Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Is the Black Church Guilty of Criminal Negligence ?
This is a paragraph from a letter addressed to President Bush asking him to show leadership on the Dafur issue. This letter is endorsed by some very prominent and high profile black leaders some of which are preachers.
“Mr. President, we request that you demonstrate authentic leadership. Among the strategies you should pursue are:
1) immediate deployment of a robust UN peacekeeping force;
2) a no-fly zone over Darfur;
3) freezing the assets of all Sudanese officials involved in the genocide; and
4) pressure on China, a major buyer of Sudan's oil, to use its economic leverage to hold the Sudanese government accountable http://nativeson.wordpress.com/2007/01/16/naacps-open-letter-to-president-bush-the-time-is-now-for-sudan/
I have nothing against our black leaders or even those from the church bieng involved in the struggle to bring peace and justice to Africa but on the other hand I am profoundly disgusted and enraged over the lack of leadership and common sense shown especially by the black church on the aids issue. Below is a list of all of the preachers who signed the letter to George Bush. I did a google search entitled (Insert any of the Names below) position on aids in the black community.
1) Jamal Bryant
I could find no important statement addressing the aids crisis of black America.
2) Al Sharpton http://www.nationalactionnetwork.net/index.html
I could find no substantial statement or initiative on a plan to prevent aids in the black community, from Al Sharpton
3) Reverend Kimberly Barnes, Metropolitan A.M.E. Church
http://metropolitanamec.org/On-Demand%20Webcasts_Archive.htm I could find no position or statement or initiative on a plan to prevent and treat aids in the black community from Reverend Barnes,
4) Reverend Walter Fauntroy
I could find no statement or initiative on a plan to prevent and treat aids in the black community from the Reverend Walter Fauntroy
5) Bishop Vashti Mckenzie
http://www.ame-church.com/ She actually has made some statements concerning aids although she still has not endorsed a robust policy of condom use and distribution amongst black people who are not married.
6) Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Trinity United Church of Chicago
http://www.tucc.org/ministries.htm , I could find no signifigant initiative to fight aids in the black community although he dosent appear to be homophobic.
What I cannot not understand is why the church has not endorsed a policy of advocating condom use for unmarried black people as it is the most effective method of greatly reducing the spread of aids. I cannot understand why the black church has not advocated for testing of the entire black american community, I cannot understand why the black church has not created a united front to prevent the spread of aids in the black community as well as testing and treatment for those infected. I cannot understand why the black church structure has not instituted a policy of testing all of their members as well as others in the black community especially in light of Congresswoman Elanor Holmes Norton bold and necessary action of bieng tested publicly with the Congresional Black Cacause.
It is a well known fact that the rate of aids amongst black people worldwide including america is at epidemic levels. All of america was told starting over 15 years ago, by the surgeon general in no uncertain terms that aids was not a “gay” disease, but in fact it was spread by having unprotected sex with people infected with Hiv, straight or gay.
In fact here is a quote taken from the surgeon general yearly aids report of 1992.
“ How HIV Spreads HIV is in the blood, semen, or vaginal secretions of an infected person. The two main ways of spreading HIV are having sex and using contaminated needles to inject drugs. In addition, infected women can pass HIV infection to their newborns. Unprotected Sex Is Dangerous "Unprotected sex" is sex without a latex condom. HIV can be in semen (including the first drop of fluid, even before ejaculation) and in vaginal fluids. HIV can enter the body through the vagina, penis, rectum, and, when engaging in oral sex, through the mouth. Anal sex is especially risky for both men and women. Any form of unprotected sex is risky, including oral sex. Although condoms are not perfect, they are highly effective in preventing HIV and other STDs when used.”
Below are a list of facts that I believe to be undisputable and which are a total and scathing codemnation of the black churches activities to deal with the aids threat to black America.
Below are facts that I believe to be undisputable.
1) The surgeon general had been reported dating back to 1992 that aids was not caused by bieng gay, but long after 1992 the church was still dogmatically preaching that aids was a curse against homosexuals by god.
2) Many black single church going women have been infected with aids since 1992,long after the time Magic Johnson and Authur Ashe had already went public stating they had contracted hiv through heterosexual activity and a blood transfusion.
3) Black women make up over 73% of all new hiv cases and black children make up 63% of all known cases amongst children of hiv even though black people only comprise 13% percent of the population.
