The Use of Condoms in Preventing Strategiesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
In the past two weeks, the use of condoms has been the debate in South Africa. South Africa has the highest statistics of HIV infections, with the numbers of deaths increasing as a result of AIDS related diseases.
The Catholic Church almost stole the show as its position on contraceptives, especially condoms, questioned the efficacy of condoms in the prevention strategies.
What would be the position of the AME Church on the use of condoms in preventing the transmission of lethal infections such as HIV and other sexually transmitted infections?
-- Anonymous, February 25, 2005
I can't speak for the AME Church. But if I was a pastor in South Africa I would teach my congregation to remain celibate until they met a mate who had also remained celibate. Then we would marry and remain faithful to each other until death parted us. When death took one of us, the other would be free to marry again. If a suitable celibate mate was not available, then that person would be required to be tested over a sufficient perior of time to assure me that he/she was free of HIV.
To suggest condoms as a strategy admits that AIDS is sexually transmitted. So we, as Christians, ought to be able to not allow the lusts of the flesh to rule our bodies.
-- Anonymous, March 04, 2005
For cryin' out loud. Can anyone say sanctimonious? HIV is real and people are dying. I do believe that here in the U.S. condoms made a significant impact on the epidemic and continues to do so. Why isn't that strategy worthy for our African brothers and sisters? Can anyone really believe that abstenance is a strategy? It may work as an official position for the Church as a whole to take - but any Christian seriously wanting to help, better come up with something better than "just wait till you're married."
Yours in Christ,
-- Anonymous, March 06, 2005
Does that mean you would risk your life for sex? It seems to me that if one values his/her life they would nt trust it to a thin peice of plastic that is subject to break. What do you do when, not if, it breaks?
-- Anonymous, March 07, 2005
I am a staunch proponent of abstinence education. I believe it is the best and the only 100% way to prevent the transmission of STD's. I do think however it would be irresponsible for us to ignore the FACT that men and women are having pre marital sex.
Aside from abstinence which is not promoted as heavily as it should be, we should we also encourage people to use condoms. Yes they do break but the risk of them breaking is much lower than the incidence of HIV exposure that comes from unprotected sex.
This is a difficult issue for the church because in no way do we want to appear to endorse premarital sexual activity. Yet try to name a recent motion picture or television show where the characters did not have premarital sex. Therefore, if we are to legitimate in our endeavors to prevent HIV transmission, we must strongly encourage abstinence and condom use if the person cannot be abstinent.
-- Anonymous, March 08, 2005
Thank you very much for the insights. From the comments, no one seems to be saying that there is any specific stance known to be AME. Much of what I hear are personal preferences to Abstinence. With some strong and unwaivering about it and others flexible to accommodate condoms use.
Is there a way in which an reflection can undertaken in the church in the direction of developing a stance? Haven't the Bishops of the Church commented on the matter in their communiques, at least?
Is there any packages information available on abstinence, Harold and Rev. Paris, when an open and frank teaching on sex is absent and a taboo? If sex is privatised in our faith communities, how do we hope to sell sex as holy in public, promoting abstinence? Has there been any Pastor who has, in clear and precise ways, used the pulpit to deal with these issues?
-- Anonymous, March 09, 2005
The AME Church is a Christian Church. No Christian church can have any policy but to abstain from six outside of marriage. That's the Bible. Now do Christians engage in sex outside of marriage. Certainly, but the rule is based on what should be done; not what folk are doing. Those who choose to risk infection by engaging in reckless extramarital sex must then bear the burden of HIV and AIDS and finally death. I suspect if we would be blunt and tell it like it is, more people would be able to abstain. HIV/AIDs is transmitted primarily by anal sex. Infected "bisexual" males then infect their female partners is the route into the hetrosexual community. Not only is the practice dangerous, its nasty.
-- Anonymous, March 10, 2005
I think the truth of the matter is everyone saved or unsaved is in some way affected by HIV/AIDS. As was mentioned and I totally agree, the church's stand should be abstinence until marriage. But there are situations that could arise even if this is followed. There are people that are now in their 40's that may have never been married, could be widowed, or divorced that need to be told about condom usage. The incubation period is pretty long, so even if they wait until after marriage it might be advised that they use a condom.
