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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

Religion & Diseases

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Influence of the Church in Bringing About Change "Ignorance, stigmatisation and discrimination have long characterised the attitude of both church and government toward HIV-positive persons and AIDS patients," says Rev Angela Veii, Co-ordinator of Lutheran Unity in Namibia.  

Information from Christian Aid: HIV/AIDS

Faced with cutbacks health and education spending, civil society has taken the strain.  With their highly organized grassroots networks, churches and faith-based organizations are in an excellent position to increase HIV awareness and provide care and support to those who are ill, as well as to children orphaned by AIDS.

114 kb pdf

“Is the Church HIV Positive? Building the Political Will to Remove Barriers and Restore Dignity” Some may argue that at no time has there been more recognition, and support generated towards the eradication of HIV and AIDS, nonetheless we must recognize that still our collective response is woefully insufficient when it comes to justice, mercy, or humility. Still, the HIV and AIDS pandemic remains an enormous challenge today for all of us. Our global family remains conflicted, often divided on theological and moral ground differences. Muslims, many Latin American countries, the Vatican, and the United States under the influence of the religious right struggle with specific commitments to high risk groups, sexual practices, and gender equality. Empowerment of women, detailed language on HIV prevention, and explicit references to male and female condom use often stop the potential for dialogue before it can even commence. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan accused a number of countries of “putting their heads in the sand” and failing to deal with the global realities of HIV and AIDS. My point here is not to pick on the Religious Right. The so-called progressive left is hardly itself A Model of Christian Charity.  

Islam, Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS

(Large file-please allow extra time for download)

The Islamic teachings have left great traditions for equitable and gentle dealings and behavior, and inspire people with nobility and tolerance.  These are human teachings of the highest order and at the same time practicable.  These teachings brought into existence a society in which hard-heartedness and collective oppression and injustice were the least as compared with all other societies preceding it

2953 kb pdf

Islam, Irigaray, and the retrieval of gender The Prophet said that women totally dominate men of intellect and possessors of hearts. But ignorant men dominate women, for they are shackled by an animal ferocity. They have no kindness, gentleness or love, since animality dominates their nature. Love and kindness are human attributes; anger and sensuality belong to the animals. She is the radiance of God, she is not your beloved. She is a creator - you could say that she is not created. - Jalal al-Din Rumi  
Islamic Leaders Become a Force for Change in Indonesia’s HIV Response Islamic leaders have tremendous influence in Indonesia, where the majority of citizens are Muslims. As a result, they are well positioned to act as change agents in a country where HIV is perceived as more of a moral and social issue than a medical one, and people living with HIV and the most at-risk populations are highly stigmatized. While the national government and national-level Islamic organizations have issued HIV policies and statements, implementation of the policies at the local level is often lacking or inadequate due to misconceptions, weak leadership, and limited capacity. Pdf 117 kb
ISLAMIC MEDICAL ETHICS: The IMANA Perspective Islam considers access to health care as a fundamental right of the individual. In medicine, there are sometimes difficult decision-making options for the patient’s care. Thus, a physician at times has to decide for his /her patient in light of available knowledge, his/her experience, his/her peers and consensus of the community. In addition, a Muslim physician derives his /her conclusion from rules of Islamic laws (Shari`ah) and Islamic medical ethics. The first main principle of Islamic Medicine is theemphasis on the sanctity of human life which derives from al-Qur’an Pdf 102 kb
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC'S SEX SCANDAL A measure of Islamic fundamentalists' success in controlling society is the depth and totality with which they suppress the freedom and rights of women. In Iran for 25 years, the ruling mullahs have enforced humiliating and sadistic rules and punishments on women and girls, enslaving them in a gender apartheid system of segregation, forced veiling, second-class status, lashing and stoning to death.  
Inter-Faith Declaration Opposes Discrimination Against People with HIV/AIDS
Churches and faith communities have declared their
 opposition to discrimination against people with 
HIV/AIDS. A joint inter-faith declaration adopted at the 
end of the 15th International AIDS Conference, which 
was held from 11 to 16 July in Bangkok, Thailand, 
contained contributions from Christians, Jews, Muslims, 
Buddhists and Hindus. It was drafted with support of the 
Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA).
 
