AIDS Partnership, Inc.

407 South Saturn Avenue

Clearwater, Florida 33755

(727) 446-7718 Ext. 242        AIDSPartnershipInc@gmail.com

407 South Saturn Avenue
Clearwater, Florida 33755
(727) 446-7718  Ext. 242                        
AIDSPartnershipInc@gmail.com

Church Statements on HIV

Official Church Statements on HIV/AIDS

American Baptist

In obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ's call to heal, to bear the truth and to cast out fear we call on all American Baptists and our churches to:

1. Recognize the HIV/AIDS crisis as an opportunity for the caring and educational ministries of our churches.
2. Declare that HIV/AIDS should be viewed as an illness and affirm our belief that the loving God revealed in Jesus Christ does not inflict illness as punishment.
3. Teach, preach and live in ways which reflect Christ's call for the stewardship of our bodies as God's gifts.
4. Encourage and offer prayers for the healing of persons living with AIDS and HIV Infection, insight for researchers, and strength for caregivers, families and loved ones.
5. Minister with love and support as faithful servants to those in the midst of sickness, pain and death.
6. Teach and preach in such a way that the fears and appeals to prejudice and hysteria surrounding this global crisis will be mitigated.
7. Teach and preach the healing Gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of the HIV/AIDS crisis to the end of bringing about healing, hope and reconciliation.

Furthermore, we call upon American Baptist Churches to encourage governmental and public health agencies to:

1. Support increased funding for HIV/AIDS research and long term care.
2. Seek to insure the protection of civil and human rights and adequate medical care for all persons affected directly or indirectly by AIDS and HIV Infection.
3. Support those educational and technological means which will reduce the spread of HIV Infection.
4. Work to eliminate discrimination in all sectors of life against those thought to have HIV.
5. Respond to the global HIV/AIDS crisis through the national and international structures of churches, government and health organizations.

Assemblies of God (2009)

Does the church believe AIDS and/or HIV are God’s way of dealing with the rampant sexual immorality of our times?

Sickness and disease, including AIDS and HIV, are present in our world because of Adam and Eve’s sin. Satan, not God, desires to use AIDS as a means of destroying millions of youth and adults around the world. What Satan plans to use for man’s destruction, God can use to bring glory to himself.

It is true that most people have contracted HIV through immoral sexual activity or drug abuse. Certainly any form of sexual relations outside of marriage causes damage. AIDS, while deadly, is only one expression of that damage.

 Since the majority of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. is contracted through immoral sexual activity or drug abuse, we must realize that these diseases are usually consequences of the choices individuals make (see Galatians 6:7,8; Deuteronomy 30:15-19). God has made man with a freedom of choice but with this freedom comes awesome responsibilities and consequences that can affect one for good or bad all of one’s life.

However, some have contracted HIV through no sin of their own. The common belief in Jesus’ day was similar to what many believe today–those who are sick have somehow sinned to bring this upon themselves. One day the disciples of Jesus asked about a blind man: "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life" (John 9:2,3, NIV). Sadly, today, some in the church jump to the same conclusion by assuming a person has sinned if he/she contracts HIV/AIDS. We must remember this is not always the case. Furthermore, those who are sick with this disease need our love and compassion as Christians. This is especially true for those who have not yet accepted Christ. For without our help and message how will they ever come to know Him? As a church we must see those with HIV/AIDS through spiritual eyes. We must realize that all who are sick need physical care extended through loving hearts and hands. And those who are lost as well as sick need to experience the message of forgiveness found in Jesus Christ.


