Most of the people who read this blog know that I try to understand and respect the views of evangelicals and conservative Christians. I came from that background and even though I’m a mainline Protestant, the theology that made me who I am is the evangelical faith of my youth. Because of that and because I think God calls us to love our enemies, I want to give these folks some leeway even on issues that could affect me, primarily on issues of sexual identity. I know and understand that we don’t see Scripture in the same way, so I think toleration should be the case as long as we respect each other.
However, when the other side is disrespectful and downright mean, all bets are off.
By now, most of us know that WorldVision, the evangelical relief and development agency, lifted a ban on hiring persons in same-sex relationships. This was less of a “let’s celebrate marriage” guesture as much as it was “we need people who can help” or pragmatic move.
When I first saw this, I was happy. I’ve always respected WorldVision for its work and I hoped it would signal a change in evangelicalism where gays would at least be tolerated.
Well, after a flurry of responses, including a number of nasty ones, WorldVision reversed it’s policy yesterday. Via “YoRocko,” the head of the relief agency threw the gay community under the bus:
“What we are affirming today is there are certain beliefs that are so core to our Trinitarian faith that we must take a strong stand on those beliefs. We cannot defer to a small minority of churches and denominations that have taken a different position.”
I’m checking my copy of the Nicean Creed to see where it says “don’t hire homos.”
While it is upsetting that WorldVision flip-flopped, what is truly maddening is that there were people who were so mad that they decided to not give to the organization anymore. Really? You were going to not help the world’s poor because of what WorldVision did?
I know that people sometimes withhold funding for various reasons. But this just seems out of whack. WorldVision is an organization that tries to alleviate the suffering of the poor among us. I’m pretty sure when Jesus talked about the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 I’m pretty sure it didn’t read, “I was gay and you shunned me” as a good thing.
The people who threatened WorldVision were threatening the poor in my view. They cared more about who someone sleeps with than they do helping the poor and hungry.
I know that there are those who will say that they are defending an important institution in traditional marriage. I understand that, but did people read some of the awful communication directed towards WorldVision? Look at the quote below:
I know my tone here has been more harsh than…well, ever. I don’t like to rant on this blog. I also don’t want to offend my evangelical friends. However, I believe a line was crossed here. I will defend someone their right to believe and practice their faith, even if it doesn’t mesh with my interpretation.
But I can’t support this. This is just wrong. You don’t hurt kids to prove a point.
I understand why WorldVision had to backtrack; they were going to take a hit to their finances which would hurt their good work. I really don’t have a beef with them. Some of the supporters of WorldVision are another story.
I remember my mother commenting about one of her brothers that was living with a woman that he wasn’t married to. (He did later marry this woman.) Mom wasn’t crazy about that, she thought it was a sin. But she still loved her brother. She had her values, and love was one of them.
I wish that were the case with some WorldVision supporters.