Interfaith: Religious & Spiritual Groups Listing of various interfaith groups that can be accessed by the net  
Jerry Falwell Quotes from Jerry Falwell  

Jewish Theological and Ethical Reflections on AIDS

One other thing should be mentioned about the Jewish approach to medicine. While segments of Christianity see pain as salvational, basing themselves on the suffering of Jesus on the Cross, Judaism does not have any such doctrine. On the contrary, illness is seen as inherently demeaning, and so we must do all we can to prevent it. When somebody does fall ill, we must reassure the patient of his/her ongoing divine value despite any disability occasioned by the disease

 

Like other Muslim cultures with strictures against promiscuity and drug use, Egyptians have been slow to admit to a problem

A quarter-century after the AIDS virus began its grim march across the world and nearly 20 years after discovering its first AIDS patient, the Egyptian government has begun to offer anonymous HIV testing. ..It's not doing so because of an alarming rise in the number of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations have some of the lowest recorded HIV rates in the world, which political and religious leaders attribute to their traditional condemnation of promiscuity, drug use and other practices that help spread blood-borne infections like HIV.  
Message of Hope There is a very big manifestation of energy going on in today’s society.... it is focused around "hate" in all of society. Hate through media, hate through sports, hate through comedy, hate through stupid acts of violence, hate through culture movements and hate through bad mouthing and making stupid racist comments... society has taken a stupid pill... and they are about to overdose.... this is the tipping point about to take place... all we know today.... is about to shatter in our faces.   
Morality of Premarital Sex by Religiosity and Generation Premarital sex is an issue that most teenagers and young couples face as they enter new phases of their relationship.  The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a correlation between acceptance of sexual relations before marriage and religiosity or generation.  This study is a cross-sectional, secondary analysis of the variables PREMARSX, RELPERSN, and COHORT (which was recoded into three generation categories), which were extracted from the 1998 General Social Survey (GSS).  Data analysis of the three variables was performed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 10.0, applying Pearson's chi-square as the test of statistical significance and Cramer's V as the measure of association.  The results of this study indicate that very religious people are more inclined to view premarital sexual relations as always wrong.  When compared to the three generation categories, no significant correlation existed.  
Muslim Women Preachers Plot Strategy on HIV/AIDS
Enlisting the support of Muslim leaders is backed by 
the Indonesian government. "By taking the initiative 
to fight HIV/AIDS, it is our hope that women can make 
a difference in this patriarchal society," State Minister 
for Women's Empowerment Sri Redjeki Sumaryoto 
told the seminar
 

Muslims and HIV/AIDS

I believe that we can establish a modality in which Muslims can engage in the struggle to rid the world of the scourge of AIDS, while maintaining their religious and moral world view, and not compromise their religious beliefs.

 

Muslims, Islam, and AIDS The spread of HIV/AIDS within families brings up an interesting concern with addressing inconsistencies between intent and experience within the family: How do certain family structures create greater vulnerability? The first part of this presentation will look at an interesting paradox: the family, that institution through which human beings expect and receive their greatest nurturing, is the same institution that can create the greatest vulnerabilities in the spread of HIV/AIDS for women and children. When the structure of family itself causes vulnerability, critical examination is even more in order to construct ways that civil society can empower family members to challenge the abuses that occur within families. However, some see the very idea of challenging “family” as a disruption in social well being. Ultimately my question is: How can families empower all members equally despite vulnerability due to age or gender.  
Poverty, HIV and AIDS – the challenge to the Church in the new millennium

Let’s consider the reality we face in a different way:  An estimated total of 55 million people died during World War II:

1.             25 million military personnel

2.             25 million civilians

3.             5 million Jews

If we knew today that World War II would start next week or next year, what would we do to prevent the slaughter of millions of people?
 

Prevention Ministry

In 1989 a group of HIV positive men approached Sr. Anne to begin a spiritual support group for them because they were being rejected by local clergy. So she did -- at St. Joseph's hospital. As both proclamations put it, Sr. Anne began "ministering to a group of young men literally exiled from their community and alienated from families, churches, and society because they were infected with the HIV virus."

 

Ranting at the Apocalypse

The apocalyptic message of the religious right is that homosexuality and other "deviant" behavior must be cleansed from our society in order for the Kingdom of God to occur. On the other hand, the Kingdom must be preceded by an apocalypse, so sinful behaviors and their resultant earthly punishments (e.g. AIDS) must precede the "End."

 

Religion and HIV

There is a growing momentum for churches to become involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Essentially they have no choice as increasing numbers congregants or their loved ones die and nowadays, according to one pastor, "you see more people at the cemeteries than at the soccer stadiums."

 

RELIGION-AFRICA: Integrating HIV/AIDS in Theological Curriculum

The church has been charged with responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Instead of standing with those who are living with HIV/AIDS, the church responded by associating the disease with a punishment from God. This added to the stigma, as it became increasingly held that those living with HIV/AIDS had somehow brought it upon themselves.