Conservative Judaism
(1991)

 

WHEREAS, the world is currently experiencing one of the most devastating public health crises faced in modern times, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a disease which has the possibility of destroying society as we know it; and

WHEREAS, confusion, ignorance and denial are among the most common responses to the AIDS epidemic; and

WHEREAS, Jewish law, custom and tradition clearly mandate all Jews to maintain the health of the body, noting that, according to the Bible itself, the body is divine, and legislation was promulgated early in the history of the Jewish people to treat illnesses and curb plagues;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that THE UNITED SYNAGOGUE OF CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM calls upon all of its affiliated congregation to affirm the mitzvah of pikuah nefesh (the saving of lives) by instituting comprehensive, effective, and age-appropriate educational programs about preventing transmission of the AIDS virus; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in the spirit of bikkur holim (visiting the sick), THE UNITED SYNAGOGUE OF CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM calls upon all of its congregations to reach out to individuals infected with the AIDS virus, their families and their friends by providing acceptance, comfort, counseling, and sympathetic and empathetic listening; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that THE UNITED SYNAGOGUE OF CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM affirms that those infected with the AIDS virus must be protected from all forms of illegal discrimination, such as discriminatory housing, employment, health care delivery services and synagogue services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that no congregation within THE UNITED SYNAGOGUE OF CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM shall exclude persons with AIDS (PWA's) from synagogue life; and that the Jewish Theological Seminary of America be urged to train rabbis, cantors, and other Jewish professionals to deal with and counsel people with AIDS and their families.


ELCA (1988) abridged

 …AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), often with an intensity greater than many diseases, calls us to remember our common humanity. The suffering of persons with AIDS demonstrates anew that life for all is vulnerable, limited, and broken, yet also graced with courage, hope and reconciliation. As a disease that affects women, men and children around the world, it shows how closely we are bound together in relationships of mutual trust, need and responsibility.

The church's ministry of caring is a grateful response to God's caring for us. The undeserved love of God announced for all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our reason for standing with our neighbor in need. Jesus responded graciously to persons who were sick without assessing their merit. In the same way we are called to "be Christs" for all in our midst who suffer and are ill. Our calling summons us to compassion for, acceptance of and service with people affected by AIDS both within and outside of our congregations.

This ministry of caring requires that we be well-informed about the nature of AIDS. … Wise and informed people are needed to participate in the complex public policy debates surrounding the disease.

This ministry of caring challenges us to support efforts in the churches and in the wider community that serves those with AIDS, their friends and families…. United by baptism, all are invited to receive the touch of care. "Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God" (Rom 15:7).


Episcopal Church

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church urge its members to work to eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS through the following:

Acknowledge that the stigmatization of anyone due to disease, and particularly due to HIV/AIDS, creates impediments to seeking treatment and care for the disease and education about the disease, resulting in detrimental effects on individuals, the church, and society at-large.

Affirm that the teachings of Jesus Christ clearly state that sickness and disease are not the result of sin in the human family.

Acknowledge that our Baptismal Covenant vows obligate us to respect the dignity of every human being and to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves and that the stigmatization of those among us with disease is a violation of those vows; and be it further

Resolved, That The Episcopal Church urge all worshiping communities, missions, parishes, dioceses, provinces, seminaries and educational institutions, boards and commissions to: 

Educate their constituent members about HIV/AIDS with a goal of eliminating any stigma associated with the disease.

Educate their local, state and federal elected officials and representatives about HIV/AIDS with the goal of creating knowledgeable, compassionate, and sensitive public policy in educational services, support services, and medical treatment institutions.


Islam
(November, 2011)

There are several articles on line under the heading HIV, Islam. We have not located an “official” statement, however. This article is from The Body, an HIV/AIDS newsletter. It does not state a position on HIV, but does explain how one nation is working to precent contagion.

The Guardian's "Poverty Matters Blog" examines how religious leaders on the island of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, are using the Qur'an to shift attitudes about the issues of sex, contraception, and HIV/AIDS in an effort to reduce HIV infection, improve maternal health and curb rapid population growth. "Their aim is to shift deep-rooted views in their devout Islamic society that contraception is a sin," according to the blog. "Compared with the Tanzanian mainland, Zanzibar has half the rate of use of contraception --just 13 percent in fertile women in 2011 -- and more than double the proportion of Muslims, at 95 percent," the blog notes, adding that imams' work to educate the population is working, as "contraceptive use has crept up from nine percent to 13 percent in the past four years".

