who are powerless. I think of the schools, hospitals, civil rights etc. that we take for granted today in developed countries. Many of these things have been a direct result of the things that Christians have done in the past to care for those in need. (eg. sunday school in 18th Century England was the forerunner of public education as we know it today)

However when you look at some of the excesses of the church in the west today you have to say there is a glaring problem. We have become very good at creating lavish church buildings while billions suffer in abject poverty without even the most basic of human needs. That is not to say there is not also a lot of good stuff going on that the church IS doing. It is a generalisation but all we can do is generalise. I think all that Bono has tried to do is light a bomb under the church for those who are yet to realize the crisis that is Africa. By the way I read recently a quote by Bono that he felt that things had started to change in the church and that people were waking up to the needs of those poorest of the poor.

So really all of us are only responisble for our own actions; are we doing all in our power to live as someone once said "Love your neighbour as yourself".
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Old 12-09-2004, 03:03 AM   #10
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What I don't know is how anyone can say the church doesn't help those who need it most
The church does help alot of people, but when it comes to HIV/Aids in Africa although I have seen the attitude slowly change, there are still many in the hierachy of the church who still judge . I work for a christian based organization and I had this conversation with a priest who to my dismay...condemed those in Africa with HIV/AIDS, that was very dissapointing to me. So for me growing up in that church and hearing all the time love your neighbour, and today for them to say no we are not going to help, they brought it on themelves..I was dissapointed ya.


And like I said I dont paint them all with the same brush..

So although Christians are and many christian organizations are very involved and committed that is seperate from the church..

from the some of the churches yes it is like pulling teeth, I'd agree it is getting better but there is a bit to go
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Old 12-09-2004, 06:39 AM   #11
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The church has begun a slow change toward looking at those suffering from the effects of HIV/AIDS with more empathy and humanity in the last two years.

That has been due largely because of the admonitions that have come at them from folks like Bono and organizations working in Africa who are daily dealing with the pandemic.

Unfortunately, the church has responded due to the realization that their past lack of SUFFICIENT action on issues of extreme poverty and AIDS CONTRADICTED WITH WHAT THE NEW TESTAMENT SAID and so they have been guilted into action.

Sad that those in organized religious groups need to have a Rock star to lead them in the ways they need to go.

Thanks for the discussion - please keep it up.

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Old 12-09-2004, 06:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jamila

Unfortunately, the church has responded due to the realization that their past lack of SUFFICIENT action on issues of extreme poverty
Jamila, the church has been leading the fight against extreme poverty since the church began. There is no failure there.
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:18 AM   #13
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We would differ on that that, my friend.

The church has done some good in fighting poverty, but not enough - according to what the New Testament commands us to do.

We could all come up with a list of wrongs and indifferences that the church is responsible for in regards to the poorest people in the world too, but to debate is not my intention in this thread.

IT IS TO EXAMINE OUR OWN HEARTS AND SOULS TO MAKE SURE WE ARE LIVING UP TO OUR HIGHEST STANDARDS OF CONCERN AND ACTION FOR THE POOR - just like Jesus commanded.

If you and your church are doing their best - be at peace.
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:38 AM   #14
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Jamila, thank you for this thread. It's an important one. You're absolutely right, we as the body of Christ are not doing nearly enough to address the issue of AIDS/HIV. The church has done MANY MANY good things to help the less fortunate around the world, but it's lacking in its efforts against AIDS -- the biggest threat out there now. Instead of just complaining about that here, why don't we challenge ourselves to raise awareness at our own churches and maybe organize something to help? DATA has some material that is geared toward faith communities — why don't we use it? I admit I haven't done this, but I've wanted to. Now's a good time to start. Is there any way we can hold each other accountable and encourage each other in this?
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:43 AM   #15
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Is the church doing 100% of what it should be doing to fight poverty? No, of course not.

But my whole point is that on the big scale of things, the church has not failed. Probably the majority of the charity organizations were put in place by Christians. The church's dedication to feeding the poor has been very commendable over the two centuries the church has been around.
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