 

RELIGION AND HIV/AIDS Religion has always been part of social life in Asia and the Pacific. The region is the birthplace of such world religions as Hinduism and Buddhism as well as many other smaller but significant religions, from Sikhism to Shinto. At the same time, the region has often been tolerant, welcoming religions from outside. Today, Asia includes the largest Islamic countries in the world — Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Besides Islam, Christianity has also flourished in many countries in the region, to name a few, the Philippines, South Korea and the Pacific island nations. Pdf 465 kb

Religion and HIV/AIDS in Nigeria

 
As the HIV/AIDS crisis has spread throughout the world, HIV rates among Christian populations have remained significantly higher than among Muslim populations. This trend can be seen through the example of Nigeria, a state known for conflict between Muslim and Christian populations. With an HIV positive population of over 3 million, Nigeria has the second highest burden of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa.1 Within Nigeria, the highest prevalence rates are found in Christian areas of the country, such as Benue where 10% of the population is HIV positive. All of the states with an HIV prevalence rate above 6% are in the Christian area of the country.2 The prevalence rates within Muslim states, on the other hand, generally fall between 2-4%.  

Religions rise to Aids challenge

The role of religion in combating HIV/Aids can be a controversial one. Orthodox thinkers in most major faiths have, in the past, denounced those who fall ill with the virus that causes Aids, suggesting their fate is divine punishment for immoral behaviour - but no longer.

 

Religion’s Role in the Expansion of AIDS

Many humans understand the world via religion and religious morality, and they are raised and educated accordingly. In Islamic countries, this story is a sadder one. That is where many girls have to wear the Islamic hijab from childhood and Islamic moralities shape their lives in many ways. One of the most important of these “morals” is antagonism toward sex and sexual relations. The reality that many humans, all over the world, live with the superstitious belief that “sex before marriage” is non-acceptable and generally have a hostile attitude to sexuality is a crime of religion that one could write a great deal about. But when it comes to AIDS, this and other religious moral prove deadly and play a direct role in humans’ deaths.  
RELIGIOSITY AND ATTITUDES ON INTIMACY Implications for the HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Central Uganda In the prevailing scholarship, especially in the west, religion is accorded little power as a source of social change. In the developing world, however, this is not the case. The potential influence of religion is still recognized and appreciated. In 1962, Reinhard (1962) maintained that Weber’s idealistic interpretation of religion was reasserting itself and that we had to seriously consider religion in our nations’ policy packages for social change and development. His discovery is no less true today than it was then. Religion has once again become a major layer in public policy and today’s power plays are greatly influenced by religious ideology. The major hypothesis of this paper is that there is a negative correlation between religiosity and premarital sexual permissiveness. This religiosity, however, is not solely based upon one’s religious membership and/or on the frequency of one’s church attendance. It has far greater impact on the daily lives of the people in Uganda. Pdf 268 kb
Religious belief could be harnessed to better fight HIV/AIDS, says study Prevention strategies for the spread of HIV/AIDS should harness religious belief and practice, especially in societies such as Guyana where religious affiliation remains strong," wrote the study's authors in an article published in the March 2007 issue of the International Journal of STD and AIDS. Pdf 12 kb
Religious constraints on reporting HIV/AIDS in Nigeria In virtually every society, religion wields a powerful and tremendous influence in the lives of the populace. Many of the rules and regulations that guide and determine the laws of the land and shape ideologies and life styles emanate from prevalent religious beliefs and practices. This is especially true of Nigeria, where religion has become a dominant part of the people’s social life.  

Religious Involvement, Coping, Social Support, and Psychological Distress in HIV-Seropositive African American Mothers

 

This study used a cross-sectional design to examine the role of religious involvement within a stress-process framework. Participants were 252 urban, low-income HIV-seropositive African American mothers. The relationships among religious involvement, stress, coping responses, social support, and psychological distress were examined using structural equation modeling. The number of stressors reported by the mother was related to greater religious involvement, which in turn was negatively related to psychological distress. Furthermore, the results suggest that social support, active coping, and avoidant coping responses mediated the relationship between religious involvement and psychological distress. According to the present results, interventions to attenuate psychological distress in HIV-seropositive African American mothers might focus on increasing social support, promoting active coping, and decreasing avoidant coping. The present findings suggest that this may be accomplished, in part, by promoting involvement in religious institutions and practices. However, in light of the cross-sectional design used in the present study, and given that religion may have both positive and negative consequences further research is needed to determine the extent to which promoting religiosity may increase or alleviate distress  

Religious Leaders

As religious people there is a call to respond with love to everyone, especially those who are suffering.  People living with HIV/AIDS have many physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  However, PWAs are frequently afraid to approach their religious leaders for fear of facing condemnation, rejection and judgment, with the result that many lack the spiritual care and support they need and deserve

410 kb pdf

Response of religious groups to HIV/AIDS as a sexually transmitted infection in Trinidad

HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination are significant determinants of HIV transmission in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), where the adult HIV/AIDS prevalence is 2.5%. T&T is a spiritually-aware society and over 104 religious groups are represented. This religious diversity creates a complex social environment for the transmission of a sexually transmitted infection like HIV/AIDS. Religious leaders are esteemed in T&T's society and may use their position and frequent interactions with the public to promote HIV/AIDS awareness, fight stigma and discrimination, and exercise compassion for people living with HIV/AIDS (PWHA). Some religious groups have initiated HIV/AIDS education programs within their membership, but previous studies suggest that HIV/AIDS remains a stigmatized infection in many religious organizations. The present study investigates how the perception of HIV/AIDS as a sexually transmitted infection impacts religious representatives' incentives to respond to HIV/AIDS in their congregations and communities. In correlation, the study explores how the experiences of PWHA in religious gatherings impact healing and coping with HIV/AIDS.  
Responses of the Faith-Based Organisations In the era of HIV/AIDS, FBOs have been the recipients of many accusations: of being a ‘sleeping giant’; of promoting stigmatising and discriminating attitudes based on fear and prejudice; of pronouncing harsh moral judgments on those infected; of obstructing the efforts of the secular world in the area of prevention; and of reducing the issues of AIDS to simplistic moral pronouncements, that have not made Churches or Mosques places of refuge and solace, but places of exclusion to all those “out there” who are but 'suffering the consequences of their own moral debauchery and sin.'’ Pdf 473 kb
Satan Triumphant: The Black Death Imagine, that a mere five days after having read this that all of your best friends have succumbed to an illness which cannot be explained. Imagine also, that all the residents who live on your street have died under similar circumstances in the same amount of time. If you can conceive of such a dreaded act occurring within your experience than you may have some glimpse into the mindset of the mid-14th century European who was unfortunate enough to have experienced the BLACK DEATH.  

Scaling Up Effective Partnerships

(Large report-increase download time)
A guide to working with faith-based organizations in the response to HIV and AIDS Pdf 1800 kb
Seizing Tomorrow However, on the positive side, the church is beginning to respond to this crisis in a mature and responsible manner. Although the church got a slow start in its response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in West Africa, I believe it is the church, church-related organizations and individual Christians who are leading the way in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This crisis has forced the church to think and act and do things differently than before Pdf 215 kb

Sermon Ideas

As people of faith we believe that it is just to fight against discrimination, to fight for a just sharing of resources so that all people wherever they happen to live on this globe have the same access to prevention, care and treatment. This conviction should also give us the courage to stand up and persistently approach those who oppose just solutions, whether in the churches, the industry or the government.

 

Sex, Drugs, HIV/Aids And Religion

This paper provides a basic presentation of facts about HIV prevalence, transmission principles, prevention strategies and issues. The second part begins to explore the relationship between HIV/AIDS, homosexuality and religion

 

