World Vision are no longer a humanitarian organisation in my eyes.
See living in the UK, World Vision don’t push their Christian Credentials, so it was rather surprising to find out that they are a Christian organisation. So I went to check their American website. So while the British one has a vague reference to “God” the American one is explicitly Christian.
But this one line from their site got me.
We work in nearly 100 countries, serving all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
But not sexual orientation, but then World Vision is not a force for equality. Okay it may have forgotten that serving all people includes the GLBT?
So I am rather disappointed in World Vision.
Dear World Vision
I am an atheist and I do the same sort of work your workers do but without praying to any gods and with no religious restrictions on my actions..
When I heard that you were a Christian organisation I was rather stunned. I never have heard your organisation or any people associated with it push religion as a sticking point. Your organisation has always behaved in the interests of humanity and with kindness. You are still regarded as a force for good and a defender of the finest tenants of humanist principles and humanitarianism.
To find out that you were discriminating against the GLBT in same-sex marriages in the USA was a shock. The GLBT deserve the same rights to be happy (or unhappy depending on your sense of humour) as we do. But then to hear that the bigotry was going to stop now? That was a good sign. Religion like humanity must grow towards a more moral and inclusive society.
But then you did something disappointing. You reneged. You changed your mind. You wussed out. You reversed the decision stating that your board acknowledged the policy change was a mistake. That supporters helped you see with more clarity and that you are asking people to forgive you for your mistake.
What clarity is it to step backwards into a time of bigotry. What clarity is it to deny every single value of humanitarianism your organisation claims to stand for in order to kowtow to bigots. What do you fear? That you will be judged by men who think that the biggest threat to modern society is love? All that confidence cooing about serving all people is just a hollow lie. No matter how you warp the truth and wrap in the Bible you have lied and lying is worse than hiring a gay guy who happens to be married.
Oh I know who your masters are. You claim to do the work of Jehovah, your god. But do you think he is the god of love or the one of hate? Because from where I am sat you do the work of people like Albert Mohler, Franklin Graham, Russel Moore and John Piper rather than the ideals attributed to your divinity. You have ceased to be a charity and become an instrument of suffering because now you are at the mercy of fundamentalists who don’t care about the people you wish to help.
“The last couple of days have been painful, We feel pain and a broken heart for the confusion we caused for many friends who saw this policy change as a strong reversal of World Vision’s commitment to biblical authority, which it was not intended to be. Rather than creating more unity [among Christians], we created more division, and that was not the intent, Our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake … and we believe that [World Vision supporters] helped us to see that with more clarity … and we’re asking you to forgive us for that mistake. We listened to [our] friends, we listened to their counsel. They tried to point out in loving ways that the conduct policy change was simply not consistent … with the authority of Scripture and how we apply Scripture to our lives, We did inadequate consultation with our supporters. If I could have a do-over on one thing, I would have done much more consultation with Christian leaders. What we are affirming today is there are certain beliefs that are so core to our Trinitarian faith that we must take a strong stand on those beliefs,”We cannot defer to a small minority of churches and denominations that have taken a different position. Yes, we will certainly defer on many issues that are not so central to our understanding of the Christian faith, But on the authority of Scripture in our organization’s work [and employee conduct] … and on marriage as an institution ordained by God between a man and a woman—those are age-old and fundamental Christian beliefs. We cannot defer on things that are that central to the faith.”
– Richard Stearns
I know men and women who stood up for what they believe. Who walked into areas infested with the Taliban and did the right thing. I know people who stood in front of the Janjaweed. I know people who marched into the killing fields of Rwanda. I grew up on stories of people who rescued children from the worst excesses of massacres, starvation and violence. I grew up idolising charity workers who did this sort of thing because I was rescued by someone who did this.
And you dare claim to do the same work as them? You lack the spine, the will or the ethics and your lack tarnishes your entire organisation because you cannot even stand for what is right.
You cannot even stand up to some rich, pampered evangelists who only care about charity as a method of inserting Jesus into people rather than trying to help them for the sake of help. And believe me Mr. Stearns they only really care about inserting Jesus, not feeding these people or giving them a future. These people think all you need is faith. Well you know as well as I do that Bibles eventually become edible given the incentive of hunger and starvation.
