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03/27/2014

On World Vision's stunning capitulation to world's most anti-gay voices

by Jeremy Hooper

By now, you've probably heard that the Christian charity World Vision, after first announcing that it would accept the reality of Christians in same-sex marriages, has caved in to some of America's extreme anti-gay voices and reversed its initial decision. The charity is now pointedly excluding gay people.

This is one of the most galling decisions in recent memory. It's one thing to operate with an anti-LGBT mindset, as a sad number of Christian operations choose to do. It's another thing entirely to dip your toe in the waters of tolerance in hopes that you can avoid controversy and focus on the mission at hand (e.g. feeding hungry, heaping poor, aiding children in need, etc.), only to then turn around and make the choice to be discriminatory. It is such an egregious slap in the face. A spineless one, too.

If the evangelical church wants to know why every credible poll shows faith losing favor—and fast!—with more and more young people every year, this is precisely why. The most extreme voices in the faith have Jesus and his teachings by the neck and they are determined to define Christianity by the cherry-picked things it is supposedly against rather than the many things it should be for. These far-right voices leave no room for conversation, dialogue, and especially not compromise. They are sure that they have all of the answers and that their exclusionary world view is the only acceptable path forward. If any person or group tries to temper the anti-[insert countless things] message and encourage a more rigorous examination, that person or group is public flogged, pointedly shunned, and condemned with a fiery breath that makes Hell seem climate controlled. It is a world that shuns any and all intellectual assessment of our natural world and demands the strict compliance to the Apostle Paul followers of the Jerry Falwell generation. You stray an inch and you lose your good name. You are shunned. As Jesus would.

But World Vision and anyone else that complies with this human-hurting, people-shunning, conversation-stifling, anti-intellectual myopia cannot blame these loud and indefatigable religious right commanders for this, the problem that truly threatens the Christian faith in America. If they cow to it, they deserve more of the blame. The only way to change things for the positive is to be the positive change. Instead, World Vision chose to back down to Bryan Fischer, Tony Perkins, Peter LaBarbera, Franklin Graham, Matt Barber, Todd Starnes, John Piper, the American Family Association, Pat Robertson and everyone else who things a day without a stone cast firmly at a happy gay person's life is a day unlived.

For this spineless capitulation, World Vision deserves all of the blame. They certainly don't deserve our support.

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