I think we all have a little bit of whiplash. It was just yesterday that I heard the news that World Vision would be changing their policy to sanction the hiring of married Christians, regardless of whether those marriages were heterosexual or homosexual.
While the news itself was a surprise, the response was not. Progressive Christians everywhere rejoiced. Conservative Christians everywhere objected. Some conservative Christians were so upset by the change that they decided to boycott World Vision, including the cancelling of more than 2,000 child sponsorships. In response, progressives rallied to raise funds to help diminish the impact of the boycott.
And now, like throwing gas on the flame of yesterday’s controversy, World Vision has made another reversal: they will not be hiring gay Christians after all. They state that their choice has nothing to do with finances, and everything to do with talking to church leaders and seeing the error of their ways. I am stunned. Of course I understand that many Christian organizations take the position that homosexuality is a sin, and build hiring policies based on that. And although I supported the original policy reversal, I can even understand that many conservative Christians felt betrayed by it.
But this is what I cannot wrap my head around: a mammoth Christian organization like World Vision is not an amateur at PR. They had to know that changing a policy about what is currently, without a doubt, the most controversial topic in the Christian church would cause an uproar. They had to know there would be financial backlash. How could they have made such a monumental decision without being prepared for the media frenzy that followed?
Let me just pose a question. Let’s say that you wanted to go to a certain party, but that party had a very strict admittance policy. Which would be more humiliating and hurtful to you:
1. You knew that you weren’t welcome at the party, so you didn’t go.
2. You were invited to come to the party and showed up only to be publicly turned away because your invitation had been rescinded.
Obviously the second instance is much more hurtful and insulting, and that is exactly what World Vision has done to gay Christians. As an added slap in the face, World Vision said they were brokenhearted for “the pain and confusion [they] have caused many of [their] friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of [their] strong commitment to Biblical authority.” While there was certainly some pain (and a good bit of anger) on the part of those who found World Vision lacking in their “commitment to Biblical authority,” how can there be any question that the people who have been more hurt, and are more deserving of a brokenhearted apology are the many gay Christians to whom these policies apply?
I do believe in the work that World Vision does, and I certainly hope that no one (else) drops their child sponsorships because of this fiasco, but I am extremely disappointed in the very unprofessional and irresponsible manner that this all played out.
Bad form, World Vision. Very bad form.