Sexual Attitudes and Abstinence Among Christian Youth

This section and the next examines what youth say about five sexual behaviors at various stages of a relationship: the first date when the couple are strangers, the dating stage, the going together stage, the "in love" stage, and the planning to be married stage.  Inasmuch as possible, each stage is examined separately except when the statistical assumptions were violated.  In this case, categories were collapsed in logical ways.  Percentages that are bold-faced signify that that particular percentage was statistically different from chance, as revealed by an analysis of standardized residuals.  Finally, it should be noted that the construction of the survey question forced respondents to select the one sexual behavior that represented the limit of their sexual expression at each stage of relationship  
Sexual Attitudes and Abstinence Among Christian Youth This section and the next examines what youth say about five sexual behaviors at various stages of a relationship: the first date when the couple are strangers, the dating stage, the going together stage, the "in love" stage, and the planning to be married stage.  Inasmuch as possible, each stage is examined separately except when the statistical assumptions were violated.  In this case, categories were collapsed in logical ways.  Percentages that are bold-faced signify that that particular percentage was statistically different from chance, as revealed by an analysis of standardized residuals.  Finally, it should be noted that the construction of the survey question forced respondents to select the one sexual behavior that represented the limit of their sexual expression at each stage of relationship.  Because of this limitation, there is not a direct way to compare their attitude against their behavior  
Sexual Attitudes and Abstinence Among Christian Youth Part 1 I wish I had an answer to this dilemma.  For Christian families, public school options that teach comprehensive sex education will not be satisfactory since it will include information on masturbation, contraception and homosexuality.  For other Christian families, the favored abstinence program will fall short if contraception is not included since a significant portion of the teens will become sexually active.  Further, many programs will fail to show how many precoital sexual behaviors in addition to sexual intercourse carry the risk of STDs.  I am firmly persuaded that Christian parents must not cease trying to be salt and light to people in their community, and this includes speaking out for an appropriate. age-graded sex education curriculum.  On the other hand, parents must accept primary responsibility for educating their children about sexuality.  This should begin when the infant is in the cradle, when she cannot understand a word being said.   
Sexual Attitudes and Abstinence Among Christian Youth Part 2 I made a disturbing claim: the message that the Church preaches on sex fails to affect a significant proportion of the Church's young people.  This is due in part to the nature of the message in that youth are asked to make ethical choices based on legalistic rules rather than sound Biblical principles that by necessity must include the concept of the one-flesh union.  The prohibition of premarital intercourse, when followed, fails to provide any help on deciding exactly what behaviors are appropriate at various levels of intimacy.  This leads to youth testing the limits of the prohibition rule by any means imaginable to the point that oral sex (and most other sexual expressions) become permissible, at least in later stages of intimacy (however vaguely defined).  The impotence of the Church can also be traced to the strong societal influences that affect youth, such as the media, peer pressure, and relaxed values and morality  
Sexuality and Public Policy While there are obvious civil liberty issues concerning social and governmental oversight of personal sexual behavior, human sexuality is in fact an activity which is highly regulated by society through custom, religion and legislation.  Even those who adopt a libertarian attitude toward sexuality tend to respect modern social prohibitions regarding certain behaviors, e.g. incest, rape, and sex involving children.   By contrast, historically some these practices have been tolerated to varying degrees in certain cultures while many other practices currently considered acceptable have been prohibited.  In general, prevailing sexual behaviors are consistent with and governed by prevailing social attitudes. (Report contains several graphs and charts concerning sexual behavior)  
Sexuality, sin and disease - Theological and Ethical Issues Posed by HIV/AIDS to the Churches I offer these reflections to the theological discussion on AIDS from the perspective of a physician specializing in immunology. As a Christian - though not a formal theologian - I hope my comments will contribute to the understanding of this pandemic and suggest some ways those of us in the churches can approach it. I will concentrate on the medical but also psychological aspects of the problem, for these are an important factor in how the problem of AIDS is perceived, and in our reactions to it. I will also explore the themes of sin and guilt in relation to AIDS.  

Some Theological and Ethical Reflections on AIDS

"Who can separate us from the love of Christ? ... I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:35a, 3839, NRSVB). 

Isn't it a paradox. The one writer in the bible who has most fervently been used to fan the flames of homophobia and assisted the church in its repression of gays and lesbians, is the same writer who gives us the words quoted above, words which ought to be recited at every AIDS Christian healing service, at every AIDS interfaith conference, at every Christian funeral or memorial service for one who has died of AIDS related complications

 

Spiritually Rooted Diseases Behind every health issue and every emotional or spiritual problem resides the "Spirit of Fear." The Spirit of Fear is the Devil's faith working in people by using lies to control them. And if we dwell on those lies long enough, we will begin to believe them, thus resulting in responding to them which can lead to all kinds of problems. We need to discover the root behind our problems.  

STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION

Stigma is as old as history. While the word dates back to ancient Greek times and refers to the physical mark made by fire or with knives on individuals or groups considered outsiders or inferiors, the concept appears universal. In different cultures and at different times, slaves, criminals and adulterers – or those suspected of being slaves, criminals and adulterers – have been branded or otherwise physically marked.

 

Stigma and Religion: An Inevitable Partnership?
"Stigma almost killed me" related one delegate who had been 
ostracized from her church because of her HIV status. Her 
statement underlined the continuing damage of HIV-related 
stigma, and the role of religious leaders in reducing 
discrimination
 

The African Religious Leaders Assembly on Children and HIV/AIDS – Africa

Participants, who were chosen to ensure religious, geographic, and gender diversity, sought concrete support from the G8 leaders convening in late June in Kananaskis, Canada. They also organised the delivery of a plan of action to combat stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, as well as the role of faith-based groups in context of Global Trust Fund implementation strategy.

 

THE ABC Disaster Since the introduction of ABC there has been scepticism, but almost of an apologetic sort. What could be heard was that abstinence is "of course" the ideal but since the reality is different, the messages should be targeting sexually active people. All couples being faithful is "of course" what we all would like to see, but since the reality is different, we need to talk a lot about condoms. Over the years, the A and B of the ABC tend to get a lot more emphasis than the C (clearly reflected in the materials and manuals where condoms feature on the last one or two pages of the teachers' guide). Something else also happened in the process: a whole generation of teachers, counsellors, and others involved in educating young people, who themselves enjoyed an at that time unprecedented sexual freedom in their adolescent years, are preaching abstinence without even confronting their own history, desires and practices within what they preach  
THE AIDS CRISIS IN AMERICA AND THE RESPONSE OF THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY: THE CHALLENGE AND THE CHARGE A disease which was earlier identified with gay White males, now afflicts the heterosexual Black community with a vengeance. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, the American religious community has failed to speak out on this critical issue. The Black Church and African American Muslims have been virtually silent, reticent in the face of an epidemic that threatens to annihilate a generation of black people

