Sunday, December 2, 2007

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day, which has been observed on December 1 since 1988 as a way to continue to focus attention on the AIDS pandemic, to raise awareness of the problems facing those with HIV/AIDS, and to memorialize those who have died. As we have done for several years, our church (the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship) has joined with other gay-friendly congregations to offer an interfaith service on this day. Today’s service included short sermons by several ministers on the theme Would Jesus Discriminate?, with the general consensus being that if he could hang out with lepers and adulterers, he would be fine with the HIV-infected, although I bet if I were HIV infected, I might get tired of being lumped together with the lepers and the adulterers. A combined choir of members of several churches (including my husband) sang, and there was a short skit about how churches should be welcoming of everyone, although most discrimination in churches is a lot more subtle than this skit portrayed...well, except for the churches that preach that homosexuality is an abomination against God. I guess that’s pretty blatant. A collection was taken to support the work of FAHASS, which has been providing HIV/AIDS support services in the Fredericksburg area for 15 years. The most moving part of the service was the presentation by a man who spoke very honestly about his life since contracting the virus 20 years ago, from the darkest days following his diagnosis, up to his life today as a husband and father, and the profound changes, ultimately for the better, that dealing with being HIV positive has made in his life. And then, at the end, candles lit in remembrance of those who have died from AIDS, and to honor those living with HIV/AIDS.

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