World Vision: God, Gays, and Giving

World Vision US HeadquartersChristianity Today broke the story that World Vision has changed their hiring policy to permit the hiring of gay people who are in same-sex marriages. Multiple sources have confirmed to me that this change was never intended to be some kind of grand statement on the issue of same-sex marriage but was rather being quietly rolled out on a department-by-department basis. However, when a disgruntled employee contacted Christianity Today with the news that same-sex marriage was now going to be embraced by one of the biggest Christian charity organizations in the world, World Vision had no choice but to make a public statement.

In a nutshell, the statement can be paraphrased like this: World Vision has both supporters and employees from all across the Christian spectrum. Some of these churches represented affirm gay couples and others do not so rather than take sides we’re going to accept that there are good people on both sides of the issue and hire people from both sides of the issue equally. Because really, it’s all about the poor not church politics.

The reaction from the Christian Right to this news was as predictable as it was pointed. Everybody on the spectrum from Franklin Graham to Matt Anderson and even David Cloud expressed outrage or began calling for Christians to drop World Vision support. Apparently unable to withstand the threat of a massive loss of support, World Vision was forced to reverse its policy change and reaffirm traditional marriages as the only ones they would recognize for their employees.

As I read these sweeping condemnations my heart sank because I’ve been on the other side of the world and I’ve seen the joy on the faces of children who found out they are being sponsored. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to be one of those kids who suddenly stops hearing from their sponsor and is eventually told they’ll never read a letter or receive a care package from that person again. All this because that sponsor thinks Jesus would rather that child’s spirits be dashed than a married gay person get a job in a charity office.

But I’ll admit that I was equally upset when I heard that people like Rachel Held Evans had been encouraging people to take on child sponsorship BECAUSE of the World Vision policy change. Predictably, the narrative that the pro-marriage-equality crowd took up was (in so many words): the conservatives care more about their politics than they do about the poor so let’s go sponsor kids as a statement of support for World Vision’s new policy! This is no less a terrible motivation for establishing a relationship with a child. Now that World Vision has reversed its position how long will these sponsorships-as-statement withstand?

Rachel at least asked the right question: “who’s this child sponsorship about anyway?”

The answer is that for a whole lot of American Christians our charity is more about us than it is about the needy. If the fact that gay hands wearing a wedding ring might touch your money on its way to heal the sick or feed the hungry is enough to make you stick your cash back in your jeans then shame on you. But by the same token, if a person has the resources and is perfectly aware of the needs in the world, why does it take the opportunity to support a political agenda to make them want to take up the challenge? That kind of charity is hardly charitable.

I suspected that most people from both sides of the aisle never take the time to look at the specifics of where their giving goes and — given the amazing level of sensitivity that has been highlighted this week — perhaps that’s just as well. When you give a dollar to World Vision that money is funneled into a community where the World Vision staff probably don’t look like or believe exactly like the people in your church. They could be anything from the most conservative Catholic to the most effervescent Episcopal. They might drink alcohol. They might be pro-choice. They might even be Socialists. Egads.

What’s more, from those World Vision field offices the projects that are funded are managed via Community Based Organizations where the people involved may not even be Christians. That’s right, folks: Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist hands may touch your money before it cleans one drop of water, plants one seed, or teaches one child to read.

And that’s ok.

Because giving isn’t about you and your agendas. And it’s not about me and mine. And it’s not about the hundred thousand virtual words spilled on the Internet this week as Christians who should know better engage in the perpetual Game of Stones hurled back and forth. Its not even about Franklin, or David, or Rachel. It’s about the call to meet the physical needs of people who are struggling on the edge of despair.

Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Healing the Sick. Sound familiar?

So here’s the deal: if you have it in your heart to make a difference in a life, then sponsor a child through whichever organization you think has the best chance of making a difference in that child’s life. I’m still recommending that you do it through World Vision because I know they get results. Real lives are saved. Real children get hope. I’ve been there and I’ve seen it.

If, on the other hand, your charity is about pride, or politics, or some kind of personal agenda then take that money on your next trip to the mall and save some child the future heartache of being abandoned so that you can make a statement or when the statement you were trying to make is no longer valid. Maybe somebody else will help that kid. Maybe.

I don’t remember Jesus treating the poor like pawns in his religious game. It’s a pity so many of his followers have different priorities.

253 thoughts on “World Vision: God, Gays, and Giving”

      1. Do they allow adults living in sexual sin (fornication) to work for them? Answer is no.
        There are many ways to fulfill our Lord’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves. Pretty sure that World Vision is not the only way.
        Some of us really do believe that the Bible has a clear teaching on marriage. And we really do believe that the Bible is clear on declaring sinful expression: lying, drunkenness, adultery, fornication, stealing, and sexual behavior of any kind outside of the limits of a male/female marriage relationship.
        Enough said.

        1. The Bible seems to be OK with polygamy, concubinage, slavery, Levirate marriage, incest (in some cases), and forcing a woman to marry the man who raped her.

          Also with putting children to death for disrespecting their parents (I would have been so dead if this were in force when I was a youth).

  1. This is a good perspective. It really should be heard by a larger audience than just us. In all of the “hub-bub” of this issue, I, to my shame, never thought about those being helped. We should applaud when those who differ from us, do good and and help to lessen the suffering of others.

    I am reminded of two things, which are not exactly connected to this issue. First, I have never heard fundamentalist preachers say much at all about Paul (in Phil. 1) writing about how he was glad that Christ was preached, regardless of the source and the motives. Even conservative evangelicals (perhaps mild fundamentalists) are very concerned about what type of people are doing the Lord’s work.

    Maybe the other story I will tell later. Granddaughter just woke up,

    1. I wonder how many people who insist on perfect spiritual purity and submission to “standards” know that Paul, the rabbi, felt free to quote Menander, the pagan. And not even some spiritual thing that might be pointed at as a pagan seeing through a glass darkly–he was quoting a comedy!

      (1 Cor. 15:33: “Bad company drives out good character.” Quoted from Thais by Menander of Athens. Wikipedia asserts that Menander was so good at these little sayings that they were collected in a school textbook. You know, a pagan school textbook.)

        1. Aristophanes. Only fragments, quotes, and one full play remain (Dyskalos) of Menander’s work survive.

  2. Once again, well stated food for thought. Thanks, Darrell. Just this week in another situation I had to back up and ask myself, “Is this a biblical decision, or one based on my Fundy upbringing?”

    One of the things I realized during a recent study of the Sermon on the Mount was Christ’s emphasis on doing things with the proper motive and attitude, not for an outward show of piety. If many of us were to control all of our money the way we control our charitable contributions, we would not be able to buy anything for fear that an employee of the restaurant, filling station, store, etc. might use those funds to buy unapproved substances, or worse, give the money we gave them to a cause we don’t approve of. We choose not to think of those things in the same manner, though, to keep ourselves on a morally superior plane.

    I have used businesses in the past that I knew the owners held very different theological positions than I, because they were more honest and did better work than the “Christian Businessman” I knew. For some reason, though, Christians aren’t allowed to pick charities in the same manner they pick home repair or garages to do business with. That is a shame.

    1. Who does not allow Christians to make choices about which charities to support? Is it fear that’s holding them back? False teaching? Investigate a charity the way you would any business, and choose for yourself.

  3. This sort of things is what happens when the Bible is not made a standard for faith and practice:
    1. Jesus gave the job of caring for the poor, sick, infirmed, etc. to local churches and not governments or para-church ministries.
    2. Because most local churches (esp. IFB) do not do the work Jesus assigned to them, para-church ministries and governments have taken over this duty.
    3. When para-church ministries and governments get involved, many of them do not care about the Bible’s standards (or have a weak stance that is money-oriented). So, when issues like this come up, people get hurt.
    4. Children should never have to suffer because of politics. But they will, for the reasons listed above. This never would have happened if churches were obedient to the Bible and doing the work assigned by Jesus Christ!

