World Vision Turnaround

A few thoughts on the recent decisions of World Vision US to employ and then not employ people who are in a same-sex marriage.

Today, I’m going to do something that no charity CEO should do, I’m going to discuss a decision made by another organisation. In case you hadn’t heard, three days ago, World Vision USA (not any other part of World Vision) decided that they would employ staff who were married to a partner of the same sex. This decision was overturned two days later.

I don’t plan to look at the underlying questions about sexuality and employment in any depth, there are other blogs which do that sort of stuff far better than we could. All I want to do is make a few remarks from the point of view of cross-cultural mission.

  • I think the initial decision by World Vision USA was wrong. This is partly because I hold to a traditional view of marriage but also because the decision was bound to be divisive.
  • That being said, if they believed that the decision was the right one to take, they should have stuck with it. The fact that they could overturn such a major policy in just two days implies that they hadn’t really thought it through in depth.
  • Christian Charities should make decisions based on Biblical values, not pragmatism and certainly not on the basis of what will bring in the most money. From the outside, it looks as though WV are bending one way and then the other in order to please their donors.
  • Some of the reaction of Christians to this whole thing has not been pretty. When the initial decision was made, I saw some very nasty and ungracious things written about WV by conservative Christians. Then when it was reversed, some liberal and progressive Christians were just as vocal and just as unpleasant. I don’t care where you are on the theological spectrum, but if you can’t argue with grace and charity; stay away from social media.
  • We’ve taken our eye off the ball. The purpose of World Vision is not to provide employment for Americans, be they gay or straight. They exist to serve the poor people of the world; who have been somewhat overlooked in this whole process.
  • More importantly, yet again the Christian world is talking about sexuality and not about Christ. I know that issues of inclusion are important, I appreciate that charities have to make difficult decisions (tell me about it!), but there is a needy world out there that needs to hear the saving message of Christ crucified and a large part of the Christian world is consumed by an internal debate. This isn’t what we were sent to do.

I mentioned at the top that I hold to a traditional view of marriage. I know that some readers of Kouya Chronicle will disagree with me. Please can we just agree to disagree; I really don’t want the world mission focus of this post to be lost in the comments. 

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.

4 replies on “World Vision Turnaround”

Eddie, a very thoughtful post. I hope this doesn’t cross the line of your final exhortation.

I completely agree that the decision was going to be divisive, which leads on perfectly to your second point, but could you elaborate on why someone’s view on marriage would affect the recruitment policy? Doesn’t widening the recruitment net in fact make it easier to focus on the organisation’s objective of serving the poor? (Viz. Cranmer’s argument – which I’ll accept got a bit unnecessarily personal)

Hi Andy, thanks for your comments. I do hope the fact that I wrote it doesn’t actually contradict the key point I wanted to make. “That’s some catch that Catch 22”.

I love your point #5. Where are the voices of the poor in this topic? Does it matter what kind of organization they would find legitimate? Did WV take time to ask them?

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