In a blog entry at CNN, the Rev. Stacey Latimer tackles the black church and the persistent problem of the spread of HIV/AIDS. He argues that ignorance and homophobia are partly the reason that infection rates continue to rise in the African-American community.
… The weight of the evidence, from my perspective, suggests the virus is spreading due to the dehumanizing force of homophobia. I believe that homophobia is perpetuated by fundamentalist religions which refuse to operate in Agape — a divine, unconditional love — with the brotherhood of man who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered, and HIV infected in particular.
In houses of faith across the country, I’ve witnessed people open to experiencing and sharing the powerful love of God’s grace without prescribed conditions. When this happens, there is miraculous healing, deliverance, and change.
The mission of the people who are a part of the Agape community — and who comprehend the impact HIV/AIDS has on black America — is to restore the “waste places,” the families and communities almost wiped out from the destruction of HIV/AIDS.
This begins with HIV prevention, education, testing and care, treatment of the sick and injured. I have witnessed sons, daughters, mothers and fathers die slowly, not only because of AIDS, but from rejection by family and community. They never recovered emotionally from the hurt; and they succumbed to depression, resulting in noncompliance to almost everything productive and healthy that would aid their survival.
Read the Rev. Stacey Latimer’s entire blog entry at CNN.