World Vision reversal is homophobic
Views 127 | Time to read: 4 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 8 - 2014 | By: Evan Arnold
I hear more often than I’d like from fellow students that “believing homosexuality is a sin isn’t homophobic.” In light of World Vision’s reversal of its expected policy change, many conversations around statements like this have sprung up among the student body.
But the position is problematic.
At the least, it is a micro-aggression (read: subtle act of oppression). At most, it is condemnation of an entire person based upon how they fall in love with another consenting adult. Unfortunately, it is mostly only queer folk who are targeted by “love the sinner, hate the sin”. Their supposed sin is highlighted more frequently than that of any other group. Christians continually harp upon it and uphold the issue as a high priority in discussion.
This tension developed on a national scale on March 24 when Christianity Today reported that World Vision would begin permitting gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed for their organization. The charity’s CEO, Richard Stearns, told Christianity Today that "this is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support." He made it very clear that the decision was not meant to communicate a theological position, stating: “We're an operational arm of the global church, we're not a theological arm of the church… this is simply a decision about whether or not you are eligible for employment at World Vision U.S. based on this single issue, and nothing more."
Immediately, threats from conservative Christians to discontinue funding for World Vision spread like wildfire, all because World Vision was no longer banning individuals who had married someone of the same gender. Think about that: people would rather take money from children in poverty than know that someone who works to serve those in need might be queer.
This is where we’ve landed: threatening to pull support from a world relief organization because the Christian community seems to be unable to come alongside fellow Christians in this endeavor. If believing homosexuality is a sin is not homophobic, then coming alongside queer Christians to help the poor — not even in person but in a global organization — should be simple. It should be no different than working alongside a Christian of a different denomination.
Christians believe that very different interpretations of the Bible are correct on a variety of issues, yet Christians rarely withdraw their charitable donations from Christian organizations because they are willing to hire Christians of a different denomination. Maybe some would refrain from sharing communion with folks of different denominations/faiths, but that’s the extent of exclusion from ministry you’d expect to see. You’d think someone wanting to do the Lord’s work would be welcomed and celebrated, but instead they are turned away.
The Christian community has factions that apparently cannot bear to allow someone who went before God and devoted themselves to their same-gender partner to work at World Vision. They can’t bear the thought of a queer person pursuing the same basic tenets of Christianity – to help the poor, feed the hungry and love God’s people.
This sends a message — as does believing that homosexuality in itself is sinful — that these fellow Christians are somehow tainted — they’re worse than sinners like everyone else, they’re especially or uniquely sinful for merely existing, for following their hearts and for accepting that God intended their love to be the way that it is.
The more vocal voices of our community are wielding their money and power to exclude people from serving the Lord. Even if you remain unconvinced that it’s unfair to apply “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric disproportionately to gay people, how is excluding them from employment showing them love?