Everything you said? None of it has to do with moving your organisation into a modern world and helping others. It has to do with kowtowing to bigots who know nothing of the struggles your average field worker faces. Do you know how much respect you have lost among the charity community? You are seen as spineless, gormless and witless for throwing your lot in with bigots.
And I have Facebook out here. I know that evangelical Christians showed their commitment to charity by threatening to stop sending money to their sponsored children unless you stopped your dastardly plan to treat your workers decently. Because who the fuck cares about poor children, not when the gays are getting married.
There is no polite way to say this. Are you fucking stupid? There are people dying, there are people whose futures are bereft of anything good and kind and nice. And you seriously care more that two people of the same gender are getting to sign a register? For fuck sake! My marriage is not going to be a Christian one. It is going to be officiated by a Hindu priest. There will sacrifices to fire and you are married by the elements. It’s as pagan as humanly possible. Short of jumping over swords while someone screams “Leap Knave, Jump Whore, And ye are married for evermore” there is pretty much nothing less Christian than this. And you think that letting two people of the same gender get married is somehow the least Christian thing ever? And the people who sponsor you are willing to throw their obligations to children in the developing world to the wolves?
Every single fucking claim that you have as Christians is gone. The sanctity of life? These people didn’t care, more than 2000 children had their financial support cut off. Do you think their “sponsors” cared about those kids as much as they cared about the private lives of others?
Okay, maybe I am harsh. Maybe World Vision is hostage to a deadly ethos of bigotry that was willing to deny thousands if not millions of people charity solely to fuck over some homosexuals. But doesn’t this speak about the diseased minds of evangelical Christians who would rather doom children in poor nations than maintain their obligations.
“I am sorry, we cannot help you anymore. It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Blame the gays for seeking happiness. If they weren’t so damned hellbent on equality I would help you”
So I understand. I understand that you did this to get these people to take back their children. But then I must ask, what happens when you have to do something to help these kids that your Evangelical paymasters don’t like?
This is not just a letter to World Vision but to all of western Christendom that holds itself to a law that it claims is morally superior to anything the one I follow. Do you think the children should be punished for the bigotry of evangelicals? Do you think Christianity is represented well by this? At best we can say that it got it’s priorities mixed up. At worst we can say it was willing to use the children it claimed responsibility for as hostages.
The claim that this is not about the GLBT or the Children but about the very rules of the Bible. Then why are they not denouncing the bushmeat trade in Africa which is almost entirely based on “unclean animals”. Or the issues of divorce? Or why World Vision stands against the slave trade when it should be encouraging it. If the Evangelicals can understand the cruelty and inhumanity of that part of the Bible they can understand the cruelty and inhumanity of their homophobia. Or is it the selective blindness.
But for that 48 hours? You shone like a beacon. I know of enough moderates who signed on to sponsor children and these people will not withdraw their support. You conned them into supporting a child, they hate everything your missionary work (And it is missionary work now. It put religion before people) and your organisation but they are supporting your organisation because they agreed to sponsor a child and that is not something that can be removed just like that.
And to World Vision? Does the onus of Christians to fight poverty and aid their fellow man come before the onus to throw rocks at Elton John? Because your priorities may need to be analysed.
And all this has done is harm you. Do you not think there are people like me who will criticise you and the way you do your charity? Do you not think there are Christians who will read this and separate themselves from the hate and “maybe even start questioning their faith”? Do you think this victory against the GLBT is worth the harm caused to the children? Do you think this victory against the GLBT is going to enthrall a new generation of Christians who seek a kinder and more inclusive faith?
I will not be working or doing any liaison work with World Vision any time soon. I have no obligations to make your lives easier at the cost of the GLBT. I will take patients if your charities are in the region and if they bring them, but I will not work with you on any projects and will actively start telling people to not donate to you if they are on the look out for charities to not give money to..
To encourage and solidify your status as a charity is to solidify the fact that evangelicals are willing to use the poorest, neediest and weakest people on the planet as hostages for any issue let alone the nonsensical fear that gays getting married will somehow destroy straight marriage.
The poorest, neediest and weakest people on the planet are not human shields for your stupid bigotry in this culture war against the GLBT. The day you forgot that is the day you stopped doing charity.
If you guys wish to send your own letters then here are some emails you can use.
Cynthia Collin – Senior Director – email@example.com
Amy Parodi – Domestic News Director – firstname.lastname@example.org
Johnny Cruz – National Director – email@example.com