There are others who are now saved, by the grace of God. But perhaps, before coming to Christ they contracted HIV/AIDS. These people can get married, but they must use a condom.
My point being, the use of condoms must be taught, even in the church. A church must be about educating. We by all means teach abstinence until marriage, but we have a responsibility to encourage others that may fall into the category of the above mentioned examples.
We preach whosoever will let him come. Well, when they come with a not so neat package we have to be able to minister to them from where they are. You can't say I'm sorry you can't get married because you have been infected with HIV. The church can't leave it to a social worker to tell this person about condoms. It's not a bad word. And it must be talked about in certain avenues of the church. It's the time of day we are living in.
In Christ Carmen
-- Anonymous, March 10, 2005
Carmen opines -
"My point being, the use of condoms must be taught, even in the church. A church must be about educating. We by all means teach abstinence until marriage, but we have a responsibility to encourage others that may fall into the category of the above mentioned examples."
My Hoosier friend, please enlighten me (us), who in the church should be involved in sex education? Who is really "qualified"? Few are willing to step forward because of fear and embarassment that their participation signals guilt by association. Personally, I have no problem in admitting that I am a former condom user. I refuse to submit to hypocrisy in this important matter. When I wanted to do the right thing (abstinence), carnal desire was influential in my decision-making. I could take the simplistic way out and blame my shortcomings on certain women who manipulated my weaknesses but no reasonable thinking person would accept that argument. Now, do my myriad experiences with ex-paramours qualify me to stand before a group of teenagers and young adults, all endowed with raging hormones, and offer "expert opinion"? Probably not. But, if it can help reduce the incidence of HIV infection it's certainly worth a try. QED
-- Anonymous, March 11, 2005
If you don't have anyone in the church qualified to conduct such a workshop, then you go outside to one of the health institutions.
This an example of a situation that I was a part of. The women in our district had a retreat. There were different sessions. One of them was about how HIV/AIDS is a concern of the church. There were a professionals who conducted this particular sessions. There was a film. This was not a sex education film, but educational.
The teenage girls were also a part of this session. It turn out to be very spiritual. These young girls not only learned of the consequences of sin, but understood God to be an all wise and knowing God. His desire is for us to have an abundant, healthy life. This taught them that a to live a chase life is more than a commandment, it is key to long life. They were taught how sacred marriage between man and wife is. And all these sinful practices can prevent husbands and wives from enjoying each other freely.(This is not what God intended)
This session was an eye opening to everyone, from the youngest to the oldest. No one was offended. The Bishop (a man) was there, and he commended the committe for having that session as a part of the retreat.
The professionals taught their area of expertise, but the spiritual meanings came from spiritual leaders of the church.
Prof Dickens, as a teacher of the Word of God, and a blood bought child of God, you have more expertise than you give yourself credit for. We have to be ready to give an answer to everyone that ask the hope that is in us, with fear and trembling. This applies to hope in all areas of our lives.
-- Anonymous, March 11, 2005
I believe that education about condoms must accompany abstinence education by the reasons stated above.
But inasmuch as there is debate over the stance of the church, there's a huge psychological barrier to the actual use of condoms among Christians when participating in sinful sex. If you buy condoms or take them when offered freely, then you are consciously admitting to yourself that you are going to engage in sinful sex. All to often, people fool themselves into thinking that they are strong enough to overcome the temptation. They place themselves in situations where the likelihood of sex is high, yet they say to themselves that they can stop before things go too far. Unfortunately, this denial costs people their health, their lives, and the lives of others in the case of unwanted pregnancies. It is often easier for people to admit to themselves that they are weak in the face of temptation. People comfort themselves with the thought, "At least they tried." It is sometimes harder to be consciously aware of your willful desire to lead a lifestyle of disobedience to God. But the consequences of that denial can be deadly.
-- Anonymous, March 12, 2005