 

The Black Death I say, then, that the years of the fruitful Incarnation of the Son of God had attained to the number of one thousand three hundred and forty-eight, when into the notable city of Florence, fair over every other of Italy, there came to death-dealing pestilence, which, through the operation of the heavenly bodies or of our own iniquitous doings, being sent down upon mankind for our correction by the just wrath of God, had some years before appeared in the parts of the East and after having bereft these latter of an innumerable number of inhabitants, extending without cease from one place to another, had now unhappily spread towards the West.  
The Canadian Church and the HIV/AIDS Pandemic "We [Canadian Christians] could have been a leader," she says, in the struggle against the pandemic that has killed millions. "I don't know why we allow other issues to supersede our compassion. But we do."  
The Church's involvement in the Bubonic Plague The blame that the flaggelants placed on the Jews continued after their group dissolved, despite the efforts of Catholic officials and attempts of secular authorities to prevent their outbursts (Strayer, 1983). The flaggelants had helped to spread the belief that Jews infected cities' wells with the Plague element through the use of contaminated vials. Fears were heightened as it was discovered that Jews would not take water from city wells. (In order to keep Jewish kosher laws, Jews had to draw water from country springs.) In September, 1348, eleven Jews were charged with contaminating a well in a small southern German town. The men were tortured, and each eventually confessed (falsely) to the deed. Their trial and executions set off a wave of terrible acts against Jews in Switzerland and Germany. Zurich was the first city to take action against the Jewish community by voting never to admit Jews into thier city (Giblin, 1995). Jews in Basel, Strasburg, and Brussels were herded into wooden barns and burned alive. Others in Germany were burned at the stake. Pope Clement VI asked that gentiles treat Jews with tolerance, but this request was not granted. The Church had lost authority during the Plague, and now had few loyal followers.  

The Impact of Faith-based organizations

Faith Based Organizations often have a direct impact on social institutions, such as schools, which socialize people and change values over time.  In addition, their jurisdiction often includes a number of areas closely connected to HIV/AIDS, such as morality, beliefs about the spiritual bases of disease, and rules of family life and sexual activity.

503 kb pdf

The Impact of Faith Identity on the health and healthcare of Pakistani Muslims

Two historical frameworks dominate European discourse about Muslim identity.  First, the Enlightenment notion that religion is a private matter to be disassociated from public life, particularly from the scientific enterprise.  Secondly, the Orientalist tradition of portraying Islam as inferior to Western culture and Muslims as people to be feared and controlled.  These discursive practices have consequences for the everyday lives of Pakistani Muslims in the UK and for their healthcare and health  
The Impact of Islam and Its Teachings on Preservation of Individual and Public Health
Islam differs from other religions in that it concerns itself 
with both this life as well as the here after. It is the only 
religion which has built on earth a state and a society. 
Hence all the instructions for administrating such a 
society descended directly from heaven. Some concern 
the ruling system, others social and economic dealings in 
addition to the hygienic regime.
 

THE INTERRELATIONSHIP OF RACISM AND AIDS

From the perspective of this writer, it requires serious denial to avoid the conclusion that racism and AIDS are intimately interrelated- However, it is not nearly as easy to comprehend how or why this reality exists and will not easily disappear. I believe the problem is not due to our failure to understand H1V/AIDS so much as our failure to understand racism.

 

The Muslim Face of AIDS

On a cold December evening in the southern Iranian city of Kerman, the stars blazed overhead as a father took his son’s life. Enraged, and with an ax in hand, the head of a prominent Iranian family chopped his child to pieces for bringing shame upon his relatives. The son’s crime? Contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In a country where, in some parts, nearly 60 percent of HIV–positive citizens take their own lives within the first year of their diagnosis, the 23-year-old son faced little chance of acceptance, even from his family.  

The Muslim View Of Homosexuality

The article begins with the fact that there are gay Muslim groups just as adamant as their Christian and Jewish counterparts in declaring that their holy scriptures and religious philosophy do not oppose homosexuality. This argument is directly challenged by Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, described by El-Awady as a highly esteemed Islamic scholar. Al-Qaradawi states that Islamic beliefs are squarely against gay relationships because Allah created opposites to attract including the attraction between man and woman as the means to continue the existence of the human species. He then goes on to quote several passages from the Koran:  

The need to act now: HIV/AIDS and development

How does HIV/AIDS make poor people poorer? Young adults - the parents or money-earners of the family - are most likely to be affected. Becoming ill means the most basic of tasks, such as putting food on the table, become almost impossible. Lack of food reduces your ability to fight HIV-related disease.