This information was reprinted from kff.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.



Latter Day Saints
(2005 newspaper report)

Those suffering with AIDS should be treated with dignity, kindness and increased compassion, a senior Church leader said today in a statement in support of World AIDS Day.

Speaking at a news conference in Salt Lake City, Elder Robert C. Oaks, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, described AIDS as a tragic and disruptive condition that reaches around the world and into every level of society.

“Families, individuals and whole communities have felt its painful and fatal effects,”Elder Oaks said. “We mourn with those who have lost loved ones to AIDS and salute the tireless caregivers who give comfort and assistance to those battling with these trials.

“We hope that events such as this will increase compassion toward those touched by the disease and promote learning and understanding to limit the incidence of AIDS.” 

Elder Oaks urged people everywhere to “follow the example of Jesus of Nazareth to care for those in need to the best of their ability.”


The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

Whereas, The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) infection is reaching into all segments of our society and affecting families and communities in epidemic proportions; and

Whereas, Many congregations are presently experiencing the impact of this epidemic; and 

Whereas, Jesus has set up before us His standard of compassion, care, and unconditional love of the afflicted; and 

Whereas, Lutheran Christians are called to witness His grace and love by the example of service; and 

Whereas, Both the Boards for Human Care Ministries and Parish Services have produced biblically sound educational resources on both prevention and response to people with AIDS; therefore be it 

Resolved, That congregations be urged to increase their commitment to Christ-centered care to those who have tested HIV positive or who suffer from AIDS and that they give personal assistance and support to their families and care-givers; and be it further 

Resolved, That the Board for Human Care Ministries identify materials that the Synod and auxiliary organizations have produced on AIDS for use within congregations; and be it finally 

Resolved, That all congregations respond to those affected by AIDS with compassion and love, caring for all.


Metropolitan Community Church
(2006) an abridged address

 To Our Beloved Community of Metropolitan Community Churches:

 …At the very center of the global queries is a fact that is irrefutable: AIDS is not over.

 Yet, there is another fact that is undeniable. God is with us. Our work in response to the ongoing epidemic of HIV/AIDS brings the power of our faith into harmony with our passion for social justice.

 We have a legacy of standing for change, justice, and compassionate response on the key issues.

 We have an unfinished calling that continues to challenge us to grow as individuals and in community. We ask you to consider some of the areas where Metropolitan Community Churches have made and can continue to make an impact.

* Take care of ourselves in community not only for our own survival and well-being, but because we are called by God to this ministry and because the struggle and courage of people living with HIV/AIDS should not be ignored.
* Advocate rigorously for the reinstatement of benefits lost to political decisions and changes in public policy.
* Advocate for continued research.
* Train new generations of leaders and honor, nurture and support the many people who keep this mission alive.
* Care for those who have limited or no access to medications, food, shelter, and clean water.
* Refuse to be segregated by public health and political systems that take attention away from the plight of gay men or women and children or people of color or any other group….As long as one person suffers, we all suffer.
* Advocate for an accelerated and just response to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. Medications which have improved life expectancies in the wealthiest countries in the world are not being made available to our brothers and sisters in poorer countries. 

* We ask you to include regular prayers for the HIV ministry in your congregational gatherings.
* We ask you to keep the stories of people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS alive.
* We ask you to participate in our current efforts and programs. May God bless you and keep you.


Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
(2001) abridged

The General Assembly (2001) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), out of profound concern for families, communities, and nations ravaged by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, [voted to]: 

1. Designate the year 2002 to 2003 to be a year of Global AIDS Pandemic Awareness in the church. 

2. Urge all entities of the church to pray for all who are suffering, consider generating funds to address the global epidemic, and remember World AIDS Day.

