Ten Thousand Children?

Ten Thousand Children? April 5, 2014

I told you last week that 2000 child sponsorships were dropped after World Vision announced that it would hire married gay employees (a decision they took back two days later). As A Deeper Story reports, this was only the beginning:

I just got off the phone with a few other folks, including Rich Stearns, CEO of World Vision. I had the chance to ask him questions, we heard a bit about the decisions made last week and where things stand now.

You need to know that 10,000 kids have lost their sponsorships because of the events of last week. TEN THOUSAND CHILDREN.

In other words, 10,000 evangelicals chose to drop their child sponsorships through World Vision in response to the organization’s announcement that it would hire married gay Christians.


This past week Ryan Stollar offered an excellent corrective and made a call for talking about World Vision accurately. Ryan points out that losing 10,000 sponsorships was a drop in the bucket when compared to World Vision’s budget, calling into question the idea that World Vision backpedaled because it was forced to choose between going back on its decision or letting children suffer. He also outlined something I had strongly suspected, that child sponsorship is a largely discredited means of charity, and something I had not known, that World Vision’s child sponsorships today are largely ceremonial.

And he went on, holding back no punches:

I have a lot of problems with World Vision as an organization. I believe they are disingenuous, I believe they blur the line between church and state, I believe they have a bad approach to charity and development, and I believe they use a damaging model of humanitarianism that is one part white savior complex and two parts using children’s pain for marketing and propaganda. But I also know and have interacted with wonderful, caring people who donate to World Vision and wonderful, caring people who work for World Vision. I 100% understand that the employees are not the organization and the organization is not representative of all its employees. So while I have tried to keep my opinions to myself over the last week, I feel that there are some minimum issues we all need to unite on: speaking accurately about the situation and not letting a few bigots control the conversation and monopolize how we think about helping both the poor and the marginalized. 

Ryan’s entire post is well worth the read, and probably the best final wrap-up of the entire World Vision situation that has been written.

Everything I wrote before is still true—this recent conflict points to the increasingly central importance of evangelicalism’s opposition to LGBTQ rights, and evangelicals’ general refusal to admit that there are gay Christians or that there are alternative ways of reading the passages they claim condemn homosexuality. If you missed where I originally outlined these themes, you can read more here:

What World Vision Says about Evangelical Priorities

World Vision Reverses Course

World Vision and Gay Christians

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