    1. I’ve heard this argument.

      The problem is that in our modern world I don’t know of any church that has the infrastructure, the funding, and the know-how to manage international aid efforts.

      How many people did your church send to Haiti after the earthquake? What is your plan to combat malaria? What is your 10 year strategy to curb human trafficking?

      These are specialized tasks that require full-time occupations. That kind of resource requirement exceeds the scope of any single local church.

      1. I see your point concerning infrastructure, Darrell. This issue causes me to wonder why my former Fundy church (which boasts its ability to support over 50 missionaries) could not manage at least a small amount of charitable giving.

        This issue is not as much ABILITY as it is the WILLINGNESS to find a way to give. Unless an organization agrees completely with the IFB church doctrine, they will not even consider partnering with them.

      2. Exactly. It does not exist, but should and could. It cannot in the IFB world, because of so much isolationism and empire-building. It does take much work, cooperation, and coordination to do this sort of work. Such words are anathema to IFBers, which is why this does not occur (nor does/do discipleship, rescue missions, half-way homes, and other desperately needed Christian ministries). This is sin and disobedience on the part of those that will not work together to see it done. The early church’s cooperation with each other is a great example to us.

        As for what I am doing, I appreciate the question, because I am as responsible with my fifteen members as a church with a thousand. We (not I, but we) have a heart to start a “benevolence home” (for lack of a better term). We have many individuals getting out of detention centers in this area that have nowhere to go, but back to their old life of sin. We want to give them a place to get away from it, grow in the Lord, be trained to be a productive citizen, and leave as a strong Christian. We want to do this for men and women. However, this takes time, wisdom, money, and people; but God is able! Me and another area pastor want to work together to see this come to pass. Hopefully we can get other Bible-believing churches on board, but we will see. Once this comes to pass, maybe God will put one of the things you mentioned on my heart. I hope He will, because such things are needed!

        1. I’m glad to see you’re looking for ways to engage real needs.

          The world could use some more of The Gospel with skin on.

        2. Rogue, what do you mean by “Bible-believing churches?” Do Episcopal churches qualify? Roman Catholic? Orthodox? Presbyterian?

        3. Jay, of course Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches are not “Bible believing churches.” They are papist & pseudo-papist temples of idolatry. Any more questions?

        4. @Bald Jones Grad: Churches that proclaim themselves “Bible-believing” as opposed to all us non-Bible-believing types are kind of like countries that proclaim themselves “democratic,” “Socialist,” or “republics.” But the daily readings printed in my non-Bible-believing prayer book call for a measly 125 or so verses divided into five separate passages (Old Testament, Epistle (or other New Testament Book), Gospel, and psalms), and our faithless inert unspiritual liturgy is only, like, 60 percent Bible quotations. So what do I know?

        5. Jenny, of course my comment above about the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches was said with tongue firmly in cheek.

          (I can’t use the emoticons on this iPad.)

      3. There are a few (very) large megachurches that do it. Like Saddleback size. Southeast Christian in Louisville also does it but they’re on of those churches that runs about 15-20,000 on any given weekend.

    2. I would say that this is a poor argument. It really does not treat the Scriptures correctly, and it makes the poor easy to abuse.

      First, government IS given power to regulate economic issues. Even in the Law, the command for “Just weights and measures” was repeated over and over. Farmers were forbidden from reaping the edges of their fields or for picking up what they had dropped. This was not “church” law, though the government was a theocracy. This was civil law and had nothing to do with their tithes and offerings.

      Furthermore, there is nothing in Scripture regarding what government can or cannot take on as an appropriate role. The fact is that the needs of the poor are much to large for the church to take on and have any significant effect. If you begrudge the work of government and extra-church organizations taking care of people “because that belongs to the church,” then you miss the point of Romans 13. Governments are to take care of people, too. People are to take care of people. The Church does not have priority, and no one should think it better that the needs of the people should be left unmet if government will reach out to meet those needs.

      In point of fact, even when Churches get involved in the lives of the poor, people get hurt. Churches often impose unreasonable standards. They trade “faith” for “food.” They try to restrict people’s rights of what and how to believe. And they usually cannot and will not deal with larger issues.

      The Church never has been big enough or good enough to unselfishly meet the needs of others with arms open wide enough to take all comers. There has to be more. Nor are the “Bible’s standards” (of which there are many interpretations!) the only standards worth having.

      If you can figure out a way to do it better, to keep no one from slipping through the cracks or to be left unhelped due to prejudice or malice, by all means, tell us, tell the world, and get it started. But until then, quit saying that government shouldn’t do anything about the problem. It isn’t right.

      1. And as has been pointed out repeatedly, often by the small charities themselves, if you want to (say) replace the USDA’s TEFAP/CFSP commodities programs with a non-government charity that provides even the piddly amount of food available through those programs . . . why then, it’s going to have to become as enormous and broadly coordinated as the USDA.

      2. “But until then QUIT saying…”

        Don’t infringe on my freedom of speech.

        We’ve had Obama’s Socialism for six years and he’s made the economy worse. Are we better off than we were six years ago! Hell no!

        Bush’s UE was 5% for eight years.

        Obama’s UE is 12 to 14%. And when the Business Mandate kicks in next year, millions are going to have their hours cut.

        I think the economy will collapse in 2015.

        Socialism has failed everywhere it’s tried. Socialist Europe has high UE and a lot of debt. Greece alone has been bailed out TWICE in four years b/c they are so broke.

        “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Margaret Thatcher.

    3. If you are saying that Jesus gave caring to the poor only to the people of God, I would have to disagree. Amos names nations and people groups outside of God’s people who God was judging because they didn’t care for the poor. The Church should be leading the way, yes. But to deny the people of the world the opportunity of serving the poor is to deny them the opportunity of experiencing God, since Matthew 25 says when we do it to the least of these, we do it to Christ. Everyone needs the opportunity to serve the least of these, government, Christian, non Christian.

  4. Not a bit surprised people would care more about the possibility of being infected with teh ghey than poor children. These are the same folks who voted for the politicians who decided to cut foodstamps during a recession or not expand Medicaid in the states most heavily populated by fundies. I wish with all my heart these folks would give the same effort toward the poor as they do ostracizing lgbt people. But I also wish for world peace and winning the lottery…which are much more likely to happen.

    1. The Obamacare website doesn’t even WORK and it cost 1 BILLION dollars.

      It’s just proof that the government isn’t capable of running a lemonade stand efficiently.

      Free Market Capitolism has done MORE to lift the poor out of poverty that the government handing out freebies.

      70% of the tax money DC collect STAYS in DC to pay for fat-cat bureaucrats to cut checks where they deem fit. It’s nothing but a scheme to rob people who work hard of their money and expand the power of the federal government and it has nothing to do with “helping the poor.”

      The American people not matter what your political views are, are the most giving people on planet Earth. I daresay MORE money would go to the poor if our taxes were cut so more people could give to charities/churches of their choice. That’s where the Bible says charity is supposed to be done. It’s not supposed to be done by punishing those who work hard.

      God said that he provides for us and he blesses us, “when we seek the kingdom of God first.”

        1. Jesus fixes broken things NOT the Federal Government. Have you ever been by a housing project? Where I live, 80% of black children don’t even KNOW who their fathers are! How sad. Welfare has destroyed the black family by making fathers irrelevant. The government has taken the place of fathers with welfare. We are now seeing generational welfare where they can’t get out of it. Also, those school districts have a 50% dropout rate. So they are trapped in violent, gang ridden neighborhoods and failing schools. The Federal Government doesn’t fix a damn thing!