3. Commend the Worldwide Ministries Division for

a. establishing two new mission personnel positions to address AIDS in Africa;

b. providing leadership to the cross-divisional strategy team…to address the AIDS pandemic…;

c. its support of presbytery and ecumenical partnerships, in particular partnerships that strengthen AIDS ministries around the world;

d. participating in the World Health Organization's Massive Effort. 

4. Directs the Worldwide Ministries Division to: 

a. support the administrative and programmatic needs to address AIDS in Africa; 

b. consider establishing a mission personnel position to assist churches working to address the AIDS epidemic in Southeast Asia;

c. support indigenous efforts, such as literacy, income generation, and other basic development projects that address underlying gender inequalities that intensify the epidemic and to… address the unique needs of men and women and children;

d. establish funding for… support to indigenous efforts to develop programs concerning gender inequalities that exacerbate the pandemic;

e. facilitate partnerships between Presbyterian women's groups in the United States and women's groups in partner churches and ecumenical organizations;

g. maintain a database of women's groups and partnerships between women's groups that are working to address gender inequalities and HIV/AIDS;

h. develop materials on the global pandemic and its gender dimensions (for) the resource packet mailing for World AIDS Day;

i. consider … a staff position with International Health Ministries focusing on community- and congregation-based initiatives to support people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and, in particular, orphans. 

5. Request that the Worldwide Ministries Division AIDS Task Team and the Presbyterian U. N. Office host an event on the gender dimensions of the AIDS pandemic, and invite partner churches, ecumenical leaders, and faith-based woman's groups to …help plan the event. 

6. Encourage congregations and national and local AIDS networks to

a. educate their constituencies … by holding educational events or writing;

b. engage in advocacy efforts… and increase funding for prevention strategies and to make affordable medications available….

7. Direct the Stated Clerk to write the president of the U.S., calling upon the government to allocate greater resources towards the epidemic and poverty that fans it, as well as prevention and affordable treatment, and to help make life-saving drugs available to all affected.

8-10: commend and support various national and international efforts to support educational and health initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS.  


Reform Judaism

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

As we observe World AIDS Day this year, we are forced to admit to ourselves that, notwithstanding real advances, we continue to lose the fight against HIV/AIDS. Four years ago, on the occasion of World AIDS Day, we applauded President Bush for his historic commitment to fighting this global pandemic. Since that time, more resources have been committed to fighting the wildfire of HIV/AIDS than ever before. Yet these new resources still fall short of what is desperately needed by men, women and children worldwide, and particularly in Africa and Asia, where a diagnosis is most often a death sentence.

When fighting a wildfire, sending insufficient resources to fight the blaze only slows the spread, but can never contain it. The same is true of the AIDS pandemic. To extinguish the HIV/AIDS pandemic, funds are required totaling more than double what the U.S. and the rest of the world has committed for the coming year. Moreover, as long as our Administration insists on funding ineffective abstinence-only prevention education and expanding the global gag rule to prevent established service providers in the developing world from receiving AIDS funds because they provide reproductive health services, we are fighting AIDS with one hand tied behind our back.

Two weeks ago, more than 4,000 Reform Jewish leaders gathered at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial and passed a resolution on Ending Global Poverty. As a first step, we call on President Bush to end the misguided policies that hamper our existing global AIDS programs and to include $8 billion in his upcoming budget request for HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria. This amount represents the United States’ fair share of the global need to contain these deadly diseases, based on our share of global wealth.

The Jewish values of bikur cholim, pikuach nefesh, and gemulit chasidim (caring for the sick, saving lives, and deeds of loving kindness) have been embodied by the doctors, scientists, patients, and advocates over the past 20 years who have contributed to improving the quality and length of life for those living with HIV/AIDS. We must re-commit ourselves to the battle and live up to Leviticus’command not to stand idly by the blood of our neighbor.