4) Most people black or white do not wait until they are maried to have. This is an obvious, well known and accepted fact by the general public. It just as well known in the black community and church, yet they will not adjust thier views to robustly promote condom use for all unmarried black people having sex. www.neowin.net/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t523027.html
5) Since the early 90's thier has been several documented cases of people knowingly infected others with hiv in fact many of these cases have been on the news over the years. http://www.aegis.com/news/lt/1991/LT910110.html
6) Since the early 1990's commercials have aired on the radio and tv announcing that aids was spread thru having unprotected sex with hiv infected people, still no official policy of promoting condom use amongst unmarried black people.
7) Church officials were fully aware of the fact most black people (as well as the general public) have sex before marraige, they absolutely were fully aware of it because of the high out of wedlock birthrate and abortion rate amongst black people and still no official policy promoting condom use amongst black people.
8) Only widespread condom use, clean needle programs and effective drug rehabilitation along with prevention programs can stop the out of control spread of aids in the black community.
9) After 1992 their had been numerous prosecutions of people for purposely infecting people others with aids, it was also accepted fact at the time the you could not tell who had aids by looking at them, all of this has been reported in the news and media at various times over the last 15 years.
Inspite of all of the following items still no official policy in the black church to promote condom use and safe sex amongst unamarried black people.
All of the assertions above are general and well known facts. It is more than obvious to this writer that the black churches campaign to blame gays for aids has resulted in disastrous results for black ameria. It is obvious that the black churches unfair and mean spirited attack on gays has allowed millions of black americans to believe that it was alright to engage in dangerous sexual behavior . After all the church was still dogmatically emphasizing aids as curse against gays by god and not teaching and emphasizing that aids had nothing to do with bieng gay and everything to do with having unsafe sex.
It is also obvious that the black churches prejudice, homophobic and hostile attitutde towards gays is a part of the reason why black people have been so mortally slow to address the issue of aids in our community.
The fact is that there are black women in the church who are Hiv positive some of who have children and unless these women are tested and treated they could end up dying sooner rather than later and what effect would the death of women infected with hiv have on their children and black america. I have to believe that if more preachers had been honest about the realities of the world and advocated for condom use amongst all unmarried people thousands of single black women would not have been infected with hiv.
In fact if their had been rigorous endorsement of that principle it well may have led to more responsible behavior on the part of millions more black Americans. What makes the churches behavior particularly reprehensible is the fact that black women who make up the overwhelming majority of black Americans who support and make the church as powerful as it is have not gotten the wise and thoughtful advise all churches should be given.
Black women are the primary ones who provide the nurturing and parenting of all black kids any threat to these women is a threat to thier kids and all of black america. When the church failed to take leadership and give sound advice on the aids issue they not only endangered black America but also the strength and prosperity of the black church and larger community.
Now the excuse for the church not talking honestly about this and other issues of dire concern to black people is their so called conservatism which is a myth. Also lets take a look at this so called conservatism. From my experiences black preachers are no more conservative than any other group of preachers. Are they any more conservative in their style of dress, behavior, lifestyle, preaching style? Absolutely not.
The only thing conservative about black preachers is their narrow interpretation of the bible and their selective use of morality in demonizing gay people but them basically allowing. Last time I check premarital and adulterous sex were sins as well as homosexuality but I do not remember the church demonizing people in our community about the totally out of control out of wedlock birthrate, crime, fatherless children ect.
It is a fact that all of those things have had an extremely detrimental impact on the black community. So the churces decision to focus overwhelmingly on homosexuality while ignoring promiscuous sex which along with not practicing safe sex has led to the outrageous aids statistics amongst black people. Thier silence is not conservatism it pure hypocrisy and neglect.
In fact I consider their behavior to be 1 billion percent unacceptable. The black church should be held to task on this matter and strongly advised to come up with a plan to mitigate and deal with the ongoing crisis.
Over the last ten years single black women who were members of various churches have contracted aids while bieng members of those churches primarily through having unsafe sex. In spite of the well known fact that you cannot tell by looking at someone if they have Hiv the preachers did not advised people they knew were having unprotect sex to use a condoms and protect themselves.
We (black americans) deserved more out of ourselves we derserve more out of our preachers and other leaders. It is the preachers job to lead by example and in a thoughtful and intellectual way that promotes thought, reasonable and healthy behavior.
