Backlash Direct at World Vision

There’s has been a big to-do within the Christian blogosphere over the past 24 hours.  Yesterday, Christianity Today reported that World Vision does, and will continue to hire people who are in same-sex relationships and that World Vision was able to defend that position.  For some, this is like taking gasoline and fire, and then placing them in a bucket.

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Richard Sterns, along with the World Vision board, moved to make the change to allow those in committed same-sex relationships to work for the world-wide aid organization not because of pressure from outside organizations to do so, but rather simply a means to determine if someone is available for employment or not.  To me, that seems pretty reasonable, although I am not sure why this is reportable news.  Sterns made it clear that this move by World Vision is not political statement:

“It’s easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there,” he said. “This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support.”

There are bloggers out there who are cheering the decision by World Vision and then there are those who are adamantly disagreeing with Sterns and his colleagues.  I do not intend to get into a doctrinal debate here (I’ll save that for my Credo paper), but I would like to make an observation.

AbuAllison and I sponsor a child through World Vision.  His name is Abu and he lives with his six siblings and his grandmother in Ethiopia.  We have never been told anything about his parents, from World Vision or from Abu, so you can use your imagination to fill in the gaps.  There is a great joy we receive through Abu’s letters and cards.

I love seeing Allison get geeked up at Target when we go shopping for a soccer ball and pump to send to him.  It’s even funnier to watch us figure out how to get those items into the 11″ x 7″ envelope to send to him.  We chose to sponsor a child in Ethiopia for very specific reasons, and it has been a blessing to build the relationship we have with Abu over the past few years.

I am very disheartened royally pissed off over those who are choosing to no longer sponsor their World Vision children because they disagree with World Vision employing someone who is in a committed same-sex relationship.  It’s one thing to disagree with an organization, and I can see why some will disagree with World Vision (although I don’t understand why you would oppose employing someone) but it’s another to cancel a commitment you made to a child.

 

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Denny Burk, professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (and apparent self-appointed gatekeeper of Christiandom) – photo credit: Kristen Howerton
Amy Haines
photo credit: Kristen Howerton

 

Kristen Howerton at Rage Against the Minivan summed up how I felt this morning:

More than the frustrating subtle homophobia, though, is the fact that people are willing to make starving children the victims of a socio-religious debate.

The money given to sponsor children does not just support that specific child.  The lives of that child’s family members, in our case Abu’s six siblings and grandmother, are changed too.  Through World Vision, our sponsored child receives access to clean water, food, and education… you know all things that deserve to be dragged into a doctrinal debate within American Christianity.

It’s time for the American Church to get it’s head out of it’s ass and wake up to the reality that the polarized political fights that we like to participate in (even though I think we are called to do more than just point and shout political slogans) are not the Gospel and that as followers of Christ we are called to give aid to our neighbors REGARDLESS of any political or doctrinal disagreements!

Those who live in the third-world do not have the option to get caught up in American doctrinal/political debates.  And I think in this case it is more of a political debate than doctrinal, because if it was a faith-based debate it would remain that, a debate.  By pulling children who lack access to clean water, medical care, food, and education into the equation, those who oppose who World Vision employs are allowing their personal political differences with an aid organization take priority over caring for those who are in need.  If you are one of those assholes considering canceling your child sponsorship, consider reading Matthew 22.37-39.  In case you don’t have your Bible handy, I’ll help you out and give you the Reader’s Digest version:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  AND (not if you feel like it or if you agree with them politically or doctrinally) you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  These are the two greatest commandments.

So how do we respond this blatant ignoring of Christ’s example?  First and foremost, call BS when you see it.  Second, if you don’t already support World Vision and sponsor a child, go sponsor one.  It’s easy to signup and you probably spend more on lattes and drive-thru tacos each month.  Loving a child is best way that those who follow Christ can respond to the bigotry and hate that has been directed at these kids, at no fault of their own.