Church Stigma and Discrimination Against People Living with Chronic Conditions Such as HIV: A Biblical-Theological Perspective
Keywords:stigma, discrimination, mission, cosmic conflict, principle, church
The strides to mitigate stigma and discrimination against people living with chronic conditions such as HIV are undertaken by various stakeholders. However, the challenge remains formidable in the church. While it is true that some chronic diseases such as HIV can be contracted through immoral behaviors, they can also be contracted through non-immoral ways. These include but are not limited to (a) from mother to unborn baby, (b) from patient to caregiver, and (c) from unfaithful spouse to innocent partner. Thus, stigma and discrimination against people living with conditions such as HIV are unacceptable and undesirable for any community, including the church. This paper utilizes a biblical-theological perspective that suggests ten biblical principles in response to church stigma and discrimination against people with chronic conditions such as HIV. Suggested are principles applicable to all sicknesses or conditions that cause people to stigmatize or discriminate against them.