          In the OT, God gave Israel the blessing of being self governed UNTIL they screamed for a King like everyone else.

          At the time of Christ, the oppressive Roman empire controlled the entire world. They mowed over countries with their military and built their empire on the backs of slaves.

          Are you saying Jesus accepted and wants are government here in America to be exactly like the Romans? LOL…well, we are on our way there.
          The Roman empire collapsed morally AND fiscally.

          How can you say you care for the poor when our Federal Government is making every poor person a wage slave by running up our national debt up to 18 trillion dollars?! Who has to pay that back? We do!

          We’re going to collapse just like the Roman Empire did.

      1. So. You want to turn this into some kind of political soapbox when the safety and well-being of real human beings are at stake. Nice.

        Some advice from someone who really wants to be your friend and help:

        Read a little bit about world hunger and poverty.

        Read a little bit about hunger and poverty in this God-blessed-free-market Paradise we call the US of A.

        Read the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s a pretty good story.

        Lay off the FOX and Ted Cruz newsletters. It’s harming your Christianity. Blessings!

        1. I and a couple friends started a business a few years ago and one of our founding principles was to give 10% of our profits away. We are all professing Christians and the name Christian is in our foundation. We have given to missionary pilots, local churches, battered women’s shelters, the FCA, food banks, people with medical emergencies or hardships, etc. Not once have we read the bylaws of these organizations on their hiring practices or how orthodox is their statement of faith. We just try to give to people in need or to organizations that are helping people in need. Damn we might even be giving money to gays.

          That said, I am an evangelical Calvinist, ultra conservative, like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, watch fox news, vote republican/libertarian, and spanked my children.

          I get tired of the shit were some of you always think people of my ilk are evil.

        2. I was awfully use your colorful language back to you. However, I thought better of myself for not doing it.

          Look. Conservatives, fundamentalists, Fox, Glenn Beckistan and others have libeled, slandered, defamed, lied about and scurrilously besmirched good people and their intentions. They call us evil, rebels against God, blights on humanity, communists, and every other nasty thing they can. We liberals are downright tame. We just can’t be as nasty as conservatives can be.

          Remember that what you spread out so graciously to others hits the fan and can splatter back. Don’t blame us for that. All too often the abuse you think being heaped on you by liberals is just the abuse you spread coming back. Ever read Obadiah. What you bestow on others will come back on your own head.

          Time to be a bit nicer, I think. Time to realize that God is not in your box. And time to realize that we are all sinners, you as much as me. Why, if Paul could be humble enough to see himself as the “chief of sinners,” why should some Christians want to see themselves as paragons of virtue?

          Am I evil? Sure. And I try to repent of my evil. Call me, a liberal, the person standing in the temple smiting his breast.

        3. Bill won’t call this out but I will: he’s even given money on multiple occasions to keep SFL running.

          Nobody should doubt that there are generous people all across the spectrum.

        4. And since my blood is riled up this Monday morning I now need to calm down. If any of the readers of this blog have a medical emergency or have a dire financial hardship please contact Darrell for my contact info as I would like to help.

        5. @rtgmath

          “We liberals are downright tame. We just can’t be as nasty as conservatives can be.” So calling me nasty because I’m a conservative is not “scurrilously besmirching” me. You don’t even know me, and that’s my point. Because I am right wing I am to be hated, I just don’t get that.

          I don’t “spread out so graciously” to you or others so I don’t get your shit and fan analogy. I willing admit that God does not fit in my god box; He’s bigger, more gracious, and more loving then I can ever imagine.

          Am I evil? Sure. And I try to repent of my evil. Call me, a conservative, and the person standing in the temple smiting his breast.

        6. “I get tired of the shit were some of you always think people of my ilk are evil.”

          Bill, do you think we liberals get tired of the unwarranted and unjust accusations and assumptions heaped on us?

          Let me check. I did not call you evil. I don’t call you “ilk.” As for the shit and fan analogy, look at your own words above. Do you see them?

          You are not evil because you are conservative, just like I am not evil because I am a liberal. I noted that in the realm of public debate, the most vicious words are found on the conservative side. You may disagree. But I have been called evil because I admit to being a liberal.

          Perhaps it would behoove both of us, as well as our brethren, to realize that the intemperance and intolerance has to stop.

          You may know more about me than I do about you. The Lord knows I put enough of my personal details into my posts! Still, I have as much of a responsibility to talk about righteousness as any conservative does. Faith is not one issue only.

          Frankly, if we would stop trying to impute unrighteousness to each other and start trying to understand the differences, perhaps we could be a real, Biblical “body” with differences of function and perspective but unified in spirit.

          If you and I are both smiting our breast before God, then let’s not fight each other any more. Let’s stop assuming that the other thinks the worst.

          Where I have misjudged you, I am sorry. Where you think I have misjudged you, I am sorry. But words hurt. We throw them around too freely.

          Yes, me too.

          Shall we have peace? We will never agree on conservative/liberal policies. We might even have “words” about them. But we can have peace between us.

        7. Bill, sorry for getting your blood pressure up. I’ve been overworked and fighting a bad cold the past few days, so I haven’t been able to respond as I would have hoped. Thanks for all the good stuff you do. I don’t agree with your politics, but I do agree with your desire to help, and that’s common ground enough for me.

          As rtgmath said, liberals also get a little tired of being seen as evil, and sometimes this irritation breaks out. Thanks to you and rtgmath for carrying this discussion forward and ending it better than I could have hoped–an invitation to share a cold beer! I’m in Savannah. If you’re ever down this way look me up sometime, we’ll go to Coach’s Corner for a Braves’ game and a SweetWater or two.

        8. Even though I vote conservative my beliefs are more in line with what warriorclass posted on another blog. (I believe I posted this on my obama year)

          “People get so angry, so frustrated, so betrayed. It’s like “our leaders” are crazy or stupid, or both. It doesn’t make sense to put women in the infantry. That’s obviously crazy! It doesn’t make sense to encourage kids to take out college loans they’ll never be able to pay back. It doesn’t make sense to invite people into the country when you cannot afford to care for the people who are already here. That’s nuts!

          It doesn’t make sense to start wars and then say you’re trying to “win hearts and minds.” War is not a good way to win hearts and minds! And worrying about hearts and minds is not a good way to win a war!

          It doesn’t make sense that bankers and CEOs get golden parachutes and go on vacation or get jobs in the administration after knowingly and intentionally destroying companies, jobs, lives, the environment — whole segments of the economy!

          But if you realize that they — the people who run the country — are doing things to benefit them and not you, everything makes perfect sense.

          Consider the possibility that America’s leaders really don’t care if American soldiers live or die. Consider the possibility that American colleges and bankers don’t care if you live the rest of your life in debt to them. They’d probably prefer it. Consider the possibility that American politicians care more about keeping their jobs in the short term and looking good in the media than they do about what happens to the people of their country in the long term. Consider the possibility that “you” are not part of an “us” that “they” care about. I promise that if you meditate upon this, things will start to make a lot more sense.

          If you let go of the idea that these people are supposed to care about you or the country, and you allow yourself to see them as gangs and individuals working to further their own interests, you can relax and appreciate their crafty strategy.

          Let go of foolish expectations about what these people should be doing. Step back and see them for what they are. Don’t be mad. Don’t be outraged. Be wise.”

        9. This is a position I can respect, even as a liberal. We disagree in some places to varying degrees, but on the whole you and I are in agreement on what we feel about the larger issues.

        10. “Bill, do you think we liberals get tired of the unwarranted and unjust accusations and assumptions heaped on us?”
          Absolutely, but it seems to me that many of the posts think all us conservatives are bad and it just ruffles my feathers somewhat.

