World Vision Fiasco Exposes Poor Vision Amongst Their CriticsPosted: March 30, 2014
Is it my imagination, or did the recent World Vision USA fiasco set a record for misleading statements from GLBTIQ quarters?
Here’s the background. Late in March, World Vision USA announced that they would now allow their employees to enter gay marriages. This was a change in policy, which up until that point had only allowed employees to either be celibate, or to enter monogamous heterosexual marriages. To Christian conservatives, this came as something of a shock, in part because it jarred with the fact that World Vision USA otherwise still retained fairly strict Biblical and conservative policies for employment, eg that unmarried employees must be celibate.
But two days later, after an outcry from Evangelicals, with thousands of sponsors reportedly cancelling their sponsorships, World Vision USA reverted back to their previous policy. The flip flop resulted a backlash from the other side of the political spectrum. Jim Daly at focus on the family remarked that “there are those on the cultural left who might now feel compelled to chastise World Vision for their reversal.” What an understatement that turned out to be! There was now anger on both sides. One blog post on the topic was titled World Division, a title that was reflective of commentary from others who remarked that the controversy marked a turning point in the history of relations between conservative and liberal Christians – a turning point that amounted to divorce proceedings. And perhaps much like a real divorce, people began shouting abuse and getting rather partisan, to the point of being misleading.
Over at Huffpo a writer – who is presented as having a Ph.D. no less – seemed to have mistakenly thought that the cause of the conflict was that World Vision USA “had started to extend health coverage to the spouses of full-time employees even in same-sex marriages”. Other media outlets and the press release from World Vision themselves had not mentioned health coverage – a point of difference that leads me to think that most likely Huffpo didnt do their homework. And of course it was all downhill from there, with the writer portraying gays and lesbians as the true Christians and Evangelicals as apostates. The writer incorrectly characterised the Evangelicals who were dropping World vision, with the phrase “Graham and Brown’s followers rescinded their support of starving children”. This is despite the fact that Brown from the very point he broke the story, expressly encouraged his listeners to swap aid agencies – not simply to stop giving. The same is true of others who echoed Brown’s words, EG the AOG leadership
And the writer characterised the Evangelicals who supported the reverting to initial policy, as “hateful”, despite the press release from World Vision USA stating that “we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.” Not only does the Huffpo article misrepresent Evangelicals, it also misrepresents the choices that exist for gays and lesbians. The Huffpo article said that the fact that World Vision USA returned to their original stance on the issue, meant that gay partners “are now essentially forced to quit or go back in the closet.” The writer didnt even entertain the Biblical idea of gays living the life of a eunuch (Matthew 19). What happened to your claim that the gays and lesbians were the true Christians in all this, Huffpo?
Rachel Held Evans, who was cited by many print publications over the change, likewise misrepresented the situation as being Evangelicals abandoning children in need. And she too was misleading in ignoring how Evangelical leaders had encouraged people to swap aid charities. Even the New York Times were more honest about that element. And at one point in her blog post Rachel said that the issue was about whether World Vision’s supporters want gay people working there. But the policy wasnt about gay people being employed there. It was about gay marriage being condoned there. One of the key themes in her initial blog post about the news, was her claim that it illustrated an “evangelical obsession with homosexuality”. She referred to the Evangelical reaction as “a nefarious sort of stigmatizing” of gays and lesbians and described the Evangelical response as “straining gnats and swallowing camels.” Despite Scripture in 1 Corinthians 6 referring to homosexual relations as a matter that can cost salvation itself, and despite Jesus describing Christian marriage as inherently heterosexual, she wrote “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.” Rachel, if salvation is not an essential part of the gospel, then your understanding of what is essential, is suicidingly minimalist.
The inaccurate criticism of the Evangelical response was repeated again and again across the internet, especially in personal blog postings. Some postings were kinda childish. And some headlines, even from large organisations such as the ABC, were unfortunately misleading. Even outside the USA there were publications mistakenly claiming that the dispute was simply over whether to employ “openly-LGBTI” job seekers.
Over at CanyonWalkerConnections.com, Kathy Baldock portrayed the policy reversal as being due to Evangelicals clawing back a right to discriminate. She commented on her blog; “There is nothing written in the Bible dealing with exclusively same-sex attracted Christians. Absolutely nothing.” Her statement contrasts with Romans 1:27 which states “men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another”, suggesting a homosexual rather than heterosexual or even bisexual inclination. Her statement also dismisses the suggestion by some experts that Matthew 19:12 may include reference to homosexuals. And if you reflect on it, her statement is like saying “There is nothing written in the Bible dealing with violent porn”. Sure, there is nothing in the Bible (that Im aware of) that specifically and clearly refers to violent porn. But there are enough references to elements of the topic, for Christians to easily grasp the principles for a Biblically-compliant stance on the matter. The blanket prohibition of sex between males, in Leviticus 18, comes to mind, as does Jesus portrayal of Christian marriage as being inherently heterosexual in Matthew 19. Her statement is also hypocritical, in light of how she castigates traditionalists for being dogmatic in their interpretations of Scripture.