Where Was I?

During the AIDS crisis of the 80’s and 90’s, when so many people were dying, I did nothing. I didn’t try to protect the gay community from the words of leaders who were pronouncing this as an act of God’s judgement. I didn’t visit them in the hospitals. I stayed away. I allowed them to suffer and die alone. I confess this as one of many crimes I have committed against humanity. I look at this photo and wonder, where was I?

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8 thoughts on “Where Was I?

  1. Asking myself this question a lot lately. Why was it so easy for me to just look the other way? Thanks for sharing this Danny

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  2. Danny,

    Having lost many friends, your response was dictated, by the hatred, within the leaders of your church and yes, members of your own congregation. All religious leaders, were thrilled, by the onset of the “gay disease”. If you said nothing, nor condoned the actions of others, you did more than most.

    It was a tragic time, in our country’s history, as no one, for too long, made all people, not just the gay community, aware of this vicious disease, spreading thru out the world.
    Many lives, may have been saved, if world leaders had announced the news, of AIDS and how deadly it was. Funds should have been provided immediately, to awareness and research. It was not.

    Where we are today, in treating HIV/AIDS, should have came, far sooner then it did. It is still spreading, in poor nations and among the ignorant. Sadly, many do not care, if they infect others.

    You should not feel guilt, as many others should. You made a stance, not long ago, that caused you to be chastised. You suffered, from the truth, you preached.

    As a gay person, I am proud of you and thank you, for the conclusions you reached. Your honest realizations, are appreciated, as is the battle, you still wage.

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  3. I hear you. When I was writing my chapter on AIDS for my book, I just kept crying. Crying obviously for the death and cry tradgedy, but also for the deep sorrow I had for the neglect I exhibited. All while being a Bible Study leader and engaged Christian.

    When I finally understood how I fully believed the message of the conservative social and religious right, I cried and cried for the loss and the neglect of the Christian community.

    I cannot even read sections of my own book in that chapter without feeling the sorrow and crying all over again.

    We not only neglected those who were suffering and their families, we made them into pariahs.

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  4. Kathy, I thought about the same thing when I read your book. You shared so much of the violence that the community has had to endure and I kept wondering why it never phased me at the time. I pray that God will open up the church’s eyes so that we can with one voice confess our sins.

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  5. Like many people in the lgbt community who are a certain age, I lost hundreds of people from my life from HIV related illnesses. I lost my partner, and I chose a difficult path in becoming a gay pastor. Your post brings me back to those dark days of grief, and it fills me with anger once again. Very few churches and pastors understand how deeply Christianity violated people with HIV. It is not clear to me that pastors and churches who are now more enlightened want to hear it, or take responsibility for it. I believe that there must be a truth and reconciliation process for churches. Your post has given me hope that someone can finally face the ugliness of what individuals and organizations did in the name of Christ. Thank you.

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  6. So as a gay man, where was I in the 1980s and 90s? I was in the cocoon of a conservative, anti-gay church.

    I was blinded. I sort of knew (from the news) what was going on, but it was happening to *those* people. Not me. I was safe in my cocoon. I was celibate and safe…

    Then I met my first unashamed LGBT Christians, some few who were HIV positive.

    After coming out in 1994, I was starkly made aware of the AIDS crisis when two of my friends slowly passed from this world. The drug cocktail treatments and other research was barely starting to make a dent. Christians in my church silently buried their sons, and moved on.

    I was in denial prior to 1993. I was young and ignorant. After I became aware, I spoke out. I don’t think God expects us to beat our breasts too much over what we used to believe. I think God is pleased when God’s children grow and learn and love.

    But thank you for your words, and your passion to reconcile and move forward. I am pleased to fellowship with you!

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