Justin's HIV Journal

Monday, November 30, 2009

HIV/AIDS and the Black Church

I’ve always wondered why my community (Gay Black Men) have been hit the hardest by HIV/AIDS, especially in the DC area. Then I thought……there are a numbers of reasons why this is the case.

When HIV/AIDS first came out in the public eye, a lot of people of color automatically, stigmatized HIV as a Gay White disease. So they went around with this notion in their head that they couldn’t possibly contract HIV. As time went on, that possibility was proven wrong. In the Black community HIV/AIDS grew and grew and grew. And now we are living in a modern epidemic in our nation’s capital (Washington D.C.). It is sad to say that as of early 2009 3% of Washington DC residents are living with HIV or AIDS. According to health officials the 1 percent threshold constitutes a "generalized and severe" epidemic.

Black Male DC residents that are age’s 40-49 make up the most of the residents that are infected with nearly a 7% rate of infection. So why are we not getting the message to protect ourselves and each other.

Let’s try to start from the beginning. Back in the days of slavery the church was a place of salvation for black people, because it was the only place we as black people could make the rules of our own place of worship. It was a place of sanctity for black people to let loose of life’s stresses and the stresses of working in the field or home of their owners. Even years after slavery that place of worship still remained as a place to call home to let go of life’s burdens and feel love and acceptance. But being gay would soon quickly change that love into hatred and that acceptance into rejection in the Black Church. Today many black gay men don’t feel that the Black Church provides that love and acceptance they are so longing to have.

If a black gay people is born and raised in a church and that church rejects them there maybe damaged that has to be repaired. There maybe some self esteem issues that the individuals needs to deal with. Think about it, the one institution that you held near and dear to your heart, mind and spirit has left you in the cold to suffer and die (spiritually). When that happens sometimes people like to put their pleasures in other things like drinking, drugs or sex. Having your self-esteem diminished by an institution that you’ve trusted for so long can obliterate you from the inside out.

An example is Willie Wilson’s church receives public funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and had initial involvement in the Million movements by African American gay and lesbian activists. THIS IS WRONG

ASK YOURSELF THIS HOW CAN A CHURCH RECEIVE THIS KIND OF FUNDING WHEN 1) HIV/AIDS runs rampant in the DC/Baltimore Area in the black gay men’s population 2) and their minister is so bigoted against that same demographic.

What these churches need to do is to help our gay black men stand up and say, “I love myself too much to hurt myself or anyone else”. This is my plea, please help my community help themselves.

There are many churches that our gay black brothers and sisters still choose to visit on their Sunday mornings/afternoons/evenings. For Example in the Washington D.C/Baltimore Maryland area there are a few that are headed by bigoted people. These churches are crippling people from the inside out. Crippling gay black men and women looking for a place to call there home every Sunday just to praise their god.

Bishop Alfred Owens
Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church
610 Rhode Island Avenue NE
Washington DC 20002
Date: April 9, 2006
Sermon Title: Fan or Follower
For the hate filled sermon of Bishop Alfred Owens please click here.

"Now, can I talk here? I ain't homophobic, because everybody in here got something wrong with him. Whoever you point at, you can point at your own self. You got something wrong with your life. But when you get down to this thing, women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain't real. That thing ain't got no feeling in it. It ain't natural. Any time somebody got to slap some grease on your behind, and stick something in you, it's something wrong with that. Your butt ain't made for that. [Audience shouts and yells its approval in the background.] You got blood vessels and membranes in your behind. And if you put something unnatural in there, it breaks them all up. No wonder your behind is bleeding. It's destroying us. Can't make no connection with a screw and another screw. The Bible says God made them male and female. The Hebrew word Negade (?), which means complimentary nature - there is something unique to man and unique to woman and it takes those two things to compliment each other. You can't make a connection with two screws. It takes a screw and a nut! (shouting)."

"Lesbianism is about to take over our community. I'm talking about young girls. My son in high school last year, trying to go to the prom, he said, 'Dad, I ain't got nobody to take to the prom because all the girls in my class are gay. There ain't but two of them straight and both of them are ugly. I ain't got nobody to take to the prom."

" We live in a time when our brothers have been so put down, can't get a job, lot of the sisters making more money than brothers. And it's creating problems in families. That's one of the reasons our families' breaking up. And that's one of the reasons many of our women are becoming lesbians. You got to be careful when you say you don't need no man. I can make it by myself. Well, if you don't need a man, what's left?"

