World Vision Day

World Vision Day March 26, 2014

I suspect that this is a day that many young Evangelicals (some of whom will be looking for a different name for themselves) will remember in years to come.

If you haven’t been following the news, the major Christian charity World Vision decided to embrace married same-sex couples as employees – and now, shortly after the announcement, they have reversed that decision.

What led to the change? The word that springs immediately to mind is bullying. Many Evangelicals vocally expressed their dismay and promised to stop supporting World Vision.

As many noted, these critics were clearly saying “feeding starving children matters less to us than discriminating against Christians with whom we disagree.”

Many young Evangelicals responded with joy at World Vision’s initial announcement. They are now disappointed.

But I suspect that they will look back to this occasion – let’s call it “World Vision Day” – as the day they made up their minds that they want to be different than the sorts of spiritual bullies that predominated their parents’ churches and Christian organizations. As the day when they realized through their disappointment at what this organization did, that they think caring for others is paramount to their Christian faith, and discriminating against others ought to be no part of it.

And so I hope that that will be World Vision’s legacy – as well as feeding starving children.

Elsewhere around the blogosphere, there are comments from:

Scott Paeth, who said: “At this point in my life, I’m used to being disappointed by Christian institutions. But they keep finding new ways to disappoint me.”

Rachel Held Evans wrote: “This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken, and lost. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at the Church, particularly the evangelical culture in which I was raised and with which I for so long identified. I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under pressure. Honestly, it feels like a betrayal from every side. ”

Hemant Mehta rounds up some of the comments on Twitter. Fred Clark has found the precise theological term for the liars associated with the Gospel Coalition.

See also posts by David Henson and Libby Anne. UPDATE: See now also Scott Fritzsche’s math, and Zack Hoag’s post indicating that some of my predictions above where correct.

Hacking Christianity made this image:

And finally, here’s a cartoon from David Hayward:


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  • This was a happy occasion that turned sad and ugly very quickly.

  • BrotherRog

    One small step forward, one too darned big step back. This is a truly
    tragic development. Yesterday World Vision took one loving step forward,
    and today they took one tragic step backward. They made a decision
    based upon a worldly utilitarian metric – learning about the number of people who were contacting them to threaten to withdraw the continuation of their funding. This decision also based upon a worldly fear-based perspective. Like the ancient
    Hebrews wandering in the desert who longed to return to slavery in
    Egypt, they feared changing the unjust status quo. They doubted that God
    might have greater things in store for them in the promised land of
    civil rights and unconditional love and acceptance. Pity. Praying for
    less fear and for more faith.

    – Roger Wolsey, author, Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity

  • Had a rather lengthy discussion on this with some “Christian” friends on facebook. Tried to explain why in reality it’s unclear if God actually considers homosexuality a sin, touching on things like inerrancy/infallibility to hermeneutics, then further explained how Christians should take time to discuss their different views instead of simply opting for a “divorce”.

    At the end of all that, they posted the link to a report that World Vision has reversed its decision. They even said “Praise the Lord” …

    In response, I only had this to say:

    “Let’s show the world how real Christians get things done, by flexing their political muscles and beating each other into submission.”

    • James Walker

      never forget. the modern Evangelical church kills and eats its own wounded.

  • steve

    Praise God! What a glorious day! We almost lost another Bible Believing institution to the sinful acceptance of homosexuality. Thank God they repented and came to their senses. I am sure the “bullying’ homosexual activists watchdogs will spew their hate against those who love Jesus and believe the bible when it says “homosexuals will not inherit the kindgom of God”. Sin is sin. Let’s not be bullied by homosexual activists and apostate “christians” who teach that homosexuality is ok.

    • Lyuba Marchenko

      Bla bla bla, same old bull’s shite. Hiding your ignorance behind your ‘religion’.

    • I find it hard to believe that this comment is serious. People who have worked hard to gain equal treatment for those who historically have been victims of marginalization and abuse are “bullying”? The Book of Revelation has all liars excluded from the New Jerusalem, and yet I fail to see Christian organizations taking a hard line stance on that. And of course, those who opposed slavery were considered to be attacking the Bible, because how could anyone dare to suggest that Moses and Paul accepted an immoral institution? This selective use of the Bible to marginalize others is par for the course for the heirs of the defenders of slavery. But for those who consider core principles to matter most, the situation looks different.

    • Jackie Heaton

      This is either a great example of sarcasm if it is that’s great. IF IT ISN’T then it’s a prime example of why the church is shrinking like a snowball in July.

    • Joy

      Umm, what?? You ARE being sarcastic, aren’t you?

    • R Vogel

      Have fun on the Titanic, steve. I hear its unsinkable…..

  • C. Bauserman

    … So, the old evangelical guard proves that they still stand stubbornly and overbearingly in the gates of Christianity. Wonderful… absolutely freakin’ wonderful.

  • James Walker

    Ah! LOVE the David Haward cartoon on this one! 😀

  • R Vogel

    “as the day they made up their minds that they want to be different than the sorts of spiritual bullies that predominated their parents’ churches and Christian organizations.”

    Or, like me, they may decide that they no longer want to share the term ‘christian’ with these evil, depraved, G*d haters. I will continue to follow Jesus as best as I know how, but I will not profess unity or solidarity with that kind of evil by even sharing the label ‘christian’ with them. They can have that soiled rag. There is work to be done, and they are simply getting in the way. Nothing has done more to frustrate the coming of the Kingdom of G*d than christians. This whole hideous affair at least leaves no doubt where they stand, nothing will get in the way of them enforcing their orthodoxy. Not even their own commitment to support needy children. Whatever happened to ‘in as much as you do it to the least of my brethren’? Did I miss the footnote that said *unless there is a goat person on the payroll?

    • Tim

      This sounds pretty similar to the way Jesus blasted the Pharisees . Amen.

  • Aaron

    I would have been fine with WorldVision’s decision if it was their initial one.. not a change due to obvious bullying. Each organization/church has the right to take their stance on different issues and act accordingly–but they should do so not because of pressure but because of their biblical convictions.

    Reading the comments here, and elsewhere, however, shows how clear “bullying” happens both ways. Christians who hold to a biblical interpretation that homosexuality is sin are clearly being bullied to abandon their theological convictions. Obviously a lot of them are unloving (and even hateful) in how they argue for their position.. but the answer isn’t to bully them into a different perspective. It’s happening both ways.

  • Jerry Shepherd

    What I find troubling about your analysis of the situation is that it is completely false. The evangelicals were not bullying, and they were not saying anything about their support of children being less important than discriminating against World Vision. I have not come across anyone in the internet discussion who said they were going to pull their support from World Vision and use it to buy CDs or hockey tickets or extra lattes for themselves instead. Rather, they were going to re-channel their giving through some other organization, such as Compassion International, whose fidelity to the Gospel they considered to be more consistent with Scripture. Furthermore, some evangelicals were advocating continuing to support children they had “adopted” through World Vision and formed relationships until those children reached the age 21, at which time the donations would have come to an end by World Vision’s own policy. That commitment could easily last for a number of years, even into double digits. So, your statement is both false and needlessly incendiary.

    Furthermore, I think we should also take World Vision’s statement at face value: “We are writing to you our trusted partners and Christian leaders who have come to us in the spirit of Matthew 18 to express your concern in love and conviction. You share our desire to come together in the Body of Christ around our mission to serve the poorest of the poor. We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.” While not all conservative evangelical reaction was in the spirit mentioned in this paragraph, I believe we should assume that World Vision’s reversal was a reaction to criticism that came to them directly, and was, in fact, in this spirit. This is the way things are supposed to work in the body of Christ.