Christians encouraged to reach out to individuals with HIV/AIDS
Our take: Evangelist Franklin Graham has pointed out a cultural correlation between HIV/AIDS and the stigma that leprosy carried during Biblical times, noting that nothing stopped Jesus from reaching out with love. Although Graham's organization, Samaritan's Purse, helps provide relief to people suffering with HIV/AIDS, he is clear about his stance on not providing condoms as a solution, but rather draws from the Bible's perspective of showing compassion to those affected and helping those who need to change their lives.
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.
Samaritans Purse, the organization I have the privilege of leading, has been helping victims of this deadly virus since the 1980s. In 2002 in Washington, D.C., we organized an unprecedented global conference on the Christian response to HIV/AIDS. Much like this weeks AIDS 2012 conference in Washington, we brought together Christian leaders, political leaders, medical researchers and grassroots workers from 87 countries to discuss the issue and hear from people whose lives had been devastated by HIV/AIDS.
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