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Communities in Conversation Communities in Conversation The Black Church, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS Friday, September 29, 2006 at noon University of San.

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Presentation on theme: "Communities in Conversation Communities in Conversation The Black Church, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS Friday, September 29, 2006 at noon University of San."— Presentation transcript:

1 Communities in Conversation Communities in Conversation The Black Church, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS Friday, September 29, 2006 at noon University of San Francisco Bishop John L. Selders, Jr. Presenter

2 Purpose  The University of San Francisco LGBTQ Caucus, African American Studies Program, and Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought are proud to present this lecture/presentation focusing on spirituality and sexuality. Bishop Selders' discussion will included relevant contemporary issues of sexuality such as same- gender love and HIV/AIDS, spirituality and their intersections in the context of the Black Church.

3 Thank You’s  University of San Francisco, The Lane Center, LGBT Caucus and The African American Studies  Shirley McGuire, Ron Sundstrom, Sara Solloway and Julia Dowd  To All of You

4 The Black Church  The Major Historical Black Denominations in America ∙The African Methodist Episcopal Church ∙The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church ∙ The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church ∙ The National Baptist Convention of America ∙ The National Baptist Convention, U.S.A..Inc. ∙ The National Progressive Baptist Convention, Inc. ∙ The National Primitive Baptist Convention, Inc. ∙ The Free Will Baptist Church, Inc. ∙ The Church of God in Christ, Inc. ∙ The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. and all the divisions within each denomination.

5 The Black Church (continued)  African Americans in all of the mainline white denominations –The Roman Catholic Church, –The United Methodist Church, –The Episcopal Church, –The American Baptist Convention –The Southern Baptist Convention –Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) –United Church of Christ –The Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., to name a few.

6 HIV/AIDS  A Few Facts African Americans account for over half (54%) of all people living with HIV/AIDS today, while being only 13% of the population.

7 HIV/AIDS (continued) African Americans account for two-thirds of new AIDS cases among teens, but are only 15 percent of the national teen population. Black women accounted for 72% of all new HIV/AIDS cases among women in the United States. Studies have shown as much as a third of Black gay and bisexual men under the age of 30 may be HIV positive. Although there are now more Americans diagnosed with AIDS than ever before—42 percent of whom are Black--funding for the primary federal AIDS program has remained flat for the last three fiscal years. In fact, portions of it have been cut. Two-thirds of those programs’ clients are people of color and nearly a third are women. One study found that the number of new reports on the domestic AIDS epidemic published or broadcast every year decreased by 57 percent between 1997 and 2002. Meanwhile, substantive efforts to establish or widen the prevention programs most likely to interrupt the epidemic in Black neighborhoods have ceased. Nearly 40 percent of all Black AIDS cases could be traced to dirty needles as of 2003. At least eight major government studies have found that needle exchange programs both efficiently stop the spread of HIV among injection drug users and facilitate their clients’ entry into drug treatment programs. Yet, a ban on federal funding for these programs remains in place and 17 states offered no form of needle exchange as of 2000. With the astronomical incarceration rates of Black men (an estimated five percent are locked up), the clean separation that public policy assumes between those in and out of prison does not exist in Black neighborhoods. The epidemic is entrenched inside our nation’s prisons. Yet, most do little to stop HIV’s further spread through drug use, tattooing and sex inside their facilities. And few offer serious transitional services to inmates living with HIV who are returning home.

8 HIV/AIDS (continued) Federal research has found that comprehensive sex education successfully reduces sexual behavior that puts youth at risk for diseases. A recent government survey found 97 percent of Black parents believe they should teach their kids about sex. But the federal government is leading a campaign to make abstinence-only education the norm in our schools. Abstinence-only programs omit any discussion of skills and tools to prevent disease transmission during sexual activity. Once positive, African Americans are more likely to advance to an AIDS diagnosis, more dependent upon publicly financed care systems, and die sooner than any other group. While AIDS diagnoses continue to decline every year among whites, they have remained at the same level among African Americans. In 2001, the AIDS case rate among African Americans was 11 times higher than that among whites. Nearly two-thirds of African Americans in treatment for HIV depend upon public health insurance. But those public insurance programs are now teetering on the edge of financial collapse. Forty-nine states have recently implemented or stated plans to implement cost- containment measures for Medicaid. HIV-positive African Americans are seven times more likely to die from HIV-related illness than their white counterparts. One study found that African Americans in treatment for HIV were twice as likely as whites to have not received “combination therapy,” which is credited with reducing AIDS death rates. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and The Black AIDS Institute

9 Sexuality  ROBERT M. FRANKLIN is Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. The former president of the Interdenominational Theological Center, in a study drawing on survey data from the Hampton University Ministers Conference in 1992, discusses black clergy responses to various moral issues.  Among the issues on which the ministers were surveyed is sexuality. Of sermons preached on sexuality by the total respondents surveyed (600), - 79.3% taught about or preached on sexuality; - 85.3% preached against premarital sex. - 77.1% preached on homosexuality while - 79% indicating categorical opposition. - On Roe v. Wade, almost half, 48.2%, opposed abortion in principle. - 15.4% supported it categorically, while 27.7% supported it with qualifications.

10 Sexuality (continued)  The most surprising indicator among the clergy surveyed in the Hampton study is that - 34.6% of the clergy regarded HIV/AIDS a divine curse. - On the distribution of condoms in public schools, 75.8% indicated opposition. - 86.8% indicated that they would dedicate a baby born out of wedlock. - And 86.8% required some form of premarital counseling before performing a wedding.

11 Issues  Context - Black Church/Black Religion (literal refuge, political foundation, social safe harbor, economic center) and Black Radicalism (Slavery, Jim & Jane Crow/Legalized Discrimination, Freedom and Social Justice) - Not monolithic, multi-dynamic and multi-dimensional Religious historian Gayraud Wilmore says: An exceedingly elastic but tenacious thread binds together the contribution and developmental factors of black religion in the United States as one distinctive social phenomenon... It is the thread of what may be called, if properly defined, "black radicalism." Black religion has always concerned itself with the fascination of an incorrigibly religious people with the mystery of God, but it has been equally concerned with the yearning of a despised and subjugated people for freedom—freedom from religious, economic, social and political domination that whites have exercised over blacks since the beginning of the African slave trade.

12 Issues (continued)  Biblical Interpretation –Scholarship, Tradition and Experience  Morally Conservative vs. Socially Liberal  What is Articulated vs. What is Practiced

13 Challenge  Can the Black Church embrace a new sexual ethic?  Can the dialogue/conversation begin in earnest?  Can the Black Church work in collaboration with the Black Religious and Non Religious Activist community and the Religious Academic community in addressing these issues?  Can we fulfill in our day and time, the call and mandate of faith?


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