          Actually I called myself “ilk”, would never call someone else that but since coming out of the IFB movement I kind of enjoy swearing.

          “look at your own words above. Do you see them?” No I missed that but I’m not too bright, please explain.

          You’re not evil because you’re a liberal any more than I’m evil because I’m a conservative. However when you say “the most vicious words are found on the conservative side” I just don’t know if that’s true. It might be, but it’s not coming from me and I hate to be lumped into that crowd.

          I rarely post, and you have nothing to be sorry about, you offended me in no way. If my words hurt you I am truly sorry. I really like people who take a stand and don’t sit on the fence, I judge you to be one of those people. I have a couple close friends who are liberal and I love them almost like they were conservatives…just kidding.

          If you are a follower of Jesus then we both have the same best friend and you’re another one of my liberal brothers. If you’re ever in the Atlanta area look me up and we’ll have a few brews.

        11. And judging my Christianity is exactly was IFBers do.

          It’s called Freedom of Speech, not “a political soapbox.”

          I notice you didn’t touch the FAILURE of Obamadoesn’tcare.

          67% want it repealed.

          I get my news from the internet from liberal, conservative and libertarian websites and then I make up my own mind.

          I don’t even watch cable TV. We’re Netflix people.

          And the poster above brought up Obamacare, not me.

        12. Jeanette, I haven’t responded because I’m overworked, fighting a bad cold, and most of what you have written is beyond the scope of the topic of the original post. You continue to make this about Liberals and ACA and so on. I responded to you as I did to try to draw you back to the topic at hand–poverty and hunger exist, and some Christians are willing to leverage aid to the poor and hungry to get their way. If you are content to use this post to preach about how abominable the Lib’ruls are I don’t know what else to say but . . .

          . . .whatever. Take care.

        13. Sigh. No one is quite so blind as the one who refuses to see.

          Yes, IFBers judged our Christianity, found it wanting, and tried to hurt us over it.

          So here, in this group, former IFBers judge the Christianity of LGBT people, especially if they marry, and move to hurt the organization WV and those they serve. Are they really former IFBers, or are they still fundy to the core?

          Yes, I hear the “I get my news from all over and then make up my own mind” — usually codespeak for “I am a conservative and nothing will make me give it up.” I haven’t heard a lot of liberals say this. They consider sources like Fox News junk and don’t bother to listen to it. They collect news from BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, etc. If you didn’t tend toward a very conservative bent, you would understand that “ObamaCare” has done more to make health care accessible and affordable than anything the opposition could have proposed. It removed the limitations of preexisting conditions. It allowed children struggling to find work to remain on their parent’s health care policies. It forbad health care companies’ worst abuses. God shows time and again in Scripture a concern for social justice.

          And what is wrong with that? What have you got against people being able to get decent, reliable health care at a reasonable cost? How does that square with your Christian Faith?

          I know you are against ObamaCare. So please, support that position on the basis of your Faith and demonstration of the Love of Christ. Help me understand. I can’t see why you take the position you do, certainly not when the facts on hand are so different from what you claim. I want to understand your faith in context, to see it at work.

          Oh, I have “Christian” friends who take the same position you do, and they won’t — or can’t — answer me. All they do is give me reasons to doubt that Grace is at work in their lives, seeing they don’t want to give grace to others. It has become discouraging. Was there nothing real about the Christianity in the IFB movement I spent so much of my life in? Or was it all a sham?

          I know. This post is something of a ramble. But it is sincere. I don’t think you want to be the same kind of judge against the faith of others as the IFB was to you. Nor do I. But when we cannot understand how a position, political or otherwise, squares with faith, we need better explanations.

          Please think about it.

        14. I really enjoyed the conversation between rtgmath, billnotsofundy, and nico. It really, really seems like you all have many similarities. And you’re listening to each other. Thank you all. In this age of character assassination and lies, it’s refreshing to witness good people disagreeing (even vehemently) then coming together to find common ground. Thank you all. I’m learning from all of you.

        15. Sigh. I still have a long way to go, BJg.

          I do want to listen to others. But when I hear certain kinds of arguments, my blood boils, its pressure goes way, way up and my reserve tends to go out the window. I really am passionate underneath and will fight for what I believe is right. And somehow I think it unreasonable that people should be unreasoning.

          At least that is the way I perceive it.

          Sort of like how we can perceive the internal contradictions within fundamentalism, but it is hard to perceive them in ourselves. Oh, I see the internal inconsistencies in myself right enough, but I still can’t manage them and put things under control.

          So I guess I sound arrogant and condescending. That may be a professorial trait. I am educated and I know it. I can solve problems. I can parse arguments. And I get irritated at those I perceive aren’t, at least at the moment. When the irritation shows it is ultimately self-defeating. But I succumb to it anyway.

          Perhaps it is because I *want* to believe that if made to think, people will see the inconsistencies in their arguments and want to do something about them. The fact is that most of us emote better than we think, and we don’t really want to do something about our inconsistencies. We won’t even acknowledge them. And my pressing the issues won’t make them. It just makes them angrier.

          But when I get angry, I can’t seem to optimize my approach. And I just have to realize that some people will never see themselves as they look to others. I just hope I can make progress in that direction.

        16. rtgmath,
          We’re all in process. The other day one of my employees said to me, “We don’t think you’re so much intense, as you are passionate.” Sounds a lot like you.

          My late father used to say, “People are not logical. They’re psychological.” I did enjoy all of the thread, just because it gave me hope that the liberals and conservatives might be able to hash it all out. Like you, I’m a liberal, and I so hope for reconciliation.

        17. Nico,

          See we have something else in common (besides beer)… I’m a huge braves fan. I love Sweetwater (420 and the IPA). Since you are in Ga let me also recommend Jekyll: Hop Dang Diggity IPA. It’s a local brew here in Alpharetta that started about 8 months ago and is outstanding. I’m very close to investing in this brewery…pimping beer is apolitical, right?

        18. Bill, I have to admit that I was reared in Florida and root against Georgia teams in every sport–except baseball. Go Braves! And I can’t say enough good things about SweetWater. The mere mention of their IPA makes me go all fan-girl. I will definitely see if I can get my hands on your recommended IPA.

          Dead serious about my offer if you’re ever in Savannah. We’re going to disagree about a lot of things, but we’ll have fun doing so!

        19. Nico/Rtgmath, a little of my background: my dad is a member of the John Birch society, I graduated from an ACE high school and then went to Bob Jones. Upon graduation I attended an IFB church for many years, met my wife there and her parents are still fundy lite…I have lots of baggage. That said, what I believe in is constantly changing (religiously and politically)…we are all works in progress. I want the Spirit and the Word to change me to be more like Jesus as He is my only hope. Don’t know why I shared that except to give you a little perspective and that sometimes change happens slowly (although I’m no way near to becoming a socialist, but who knows).

          Some of my favorite lyrics are from a song by Mercy Me:
          I hope you stare just long enough to see
          The heart that’s beating here inside of me
          Beyond all the things you may think you know
          I’m just a kid trying to make it home, that’s it
          No more, no less
          Lord, I want to go home
          Nothing more, nothing less

        20. Thanks for this background, Bill. We’re all in various stages of recovery, to be sure.

          Me, I grew up in IFB churches, went to an IFB school from 3rd to 12th. Accepted The Call to preach. Went to a Bible Institute for a year. Pretty much a waste, except I met my wife there. (Been married 24 yrs. now, God bless her. As you can imagine, it hasn’t been easy on her!) Made plans to go to Liberty. Didn’t work out. Became a Calvinist. Went into construction to make ends meet while waiting on God to open a door. A little Calvinist Baptist church (basically mild IFB that held to the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith) called me to pastor them. 2.5 yrs. later I just couldn’t do it anymore. No offense, but I couldn’t bring myself to believe in Calvinism any longer. Great people there, though–they loved me to death, and I loved them dearly as well and still think the world of them. Resigned, became Orthodox in 2000. A few years later things went toxic in my parish, we suffered through some pretty spiritually abusive events. Found another Orthodox parish to attend but things have never been the same. Haven’t been to church in almost 2 yrs.