--Rev. Willie F. Wilson

Reverend Willie F. Wilson
Union Temple Baptist Church
1225 W. Street, SE
Washington DC 20020
Phone: 202.678.8822
Fax: 202.678.6309

To listen to Rev. Willie F. Wilson hateful sermon Click Here

On the other side there are many churches that give a life affirming

Unity Fellowship Phoenix
2106 N. 24th St., Suite C
Phoenix, AZ 85008
Rev. Henri Eason

City of Refuge United Church of Christ
1025 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA
Bishop Yvette A. Flunder

Spiritual Truth Unity Fellowship Church
717 E. Pacific Coast Highway
Long Beach, CA 90806
(562) 489-1017
Rev. Roger Quinney

Unity Fellowship Los Angeles
5148 W. Jefferson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Archbishop Carl Bean

Unity Fellowship - Riverside
3386 Durahart Street (3rd & Chicago)
Riverside, CA 92507
Rev. Elder Claude Bowen

Unity Fellowship San Diego
3437 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92104
Rev. Charles Lanier

Amistad Fellowship UCC
Rev. John Selders

Unity Fellowship Church Washington, DC
1226 Vermont Ave., NW
(Inside Luther Place Memorial Church)
Washington, DC
Rev. Dyan Abena McCray, Founding Pastor

Inner Light Ministries
1525 Newton Street NW
Washington DC
Bishop Kwabena Rainey Cheeks

Greater Hope Christian Church
1722 North Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20002
Rev. Dr. Paulette M.E. Stevens, Founding Pastor

Freedom Fellowship Christian Church
400 H Street NE
Washington DC
Rev. Kevin D. Brown & Rev. Patrick Maye

National City Christian Church
5 Thomas Circle, N.W.
Washington, DC
Dr. Alvin O'Neal Jackson, Senior Pastor

Breath of Life Fellowship Community Church
6424 North Armenia Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604
813.935.9495 or 813.873.1889
Rev. J. Ricc Rollins, II, Senior Pastor

God, Self and Neighbor Ministries
743 Virginia Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30357
Rev. Dr. Kathi Martin

Unity Fellowship
2001 Martin Luther King Dr., Suite 602A 6th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30308

Victory Church
1170 N. Hairston Rd
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Rev. Kenneth Samuel

The Vision Church
P.O. Box 11324
Atlanta, GA 30310
Rev. Clay Allen, Senior Pastor

Pillar of Love Fellowship Church
9 Ash Street
Park Forrest, IL 60466
Rev. Phyllis Pennesse

2530 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206
502.262.4272 or 502.893.6323

Greater Bibleway Missionary Baptist Church
2940 Joliet St.
New Orleans, LA 70118
504. 866.7554
Rev. Dr. Toris Young, Sr.

Unity Fellowship Baltimore
114 W. Read St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Full Truth Ministries
4458 Joy Road
Detroit, MI
Rev. Darlene C.A. Franklin, Pastor

The Palmer Park Church
950 West McNichols
Detroit, MI
Rev Darlene C.A. Franklin, Founder

Unity Fellowship Church Detroit
20846 Reimanville Ave.
Ferndale, MI 48220
Rev. Darren McCarroll-Jones

Greater New Higher Heights Christian Church, "U.C.C."
4657 S. Grand Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63111
Bishop Dr. Wyatt I. Greenlee, Jr.
New York/Tri-State Area

Liberation In Truth Unity Fellowship Church
Trinity Phillips Cathedral
608 Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07102
47-49 New Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Rev. Elder Jacquelyn Holland

Unity Fellowship Church - New Brunswick
235-239 Jersey Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Rev. Kevin E. Taylor

Tawa Pano Unity Fellowship Church
758 South Avenue
Rochester, NY 14620
Rev. Kevin E. Taylor

North Carolina

Unity Fellowship Charlotte
127 Eastway Drive
Charlotte, NC 28205
Rev. Tonyia Rawls

Church of the Holy Spirit
1901 Lendew Street
Greensboro, NC 27408

Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Inc.
2706 Winslow Lane
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
Pastor Roger E. Hayes

Truth and Destiny Covenant Ministries
Cincinnati, Ohio

Transforming Word Cathedral
Elder James L. Mills, Sr.
PO Box 1449
Bookhaven, PA 19015

Living Faith Church of the Full Covenant
3131 N. Stemmons Freeway, Suite E
Dallas, Texas 75247
Apostle Alex Byrd

Community Church of Joy
5311 13th Avenue South
Seattle, WA

Sojourner Truth Unity Fellowship Church
1710 11th St.
Seattle, WA 98112
Rev. Gwen Hall

If you’re gay and need a place to worship the god you long to seek salvation with then choose a church that is going to bring you up and push you down