Pastors of the Mars Hill Church this morning proudly announced the opening of their new downtown parish. Located at Fifth Avenue and Marion Street, they explain, the church is conveniently located near a neighborhood where there's lots and lots of AIDS.
"Being closer to Capitol Hill is a blessing as we are serving and ministering to those who are infected with AIDS on the hill,” said the email from Tim Gaydos, lead pastor of the downtown congregation, which does not allow gay people to join as members. The announcement from the youthful-but-socially-conservative church went on to note that Crosscut recently reported on "some of the church’s community reach efforts," a report that, in fact, contains no information about the church's charity work and certainly nothing about outreach to a neighborhood apparently riddled with AIDS.
A call to Mars Hill spokesman Justin Dean was returned with the promise that he would "get a hold of Pastor Tim and I'll have a response for you ASAP."
And that's swell—because I have so many questions.
What services does Mars Hill perform for people with AIDS on Capitol Hill? Did they mean actually HIV, which is more common than AIDS? Why do they believe Capitol Hill is such a hotbed of AIDS? Because it's younger? Because it's gayer? Do they regret moving farther away from older neighborhoods like Magnolia that presumably have higher rates of cancer and other, generally more fatal diseases? Do they think that Capitol Hill is a disease-infested bastion of faggot heathens who can only find salvation in their hateful rhetoric, generalizations, and misappropriation of Jesus to control their cultish society and promote their repressive political agenda?
UPDATE at 1:55 p.m.: They replied. I've posted Dean's comments here.