          The last decade or so I’ve slowly but completely drifted left politically and religiously. Pretty far left. I’m still not sure how that all happened, since I was an inflexible hard-line conservative for most of my life. A lot of different influences and experiences, I suppose.

          I’ll shut it down now. Obviously, one of the things in my past I still have not been able to shake is my pastorly gift of windbagging. :)It’s good to know you, Bill.

        21. Big wide grin!

          Thanks for sharing. My aunt was a Bircher. My mom and dad wanted to be, but that wasn’t allowed by the US military. We went to church with white supremacists. One of them, in showing me around his home, told me never to take the tape off a certain light switch. It was to the outside light, and he’d filled the light bulb with gasoline in case the Feds came after him.

          My folks homeschooled me and my sisters. We were one of the very, very early ones, when the legality of homeschooling was in serious doubt. We were KJV-only. My parents thought that BJU was a terrible school because their son came back the first year with some new ideas (like NOT KJV-only). They were of the persuasion that if they couldn’t understand it, or it challenged any of their beliefs for any reason, it had to be of the Devil.

          I met my wife at BJU. Fortunately, her connections to the University were through her grandparents. Her parents actually sent her to an Episcopal K-12 school, where she was infected with some moderate-to-liberal ideas. They didn’t show up at first because of the University’s influence and our association with the Plymouth Brethren and other fundamentalists. But as I began moving in a more liberal direction, she was able to shift with me. Mostly. There are some significant gaps as yet.

          So you have made a significant shift! My spiritual journey has covered a wide swath, and I am not finished yet.

          Thank you for sharing a bit of you with me. Don’t worry about how far you will go. You may go further than you think. The distance the arrow flies depends partly on how far back the archer pulls the string. Evidently, I was pulled back pretty hard.

      2. The Obamacare website works, at least in Alabama. My friend signed up a few days ago, with no problem.

        “The American people . . . are the most giving people on earth.” If you count foreign aid, domestic aid programs, military aid to other countries as well as charitable giving, perhaps so. Depends on how you define “most giving people.”

        My daughter is a Federal employee, and she Is definitely not a “fat-cat bureaucrat.” She works hard in a rather stressful position, meeting the needs of Federal employees who have disabilities.

        There’s plenty more I could say about your post, but let’s just say that your script is straight out of the Tea Party/Libertarian agenda.

    2. “Not a bit surprised people care more about getting their gay sex than they do helping children.”

      See how easy that is? Why be fair and evenhanded when you can be inflammatory!

      1. Oh stop the B.S.

        There is nothing “fair and even-handed” about denying poor people healthcare, food, and rights to lgbt populations. I refuse to be “evenhanded” about people determined to keep screwing over those who are most vulnerable.

        1. No you stop the BS… why do you hate evangelicals for giving money to the poor? Why do you love the homosex so much you’re willing to destroy a charitable institution to get it?

  5. While I do not accept homosexuality, the question remains: Does it really matter WHO touches your money on its way to help the needy? When a person shops at Walmart, are they not helping pay the salaries of some gay people? When an IFB gives money through a mission board or local church board, is it not a possibility that child abusers and pornography viewers will touch that money? [tongue in cheek]

    This is truly an issue of the heart attitude toward giving. Are you willing to endure some things you might not like in order get your money where it’s needed?

  6. World Vision America insisted that by altering its employment policy, it was taking a neutral position on the question of whether homosexual behavior (within the bonds of same-sex marriage) is consistent with Christianity. This is absurd on its face.

    Whatever one’s position on same-sex marriage and homosexuality, generally, surely WV must have realized that if its revised policy became known, WV would be seen as taking a stand on this very dispute. By virtue of its original employment policy, WV was taking a position on the underlying issue. And by changing its policy (twice) WV has necessarily changed its stance.

    1. Right. They’re saying it’s a legitimate theological difference.

      Most evangelicals would view these as legitimate theological differences:
      Calvinism / Arminianism
      Continuationism / Cessationism
      Complimentarianism / Egalitarianism
      Divorce & Remarriage questions

      Many would tolerate sacrementalist theology.

      Gay marriage? A bridge too far. It’s not even so much a theological question as a moral issue to them. It’d be like allowing a guy who solicits prostitutes to work there. To most evangelicals, they don’t really see it much different. It’s viewed as a gross sexual sin.

      1. And of course, evangelicals and fundamentalists have their own pet sins that are every bit as bad. But they don’t focus on *their* sins. They focus on the sins of others.

        Much like all of us do, I suppose. But the more conservative one is, the less a person sees themselves as being culpable. Oh, they mouth the words, but the words don’t mean anything.

        Grace is a profoundly liberal term and theology. Conservative theology inputes blame, guilt, and measures worth. One cannot be forgiven unless one “proves” worth to be forgiven. Acceptance is always conditional. Unconditional love is often condemned.

        Grace — the giving of goodness and love without regard to merit or deserving to all who will receive it is absolutely wonderful.

        So Conservatives see gay marriage as a bridge too far? Frankly, they see feeding the hungry as a bridge too far. They have railed against free or reduced cost lunches in the schools, proclaiming that kids have motivation if they are hungry. They call the wounded and unable to work “lazy” and deadbeats. They are big on judgment, large in mouth, shriveled in heart. Their morality is their pocketbook and their ability to rule the lives of others.

        Why don’t we stop trying to rule others and treat them like Christ would treat them? Jesus was no Pharisee. In fact, the only people Jesus railed at were the religious leaders.

        Let people come to Jesus. Then let Jesus clean up their lives as He desires, not according to our dictates.

        When Jesus cleans up the lives of fundamentalists and conservatives, I will once again believe Jesus can save people from their sins. Until then, all they possess is an empty morality.

        1. There’s a whole lot of conflating theological liberalism with political liberalism going on. And also assuming that all political conservatives are reactionaries that want to undo the welfare state.

        2. Elijah, one thing I have discovered is that political and theological anythings are easily mixed, and that some things are very easily and correctly used as markers for other traits.

          Conservatism fits people into a structure. Their rights, feelings, and understandings are unimportant, particularly if they go against “authority.” Change is unwelcome. This is true politically and religiously.

          Liberalism attempts to focus more on the rights of the individual than on the structure. Questioning, challenging, and change are accepted. This, too, is true politically and religiously.

          So I don’t see much conflation at all. Someone who IS a conservative will more quickly lean toward fundamentalist and conservative theology than someone who is not.

        3. “Liberalism attempts to focus more on the rights of the individual than on the structure.”

          Not really. There are plenty of liberal causes that infringe on the rights of the individual for a perceived greater good.

        4. @rtgmath

          Liberalism in America is not as concerned with “invividual rights” as you seem to think. Liberalism largley seeks to use a powerful government to create “equality.” Any group that uses law to force people to behave a certain way is not truly liberal.

        5. I respectfully disagree. And since I was once a conservative and now am a liberal, I fancy I know whereof I speak.

          Not that every liberal does everything right.

          But in conservative thought, I find no regard for civil rights. I see a lot of discussion about how to curtail the rights of some people so others can exercise abuse. Rand Paul advocates repealing the Civil Rights Act — at least certain sections of it. He would like businesses to be able to discriminate against who they serve. In which case, a community of white racists could practice virtual genocide of the black residents by simply refusing them goods and services and employment.

          So yes, I see government as necessary. Funny that. Paul did, too, in Romans 13. Ever read it?

