A Pastor in Cape Town, South Africa is under fire after claiming in his sermons that Jesus was HIV positive.
According to United Kingdom network BBC, in a series of sermons delivered at Luhlaza High School in Khayelitsha Township, Pastor Xola Skosana declared that Jesus Christ had “put himself in the shoes of people who experience brokenness” and had channeled the suffering of his followers by experiencing their same sickness, pain and ostracism.
“Wherever you open the scriptures Jesus puts himself in the shoes of people who experience brokenness,” Skosana told the BBC. “Isaiah 53, for example, clearly paints a picture of Jesus who takes upon himself the infirmities and the brokenness of humanity.”
Although many agree and feel that the teaching is synonymous to that which is taught all over the world, some religious followers are outraged over the connection he has made between Jesus and the unjustifiable situations in which the virus can be contracted.
Despite the controversy surrounding the statements, Skosana states that his intent is to let the infected know that Jesus still loves them and God is not mad at them, regardless of what they did wrong.
“The best gift we can give to people who are HIV-positive is to help de-stigmatize AIDS,” Skosana continued. “[We need to] create an environment where they know God is not against them, he’s not ashamed of them.”
Regardless of his intentions, fellow religious leaders state that the metaphor endangers believers’ understanding of not only Jesus as supreme, but also God, ultimately rendering him part of the problem and not the solution.
One solution that the country of South Africa is considering to fight in the spread of HIV is the implementation of male circumcision.
According to published reports, researchers, South African authorities and medical experts have expressed the possibility of circumcision being able to reduce the spread of HIV by 60 percent.
Experts state that South Africa as a whole is expected to circumcise 2 million boys in the next 5 years.