 

The New Scarlet Letter: A for AIDS

When someone finds out you’re HIV positive or have AIDS … you can lose your wife, your kids, your job, your business partners, and the support of your church. Even going to county courthouse for welfare and to apply for help in paying for medications is risky.

 

The Role of Religious Leaders in Reducing Stigma and Discrimination Religious leaders have a unique catalytic role to play in addressing stigma and discrimination within communities.  Religious leaders can influence a community’s response.  Unfortunately, many religious leaders have spoken in judgment against HIV/AIDS equating it to sin that afflicts un-believers and those who have fallen short in their morals.  Ironically, religion is full of hope for those who suffer and this can be translated into action to support those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.  
The Root Of Homophobia As is the case with racism, numerous and complex societal factors contribute to homophobia. Moreover, as with racism, homophobia is based on prejudice towards those who are different. The primary source of homophobia in most Western nations seems to be the Judaeo-Christian religious tradition of opposition to homosexuality, justified by certain passages in Scripture (although in recent years certain "progressive" branches of Protestantism and Judaism are increasingly accepting of homosexuality). From its roots in religion, homophobia has institutionalized itself in the law (in many states one can be legally fired for being homosexual), psychology (until 1980, homosexuality was deemed a mental disorder by the official diagnostic manual of psychology, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the military (unlike any other minority, avowed homosexuals may not enlist or serve in the armed forces) and popular culture (homosexuals until very recently were usually depicted in movies and on television as either depressed, diseased, deranged, or preying on children).  

THE TRUTH ABOUT AIDS

Many officials want to battle the AIDS epidemic by passing out condoms to almost everybody and giving free needles to drug users. Such measures may help reduce the risk of AIDS for people with sinful lifestyles, and I hope some lives are spared. But I’m afraid the overall effect may be to spread Satan’s lie. The condom and the needle proclaim, “You people are just animals. You can’t be expected to do anything right, so don’t even try. Here’s a way to improve your chances of survival while doing wrong.”

 

Theological Education: HIV/AIDS and Other Challenges Clearly, this framework does not subscribe to perspectives which, for whatever reason, hold that certain groups of people, be it on the basis of their ethnicity, health status, gender, race, age, class, or sexual orientation should be subjugated, oppressed or denied their God-given human dignity. In this framework, salvation is liberation from spiritual, physical, economic, cultural and politically oppressive and exploitative structures and institutions. In this framework, social structures and institutions that sanction oppression and exploitation do not represent God's will, and must be counteracted by those of us who accept our role as co-creators in keeping the earth sacred, good, and balanced.  
Theology of compassion
When each one of us is so equally dependent on that 
grace – we need to go slowly in our handing out of labels
 of “innocent” and “guilty”, “worthy of compassion” and
 “unworthy of compassion.”  My bother, son or father who 
is on umrah can be infected with HIV by the blade that 
is used to shave his hair. Will we ask him to wear 
a label – “touched but innocent” around his neck when 
it comes to light that he is HIV+, will we leave his food 
at his bedroom door so that we can not be touched; will 
we say that the word condom must never be used so that 
he will suffer for the rest of his life the absence 
of the great joys that the beast also brings?
 

Those on the Margins

AIDS is like a lens bringing critical issues into focus, including the inscrutable complexities of human sexuality, motivation and behavior, the shameful economic disparities and xenophobic prejudices that exist in society, and the obligations of those with resources to share equitably and even sacrificially with those who are in great need.

 

TO HELL WITH AIDS

“Forget about rural areas, here in Dar only there are those who believe Aids is rich people’s disease. They strongly believe it cannot touch them. True, they do not have the money to engage in risky attitudes where they can contract HIV but we live in closed communities. Interaction between people at all level happens and many contract Aids not because they themselves play around but because they get it from their unfaithful partners,” one community elder in Mbagala, Dar told The Express.

 

Towards a Christian Aid Policy on HIV/AIDS

This Policy Paper sets out Christian Aid’s corporate response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the beliefs and principles that underpin this response, and the specific policy commitments we aim to fulfill. The HIV/AIDS Strategy Paper (now being developed separately) will outline how we intend to resource and fulfill these commitments over the period 2001-2004

 

TUNTUNAN SYARI'AT ISLAM DLAM BERSIKAP,
Sebagai agama yang ajarannya penuh rahmat bagi 
penghuni dunia ini (rahmatan lil-'alamiin), Islam telah 
memberikan tuntunan-tuntunan bagi pemeluknya. 
Ajaran Islam sarat dengan tuntunan untuk merawat 
dan memperlakukan orang yang sakit dengan baik. 
'Iyadah al-maridh yang sangat digalakkan oleh Islam
 sebenarnya tidak hanya berarti menengok orang sakit,
 sebagaimana yang dipahami selama ini, melainkan 
juga berarti merawat dan mengobati orang yang sakit.
 
