Pastors worldwide especially clergymen in Nigeria have expressed outrage as a South  African cleric, Pastor Xola Skosana blasphemed Jesus Christ by saying he was HIV  positive.

•Pastor Xola Skosana

A British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC report said that Skosena was preaching a  sermon to his congregation titled, ‘Jesus was HIV-positive’

“Today, I will start a three part sermon on ‘Jesus was HIV-positive,” BBC reported  Pastor Skosana as telling stunned worshippers during a church service.

The sermon first threw his church in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha town into silence and  later murmuring as tongues were wagging not only in his church but across South  Africa.

Many Christians across the world have been  outraged, saying the pastor portrayed  Jesus Christ as sexually promiscuous.

It is generally believed that HIV is mainly transmitted through sex but can also be  spread through other means like needle sharing, blood transfusion, pregnancy or  breast feeding.

Pastor Skosana told his audience at the Luhlaza High School Hall, venue of his  weekly services that in many parts of the Bible, Jesus Christ put himself in the  position of the destitute, the sick and the marginalized.

“Jesus puts himself in the shoes of people who experience brokenness. Isaiah 53, for  example clearly paints a picture of Jesus who takes upon himself the infirminities  and brokenness of humanity,” the pastor told BBC.

But he added, “There’s no scientific evidence that Jesus had the HIV virus in his  blood stream,” said the pastor whose church was a fast growing church in South  Africa. He quickly emphasised that he was using the metaphor to highlight the danger  of the HIV/AIDS pandemic which still carries stigma in South Africa townships.

“The best gift we can give to people who are HIV-positive is to help de-stigmatise  AIDS and create an environment where they know God is not against them, he’s not  ashamed of them,” Pastor Skosana said.

But Pastor Mike Bele of the Nomzamo Baptist Church Gugulethu said most clergy in  Khayelisthsa and Cape Town are strongly opposed to associating Jesus with HIV.

“The subject of my Jesus being HIV-positive is a scatching matter,” Bele said.

He added, “I believe no anointed leader with a sound mind about the scriptures and  the role of Christ in our lives would deliberately drag the name of Christ to the  ground.”

Reacting, the Prelate Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Ola Makinde described the pastor  as a mad man, saying that he has blasphemed the Lord. He called on all believers to  continue to pray for him so that God should forgive him because he is an ignorant  man, adding: “Something is wrong with him upstairs. Let us ignore him. When did HIV  come into existence?”

Another Methodist Church leader, Rev. Oladepo Darmola described the statement  credited to the pastor as blasphemous, saying that everyone knew that Christ never  had sexual relationship and that the Bible did not tell us that there was HIV/AIDS  during the time of Jesus Christ, saying it was discovered in the 70s.

“It is natural for people to blaspheme because of the liberal notion of  Christianity. The statement is sarcastic and a sad comment. We should not glorify  the statement. Christians need to keep their cool and calm because God will fight  for us,” he said.

Director of Communication, Catholic Church of Nigeria, Rev. Gabriel Osu said  something must be wrong upstairs with the man, saying it is an attempt by the man to  gain cheap popularity.

According to him, the statement is totally condemnable, adding that people should  learn to guard their tongue.

“It is blasphemy, the man is sick and his statement should be condemned totally,”  Rev. Osu said.