Okay, so I'm a couple days late for World AIDS Day, but there's still much to be said and done to address this terrible epidemic that afflicts 40 million people worldwide.
While the controversy over Barack Obama's presence at Rick Warren's second annual Global Summit on AIDS dominated much coverage of that event, Warren's wife, Kay, was interviewed by Newsweek about the role Christians can play in fighting AIDS.
A few quotes:
I had to start from scratch and educate myself [about AIDS]. I started going to medical conferences and was quickly overwhelmed by its size and scope. I went to one at UCLA, and a woman approached and asked me who I was. I told her I’m a pastor’s wife, and she said, “Well hallelujah, the church is finally here.” That to me is a metaphor of what has happened over the last four years.
[...] There’s a stigma with AIDS in this country. I’ve had breast cancer, and people ask why I don’t advocate for breast cancer, and I say because there’s no stigma. The fact is the gay community was hit the hardest in the U.S., where [approximately] 50 percent of people with AIDS are gay or bisexual men. My response to that is, “So what?” Should that change our level of compassion? Of course not. That doesn’t give us a pass to look the other way. And to the extent that the church has in the past has been a great mistake. That was sinful of us. It was not a Christ-like response. That’s one of the reasons it took me so long to catch on—my sense was that I thought it was largely a gay disease. And I’ve cried bitter tears over that. But the good thing is that it now allows me to reach into the hearts of other evangelicals who think that way and to say that I know where they’re sitting because that’s where I sat and that we’re wrong to think that way.
[...] I decided pretty much off the bat that we had to do this conference. Nobody in the church was convening to talk about the unique role of the church in combating this. Because neither the government nor the private sector can do the things that the church can.
[...] we also have moral authority. Government doesn’t have moral authority; nor does the private sector. And on top of that, the church has a motivation that’s different than anyone else’s. The government may feel responsible to protect its citizens; the private sector gets involved because of a profit motive. But people who follow Christ, we have a motivation that outlasts all of those, and that is the motivation of love.
(hat tip: Jesus Politics)