Catholics, Christians and faith communities living with HIV

People with faith who are living with HIV often experience difficulties in finding sympathetic or understanding people in faith communities or families, to whom HIV positive believers can be open about living with HIV. Even within HIV support services, views about Christianity and other faiths may not be welcomed by all.

Positive Catholics logo - a cross wrapped with the HIV red ribbon

Into this gap, in the UK and Ireland, steps Positive Catholics, which is for all Christians living with HIV.

 

Other faiths

Jewish Action and Training for sexual health, (JAT)  serves the Jewish community living with and affected by HIV in the UK.

Resources and support for people of other faith communities affected by HIV in Britain, like Muslims, is much more limited. However Naz have produced a leaflet HIV, AIDS and Islam.

 

Christian and Catholic Peer support

Positive Catholics is a peer support network of women and men, who are living with HIV and have a Christian faith. Within the Roman Catholic tradition, they offer peer ministry of support and fellowship for each other. All who identify as Christian who are living with HIV in the UK and Ireland are welcome.

Positive Catholics are women and men, young and old, gay and straight, married and single, recently diagnosed and those who have lived with HIV for many years.

Welcome for all

I'm a HIV positive pastor - it could happen to anyone

Positive Catholics members are people originally from Africa, Latin America and Europe, as well as from the UK and Ireland. Members include Christians active in church life and Catholics who have been ‘away’ from the Church for many years. Some feel secure in their faith and identity as Catholics and Christians, while others struggle with faith. Some feel very at home in the church, some others have an uneasy relationship with the wider Church.

Some Evangelicals Are Gay, Get Over It

All kinds of Christians can be gay, including Evangelicals - and some live with HIV - at Manchester Gay Pride

They welcome all people living with HIV who share a Christian faith, and all who wish to explore living with HIV from a Christian perspective.

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Pope’s envoy tells Bishops: ‘get tough on gay marriage’

The Pope’s link-man to the Bishops of Great Britain, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, had a tough message for English and Welsh Bishops from the Pope about gay (and heterosexual) marriages. He gave the same lecture the Pope gave the US Bishops.

“Particular mention must be made of the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage. The Church’s conscientious effort to resist this pressure calls for a reasoned defence of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complimentarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation.

British Marriages by Civil and Religious DenominationSexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage. Defending the institution of marriage as a social reality is ultimately a question of justice, since it entails safeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike.”

Importance of beliefs to Catholics - opposing gay marriage only matters to 35% of Catholics

opposing gay marriage only matters to 35% of Catholics

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Queer Muslims: Fighting Back

When asked to name the most homophobic countries in the world, chances are that most people in the global north would reflexively name Muslim or African countries. They would have good reason to do so: this is where homoeeotic sexual acts can incur the death penalty. The reflexiveness of the response though, obscures something important. The strength of modern Islamic homophobia is an even greater turnaround from historic tolerance than that  in Christian countries.

In Africa and in India, claims that these relationships are unAfrican or unIndian, are contradicted by the historical facts: it was homophobia and criminalization of same-sex eroticism that was introduced by Christian missionaries and colonial legal codes, not the sexual acts or non-conformist gender behaviour. Much the same occurred when colonial powers took control of Muslim countries, even where Christian missionaries were not able to establish themselves.

In the past, most Muslim societies were sexually permissive, and were even viewed as lascivious people by colonial Western nations.

Some Muslim countries, especially those in the Middle East, had a widespread homosexual culture that tolerated sexual relationships between men.

But the moralistic colonial authorities, mostly strict Christians, disapproved of sex between men and banned it. And more recently with the rise of harsher forms of Islam, in conservative Muslim circles homosexuality is now viewed mostly as a sign of Western decadence that poisons Muslims.

-Alica Aslan, at SameSame

 

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Muslim Gay Marriage, UK

Popular speech accepts that “Catholics” oppose homosexuality because that is the publicly expressed view from the Vatican, but completely overlooks evidence from research that most real – life Catholics in fact do not see homosexuality as a moral issue and even support legal recognition for same sex marriage;   ignores the historical evidence that queer relationships have always been a  fact of church life at all levels of the church; and the plainly observable fact that the outwardly homophobic face of the church is belied by an intensely homoerotic culture. In the same way,  the popular perception that Muslims are implacably opposed to homosexuality is also a gross oversimplification, which is contradicted by the facts.

Classical Arab literature is replete with examples of works which celebrate the delights of wine and beautiful boys. In the years when homosexual activity was subject to strong legal sanction in Western countries, wealthy gay men regularly took holidays or even permanent settlement in some Arab cities, where such pleasures could be pursued without legal penalties – and the supply of pliable and available young men abundant. In spite of the public face of Islamic hostility today, private toleration and practice of same sex relationships continues, even today.

A recent BBC report on the story of one lesbian couple who celebrated their marriage in a traditional Muslim form  illustrates this  - and also reminds us that marriage exists and is real, even where there is no legal recognition of it. Here are some extracts from that report: (more…)

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