The history of Christians and health services is a complicated one. This article by Michael Igoe is a great summary of evangelical advocacy for PEPFAR, which has provided billions of dollars for HIV treatment, and the difficult needle different parties have tried to thread in preventing and treating HIV:
“I remember the discussions that I had at the White House when they’re asking me, ‘do we really need to be distributing condoms, because you know there’s an aversion to that, because of the conservative wings of the party and the people who are faith-based considering that that shouldn’t be done,” Fauci said. “And I insisted. I said you’re never, ever going to have a prevention program without distribution of condoms.”
“And we won that battle,” he said.
Asked how President Bush, a born-again Christian, grappled with conflicts between faith and what his medical advisers were telling him, Fauci said, “he was critically and firmly interested in saving lives. He is a conservative, there’s no doubt about that. He’s a man of faith, there’s no doubt about that. But whenever we got involved in discussions about it, it was always about saving lives.”
Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at www.MatthewAndMaggie.org