Roman Catholic

Waiting on new statement


Southern Baptist
(1994) abridged


….WHEREAS, Many persons have contracted HIV through irresponsible and immoral behavior, many others are innocent victims who have been subjected to unfair condemnation and alienation; and

WHEREAS, All persons living with AIDS and their families deserve compassionate ministry from Christians without respect to the means by which they contracted the disease.

Therefore be it RESOLVED, That we urge Christians to follow Christ's example of compassion and reach out to those with AIDS and their families; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That as we have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, Who comforts us, as Scripture teaches, we must be ambassadors and messengers of reconciliation and comfort to those persons living with AIDS; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That knowing all persons living with AIDS have not contracted the disease through immoral behavior, we encourage Christians to compassionate ministry to those in the body (and out) who are living with AIDS and their families; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage Christians to become better informed by securing reputable, accurate, and morally sound information concerning HIV/AIDS; and

Be it finally RESOLVED, That we urge Christians to encourage other believers already involved in AIDS ministry and to urge all those not involved to become involved.


United Church of Christ

 
“In light of the pandemic of AIDS that has struck 100,000 people and is expected to spread to millions unless effective medical, educational, research and control programs are established, the Sixteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls upon the churches to embody God’s love for the world and to announce the good news that in Christ, God has redeemed all creation. It also calls for a public response that makes the following affirmations.

“All persons need to be educated about the pandemic and about prevention of AIDS in ways that enable them to work through their
fears and prejudices and convinces them to adopt effective preventive behavior.”

“Sex education beginning early in elementary school, as called for by the Surgeon General, is a major component of the effort to contain the AIDS pandemic. Curricula need to address the physical, social, and ethical nature of human sexuality and teach skills for responsible personal decision-making.”

“Government funding of research, service, education, treatment and prevention must become a global priority.”

 

United Methodist (2008) abridged

United Methodists have been in ministry since the beginning of the of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. …God’s Word calls us to a ministry of healing, a ministry that understands healing not only in physiological terms but also as wholeness of spiritual, mental, physical, and social being.

In recent years, AIDS in the United States has received less media attention, but that does not mean the disease has gone away…. Not only must our commitment to ministry continue, it must expand, particularly in prevention education. HIV/AIDS affects and infects a broad cross-section of people in the U.S. and Puerto Rico: all ages, all races, both sexes, all orientations. 

United Methodist churches, districts, and conferences can help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by providing sound, comprehensive, age-appropriate preventive education, including information that abstinence from sex and injection drug use is the safest way to prevent HIV/AIDS. In addition, the church can provide grounding in Christian values, something that cannot be done in public schools or in governmental publications on HIV/AIDS.

Areas of special concern include: 

Youth and Young Adults; Racial and Ethnic Minorities; Women:; People who are Deaf, Late-Deafened, and Hard of Hearing; Older Adults; Drug-Associated HIV Transmission.

HIV prevention and treatment, substance abuse prevention, and sexually transmitted disease treatment and prevention must be better integrated to (use) opportunities for intervention—

The Challenge for Ministry

 Across the United States…pastors and laity have asked, “What can my church do?” 

1. Churches should be places of openness and caring for persons with AIDS and their loved ones. We ask congregations to work to overcome attitudinal and behavioral barriers in church and community that create stigma and discrimination of such persons. Congregations can offer Christian hospitality and become arks of refuge to all.

2. Each congregation and annual conference … should mobilize for legislative advocacy at the local, state and national levels to support for HIV/AIDS initiatives in the U.S. 

3. Educational efforts about AIDS should use reliable medical and scientific information... Spiritual resources must also be included to enable people to address issues related to discipleship, ministry, human sexuality, heath and wholeness, and death and dying. 

4. Each congregation should discern the appropriate response for its context. …

 5. The United Methodist Church has a congregational HIV/AIDS ministry called the Covenant to Care Program, whose basic principle is “If you have HIV/AIDS or are the loved one of a person who has HIV/AIDS, you are welcome here.” We commend those who have been in ministry through this program and recommend “Covenant to Care” to all United Methodist organizations.

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