Various Christian Beliefs concerning illness
The Word of God also shows us that we have all been 
offered the very same gift of eternal life from God our 
Father through His Son Jesus Christ
 
VIRGIN SYMBOL AND BODY: CHRISTIAN AND AFRICAN TRADITIONAL BELIEFS ON SEXUALITY IN RELATION TO THE PROBLEM OF HIV/AIDS One Sunday, I read an article that reported that more and more virgin girls are being raped by men who believe this will "cleanse" them of the disease AIDS. After finishing reading, it once again freshly daunted me that these beliefs around the symbol of virginity had actually shaped my early general education on sexuality by both my African and Christian Catholic traditions. As a uniquely embodied African Christian woman in South Africa, I have experienced my body through the learned roles and expectations from both my community (family and relatives) and Christian (Catholic) tradition, apprehended and communicated to me through the symbol of virginity. Virginity, as a symbol of purity in both my (African) culture and (Catholic) Christian tradition meant behaviour and practices fitting the image of purity, as contrasted with polluting activities. On the one hand, my mother told me that, in order to have a blessed and stable marriage I should enter into the institution of marriage in a pure bodily condition, that is, not having known any man through sexual intercourse. My Roman Catholic Sunday school teacher (who was a nun), on the other hand, instructed me that virginity is a gift of holiness from God. Basing this education in sexuality on Pauline tradition, she went on to quote St. Paul  

Vulnerabilities: HIV and AIDS

The spread of HIV/AIDS within families brings up an interesting concern with addressing inconsistencies between intent and experience within the family: How do certain family structures create greater vulnerability? The first part of this presentation will look at an interesting paradox: the family, that institution through which human beings expect and receive their greatest nurturing, is the same institution that can create the greatest vulnerabilities in the spread of HIV/AIDS for women and children. When the structure of family itself causes vulnerability, critical examination is even more in order to construct ways that civil society can empower family members to challenge the abuses that occur within families. However, some see the very idea of challenging “family” as a disruption in social well being

 

What Role Does Islam Have In Fighting HIV/AIDS?
It's taken the Muslim world a couple of decades, but people 
in leadership positions have started to tackle the reality of 
HIV/AIDS among Muslim  populations, particularly in hard-hit 
areas such as Africa or Asia. Last year,  an international 
conference of Muslim leaders convened to begin sharing 
strategies, such as Uganda's " Jihad on AIDS" project and 
a  women's education program in Indonesia.
 
When religion becomes a weapon of mass destruction We never met face-to-face, but we communicated daily. “Joshua” was an accomplished dancer, musician, painter and sculptor living in Kampala. He was a lead dancer in several companies. His sculptures and paintings had been purchased by the president of Uganda. He was finishing his studies in Organizational Studies at the university. The future looked bright, until his evangelical Christian parents discovered he was gay. His father informed the police and had his 25-year-old son arrested  

When the hate comes from 'churches'

 

Rosemary Radford Ruether, professor of applied theology at the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., estimates there are some 50,000 "core" adherents who call themselves "Identity Christians." But writing in the Chicago Tribune recently, she also noted that "they have recently targeted alienated white youth in affluent suburbs and have considerable presence through a number of Web sites and the promotion of racist music aimed at the young."  
Why Reach Out to Persons with AIDS? A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.—Mark 1:40-42.  
Why Religion Matters: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability Religious practice appears to have enormous potential for addressing today's social problems. As summarized in 1991 by Allen Bergin, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, considerable evidence indicates that religious involvement reduces "such problems as sexual permissiveness, teen pregnancy, suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, and to some extent deviant and delinquent acts, and increases self esteem, family cohesiveness and general well being.... Some religious influences have a modest impact whereas another portion seem like the mental equivalent of nuclear energy.... More generally, social scientists are discovering the continuing power of religion to protect the family from the forces that would tear it down."  
Working with people living with HIV/AIDS organizations This document has been written to accompany World Council of Churches, Partnerships between Churches and People Living with HIV/AIDS Organizations: Guidelines, (2005). Whereas the partnership document explores the question of why churches should work with People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) organizations and networks, this document has a focus on how churches may work with PLWHA organizations and networks. For example: What issues do you need to think about? What are the needs of PLWHA? How should you interact PLWHA? It is hoped that this document of practical suggestions will assist in helping make partnerships functional and effective  

You've got AIDS? Go to hell!

“They told me I could go to hell for all they care. I tried to phone them so many times, and each time they would hang up on me.” Unfortunately, this is a common story in Thailand. On top of the trauma of having to come to terms with having HIV and the scarcity of affordable treatment, sufferers often face abandonment by their families

 

 

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