        6. “So yes, I see government as necessary. Funny that. Paul did, too, in Romans 13. Ever read it?”

          Can you be a little more condescending a presumptive?

        7. Probably could be. Not that it was warranted, I suppose.

          I just get irritated at the anti-government arguments out there put forward by Christians. The Bible is NOT anti-government. Nor is the Bible pro-capitalism (but I can address that in another thread). In this thread and some others there have been attacks such as, “God didn’t give Government the job of solving poverty,” as if it were better for people to starve than for the government to help them. People snidely attack liberalism as “big-government” — implying that their idea of making government too weak to protect its citizens from the abuses of others is a much better idea. And how many preachers have been featured here who have been anti-government?

          As I said. I was irritated. So many people on the thread supporting discrimination, even where it wasn’t needed.

          So if my irritation was wrongly directed, I apologize. I probably did come across as condescending — not that I was the only one, mind you. I can just do it better (worse?) than most if I feel pushed.

          I was trying to correct my daughter about a blatantly false idea she had the other day. And as I was trying to explain the reason, she told me I was full of myself because I wouldn’t let her believe what she wanted to believe. 14 years old and a big mouth. Of course, the years of education, knowledge and experience mean nothing to her. She thinks her uneducated opinion is just as valid as one arrived at by careful study.

          So I accept your rebuke. I should have said it differently.

  7. I agree with at least 90% of what you say here, but your framing of Rachel Held Evan’s comments and call to give doesn’t really represent what she said. Evans was hardly suggesting that BECAUSE WV stopped discriminating against gays and lesbians, they should be supported by progressives now. Like others, she called people to give to WV to make up any potential loss BECAUSE conservatives stopped giving in light of the policy change. In other words, she wasn’t putting politics before people. She was trying to protect people from becoming collateral damage in a political struggle in which they aren’t even involved.

    “Real lives are saved. Real children get hope. I’ve been there and I’ve seen it.” So has Evans, if you read through her blog.

    1. My point is that the sponsorships being called for are reactionary.

      Can we agree that “I want to sponsor little Ahmed because he’s in need” is substantively different from “I want to sponsor little Ahmed because those mean conservatives are going to drop him because they hate gays!”

      I believe that the latter is going to prove a lot less sustainable than the former. Especially since World Vision has now reversed their position and Rachel’s latest comment is “I am deeply, profoundly sorry that I inadvertently rallied these fundraising efforts in response to the fallout from a decision that would ultimately be reversed.”

      She does say that she hopes people will continue with their sponsorships which is good but ultimately I think this boom will bust.

      1. “Can we agree that “I want to sponsor little Ahmed because he’s in need” is substantively different from “I want to sponsor little Ahmed because those mean conservatives are going to drop him because they hate gays!””

        No, because you are still trivializing the motives of progressives. As if none of them gave or thought of giving to WV before it was pulled down into the culture wars.
        Pretty sure RHE was writing about and working with WV before she wrote as a straight ally to gays and lesbians.

        And as for her lament, yeah, she rallied the troops in part due to her political stance, but she also clearly said “in response to the fallout from a decision,” meaning the loss of support from conservative donors (which we now know was significant, effecting nearly 5,000 kids in just two days). Why call that “reactionary” instead of “responsible”?

        “She does say that she hopes people will continue with their sponsorships which is good but ultimately I think this boom will bust.”

        Why so skeptical? And if anyone deserves the cynicism, isn’t it the conservatives who dropped or threatened to drop sponsorships in the first place? How many of them will return to WV, and the children they dropped, now that they go there way?

        1. I was just getting ready to write to Darrell on his characterization of Rachel Held Evans, but Eric hit the nail on the head. Rachel writes, “But please, for the love, don’t leave a child and a community that was depending on you in a bind so you can make a point about gay marriage. It’s just not worth it. ” I don’t see this as negative, but a realization that many who are withdrawing their support aren’t thinking of the children (the real reason they should support WVF), so she wants to encourage her readers to do just that… think of the children that will be affected by this sudden pull-out of support, and try and soften the blow. Sorry, but there is nothing at all wrong with this.

        2. Add me to the list of those who believe you gave Rachel Held Evans a raw deal. She has long been a supporter of World Vision. In fact, she has an entire chapter in one of her books where she went on location to a World Vision site and she describes the amazing difference their work makes. Her call seemed to be (a) to support a great organization that she has long supported and (b) to support kids whose sponsorship was dropped by those angered by the WV decision.

  8. I have to disagree Darrell.

    Christian charities should stay away from hot button issues like this in the first place b/c the majority of Americans support traditional marriage.

    1. And yet they allow employees who are divorced and remarried (i.e., adulterers, according to the Bible). What’s the difference here?

      Maybe if Christians focused more on doing the work of God than on what everyone else was doing, they’d be more effective witnesses.

      1. Divorce isn’t called “an abomination” by God and there are valid reasons why people divorce.

        And homosexual marriage has never been supported by the church….until now. So for over 2000 years, the church supported traditional marriage. I think now I see why Jesus calls the End Time church a, “lukewarm church that makes him sick to his stomach.”

        Even Jesus was there when men and women were created to marry and pro-create.

        1. Divorce is condemned greatly in the Bible with very strict rules why it would be allowed.

          I’m sure WV employs people who are divorced for “wrong” reasons.

          I’m sure they employ overweight people.
          I’m sure they employ prideful people.
          I’m sure they employ people who use the Lord’s name in vain.
          I’m sure they employ people who might have problems with idolatry.
          I’m sure they employ people who covet.
          I’m sure they employ people who haven’t always honored their father and mother.
          I’m sure they employ people who have born false witness against someone.
          I’m sure they employ people with drinking problems, porn problems;

          Why is one sin so worse than others? I think many people are growing tired of #singleissuechristianity.

          When one sin seems to be elevated above others by so many Christians, it can appear to be a bit more hateful.

        2. Laodicea was not an “end time church”…it existed in the first century and the original apostles probably visited it at some point or other.

        3. WV’s decision was based on two things, according to their own statement. 1) Their ecclesiology; WV does not believe it is their job to decide who is a Christian, instead they expect their employees to be members in good standing of some Christian church. Divorce is actually a good example; WV’s position is that it should be up to the church to decide if the divorce was legitimate. 2) Other nations in which WV operates require nondiscrimination based upon sexual orientation, and it would be much simpler to have one SOP for the whole org (this was not stated explicitly WV’s statement; I inferred it).

          However, I think it is a logical error to conflate the sins which people commit as a matter of living in this world with openly living a lifestyle of sin. If we took any other sin that the Bible names that isn’t such a hot-button, we can clearly see the difference. We would expect WV to forego hiring a Christian who was a slaver, for example (a sin listed along with homosexuality by Paul in 1 Tim.). I really don’t believe the issue is about different kinds of sins so much as it is about living openly in a sin the Bible condemns. Categorical difference.

        4. But in Malachi 2:16 God said, “I hate divorce”. So aren’t you splitting hairs between what God said he hates, versus what is “an abomination”?

          “there are valid reasons why people divorce.” But there are no valid genetic or even environmental reasons why some people are LGBT?

        5. Just thought I’d mention that there is some disagreement among scholars about how to translate Malachi 2:16. Some translations go with the traditional “God hates divorce” while others translate it this way: “‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.”

      2. I quite frankly don’t care what homosexuals do in private. I don’t want to hear about it. Homosexuals can get jobs almost anywhere.

        But even liberal CA BANNED homosexual marriage TWICE and only 1% of America is homosexual. That’s ONLY 3 million people while 80 to 90% of American believes in God.

        Christians are also called to live a Holy Life with the help of the Holy Spirit and the Bible and they are also called to teach others to live Holy.

