We’ve been sponsoring a boy in Bolivia through World Vision. But we are going to end it now, sadly.
I was surprised when I read the announcement. While I don’t think that continuing the sponsorship would be a formal cooperation with evil–instead, likely only a material, and remote cooperation–I found the decision disturbing because it presents a radical change in the organization’s principles regarding marriage.
If same-sex “marriage” and relationships in general are considered moral by World Vision, that principle will almost certainly affect how they minister to the needy, the people they choose to be missionaries and work with vulnerable children, and so on.
But that’s not the only thing. Through this series of events I learned from a friend that World Vision already promotes contraceptives, including abortifacient ones, among the needy. As a Catholic that is simply not acceptable. If I had known that originally, we would not have sponsored a child through World Vision.
Poor World Vision. The well-meaning president had hoped that this move would increase Christian unity.
Stearns asserts that the “very narrow policy change” should be viewed by others as “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.” He even hopes it will inspire unity elsewhere among Christians.
The Called to Communion guys did a quick and accurate dissection of why this idea of unity is so confused.
Refusing to make a decision is a decision. Changing an important policy is a decision. It chooses A over B and so makes a statement about one’s underlying beliefs and principles.
Today Stearns haplessly lamented that their original decision, which he hoped would lead to unity, actually only increased the division, and now with their reversal of the decision that division is cemented:
This has been a painful week in terms of the division that we created around our initial decision, and then reversing the decision two days later has created a lot of concerns with our employees and our key partners around the country.
And rightfully so. His actions were concerning.
I’m Hateful, Just Like Evangelicals
Liberal Protestant bloggers went into a frenzy, first singing World Vision’s praises (and yelling at Evangelicals who protested) at the initial decision, and then condemning World Vision when they reversed it (and blaming Evangelicals for it).
Rachel Held Evans immediately jumped into this latest culture war fray:
But please, for the love, don’t leave a child and a community that was depending on you in a bind so you can make a point about gay marriage. It’s just not worth it.
What seems to be lost on Rachel and her followers is that they were making a point about gay marriage just as much as Evangelicals were. Apparently when Evangelicals do it, it is hateful and persecuting. When liberal Protestants do it, it is moral and just.
Also conspicuously absent are words of praise for all the Evangelicals who for years have been sponsoring children, not because of gay anything but because they want to help needy people. Suddenly World Vision makes this decision and liberal Protestants decide that It’s Time to Sponsor Children Because “It’s the Right Thing to Do.”
Wasn’t it the right thing to do a week ago, back when they weren’t doing it?
Once World Vision reversed its decision, Rachel made a false accusation:
I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain many evangelicals have toward LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under financial pressure.
Wha? Because we support traditional marriage and oppose false ideas about marriage, we “disdain LGBT people.” That is simply not true, and seeks to conflate support for traditional marriage with disdain against people.
Rachel wrote earlier:
The gospel is at stake only insofar as we make one’s position on same-sex marriage a part of it. The gospel is threatened, not by gay people getting married, but by Christians saying support or opposition to gay marriage is an essential part of the gospel when it’s not.
Is Rachel the arbiter of what is essential to the gospel and what is not? By what authority does she make such a determination? Perhaps she formed her opinion about what the Bible says by counting verses like Tony Jones’ friend Rev. Dr. John D’Elia:
Want to know what’s “core” to our Trinitarian faith? Wrestling with the idea of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit–the community at the center of all existence. Perpetuating the lie that issues of human sexuality are somehow central to Christian doctrine, only ensures that our collective eye will remain firmly off the ball.
Let’s simply reflect on the weight of God’s word: The poor and needy are mentioned 400+ times, while homosexuality gets a paltry two mentions (four, at most). Let’s at least agree to order our own lives and ministries according to God’s clearly stated priorities.
This Protestant minister claims to know what “God’s clearly stated priorities are” based on counting up verse mentions. Where does it say in the Bible that that is how we know what God’s clearly stated priorities are? Many important things in the Bible are mentioned only once or a few times, yet we don’t discount them because of that. And if God condemns something as evil, how many times does He have to say so for us to believe it?
Choosing a charity based on their principles is a good thing to do. That’s what Evangelicals do. It’s what liberal Protestants do. The only difference is, Evangelicals admit that they do it and liberal Protestants try to act like they don’t. Their true colors were shown by the World Vision reversal, when their talk about not pulling sponsorships based on the organization’s principles were put to the test, and some admitted that they had made their first gift to World Vision but now would never give to them again.
Not the Only Game in Town
We already sponsor another child through the Catholic organization Unbound/CFCA. After this World Vision fiasco, I am going to investigate whether CFCA also promotes contraceptives. They might, which would be shameful. Hopefully they do not. Giving abortifacients to poor people does not help them.
The canard that we who have been sponsoring children are doing it for ourselves is bogus. The fact is that I don’t want to support an organization that has bad principles because those bad principles with invariably hurt the people I want to help.
I heard from friends on facebook of several other organizations that help people, without doing objectionable things.
Please chime in with comments on other organizations you know. Katie and I plan to choose one or two to support them.