This morning I attended a prayer breakfast in my town for World AIDS Day. Despite the blizzard conditions, leaders from local churches, schools, and relief organizations gathered for the event. More than a few people remarked about the odd group. My table had three evangelical pastors, a newspaper reporter, and a board member from an organization led by a gay man. Across from us were Roman Catholic nuns in their habits, Wheaton College students, and leaders of the gay community.

The two main speakers represented the polarity of the group. Ruth Bell Olsson is the leader of the HIV/AIDS ministry at Mars Hill Church near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ruth comes with solidly evangelical credentials, and she also happens to be Pastor Rob Bell's sister. The second speaker was Dan Pallotta, founder of AIDSRides and Breast Cancer Walks. Pallotta's passion for AIDS awareness stems from his own experience as a gay man in Los Angeles watching many in his community die from the disease.

In a time when cultural divisions are as distinct as blue and red, the coming together of liberals and conservatives, evangelicals and gays, was refreshing - at least to me. But not everyone is happy about the emerging connection between evangelicals and those outside the conservative camp. Rick Warren, for example, has taken flak for inviting pro-choice Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) to Saddleback to speak at the HIV/AIDS summit today. Saddleback responded to the critics:

...

[Read more about Senator Obama's remarks and Saddleback's AIDS Summit here]

I applaud Rick Warren, Saddleback, and those in my own town who are defying cultural divisions in order to tackle the issue of AIDS locally and globally. I am amazed when Christians refuse to participate in the fight ...

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AIDS  |  Conflict  |  Ethics  |  Homosexuality  |  Politics
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