World Vision’s Decision Was Still a Watershed Moment

So I wrote a satirical response to the outcry from some Christians  in regards to World Vision’s decision to allow people in committed gay marriages to work there.

Today,  a World Vision employee wrote to me, in regards to that post, thanking me for the humour it added into, what I can only assume, has been an impossibly tough week. It broke my heart to imagine what those on the ground must be experiencing when 2000 people pull their sponsorships within a few hours.

Well, today the absurd got absurder.

World Vision reversed its decision today.

This is sad.

The letter from the board citied a mistake. They re-committed themselves to the “biblical understanding of marriage” (between one man and at least one woman, I guess).

But let’s not fool ourselves.

This is about bullying. This is about the same lobby that managed to get a secular cable network, A&E, to re-instate Phil Robertson, after he said some of the most vile and racist bigoted things you could say and still be published in GQ.

If A&E caved, World Vision didn’t stand a chance.

Evangelicals, especially conservative pastors, shame on you. Double shame on you, Gospel Coalition.

I know that change is hard, I know that you are reacting to the loss of your privilege in the world. And we all know that this reversal is temporary.

As much as I wonder how conservative, American, Republican, culture-war, nation-worship can can still be, in any meaningful sense, called Christianity, I am certainly not going to say farewell to Evangelicals, as they did to World Vision.

But I will offer this rebuke:  As your elder in faith, stop it. Stop acting like a bunch of teenagers and grow up. The I-am-taking-my-ball-and-going-home attitude is old and tired.

As one who has been ordained into a church and denomination that has had to get past many of our own demons, I know that growing up isn’t easy. But the world needs you to grow up, and soon.

In the meantime, for those who are completely lost, saddened and disheartened with what has gone with World Vision this week, let me say something:

World Vision is not the only Christian NGO out there. In fact, there are many who won’t succumb to the Evangelical Lobby anytime in the future. I am not saying stop supporting World Vision, not by any means. Keep signing up for sponsorships, don’t assume those 2000 are coming back. Keep sponsoring those kids you are already sponsoring!

But check out the Christian NGOs below as way of knowing that World Vision is not responsible as an NGO to hold within it the entire diversity of the church. Just as many pointed out, the work World Vision does with communities all over the world is the same, regardless of their employment policies.

Check them out knowing that, in fact, World Vision made the best decision for the communities they work with. World Vision was put into an impossible, no-win, situation and I think they did what was best. They asked, “How can we help as many people as possible?” And so they did what they could to stop the financial bleed.

In the meantime, also keep fighting for LBGT rights, fight for them in all areas of the Church. Fight for them knowing that World Vision’s reversal doesn’t change anything. The policy change on Monday was still a watershed moment for the church, today’s reversal just means the hill to climb is taller than we thought.

Just because the Gospel Coalition is afraid of Gay Terrorists, doesn’t mean we have to fear their conservative backlash. It only means we have them on the ropes.

ARDF_Logo-copy_noTMAnglican Relief and Development Fund


LWR-LOGO-HOME-RESIZEDLutheran World Relief



devp-logo-enCatholic Development and Peace


Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 6.37.06 PMMennonite Central Committee



What do you think of the World Vision Announcement today? Will you change who you give your support to? Share in the comments, on Facebook: The Millennial Pastor or on Twitter: @ParkerErik


5 thoughts on “World Vision’s Decision Was Still a Watershed Moment”

  1. I’d advise you to also include a caveat asking those who sponsored kids to keep doing so despite the reversal.


  2. LOVE this piece – and your satirical take on the response to World Vision’s initial decision. This whole thing is ridiculous, and frustrating, and really lots of privilege people arguing about sex instead of arguing how best to do what Jesus actually talked about: caring for the marginalized. The people who pulled support from World Vision were taking a fundamentally selfish stand that said their “superior Biblical marriage” model (or whatever) took priority over poverty. Right.

    Also – yay for MCC! I worked for them for a summer a few years ago. They don’t have active anti-gay policies, but it remains an often tacitly/implicitly/sometimes overtly homophobic organization. Yet i’m queer, and i still chose to go to Uganda, which is not exactly known for loving non-hetero folks. And it was one of the most God-filled summers of my life. I share this not to be self-congratulatory but to thank you for appreciating there is always more nuance than essentialist thinking wants us to believe!


  3. (I think my large thumbs may have unfollowed your blog in my iPhone app. Re followed right away, of course!)

    Thanks for the sharing that story. I think it is important to know the diversity of churches and Christian NGOs out there. Our denomination’s NGO, Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), works with very different Lutheran bodies. My Lutheran branch allows same sex marriage, LGBTQ candidates for ministry (or technically any candidate regardless of sexual orientation). Our national Bishop is a woman, and 2/5 synod bishops are. CLWR also works with a Lutheran body that doesn’t even let women vote at congregational meetings… Issues of human sexuality are not anywhere on their radar. Yet CLWR makes it work. Together we sent 70,000 sweaters to Syria this winter. World Vision could easily adopt this approach… if conservatives could accept the smallest amount of diversity and recognize that it doesn’t threaten them.


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