Monday, August 14, 2006

Black Leaders Urge Fight Against AIDS et al

Black Leaders Urge Fight Against AIDS - AP

Why the U.S. Has Not Stemmed HIV - Washington Post

Black America Must Confront AIDS - Washington Post

Julian Bond, the NAACP, and other Black leadership are finally taking to the stage to collect their ‘better late than never’ awards for calling overdue attention to the AIDS epidemic. Sadly, and with the scourge of the disease firmly resident in the Black community, the highest-level Black leaders have finally found their voices.

But it will take more than a few words to move Black clergy and their congregations from the homophobic sermonizing that has been a hallmark and distracting gauntlet, over the past 25 years. Yes, twenty-five years!

Now that AIDS has completely jumped to the heterosexual community, one fear is that Black church leaders will figure out how to partition Black gay men out of their initiatives for battling the disease. This continuing blame-game would only compound the tragedy, and further the spread.

Is there hope that Black clergy, across the nation, might experience a level of divine inspiration that will allow them to set aside judgments and tend to the whole ‘flock’? Perhaps, but homophobia runs deep in the Black community, driving gay men even deeper into their closeted lives.

Only time will reveal if therapies to treat and prevent AIDS, which have gained significant footing, will continue to face their biggest challenge, in part, from the pulpit.

James C. Collier


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