I guess they redid the math: World Vision reverses gay marriage decision

Well, now. World Vision has reversed its decision on same-sex marriage and employee conduct, according to World magazine. Christianity Today reproduced a letter sent by WV, explaining in part,

The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. . . . [W]e made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage. . . . While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.

Read the rest here. And here’s the original post from this morning. (Whatever the fallout from the yoyo decision here, the basic issues will undoubtedly come up again.)

Do the math: After World Vision, who’s next?

Speaking about World Vision’s recent policy change on employees in same-sex marriages, Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, offers this:

No doubt World Vision, which receives tens of millions from the federal government totaling about 18 percent of its budget ($174 million in 2011), has accurately calculated that it’s so large that it can absorb any significant drop-off in donations from traditional Evangelicals.

It’s an interesting point, even if the cost-benefits approach strikes some as a little cynical. Ignore that and consider: Given the legal changes sweeping the nation, if you’re receiving government contracts, can you hold a more traditional line for long anyway? If the policy didn’t change would the government funds eventually dry up?

Certainly the legal expenses would begin mounting if you did business in a state with legal same-sex marriage, which World Vision does. Exclusions and protections will be challenged.

Maybe World Vision just did the math. Court tussles would be more annoying than anything else, but a nearly 20 percent drop in funding would be devastating. And how many traditional Christians, evangelical or otherwise, will really kill their WV donations?

After the storm blows over, few will factor the policy when deciding to donate. After all, how many of us consider — or are even aware of — any other human-resources policies at any other charity we contribute to? This is a momentary PR mess for World Vision; it’s not permanent. It’s impossible for the public to sustain outrage for very long.

My suspicion is that Tooley’s more or less right. Whatever the hit WV takes over this change, it likely won’t be very damaging, certainly not as damaging as government funds denied because of a traditionalist policy on marriage.

If that’s right, shouldn’t we expect more of this from Christian charities taking taxpayer dollars? The law is still on their side, but for how long? All the faith-based government initiatives suddenly get very sticky. And don’t forget who started those.

About Joel J. Miller

I'm the author of Lifted by Angels, a look at angels through the eyes of the early church. Click here for more about me or subscribe to my RSS here.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X