Archive for the 'religion' Category


T.D. Jakes Challenges Black Churches to End Silence on AIDS

Nationally renowned pastor, Bishop T.D. Jakes, in a strongly worded commentary written exclusively for the Black Press of America, appealed to black churches around the nation to join a unified strategy to deal with the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in the black community.

“We are on the roof again,” stated the pastor of more than 30,000 at the Potter’s House in Dallas, recalling the long wait of African Americans to be rescued during Hurricane Katrina. In that crisis, blacks largely had to save each other and themselves as many died.

Jakes called for black churches to join with other caring organizations to force the federal government to release tax money to help end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in which blacks are dying at least seven times faster than whites.

“I realize that as Sen. [Hillary] Clinton stated, if this were killing whites in the way it is killing blacks, it wouldn’t be their pastors who would have to take on such a daunting task and it would not be tithe money but tax money that would be used for resource.”

The Congressional Black Caucus has committed to drafting a bill that would help fund programs to end the AIDS epidemic in black America.

“These funds would include all of our tax dollars that have been directed elsewhere while we die,” Jakes wrote.

The commentary, released by the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, is part of a series of 25 all-star op-editorials written exclusively for the Black Press as part of the Center for Disease Control’s “Heightened Response” to HIV/AIDS in the black community.

“This time we must not wait,” Jakes wrote. He commended many churches for having spent thousands of dollars to address the rising rate of HIV/AIDS. But he calls upon those who may have resisted involvement due to long-held stigmas and prejudices about the disease that once appeared to predominantly plague homosexuals. Stats outlined in the commentary shows that HIV/AIDS is now ravaging black heterosexuals—particularly black women—at astronomical rates.

“We must work to get all groups to a healthy condition,” wrote Jakes. “We cannot care just for those we agree with. We must help all hurting people to safety and then debate later the many complications of our times.

The first two were written by Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute, a partner in the op-ed series, and actor/activist Danny Glover.

Source: Frost Illustrated


Nigerian university which has imposed compulsory HIV testing for its graduates

Taken from BBC News – Aug 20, 2007

“The National Universities Commission (NUC) says it has summoned the leadership of Covenant University to explain its controversial policy.

“We are trying to find out if it’s true that students are being tested for HIV and pregnancy,” an Nuc spokesman said.

Nigeria’s AIDS control agency says the new policy is illegal.

But the Covenant University says its policy had been misunderstood by the media.

“We are not testing our students for HIV,” Covenant University spokesman Emmanuel Igban told the BBC News website.

“What we do is a general medical test at the point of entry or admission and at graduation.”

The university says it wants to produce “total graduates” which means in addition to passing all examinations, Covenant University graduates must be “morally upright” too.

The National Agency for the Control of Aids (Naca) calls the university’s action “a breach of the fundamental human rights of the students.”

So this is what I want to know…
Does this mean that the University may be saying that if students have HIV or are pregnant they are not “morally upright”?  How can a medical test determine morality?   Very sad…I hope it’s all a misunderstanding.


Tyler Perry reflects on helping a homeless woman with AIDS

From Tyler Perry:
writer and actor

This morning I awoke and was so frustrated about all of the stuff that I’m dealing with in trying to get this studio open. I was about to open my mouth and start complaining when I remembered something that happened to me about a year ago.

I was walking to my car when this woman who appeared to be homeless started walking towards me. I’m ashamed to say this but I thought, “I don’t feel like being hustled today.” Then I got quickly convicted. I felt guilty so I started digging in my pocket for some money. As she got closer I noticed that she had the kindest eyes that I had ever seen. As I was reaching into my pocket she started to speak. I thought, “Here goes the sales pitch”. She said “Excuse me sir, I need some shoes. Can you help me?” My eyes filled with water because I remember being out on the streets a nd having only one pair of run over shoes. I was taken aback for a second.

I took her inside the studio and had my wardrobe people find shoes in her size. As she put the shoes on she started crying, praising God and thanking Jesus, and saying, “My feet are off the ground! My feet are off the ground!” Several of the wardrobe people started crying. I was crying. But I never forgot those words. “My feet are off the ground!” I thought, “Wow! All she wanted was some shoes.” She quickly disappeared and never asked me for a dime. I realized that I still had the money in my hand so I went out looking for her. She was gone just that quick so I looked all around the neighborhood for her. I found her standing on a corner looking down at her shoes, still crying. I was so touched. I asked her how she had gotten homeless. She told me that she had AIDS and that she was waiting to get into a shelter. She said that her family had turned their backs on her and that she had no place to go, bu t she knew that God would make a way for her. I said to myself, “He just did.” Her faith and her praise moved me. I took her to a nearby hotel and put her up until she was able to get on her feet. I had someone that worked for me to check on her from time to time and to make sure that she had food and clothes. After about a month or so we lost touch, but I never forgot her.

