I got to listen to some of the special coverage on Out Q 109 (on Sirrius Radio) today and was touched in hearing the stories of both those who have survived AIDS and those who did not. Several of the guests on the show said that this is a day to mourn but also a day to celebrate survival.

One of things that hit me hard in listening to the programming was thinking of the way that the faith community in large part failed so badly in showing love to those affected by the AIDS epidemic, particularly in the 80’s. It seems so ironic that the folks who should have been loving victims of AIDS (remember Jesus hung out with people who had leprosy, which was the dreaded disease of his day) were instead all too often were the ones heaping shame and hatred on those who were hurting. (or worse dared to say that the disease was a punishment from God — I don’t believe in hell myself, but if I did I’m pretty sure God would save a special spot in the flames for those who said things like this).

Things are somewhat better today, but not that much better. Churches and social institutions are better educated and much of the hatred is gone (see this post from Dec. 2005 about the growing awareness of AIDS among Evangelicals in America), but the problem now is apathy. And more significantly, the disease has become much more widespread in the third world, and unfortunately the rich nations of the world are not doing enough with their resources to do something about it. (see this post about the 2007 state of union address)

Anyway in honor of the survivors and in memory of those who have left us, I’m posting this video from the AIDS charity Avert

Also here’s a couple more links about World AIDS Day…

UN.org: World AIDS Day 2007

WorldAIDSDay.org (a UK based site)

Wikipedia: World AIDS Day