It is this writers opinion that all of these things I have stated are true, can be proven and when all of the facts are added up clearly prove negligence on the part of the black church as it relates to this issue.
The black church is guilty of criminal neglect because even long after being warned by the federal government, magic Johnson and Authur Ashe on this issue they still are not displaying common sense leadership on the aids issue. They are guilty because they failed to be thoughtful and curios after the surgeon general and leading government experts were warning all of america about aids and exactly how it was spread. Instead the black church leading on this issue and educating the black communtiy about how this disease was spread they failed to refine themselves and their message sufficiently to allow them to grow, evolve and mature into higher truths and positions. Because of prejudices and biases they choose to focus on the on a narrow interpretation of the bible which allowed them to blame aids on homosexuality and not be called on this by the larger black community. This narrow and ignorant interpretation had various negative and compounding effects on the black community including.
1) Fostering a climate which pressured gay men into pretending they were straight, which resulted in a certain amount of gay men getting married but still carrying on with men, which resulted in some men bringing diseases home.
2) Fostering a climate where men and women who are gay feel ostracized, ridiculed and not taken seriously
3) Allowed black people to continue to have unsafe sex in spite of the danger because after all aids is a curse on homosexuals by god isn’t it?
4)Allowed too many black people to practice dangerous behavior (unprotected sex) because the church had falsely asserted that aids was a curse against homosexuality.
This fairytale amateurish interpretation of christianity was flawed and harmful from the start because it mainly focused on condemning homosexuality which is not the only sin that people committ. Unmarried people where having unprotected sex all the time and that is a sin as well but the preachers didn’t signify about that did they? Also children born out of wedlock has been a gigantic problem within the black over the last 30 years still the no policy by the black church to promote safe sex amongst all unmarried black people having sex.
Because of an extremely narrow interpretation of Christianity/spirituality they chose to vilify homosexuals while excusing/ignoring behavior that was resulting in a 70% out of wedlock birthrate for black children, an hiv death rate 13 times as high for black women as for white and the sad fact that black kids make up 60% of children with aids.
The fact is the black church was warned exactly what was up with Hiv along with the rest of america many, many, many times over the last 25 years and they chose to present fairytale reasons for what was happening while black children were being born infected at much higher rates than all other children in america. How many lives would have been saved if the black church had been proactive on this issue.
What confirms the churches behavior as unacceptable even more is when you consider the fact that preachers, grown men and women have sex outside of marraige and yet they will not advise young boys and girls to practice safe sex and to use condoms, even though we all know they are having sex. The church hasnt done this inspite of the fact that all preachers know what it is like to be 14 year old boys having damn near uncontrolable sexual urges, they can forgive a 60 year old Jesse Jackson for making love children outside of wedlock but they will not advise young black teens to practice safe sex when it is a fact that young peoples urges are much stronger than a 60 year old preacher who is supposedly called by god but still has a child out of wedlock. How on earth can black preachers expect black teens to wait until marraige when Jesse not only gets his freak outside of marraige but makes love children. This is utter non sense and madness on the part of the black community and church to pretend that folks are gonna wait until marraige when every one knows this isnt reality.
They allow Jesse Jackson to continue to call himself a preacher after making a love child outside of marraige during the time of aids. But they dont give thoughtful advise to young black boys who are experiences urges a lot stronger than the urges that that lead Jesse to having a love child outside of marraige. The dispicable part of the black church refusal to address the fact that most people have sex before marraige is this, a young folks sexual urges are stronger than at anytime in thier life and still the church will not lead on the issue of safe sex even after famous black preachers who are old are proven not to be able to control themselves. I consider this pure hypocrisy.
Lastly the black church dosent get to put their heads down and pretend that aids or any other dangerous real world reality don’t exist which is exactly what they have done on the aids issue. Because of the black churches failure to deal with this issue thousands of black children now have to live with aids for which thier is no cure.
In my opinion all of these things combined add up to neglect, indifference and apathy on the part of the black church and that more than qualifies as Criminal Neglegince in my oppinion.
Now to keep it real I dont want the black church damaged in anyway. I just want them to advise people relative to the reality that we live in, not some ideal or fairytale world they wish it was. Especially when preachers themselves dont live up to those standards. I want the church to be a bastion of thought, progressive actions and common sense advice. The church can no longer engage in fairytales while black children are the majority of kids who have aids.