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The sermon today, dear congregation, is probably one that you won’t hear at your home church, but the subject is one that you’ve discussed in your homes, at your jobs and maybe even in your pews.

The sermon today, dear congregation, is probably one that you won’t hear at your home church, but the subject is one that you’ve discussed in your homes, at your jobs and maybe even in your pews.

You know that boy singing tenor in the choir is gay, don’t you?

Oh, he has the nicest voice, and he shows up for all of the rehearsals, and he sings with a Holy Ghost fire. But isn’t he a homosexual?

Beloved, you may have noticed that preachers don’t mention homosexuality in the church very often. They talk about adultery, and lying, and women dressing for church like they dressed for the club (especially when the two visits are only hours apart), but they don’t talk about homosexuality.

But the church’s silence on homosexuality has also meant that too many of them were silent about HIV/AIDS. When that disease was decimating the gay community, many churches had little to say because they didn’t want to acknowledge gays in the choir, among the ushers and in the pews. So many churches took a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, hoping that no one would notice. Meanwhile, their gay congregants were testing positive.

Now of course, that silence is compounded. Now, HIV/AIDS is definitely a heterosexual disease, and Black women make up a sickening percentage of the new cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Blacks account for about 13 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for 49 percent of the people who get HIV and AIDS.

Black females account for 64 percent of HIV/AIDS cases. Black women are 20 times more likely to test positive for HIV/AIDS than white women. And, of course, for many reasons, Black people have shorter survival times with AIDS than white people.

But if pastors didn’t talk about AIDS when gays were becoming infected, they have very little standing to talk about it when their female parishioners are testing positive in record numbers.

I recognize Black preachers especially are between a rock and a hard place on this. Acknowledging homosexuality in their pews means accepting it, and many of them simply can’t do that. Some of them may even be concerned about a backlash for talking about HIV/AIDS over the pulpit.

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