This past summer I was shooting “Daddy’s Little Girls” and this woman walks up to me smiling. I didn’t recognize her face, but her eyes were familiar. She had on a really nice dress and her hair was done. It was her! She told me that the little help that I had given her had changed her life. She was in a house now and doing very well.

I said all of that to say this. After I met this woman, every time I think about complaining and mumbling I remember, “My feet are off the ground!”

I wanted to share this with you just to let you know that when I say that I am thankful for you, I mean it. An d when I say that you are a blessing to me, I mean it. We take so much for granted sometimes that I just wanted all of you to know that I am grateful to God for you everyday. Thank you for being in my life.

~Tyler Perry


Face to face with HIV: Meet those who know


Each of these individuals comes face to face with HIV on a daily basis. Listen to their hearts as they share openly what it’s like living with HIV or serving those who have HIV and be challenged to open your heart and mind to God’s plan for your ministry in the HIV/AIDS community.

‘It’s like living with the Sword of Damocles over your head’

Jerry and Sue Thacker

“What’s it like to live with HIV? It’s like living with the Sword of Damocles over your head. If you remember the story, Damocles’ sword was attached by a hair to the ceiling, and he was made to stand under it. If that hair broke, the sword would go right down through his head. That’s the way you feel living with HIV. Everything is filtered through that knowledge. When you get a cold, you wonder if it’s going to develop into pneumonia and you’re going to die.

“… The one thing that we have to remember about living with HIV is very simply this: It’s God who determines the day of our birth and the day of our death and all the days in between. Our job is to trust him, and glorify him, and serve others.”
— Jerry Thacker

‘My family: AIDS times three’ – Learn more about Jerry and Sue Thacker >>

‘It’s important for you to know there’s a lot of fear’

“And I think it’s important for you to know that there’s a lot of fear. I’m afraid; I’m afraid my meds will fail. I’m not afraid of dying; I’m afraid of being sick, and I think that’s true with most of us. When I die, I’ll go home to heaven, and that will be great. But what about in the meantime? And how long will it take? I’m very healthy now, thanks to God, but physically taking the pills every day – the cost, … the nausea, and I have neuropathy now because of the medication. That’s nerve ending damage in your feet, and it’s very painful. I take medication every three hours so I can walk.” — Kathi Winter

Learn from Kathi how to begin an HIV/AIDS support group >> | Hear Kathi’s heart-felt prayer for those with HIV >>

‘Don’t be afraid to talk to me’

HIV/AIDS Caring Community Reader

“I would hope you will not be afraid to talk with me or ask how I am doing or how God is using me; because he is, and the life I have now, as strange as it seems, I would not trade for the world. So don’t feel as though you have to tiptoe around me or hesitate to ask me to be involved or just hang out and talk.” – A reader shared this with us. Because of concerns for his family, he asked that his identity not be revealed.

Read this reader’s letter to pastors >> | Share your story >>

‘God doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve’

John Forbes

“It wasn’t until 2001 when I developed AIDS that the reality of my time on this planet was coming to an end. I knew I was going to die and have to stand in front of the One who spoke this world into existence. I was fearful of meeting Jesus. I had fallen from a place of ministry and service in the Body of Christ. I had been involved in sexual immorality. I knew I had a call on my life, and I certainly had not fulfilled it.

“In a moment of revelation, I saw the Lord on his throne and me approaching him. I just began to weep. I suddenly became aware of God’s love for me at that moment. Not with head knowledge but with an incredible sense of his presence. It overwhelmed me. I could not stop crying. God really is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love – he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. After all I had done, I was still met with his mercy.” — John Forbes

Read John’s story >> | Hear his passionate prayer for the Church >>

‘Could we shift the way we do church?’

“Is it possible that we can be a safe place for individuals to just talk about the worst things that live in them? The intimate conversations that keep all of us from each other? Is it possible that people can get that they are worth fighting for in the midst of where they’re at? Is it possible that we could shift the way we do church – where we are all things to all people? [Where we say,] ‘I care enough about you. You are worth fighting for. Please teach me who you are. I want to know who you are.'” Becky Kuhn, a physician who works with HIV positive individuals

Download “Building a Bridge to Someone with HIV: Friendships that Heal,” Dr. Kuhn’s presentation at the 2005 Disturbing Voices HIV/AIDS Conference >>