Faith-Based Groups Must Provide Message of Hope, ‘Theology of Life’ in Fight Against AIDS, Opinion Piece Says
Faith-based groups must "change certain beliefs and behavior so they can provide a message of hope, services of loving care and a theology of life" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Donald Messer, director of the Center for the Church and Global AIDS at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, writes in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece. "Theological taboos" -- including avoidance of open discussion about sex that prevents people from understanding how to prevent HIV transmission; "moralistic judgments" that add to HIV/AIDS-related stigma; and "religious prejudice" toward injection drug users, commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men and others -- have contributed to the "escalating" global AIDS crisis, Messer says. Although some religious groups have "done pioneering work" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, their "sacrificial service has been obscured by the publicity given to the religious right's twisted theology," which has caused some people "to embrace a theology of condemnation rather than compassion, indifference rather than involvement," Messer says, concluding that such a "theology of the few" should not "continue to dominate either religious responses or government policy" (Messer, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.