Nice column in the Washington Post by the son of Billy Graham
In many ways today, HIV/AIDS has the same stigmas as leprosy did in Bible times. Leprosy was considered a death sentence. Victims were considered unclean and shunned by their families and communities. Yet, Jesus reached out to them, touched them, loved them, and healed them. This is the perfect representation of how the church should respond to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Unfortunately, there is still no cure for HIV/AIDS. But researchers have developed antiretroviral medications that can suppress the virus to the point where victims can now add years to their lives. It’s important that we make that help available to as many people as possible.
As the United States, United Nations and other organizations invest billions of dollars in the fight against HIV/AIDS, it’s crucial that they work with churches and faith-based organizations. In much of the developing world and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, no other institution has more influence than the local church. Former President George W. Bush recognized this, and I am glad to see that he is a keynote speaker at AIDS 2012. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), launched in 2003, was a landmark in the international response to AIDS—not only because of the unprecedented funding, but also because it involved faith-based organizations in the grass-roots implementation of programs. Starting with PEPFAR, Samaritan’s Purse has reached 1.25 million people with information on how to prevent the spread of HIV. We’ve also provided 200,000 with HIV testing and counseling.
Hitthe link above for the whole essay.