Some consider AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) a judgment from God. But Daniel G. Moreschi sees the curious disease as an unprecedented opportunity for the church to sway the nation’s morals.
Moreschi, 34, is director of development for the Institute for Immunological Disorders, which opened in Houston last September. The institute, affiliated with the University of Texas, is the first research/treatment facility in the world devoted exclusively to fighting AIDS. Today eight similar facilities operate in the U.S. Houston’s is by far the largest.
Moreschi is a professional hospital planner for American Medical International, which owns 100 health-care facilities nationwide. Much of his current work entails traveling in the U.S. and overseas to discuss the medical and social aspects of AIDS. When he has the opportunity, he talks about the spiritual ramifications of his work.
He notes that homosexuals now account for only 63 percent of AIDS cases, compared to about 90 percent just five years ago. He calls AIDS a disease of the promiscuous, and links this nation’s very survival to its will to abandon its obsession with promiscuity. The solution, he says, is “a fundamental change in our sex-driven society,” adding that the church must provide the spiritual force for such a revolution.
Moreschi notes that some 30,000 cases of AIDS have been reported in this country. He says that if the present pace of AIDS-related deaths continues, the syndrome will be the nation’s top killer by 1991. Outside the U.S., the number of people suffering from AIDS is estimated at 10 million.
But it was not staggering statistics that led to Moreschi’s crusade against the disease. Rather, it was helplessly watching two male victims, both married and in their 30s, die from AIDS in 1983 at a suburban Houston hospital where Moreschi was director of nursing. Two years later, Moreschi became a Christian. “I could not do my work for one day if I did not feel God behind me,” he now says. “It’s too much to bear, seeing so many young people die, and seeing the absence of the church, especially that part of the church that believes it has a corner on God.”
About a month after becoming a Christian, Moreschi says he awoke at 2 A.M. one night with a fully developed idea for a facility to combat AIDS. Eighteen months later, this idea became reality. Despite some reservations, American Medical International sponsored the project.
The institute now cares for some 600 outpatients (that number has been increasing monthly by 25 percent). The facility is also at the vanguard of the effort to find a cure for AIDS.
According to Moreschi, in addition to seeking a cure, medical experts have addressed prevention, by imploring opinion shapers in fashion, advertising, television, and film to help promote the message that “sexy can be deadly.” He anticipates an increase in family-type television programming, and a return to the modesty that characterized American society prior to the Sexual Revolution.
Part of Moreschi’s message is for the church: “Our society will immediately tune out one who begins by saying, ‘You can come to God but first you must learn abstinence …’
“It is not scriptural to say, ‘Stand up and accept Jesus and everything will be okay,’ ” he continues. “We must give more than tacit attention to the idea that the Holy Spirit can provide power to change people. God loves the promiscuous person, but God also has the power to work a change as fundamental as sexual lifestyle or even sexual orientation.”
By Edward Fudge.
Moreschi Discusses His Work
You say Christians should be compassionate to AIDS victims, yet stand against sexual promiscuity. How does one walk this line?
Only the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit make it possible for us to approach God. Nobody can afford to view some sins as more unforgivable than others. Sexual sins have long been blown out of proportion. We need to correct our vision. We have a duty to teach godly principles of conduct. But when shoplifters or alcoholics visit our church, we don’t cram a sermon down their throats as soon as they walk in. It is better to introduce people to Jesus Christ and let God begin to work.
What motivated you before you became a Christian, and how has your motivation changed?
As a health-care professional, I felt a strong accountability for public health and health education. And I have always felt drawn toward the vulnerable person, the underdog and the abused. As I saw the devastation of this disease, I transferred much of my grief to something productive; namely, energy to fight this plague.
Since God took over my life, I have felt an added incentive. No matter how much pain or sorrow I feel, I know it is nothing compared to what God must feel.
In view of the AIDS crisis, how do you assess the future of the church and of our country?
I believe that before this epidemic is over, God will raise a standard and the church will experience revival such as it never has in America. Our nation depends on that for its very survival.
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