WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- An elderly clergyman's simple plan
to battle the African AIDS pandemic will become a reality,
United Press International learned Tuesday.
The Rev. Angelo D'Agostino, a Jesuit priest and psychiatrist,
proposed building a "City of Light" where children orphaned by
the disease and the elderly will live together. "Alas," he
said, "I don't have the funds."
But a fellow man of the cloth came though.
"We'll do it," the Rev. Franklin Graham told UPI in an
interview. "We'll start right away."
Graham said he would go to Kenya soon, where D'Agostino runs an
orphanage for children whose parents died of AIDS.
He said he would ask Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi to donate
land for the project. "If he doesn't, we'll buy it."
Graham is President of the Samaritan's Purse organization that
has a five-day International Christian Conference on HIV/AIDS
in Washington attended by some 850 church leaders and AIDS
specialists from 87 countries. He is the son of Billy Graham,
Calling priest's project "a doable concept and not too big a
dream," Graham suggested that it would serve as prototype for
similar "cities" elsewhere. AIDS has ravaged young adults,
especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where 70 percent of all
infected patients live, Graham said.
In an interview with UPI, D'Agostino had painted the grim
prospect of 25 million orphans roaming the streets of Africa
within five or six years, robbing and killing.
"What are you going to do with these out-of-control kids? Shoot
them? Lock them up?" the 76-year old Jesuit asked.
He said a simple solution would be that the elderly who lost
their own children to the disease bring up their grandchildren
in the safe and controlled environment of a city of African
Franklin Graham cited the priest's plan as a prime example of
how the Church of Christ can take a lead in fighting the
worldwide AIDS crisis of which he said it would soon "wreak
havoc with the world's economy, including out own."
According to Graham, President George W. Bush's plan for
faith-based initiatives "should apply to the entire world." He
said the United Nations and to some extent the United Stages
government had "taken God out of society."
In dealing with the AIDS crisis, the U.N and the Washington has
not asked the church of the table.
"But we need God in this," Graham said. "Without God, we are
not going to succeed."
Graham called education the church's most important task in the
fight against AIDS. "We must get the African churches
"There are churches within 500 yards of the brothels along
Africa's major truck routes (the principal source of HIV
infections)," he said, and suggested the churches must find
ways to drive the disease's dangers home to truckers and