The United Methodist Committee on Relief promotes and distributes condoms.
On its website, UMCOR indicates that its work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo includes the distribution of condoms.
One of UMCOR’s projects in Kenya includes encouraging mothers to use contraception after giving birth. A page describing the Aids Orphans and Community Health, Maua Hospital project, seeking advance funding, states the intention to “encourage mothers who deliver to accept contraception to space their children.”
UMCOR has several documents which encourage the use of condoms.
This document, titled “A Season of Hope: An Advent Study on HIV and AIDS” promotes condoms in several places, and does so under the trappings of something approved by God.
On page 5, the document describes condoms as a way of preventing pregnancy and disease. It says:
“Condoms– a waterproof, elastic, durable barrier device used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.”
Page 7 of the document attempts to dispell the serious concern that condoms do not prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. It says:
“MYTH: Condoms are not effective at preventing HIV transmission.
FACT: When used correctly, latex and polyurethane condoms are highly effective in preventing the transmission of HIV, according to the Foundation for AIDS Research. (amfar.org) The lack of comprehensive AIDS education leads to incorrect condom usage, which greatly reduces their efficacy. Sheepskin condoms are not effective at preventing HIV transmission, as particles the size of HIV can penetrate this barrier.”
Page 10 of the document attempts to turn the story of Christmas into a message that promotes the use of condoms. The title of the article is “The Shocking Christmas Story and AIDS Prevention.” After building the narrative that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke show that God’s Love is not just for the wealthy, but for “the poorest of the poor— even those suffering stigmatization and discrimination,” the author then talks about the stigma of people living with HIV. He then writes:
The best prevention is abstinence and being faithful to a partner who is also faithful. But this proves unrealistic for many in the world, and the virus has spread to every corner of the world. Women worldwide are most often infected by their husbands. The use of a condom is an effective barrier to the spread of the virus, but many people have “condomphobia,” either fearful that condom promotion will promote promiscuity or complaining that using one limits their pleasure. Even those who favor their use are often too shy or embarrassed to explain how they must be used correctly and consistently.
The article closes with a prayer that simply says, “As we enter this season of advent, may we remember to not only await the coming of the Christ child, but also to be a part of the effort to bring an end to HIV and AIDS.”
Another document on the UMCOR website also infuses the promotion of condom use among the trappings of divine approval. The document titled, “40 days of prayer & actions for persons living with and affected by HIV & AIDS,” provides 40 prayers and action items.
The action item for day 16 says, “TAKE ACTION. Find out where you can get female condoms in your community.”
After the prayer for Day 21, the document asks, “DID YOU KNOW? The female condom is the only woman-initiated form of contraception that is also effective in preventing HIV infection.”
The prayer for Day 33 indicates that “The Body of Christ has HIV and AIDS,” and then provides the action item: “TAKE ACTION. Practice putting a condom on a banana. (Some of us may need to demystify some of this for ourselves.)”
UMCOR has several other documents on its website which promote condoms, some of which are contained in a central document titled, “Resources for United Methodist Churches, Districts, Conferences, and Jurisdictions on HIV and AIDS Ministries.”
In addition to containing the same “MYTH” and “FACT” sheet found in the Advent document, this resource guide has several other independent documents which promote condom use.
On page 11, under the heading “Transmission and Progression of HIV & AIDS,” this document says that “unprotected sex puts one at a high risk for HIV transmission,” and proceeds to explain three ways to prevent sexual transmission of the disease. The document says:
“The third way to prevent sexual transmission of HIV is through correct and consistent usage of latex or polyurethane condoms. Sheepskin condoms do not protect against HIV transmission. Both male (latex) and female (polyurethane) condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV transmission, but should never be used at the same time, as friction during sexual intercourse can degrade the material of both condoms.”
It then goes on to explain the proper use of a condom.
In a section titled, “Understanding and Overcoming Stigma Exercises,” UMCOR presents a “stigma role-play” exercise wherein various scenarios are given to be discussed and acted out. Throughout the exercises are several scenarios regarding the use of condoms.