World Vision Reverses Its Policy Reversal: They Will Not Be Hiring Gay Christians

March 26, 2014 · 8:44 pm

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 You were invited to come to the party and showed up only to be publicly turned away because your invitation had been rescinded.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.

4 Thoughts on “World Vision Reverses Its Policy Reversal: They Will Not Be Hiring Gay Christians

  1. andi dube on March 27, 2014 at 11:29 pm said:

    I found this observation astute:
    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.

    I think World Vision will come to realize that this move is shooting themselves in the foot. I very much doubt that the people who rescinded their 2,000 child sponsorships will be returning into the fold anytime soon. And the people who WOULD have began to support the organization in spite of its policy shift- no way they are going to buy into the schizophrenic policy reversal.

    On another point, I on the contrary believe that folks SHOULD drop their support of the organization, and funnel it into other organizations with equal impact and more inclusive policies for everyone, regardless of whether they fall on the heterosexual/ homosexual spectrum. Unfortunately, the moral incentives/ biblical arguments for application of kindness and love don’t seem to move them. Maybe withdrawal of financial support will force them to RETHINK their RETHINKING.

    • I agree with you to an extent: money talks. But I also feel for the people on the ground at World Vision who are just trying to do their work, and for the people who they are working to help. I don’t want to support a deficit of funding or program closure that affects people who have no control over corporate policy. Is there a third way?

  2. Gideon Abasontey on March 28, 2014 at 8:02 am said:

    You got it right by pointing out the case of bad PR. For an organization as large as WV, they certainly displayed a gross misunderstanding of who their core publics are. With that said, I agree with Andile that donors should funnel their donations to other organizations and also Agree with you that the people on the ground working for WV in changing the lives of the less fortunate should not be left stranded. WV will just have to keep depending on “old money”.

    • It would be great to see a strong, united response to let World Vision know where we stand, but if that united response is a mass exodus of donors, it’s going to hurt people. I don’t want to see that happen. At the very least, I would like to see those who continue to support WV to include a message with every communication and donation: “We support an inclusive hiring policy.” I would love to hear an idea for a stronger response, but one that mitigates the damage on the ground.

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