The church lady has HIV. After 12 years of painful silence, Kathi Winter is no longer afraid to let people know that her body carries the deadly virus that causes AIDS.
She's white, middle-aged, and a faithful churchgoer. She admits to looking a bit like the famed church lady, played by funny man Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live years ago. Winter doesn't fit the old stereotype that only gays, prostitutes, and drug abusers are at risk for HIV.
This week, Winter disclosed her HIV-positive status in a short video clip during the Disturbing Voices conference at Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. As the video clip played on five jumbo TV screens before 1,690 mostly evangelical leaders, Winter sat in the audience fighting back the tears. She lost the fight, but Kay Warren, wife of Saddleback pastor Rick Warren, sat nearby. Afterward, they both admitted to reporters that they were "bawling their eyes out" as the video rolled.
He said the Gospels tell of how Jesus cared for the sick and despised: "He hung out with lepers. Jesus modeled compassion. AIDS is the leprosy of the 21st century."
Warren called HIV an "evil virus" that gives rise to four "evil attitudes," including: Avoidance of HIV/AIDS discussion. Intolerance of people with the virus. Distancing one's self from HIV/AIDS outreach. Superstition concerning the fear of the disease.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Evangelicals vow "War on AIDS"
Great article at Christianity Today: