I don’t. They made the exact decision they had to, precisely for the people they serve in impoverished communities. They made the exact decision many writers and bloggers called for yesterday. Many asked folks to think of the children who would lose sponsorships, and that is exactly what World Vision did.
In the nonprofit world, money talks. Period.
But now, let’s talk about what we didn’t yesterday. Let’s talk about homophobia. Let’s talk about hate. Let’s talk about injustice. Let’s talk about how the vile theology spewed yesterday by far-right evangelicals is indicative of the kind of theology that gets gays and lesbians around the world killed, brutalized, and declared illegal. See Uganda’s anti-gay laws if you doubt me.
Evangelicals have a hate problem when it comes to homosexuality. Period. I know that’s extreme language. But it’s true. We can disagree over an issue and still find common ground in aiding the very poor and disenfranchised. We can work side-by-side in the work of Christ and not agree on every single marginal issue. And homosexuality, as it relates to the Bible’s message and meaning, is marginal. There are 31,000 verses. Only around 8 or 9 can really be said to have anything to do with homosexuality. (None are actually about homosexuality — monogamous, committed relations — as we understand it.)
And yet that fraction of Scripture has become central to the public identity of evangelicalism.
They have placed homophobia at the center of the Gospel.
The way evangelicals treat LGBTQ+ people is wrong. It is extreme. It is sinful. It is hateful.
And it is absolutely terrifying.
In the past 24 hours, we just witnessed the extent evangelicals will go to keep LGBTQ+ people marginalized, to keep an organization from the simple thing of recognizing their already legal marriages. They will starve children. They will deprive impoverished communities of aid and help.
So, no, I don’t blame World Vision. Its leaders did exactly what everyone urged them to do — both on the left and the right.They thought of how it would affect the children.
Rather, I blame the far-right evangelicals who held World Vision hostage to their homophobic agenda. These evangelicals held a gun to the head of World Vision. They forced an organization to choose between aiding hungry children and offering a small step towards equality for gay and lesbian people who work for them.
And no matter what World Vision chose, these evangelicals were always going to pull the trigger on one of the hostages.
Update: I was deeply moved by this blog post and, particularly this quote. Please read the whole article:
Though I understand that World Vision essentially had a gun to its head after evangelical leaders incited a mass backlash of dropped funds, it doesn’t make what they did right. Their reversal hurts more than anything I read from the evangelicals ranting.
Update: After 206 comments, I’ve closed the comment section. Thank you all for your feedback and your passion.