        Again, these charities should stay away from hot button PC political issues.

        1. They should stay away from hot button PC political issues?

          I doubt the Denny Burk’s, Franklin Grahams, John Pipers, et al would be terrible upset if WV had sent out a huge statement against Abortion.

          That’s a huge, hot button PC political issue.

        2. Where do you get such statistics as “80 to 90% of American believe in God?”

          American what? American cheese?

        3. I’m pretty sure those stats on believing in God come from the Pew Forum on Religion…at least the seem close to what I remember.

        4. ML That’s b/c abortion is forbidden in the 10 commandments and most evangelicals are for saving lives or prolife.

          If you’re going to save the life of a poor person by sending money to WV, why wouldn’t you save the baby of a poor personal who goes into KKKlanned Parenthood too! That baby deserves to have a life as well! Most abortion clinics are in poor neighborhood were they prey on scared women so they can make money!

  9. To be honest, I think you’re being a bit unfair to those who sponsored kids through World Vision after the news about their initial change of policy news broke. Both the people I know who did, did so because they anticipated fiscal backlash if not the astonishing and saddening degree of backlash that occurred. And they won’t be canceling their sponsorships because World Vision crumpled, either.

    Aside from that, speaking from the outsider’s perspective, watching a subculture roiled by ongoing sex scandals, and tormented by higher divorce rates than so many of the groups they condemn in these matters, then use even the possible presence of the most maritally conservative sector of the gay Christian community as a valid reason *not* to feed the hungry and clothe the the naked is certainly one hell of a witness. “Ye shall know them by their fruits,” indeed.

    1. Exactly. I know myself and others knew the backlash was happening and would mean children who depended upon aid were going to be in need. The reaction was not due to the policy but due to the backlash. Someone needs to love people more than the letter of the law. Many felt they needed to step in to do just that.

  10. And I just read F. Graham’s response and it was in NO way condemning in nature Darrell.

    I don’t read Rachel Evans b/c I can’t stand the leftist nature of her site. I’d rather politics be on the small part of a forum section than on the main section of a “former IFB site.”

    If I want to read politics, I’ll go read politics.

    1. He did say this on a Family Research Council radio show this past week.
      “It’s obvious World Vision doesn’t believe in the Bible.”

      That’s just a bit over-the-top and condemning.

      1. No, it’s not.

        Once WV goes down this PC path, what’s next? What other parts of the Bible are they going to cross out?

        You can’t just cherry pick Scripture like this. What’s that going to tell the people they are going to help? It’s OK to live however you want, God doesn’t care?

        1. So, they don’t believe in the entire Bible because they might be wrong on one thing?

          That seems over the top.

          That’s drawing with as broad a brush as you say Rachel Held Evans draws with hers.

          I’m NOT IFB anymore because I precisely can’t stand the stereotypes and #singleissuechristianity that it propagates.

        2. The Bible is a pretty big and long book. And it really doesn’t speak to hiring people in a ministry which feeds hungry children.
          To say their stand on homosexuality negates their belief that Jesus is Lord seems to be condemning them.

  11. I’ve read very little about this but one thing that has stood out to me is that I’ve read people claim that some people “hate gays so much they’re willing to starve children” then in the very next paragraph or blog post, will say they won’t give to World Vision after they reversed their decision. So, they like gay sex so much they’re willing to starve children? Is that what it is? Smugness and pretense isn’t just the real of conservatives.

    Then I began to realize the whole thing took on the tone of being entitled to other people’s money and having the right to say how they spend it. While it would be pretty cold to stop supporting a sponsor child over this issue, I think the bigger issue is that folks wouldn’t take on another child through World Vision after the current child they’re sponsoring grows up. And that would be entirely their right.

    1. That’s exactly right!

      “you hates gays so much, you’re willing to starve children.”

      According to the left, if you don’t vote Democrat; “you’re a hate filled racist, sexist bigot who hates poor people.”

      Yet they don’t care that 3,000 babies are aborted every single day or that 1,000 black babies are aborted a day. What about THOSE children?!!

      You should read more of the comments at Rachel’s site.

      It’s truly sickening.

  12. Rachel Evans:

    Honestly? This whole ordeal has been the nail in the coffin for evangelicalism for me. I’m done.

    I think it’s time to work on finding and creating church again alongside all these other refugees. I’m not saying no one can work for change on the inside anymore. I’m just saying I don’t think I can anymore. (The evangelical community has made it abundantly clear they don’t want me anyway.)

    Way to paint with a broad brush Rachel!

    And I’m SURE as a Conservative yet a former IFBer I would be welcome on your site!

    IMO…she has become EXACTLY what the the IFB is anyway by becoming a leftist shill and ONLY supporting leftist causes.

    Way to go Rachel…and I doubt you’ll ever realize it.

      1. She needs to step back and take a look in the mirror.

        I made a comment on her site. Let’s see how long it stays up or how long it takes for the all the Leftists to start attacking me.

      2. I just read several articles by Rachel and she is obsessed with homosexuality and sex.

        I just read a post that she thinks masturbation in married and single people is OK.

        I’d rather focus on my relationship with Christ than these issues. S

        Her site is in NO way uplifting to me as a former IFBer. I see a site that’s filled with anger and hate against Conservatives quite personally. If you don’t agree with her, ‘you’re a ______.”

    1. Yep. Evangelicals wouldn’t want me back either. And yes, I support LGBT rights. I believe in equal protection under the law for everyone, including racial minorities and LGBT. What God thinks of the LGBT thing is way above my pay grade.

      1. God gave us His word to show us that marriage is b/t a man and a woman.

        Every single state banned it. It’s the leftists courts that are overturning the will of the people. Law is decided at the ballot box and our courts are supposed to UPHOLD the law, not make law.

        So no, they don’t have the right to marry. You’re trampling on the rights of the people to support morality to make 1% of America “happy.”

        1. The courts are simply enforcing the provision of the 14th amendment enshrining equal protection under the law. The 14th amendment prevents the rights of numerical minorities from being trampled by the majority–who always win at “the ballot box.”

          And it’s far more than 1% who are made happy when LGBT people get their rights. The polls show that those who are against LGBT rights are older, and frankly, are dying off. The next generation is turning away from Christianity. One reason is the way gays and lesbians are marginalized by white fundamentalists and evangelicals.

          In 1998 my state held a referendum for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I voted in favor of the amendment, and it passed. With time, I’ve come to dramatically change my thinking. Many, many people have changed their opinion on the issue of marriage equality.

          Any possible reasons for being against marriage equality are rooted in religion. The US is a civil society, and the rights of all must be protected regardless of their number.

          Let me ask you–if, in years to come, the population of the US becomes majority Muslim, and they want Sharia law, and they hold a referendum to mandate Sharia law here, do you want your right to be a Christian protected? Or do you want your rights to be upheld under the 14th amendment?

          So why are the rights of the LGBT community any different?

        2. Or a man and a woman and a woman. Or a man, a woman, and his 200 or so concubines sent as ambassadorial presents. Or a man and the woman he raped.

          And again (and again and again and AGAIN), marriage that involves signing a contract of mutual aid, financial reinforcement, agreed-upon parameters of fidelity, and the formation of a family nucleus has NOTHING AT ALL to do with two people becoming spiritually one. Civil marriage is not Biblical because it isn’t supposed to be. That’s why–in Alaska at least–we have the court paperwork and we also have a religious ceremony of our choice.

          And if the objection is to two people with the same plumbing having sex, organizations that won’t accept married gay couples better also deny employment to people who divorce and remarry. Unless the real issue is some people being awfully interested in what other people presumably do* with other consenting adults** in the privacy of their own bedrooms.

          *A sizeable percentage of people who object to gay men getting married to each other also talk an awful lot about butts. As if that kind of thing were the point of marriage!

