Wednesday, 26 March 2014

World Vision

It is rare that I get angry about stuff that happens. But then, it is rare that my social network is as flabbergasted at events that have taken place over the last few days.

Two days ago, World Vision US announced that they were changing their policy to start employing people in same sex marriages. This was a bold move, and one that was welcomed by many as a real sign that some of the big, international evangelical para-church organisations might be changing to reflect the wider view and perspective of the evangelical church. It was brave, but it was an important move.

Not unsurprisingly, there was outrage from the more conservative parts of the church, who were withdrawing their support and money from the organisation. Of course, the people this was actually hurting were the children who were losing their money and support. Of course, this also attracted new supporters, but it appeared that the overall situation was that the charity was losing money.

Today, they announced that they were reversing this decision, declaring that it was a mistake.

I am almost speechless.

I am not angry at World Vision. I fully understand their decision - at the end of the day, they want to support the children who depend on them, and they have made a decision that will enable them to continue doing this to the best of their ability. They are in a difficult position, relying on voluntary donations and so having to listen to what their supporters are saying.

The people I am angry at - furious, spitting teeth angry - is the conservative Christians and groups who are prepared to put their mistaken principles and use them to cause suffering to children, innocents, the sort of people who Jesus told us to support and look after.

Even if you were to consider homosexuality a sin, this is screwed up to a degree that makes my head spin. Let me be clear - these people are causing pain and anguish to children because of a disagreement with the sexuality of those working for the organisation providing this support. What is more, this was done by the simple action of taking their money away. Not a discussion, and expression of a disagreement, engaging with them to see what was going on - it was simply "we are not going to support these children any more, because we disagree with you".

The Naked Pastor draw a very poignant and telling cartoon on this when the news was first announced. I presume that these people who are so indignant that they have to withdraw their money are now going to check that their local shops do not employ gays. And that their employers have a strict no-gay policy. And their golf club and local restaurant are definitively anti-gay.

Oh yes, and the places these buy their supplies from must also be as acceptable. It wouldn't do to accidentally support some people that they have a moral disagreement with.

I presume that they have no problem with divorcees, adulterers, gossips, and all of the other people that the bible criticises or condemns (according to a simplistic, literalist reading).

That is the stupidity of this position - not only is it unsupportable from a biblical position, it is taken totally out of proportion. If you read the Bible, there is a lot of discussion in the prophets (especially) about those who look after themselves, and neglect the poor, the suffering, the orphans, the widows the sort of people that World Vision supports. And Jesus tells a well known parable about the sheep and the goats. The division - between the acceptable and the unacceptable - is not whether you accept gays, it is about whether you feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned, clothe the naked. It is about whether you actually look after those who need help and support, irrespective of their sexuality.

So to those who have withdrawn their money and support from World Vision over this, I hope that you are ashamed of yourselves. I am ashamed of you. I believe that God is weeping over you. You have used your economic power to demonstrate that your stupid morality is far more important to you that any real Christian faith.

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