Obama has keep PEPFAR in place, but as of October 1, Living Hope will no longer benefit from its $300,000-plus annual contribution. Why? One word: Abstinence. Living Hope teaches sexual abstinence as the only guaranteed way to avoid sexually transmitted HIV. And that’s a position the current administration says it cannot support.
Impoverished South African children live in an environment where men have multiple sexual partners, and where women often give their bodies to these men in exchange for food. These kids see adults with no motivation to work and no hope outside of a 40-ounce bottle of beer. They see fathers and boyfriends beating their mothers. There’s a very real battle of good versus evil. If groups like Living Hope disappear, then evil gets the upper hand and thousands of kids suffer.
If Living Hope doesn’t secure replacement funds for the Life Skills operation very soon, the children it serves will no longer hear about values like responsibility, love, respect, integrity and service. They’ll no longer enjoy a daily snack like vegetable soup and fruit (often the best meal they get all day). They’ll no longer have an outlet to sing, dance, play sports and escape what is, for many, a difficult home life. And they’ll no longer hear about a loving God who can transform their lives for eternity.
It’s a long-standing debate, the question of abstinence versus “safe” sex. Abstinence proponents are accused of ignoring reality – i.e., “The kids are going to do it anyway …” But God’s laws continue to stand regardless of whether man agrees. Throughout the Bible, it’s clear that God intended sex only for the boundaries of a marriage relationship. When those boundaries are broken, serious consequences occur.
In a men’s Bible study I attended earlier this year, the question was posed, “How would the world be different if there were no sex outside of marriage?” The picture that results is startling. Think about it – there would be:
- fewer broken relationships
- no adultery
- fewer unplanned pregnancies
- fewer abortions
- lower STD rates, including HIV and AIDS
- and as one wise guy pointed out, country singers would be hurting for subject matter
Living Hope will not compromise its abstinence message, even at the cost of losing thousands of dollars in funding. If God wants this program to continue – and everyone involved here believes He does – then He will provide the means for it to happen.
If you would like to be part of the solution, go to www.livinghope.co.za for more information.