5 Must-Read Posts on the World Vision Controversy
UPDATE 3/26/14 4:19 pm CST - This afternoon, World Vision U.S. announced that it has reversed its decision and will not hire Christians in same-sex marriages. In a statement released to Christianity Today, president Richard Stearns addresses the reasons behind the reversal, citing backlash from some supporters and Christian leaders.
This week, World Vision US (the "sponsor a child for about a dollar a day" Christian charity) made an announcement that they will now hire employees who are in legal same-sex marriages. In an article for Christianity Today, World Vision: Why We're Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages, president Richard Sterns explains how their organization is not aiming to take a stance but rather to allow for differences in belief:
"It's easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there. 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."
This is still a pretty bold move for a Christian organization, and there are a number of individuals declaring that they will pull their sponsorship (aka...food out of a child's mouth) over this policy change. However, there are also a number of individuals making first-time donations (myself included) and setting up sponsorship challenges (like Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan) to help make up for any funds lost and children left behind.
Halfway there! 50 new @WorldVisionUSA sponsors to fill in the gap for dropped kids.Let's get 50 more. http://t.co/iIcWiRgHim #worldvision — Kristen Howerton (@kristenhowerton) March 25, 2014
Love that @kristenhowerton already met and surpassed her goal of 25 new World Vision Sponsorsips. Now it's 100!Love that @kristenhowerton already met and surpassed her goal of 25 new World Vision Sponsorsips. Now it's 100! http://t.co/wXWnFWqqb9 — Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) March 25, 2014
I just made my first donation to @WorldVisionUSA. Please join me & make sure no child goes unsupported: http://t.co/uDZ7Koa9jT. — Matthew Vines (@VinesMatthew) March 25, 2014
What a day. I think I'll start tomorrow by giving @WorldVisionUSA a big fat donation. Who's with me? I hear they are losing donors. #glbt — Nadia Bolz-Weber (@Sarcasticluther) March 25, 2014
Lots of arguing about #Worldvision tonight. My take? Christians will continue to argue. Kids need to eat. Just made my first donation.— Holli Carey Long (@HolliinIl) March 25, 2014
While I definitely have my own thoughts on the matter, I feel I can make best use of my little corner of the internet by pointing readers to some very well written and thought-provoking pieces.
1. Christianity Today - World Vision: Why We're Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages Sometimes (all the time?) it's best to start with the source. Stories and words can be twisted and skewed so easily, especially when there are two very passionate "sides" to the debate. (UPDATE 3/27/14 11:15 am CST - Christianity Today Reverses Decision to Hire Christians in Same-Sex Marriages)
2. The Gospel Coalition - World Vision and Why We Grieve for the Children - In all honesty, I have a really hard time reading this blog post by Trevin Wax. I tend to agree with Dianna E. Anderson's response post, I Am Not Responsible for your Hate: World Vision, Evangelicals, and Emotional Blackmail, which articulates the way in which The Gospel Coalition's post manipulates the story and puts the blame on the wrong people. Many other bloggers seem to agree with her assessment.
This is the worst article I've ever read. Ever. Please retract it. For the children. @TrevinWax #WorldVision — Unvirtuous Abbey (@UnvirtuousAbbey) March 25, 2014
Some have called for Tyler to take down his post, but for the time being, it remains. I share it here as I think it is necessary to understand the sides of this debate and also to see what is being said/written in the name of Christianity.
3. Rachel Held Evans - On the World Vision Reaction: Some Bad News, Some Good News, and Some Ideas - Rachel is usually my go-to blogger, and with this post, again it is no surprise. Definitely worth the read (and a share?). Her post not only gives some great background on the reaction of some Evangelicals, but it also ends with some "What Can we Do Now?" take-aways. Also, there is hope in her words. (UPDATE 3/27/14 11:15 am CST - World Vision Update)
4. Benjamin Moberg - When Evangelicals Turn Against Children to Spite Me - If you believe that Evangelicals who are pulling their sponsorship are acting out of love, please, read this. On second thought, no matter what you think, please read Ben's words. Our words and our actions (and our theologies) have real impact on people's lives. Read. Listen. Think about what we're doing here. (UPDATE 3/27/14 11:15 am CST – When World Vision Drops Me)
5. Nish Weiseth - These Are Real Kids, You Know - Finally, Nish has great perspective here as she has done some work with World Vision. Her post gets at the real heart of this story, the children. The children. This organization is about feeding, clothing, educating and caring for the children. Lest we forget. (UPDATE 3/27/14 11:15 am CST – World Vision: An Update)
UPDATE 3/27/14 11:15 – One last important piece from David R. Henson at Patheos – I Don’t Blame World Vision. I Blame Homophobia and Hate. (Neither do I, and so do I, David.)
I’m sure there will be more to come. This is just a start to the response from this one organization’s one “simple” policy change (and then reversal). Are you frustrated? Hurt? Confused? What have you read or seen this week that brings hope to this story?