VISION, CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATION?
By Marsha West
April 20, 2014
The dust has settled a bit since Christian humanitarian aid organization World Vision’s March 24 announcement that it would hire gay couples who are legally married in the state in which they reside. Since “World Vision-gate” remains a hot topic, it’s time for some introspection; likewise to do some digging to find out if WV truly is a Christian organization, as it claims.
When WV announced its decision to hire gay people, not surprisingly Bible believing Christians found the decision unsettling. Clearly WV’s Board of Directors chose to ignore the plain teaching of Scripture regarding homosexuality. As a result, a large number of believers, including some high-profile evangelical leaders, took to the blogosphere in protest and thousands stormed WV’s website. Board members hadn’t counted on the huge uproar their unbiblical decision would cause. Certainly they expected WV’s financial support to take a minor hit from unhappy sponsors. But evidently no one anticipated just how big the hit would be. According one source 10,000 sponsors pulled out. (More on this in a moment.)
Within 2 days the board reversed its decision. Immediately Richard Stearns, president of World Vision issued a public apology. The following is an excerpt of his apology from Christianity Today:
"The last couple of days have been very painful," organization president Rich Stearns told reporters this evening. "We feel pain and a broken heart for the confusion we caused for many friends who saw this policy change as a strong reversal of World Vision's commitment to biblical authority, which it was not intended to be."
"Rather than creating more unity [among Christians], we created more division, and that was not the intent. … Our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake … and we believe that [World Vision supporters] helped us to see that with more clarity … and we're asking you to forgive us for that mistake."
"We listened to [our] friends, we listened to their counsel. They tried to point out in loving ways that the conduct policy change was simply not consistent … with the authority of Scripture and how we apply Scripture to our lives. … We did inadequate consultation with our supporters. If I could have a do-over on one thing, I would have done much more consultation with Christian leaders."
"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."
"Yes, we will certainly defer on many issues that are not so central to our understanding of the Christian faith. … But on the authority of Scripture in our organization's work [and employee conduct] ... and on marriage as an institution ordained by God between a man and a woman—those are age-old and fundamental Christian beliefs. We cannot defer on things that are that central to the faith."
Here’s what Stearns said about the large number of child sponsorships that were cancelled:
"That grieves us, because the children we serve will suffer because of that. … But our choice is not about money or income. It's a sincere desire for us to do the right thing. To be consistent with our core values and to respond to the legitimate feedback and counsel we have received from supporters and friends of World Vision." (Source)
Doing the right thing meant WV had to throw gay people under the bus.
Stearns now wants us to believe that the organization needed feedback and counsel from supporters and friends to help them realize that homosexuality is a sin and as such practicing homosexuals must repent and turn to God.
As previously stated, it was alleged that10,000 kids lost their sponsorship in those 2 short days after the original announcement. Who made this claim? Far left blogger Matthew Paul Turner. And who did Turner blame for the loss of support? “So-called born again Christians.” In a blog post Turner grumbled:
Last Monday, the day of the announcement, World Vision’s call center received 7000 calls and a loss of 2000 child sponsorships. That’s just in 12 hours on Monday! The following day those numbers swelled. And then on Wednesday, within minutes of World Vision announcing that it was reversing its decision, the calls stopped and, according to Stearns, “the bleeding stopped.” … It took several days to count the total loss of sponsorships, a number that eventually rose to “just about 10,000 children,” according to Stearns. A handful of people did call back, hoping to start up their sponsorships again. But the majority did not.
Later in his piece Turner cuts lose on the born again believers who dared to withdraw their sponsorship:
There’s nothing “moral” about using a kid as a bargaining chip to punish a Christian organization for making a decision that you don’t agree with. There’s nothing honoring about using children to force an organization’s hand. There’s nothing “pro life” about that. There’s nothing remotely “Christlike” about that. It’s downright disgusting, manipulative, and sad. If I was a Pentecostal, I might even call it demonic. (Source)
Demonic? No! What really happened here is that Bible believing Christians sent a message to World Vision: We will not sponsor organizations that compromise biblical truth.
Amy Spreeman of Stand Up For the Truth who’s been closely following World Vision-gate isn’t buying Turner’s allegations. She brings to light two things we need to ask and consider:
Is there proof that 10,000 kids are now abandoned?
2. Do “sponsorship fees” really go to the kids?
Nope and nope. First, WV president Richard Stearns this week gave out this figure via phone conference to a small group of hand-picked bloggers who are pro-gay marriage. The blogger with the biggest audience is Matthew Paul Turner. He works for World Vision. ‘Nuff said. (emphasis added -- Source)
When it comes to the Bible’s clear teaches on homosexuality and marriage, WV board member Jacqueline Fuller appears to be as biblically ignorant as Matthew Paul Turner is. On April 3 she resigned from the organization “because she disagreed with the agency backtracking on a policy that would have recognized employees' same-sex spouses.” (Source)
Here’s the crux of the matter as stated by The Cripplegate’s Jesse Johnson:
The homosexual agenda continues to advance and Christians really ought to come to terms with the fact that it is only a matter of time when our view of marriage will be plainly illegal. As has been said elsewhere, as that agenda moves forward in our country at breakneck speed, ambivalence is not an option; you will be made to care. As World Vision’s recent announcements illustrates, it will soon not be practically possible to simply love others and preach the gospel, without having a clear explanation about what the Bible says about homosexuality. (emphasis and link in original -- Source)
Spenser vs. World Vision
In 2007 WV found itself in Federal court defending its right to hire only those who shared in its Christian beliefs. The lawsuit went on for four years. Then in October 2011 the decision came down on the side of World Vision. The headline in Christian Headline News read:
VICTORY FOR RELIGIOUS HIRING IN WORLD VISION CASE
According to the report:
As a requirement for employment, Silvia Spencer, Ted Youngberg and Vicki Hulse had acknowledged their agreement and compliance with World Vision's statement of faith upon being hired. In November 2006, however, the three were terminated by World Vision after an internal investigation determined Spencer, Youngberg and Hulse did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ and denied the doctrine of the Trinity ("There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit), a fundamental tenant of the organization's core values.
Claiming discrimination, the disgruntled employees filed a complaint against the Federal Way-based humanitarian aid organization in 2007. The lower court granted World Vision a summary judgment and, in 2009, the plaintiffs appealed the district court's decision.
Judges found the reason for firing was not in dispute. On August 23, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 2-1 that World Vision was a “religious organization” and therefore exempt from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars religious discrimination in hiring.
From the same article:
"I am pleased, relieved and gratified with the court's action," said World Vision's U.S. president, Richard Stearns, in a statement. "After four years of litigation, we at World Vision U.S. may now put this matter behind us, and continue our policy of hiring only Christians." (Source)
Reading this statement from Sterns makes one wonder why, after battling for four years to have the right and freedom to hire only those who cling to WV’s supposed biblical views and values, would this professed Christian organization decide to hire “married” homosexuals?
Stay tuned for Part 2.