When World Vision Stands Up -- and Love is Knocked Down
By Beth Morey on April 17, 2014
I know, I know. The last thing the internet needs is another post on the World Vision debacle, right? But I have to speak up, because so many won't, saying it doesn't affect them, and because so many others are spewing words of poison and bigotry.
Here's what happened, if you haven't heard. In a nutshell: World Vision (Christian organization for the sponsorship of children living in poverty) announced that would be employing gay people, and gay marrieds. The evangelical Christians immediately reacted by pulling their financial support of said children living in poverty -- allegedly 2,000 sponsorships were retracted. As a result, World Vision reversed their decision, apologizing for having been willing to hire LGBT married folks.
Okay. So. This makes me angry. As in, tearing-at-my-hair, wailing-in-grief, taking-to-the-streets, profound fury at the so-called Jesus lovers, so-called "Christians" who acted in this hate-mongering way. At those in power who call it morality to punish needy children in their fervor to condemn those who are different from themselves.
I despise this. I am thoroughly disgusted. I am so grateful that I no longer wear the name "Christian." I am so sad for those of my loved ones who do wear this label, and wear it in a grace-filled and lovely way. A way that seeks to follow in Jesus' footsteps, to walk his talk.
And so, I have a few things to say. I know I speak for more than myself. I hope that I speak for more than I imagine.
To those who call it a victory of morality, of the gospel, of Christ that the World Vision decision was reversed -- I am disappointed in you. I think it's time for you to reread the book you love to pound on others with such a heavy hand. And when I read it, I mean all of it, not just the two to four references to homosexuality. Try on the more than four hundred verses on serving the poor. Or how about the more than five hundred verses on love (depending on the version)? And while you're at it, take a close look at the gospels. Remind me where Jesus starts spitting on non-hetero people?
To those who work at World Vision and/or were involved in these two decisions in any way -- I thank you, and I am sorry. Thank you for being willing to stand up for equal rights, to stand against bigotry. I am sorry for the vehemence that knocked you back down, that forced you to align with the prejudiced privileged in light of your goal of serving needy children. I am sorry that you were forced to cater to those who are too blind to value this goal as highly as you.
However, World Vision, I am also deeply saddened by the letter written by your president and chairman detailing the reversal of your decision to employ LGBT marrieds. In it, you asked for forgiveness. Why? I understand that you may have been backed into a corner, that the reversal was not what was in your hearts to do. But to apologize? To claim that you made a mistake? To not point out the hypocrisy and hatred that forced your hand? To not thank the members of the LGBT and progressive communities who rallied to support you and to cover the revoked sponsorships? Grevious oversights, all. These are, I might remind you, the same people who are committed to completing the terms of their sponsorships, unlike the supposedly morally superior evangelicals. I would love to have seen your reversal come with a blazing defense of those you wore purple for today.
To the church leaders and members -- I entreat you. The reason why over 2,000 members of the church thought it was not only acceptable but necessary and applaudable to walk out on the poverty-stricken communities they had made financial commitments to is in large part because of you. The gay marriage debate is perpetuated by your past responses -- either actual words or communicated via silence, and both speak equally loudly. Whether or not these 2,000 evangelicals are members of your church or not is moot. We are one body -- and I mean, one human people. Perhaps the gay marriage debate does not affect you right not (or, more likely, you are just blind to the ways it affects you and those around you). But it will. I entreat you to recall the heart of the Jesus that you preach of, and speak out against hypocrisy. This is your responsibility. This is our responsibility.
Also, church leaders, I hear that you are wondering why so many are leaving the church. The lauding, sanctioning, or ignoring of wide scale un-love might be a major clue.
To the LGBT community -- I grieve with you. I ache with you. I stand with you.
To the children sponsored by World Vision -- I am horrified. Horrified that you were thrown away more easily than a piece of rubbish by the ones who vowed to support you. I am so sorry that these who are charged by the faith they flaunt to love "the least of these" will only do so as long as it does not conflict with their high-horse agenda. And when it does -- well, we've seen what happens. I am so sorry. You are worth so much more. I am ashamed of how we in the west have wielded our privilege.
To the people of this "Christian nation" -- get ready. Equal marriage rights for homosexuals is going to happen. And it's going to happen because it is fair. Because it is wrong to treat any person as sub-human or lesser because they are different. How did the women's rights movement not teach us this? Or how about the civil rights movement? Regardless of creed, color, origin, income, gender, age, orientation, and so forth, there's room in the heart for all us.
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