ABC on World AIDS Day: Evangelicals Finally Overcome History of Apathy and Meanness

Ken Shepherd alerted me to a story ABC's Dan Harris did on "World News Tonight" on evangelical Christian sensation Rick Warren ("The Purpose-Driven Life") and his new passion for an AIDS ministry. This Harris sentence really stuck out: "He's urging them to start serving people with HIV/AIDS — a disease that many evangelicals have either long ignored or called God's punishment of gays."

Harris doesn't provide any evidence for this broad-brush attack, this alleged apathy and ill will on the part of evangelical Christians -- just the anecdotal evidence that Warren seems quite contrite about not having done enough until now. He underlined the notion that Christians are behind the curve with an affirming quote from Dr. John Green of the liberal Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: "For many years, evangelicals have claimed that they hate sin but love the sinner. Now here's an example where they're starting to live that out." They're just starting to have compassion. No one offering a counterpoint is aired.

Instead, Harris ends with a man he called "Bishop Zachary Jones, an AIDS activist for 22 years." When Warren declined to call homosexuality evil, just abnormal, Jones proclaimed his hesitancy to accept the change of heart: "Absolutely. Absolutely. It raises questions and it raises suspicion." Harris doesn't explain that Jones is "bishop" in a church called the Unity Fellowship Church, a very small denomination "for primarily openly Gay and Lesbian African Americans." The church sounds, first and foremost, like a political project: their focus is on "empowering those who have been oppressed and made to feel shame. Through an emerging international network, the UFCM works to facilitate social change and improve the life chances for those who have been rejected by society's institutions and systems."

This is a perfect distillation to the liberal-media approach to social issues and Christianity. It's always acceptable to question the good will, the sincerity, and the Christianity of orthodox Christians, but it's not acceptable to question the Christianity of churches that believe that "social change" comes first, that homosexuality is not a sin, and that the Bible is a book worth overlooking.

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