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World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day

The Presiding Bishops of The Episcopal Church and the ELCA have released a letter in honor of World AIDS Day tomorrow, December 1:


Episcopal, ELCA Presiding Bishops issue World AIDS Day 2011 letter

From National Episcopal AIDS Coalition online

“World AIDS Day is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on God’s call to lift up the dignity and value of each person.” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have issued a joint letter for World AIDS Day 2011.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded a video message for World AIDS Day:

Archbishop of Canterbury’s video message for World AIDS Day

From ACNS – Anglican Communion News Service

The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded a video message for World AIDS Day in which he talks about the part sexual violence plays in the spread of HIV, calling it ‘one of the most shameful facts of our day’.

Dr Williams recorded the video message during a recent visit to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo which he describes as having been at ‘the epicentre of a great deal of appalling violence in recent years.’ He talks specifically about the use sexual violence as a tool of war – something which is used to ‘humiliate and subdue others’ and the extent to which the people in the DRC have suffered from this particular type of brutality, which has become endemic in many communities.

In his message Dr Williams highlights the crucial role that the Church has played in supporting survivors of such abuse, and especially in combating the stigma that they so often face in their own communities as a result of this violence:

“Trauma is something which cannot be overcome overnight but when people feel they’ve been abandoned by families, by communities, because of the shame and stigma of HIV/AIDS, the church in this part of Congo has been there for them. For these people, who have been abused systematically, been raped, violated, abducted often at the youngest of ages – for these people, the church has been the family that mattered.”

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Gregory Orloff

While some self-identified Christians have made it clear they see HIV/AIDS as God's "punishment" or "severe mercy" against "sinners," I've always thought it just might be God's test to imitate his innate mercy and compassion toward others -- in which case, many Christians have miserably failed. We really need to take a cue from how Christ Jesus treated the lepers and outcasts of his own day.

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