Kind of Red

March 7, 2009

Government AIDS

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Painted One @ 1:59 am



With all this talk about government intervention in our financial markets, it was somewhat overlooked that last week the Obama Administration selected Jeffery S. Crowley, Senior Research Scholar at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, to direct the Office of National AIDS Policy.  While some have lauded the decision, others have found the selection “underwhelming.”  Particularly, The Root’s Kai Wright took issue, “not with who Crowley is, but rather who he is not.”  While Wright readily acknowledges Crowley understands “the challenges of today’s epidemic and, importantly, sets about solving them from a community-based perspective,” he takes issue with the fact Crowley is an openly gay white man. 

Wright laments such a decision as “so 1996” because in selecting Crowley, Wright believes the Obama administration missed an opportunity to clearly articulate how it will grapple with the widening racial disparities in rates of infection. Wright does not diminish the strength of Crowly’s credentials, but still contends because of who he is not, Crowley lacks a fundamental vantage point that will allow him to fully peer through the nebulous haze of our modern day plague to offer viable remedies to the staggering nature of the AIDS epidemic in the black community. 

Wright suggests “many smart, talented black people working on AIDS inside and out of government” remained more poised to tackle this menacing issue. His contentions, while quite compelling, presuppose government intervention remains the answer.  That is where Wright and I part ways. Our government should and could help mightily to solve this problem, but the onus falls squarely on us.

magicWhile the world first learned of AIDS and HIV roughly twenty-seven years ago, our nation was truly placed on notice on November 7, 1991 of the perils of our lascivious ways. Nonetheless, the proliferation of AIDS within the black community has single-handedly become the most crippling epidemic to engulf our people since the institution of chattel slavery and its menacing progeny: Jim Crow segregation.  We know full well of the scars of the aforementioned plagues upon our people, but the most disheartening factor when considering the AIDS epidemic is that in most instances, it is a self-inflicted wound.  I know varying societal factors play key roles in the proliferation of AIDS amongst our people, but at its crux, we must be honest enough with ourselves to admit that AIDS is mostly preventable. 

Our leaders, most specifically those within the church, bear a greater level of responsibility in addressing this issue because of the magnitude of its impact amongst our people, combined with the moral and spiritual implications, especially when you consider the level of influence they wield.  Presently most churches in our community do not do or even say enough regarding sex.  Being reared in the church I can attest to the fact that typically black preachers tell black youth (and black singles for that matter), “Don’t do it, unless you’re married, and then you can do what you want to . . . ”   I do not suggest  handing out condoms after  youth lock-ins or after singles meetings, but I do believe we need to become more vocal in the matter of sexuality.  At present, we simply do not talk about it unless we are shunning homosexual marriage. 

Black Church-Goers


ABC covered this extensively around the time of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the discovery of HIV.  In the special, Peter Jennings noted how little the black church dares to address the issue.  In the special Bishop T.D. Jakes is quoted saying something to the effect of there are no scriptures in the Bible about AIDS in an effort to explain why he does not speak about the issue publicly (though his church does have an AIDS ministry).  Though that may be literally true, there are plenty of scriptures that he could use in order to convey God’s truth on moral governance, with particular regards to sexual purity, and even use examples of how God forewarned His people about the cost of disobedience.  I have seen too many televangelists systematically twist and manipulate the b line of one scripture into an hour sermon in order to convince me to send money to their programs, and find it appalling to hear that one cannot use clear and consistent doctrine to address one of the prevailing issues of our day.   I guess there’s no money to be made in the talk of AIDS, that is shamefully the only reason I can see why we would not address it at its core, especially when so many preachers now a days pride themselves in “keeping it real.” 


Just as God had Moses declare many of the ill effects that would result from disobedience when presenting the law (Deut. 28); the church should speak on what the bible mandates regarding purity: the why, the how, and what (happens when you disobey), then consistently teach us practical means on how to live a lifestyle that pleases God.  In that regard we may at least become armed with the information that so few of us lack in this area, so even if God forbid, we choose to stray, we know the magnitude of our actions.  So many of us are just stubborn and ignorant.  For instance, you would not believe how many sexually active adults I have encountered that have no idea about certain facets of AIDS contraction (I know one girl who thought you would wash AIDS off in a shower after having sex with an infected person as long as it was done immediately following intercourse, I know scores of others that did not know the disease could be contracted via oral sex, etc.).  

Many of those in the church hear sound doctrine, but as a good friend would say, they “do not take it home with them.” Nevertheless, far more often than not, I find that preachers will not mention this area much at all, regardless of whether the congregation has shown that they will obey.  I will not pretend to have all of the answers, and will not pretend to be a pastor, but I hold firmly to the belief that we could address this more effectively if we addressed it (from the time our children were children) and offered practical means to live the Word.  We do it with so many other subjects (e.g. walking in your destiny, money management, etc.).  And lack of faithfulness on the part of congregants (or lack of results for obedient congregants) have not discouraged some from preaching their messages (most particularly in regards to adhering to prosperity doctrine) I believe we could make a grander attempt to do so here, and should have the courage to doing so God’s way.


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