          **I know, I know, there are only two boxes for sex and the “unbiblical” box contains all “unbiblical” sex in one indistinguishable mass, which is why people feel free to say that men who kiss other men by mutual consent are thereby also potential child molesters. Consent. Say it, live it.

      2. I support “equality for minorities.”

        Yet, 1,000 black babies a DAY are aborted in the womb.

        Where is their equality under the law? Where is their “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

        They don’t even get the right to draw their first breath!

        KKKlanned Parenthood was started by Margaret Sanger who wanted to get rid of blacks in America through this eugenics program called abortion.

        How sad for these black children.

    2. You have the right to feel that way. But I really don’t want to be known as evangelical any more either. When we love the letter of the law more than the spirit of the law, when we forget Jesus ate with sinners, called people who were really flawed in the doctrine of the Messiah and would betray and deny him disciples–when we forget that it is as iron sharpens iron, relationships change people–we are no longer evangelizing. Instead we are preaching at people–and we are preaching a gospel made over in our own image. If we want to recapture evangelism, we need to eat wit the sinners–which was more than just associating, it was getting to know, and loving despite the sin–I am pretty sure that is what Romans said while we were yet sinners, Christ died. When we are ready die to our own reputation, not worry if other Christians consider us unclean in order to love people into the kingdom, then I will be evangelical again.

    3. Define “the evangelical community,” please.

      Every evangelical on earth doesn’t want you? Wow! You must have made a lot of enemies somehow.

  13. Having recently left the IFB, and its reclusive tendencies, I’ve much to learn, especially when my former fundy CEO would often make statements like, “I know Jesus said we would always have the poor with us BUT, he who does not work shall not eat!”

    Further, if a man who came for help to the sacred building while the Mog was “working” at his sacred desk the needy man would be given an application and asked many questions. If the man was not willing to come to the sacred building to hear the Mog’s messages, then the needy man would be turned away. I suppose coming to “church” to hear the Mog is considered “work” and if you don’t “work” then you shall not eat. (I digress)

    The church (so-called) we just left NEVER reached out to communities after tragedy. The focus was internal, always. It was always about the mortgage, turning off lights in the hallway during services, not wasting toilet paper, and etc, as opposed to meeting the needs of people.

    I know very little about WV and similar organizations. Perhaps I should educate myself. I do believe, however, that the local church whould be in a better position to reach out to people if they weren’t so financially strapped with their overhead. This is simply the reality.


    1. Did you read what I wrote?

      Let me quote myself: “Apparently unable to withstand the threat of a massive loss of support, World Vision was forced to reverse its policy change and reaffirm traditional marriages as the only ones they would recognize for their employees.”

  14. Crawling out of the lurker woodwork to applaud you, Darrell. Most balanced response I’ve read.

    I’m sad that upward of 5000 sponsorships were dropped. Haven’t read how many were reinstated after the reversal. But almost 5000 children abandoned because of this? Heartbreaking.

  15. Part of the problem is a confusion about how to implement Mat25.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen a church-sponsored social program, be it a soup kitchen, food pantry, prison visitation or other, be cancelled BECAUSE -after a year- there was not a single decision for Christ.

    1. That reflects a basic (and fatal) misunderstanding of the spiritual function of works of charity. The spiritual gain from helping the poor does not go primarily to the person helped. It is mainly for the spiritual growth and purification of the person who does the helping.

  16. Excellent post DD. I appreciate people like you who engage their critical thinking and apply it to all areas of their life, including their religion. The backlash you see on this issue from the religionists is the defense mechanism isolating their religious beliefs from critical thinking.

    1. LOL. Teddy-BG sometimes I tire of your constant criticism of religion but you’re right about this. As an agnostic who respects religion and in many ways wishes he could still believe, but is still agnostic, I see this a lot. And many times it’s the “liberal” Christians who are the worst offenders.

      Take the assertion that the sin of Sodom was that of inhospitality. It’s ludicrous. It doesn’t fit the narrative at all: God had already chosen to destroy Sodom when he sent the messengers to lot. It wasn’t like they got there and God got angry at their inhospitality. The narrative about the gang anal rape and Lot offering his daughters as a substitute, is just there to illustrate how wicked the city was. It wasn’t any one thing but a pattern of wickedness that obviously included gross sexual deviance. It’s a weak text to try to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality but because it’s the source of the word “sodomy” it’s the target of everyone. And they act like proving homosexuality wasn’t the primary issue somehow disproves all the other passages in Scripture about it.

      The Bible is an ancient Near Eastern text, that is in some ways remarkably progressive for its time, but still displays and reinforces attitudes that were nearly universally accepted at the time. It does, in fact, condemn homosexuality and it is, in fact, patriarchal. Period. Absolutely period.

      1. Actually, “homosexuality” is not listed among the sins of Sodom in subsequent Old Testament passages. It was revived in the New Testament.

        But check out Isaiah 1, where the Lord compares Israel to Sodom and Gomorrah. Sex is nowhere mentioned. What is mentioned is their treatment of the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger. Isaiah 3:8 and forward reinforce this. Ezekiel 16:49 says, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

        Want more? Read Zephaniah 2. Read what Jesus said in Matthew 10 regarding the judgment promised to a city that showed inhospitability to the gospel messengers.

        So no. It is not “absolutely period.” There are good reasons scholars say the issue was not homosexual sex.

        I *could* go into a historical discussion about the very text itself on Lot’s rescue and make the case as well. It is easily done. I might do that once I get some work done for school.

        1. That’s great but I explicitly said the passage is a weak one for trying to prove that homosexuality was the sin of Sodom. So just keep beating that strawman.

      2. Here’s the NIV version:

        Ezekiel 16:49-50

        New International Version (NIV)

        49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”

        No sex mentioned.

        1. “did detestable things before me”

          Such as wanting to gay rape visitors.

          But anyway, you keep trying to shift the discussion back onto that one passage that I already said was a weak argument. You’re kind of proving my point. There are plenty of other places in the Bible where homosexuality is condemned and there’s no reason to focus on the weak one.

      3. Thanks for your criticism EC. I don’t know who you are and if you are truly agnostic as you claim. Your comments are strange as this was the first time i posted on this site for probably 6 months. I am not sure why that seems tiring to you but I frankly do not care if my questioning tires you. If good enough answers were produced then the questioning would be satisfied. Perhaps you should not be frequenting a blog centered around questioning religion if it is so fatiguing to you. Please do not mistake my frankness for rudeness.

  17. If we are to be held up to some standard that we must somehow be perfect in order to help starving children then they might as well starve because none of us are without sin. One does not have to be perfect to be an agent of grace.

  18. To Darrell–Thank you. So much.

    To God–I know we haven’t been on the best of terms here lately, but if you happen to be listening. Would you mind striking the un-supporters with bitter hunger and suffering and every Old Testament WOE you can muster, and may their only source of help be from the hands of a gay couple? Just hoping this might clear some things up a bit. That’s all. Amen.

  19. This is great, Darrell. I’ve seen a lot of back and forth (even here in the comments) defending or destroying a particular leader (Graham vs. Evans, etc.), saying, “Well, MY guy isn’t like that,” or, “You aren’t being fair in your representation of my favourite blogger.”

    But isn’t that just more, “I am of Apollus.” “Oh yeah, well, I was baptised by Paul” rivalries?

    I say to hell with all of them (not literally, of course. Is there even a literal hell? I dunno….). Who cares who said what or urged which or encouraged whatever. The church is not dead, like RHE seems to think. But the culture is not completely poisoned, like Graham seems to think, either.

    Back the bigger issue: There a lots of kids around the world who need clean water and food and shelter. Would you help them? There’s a great, imperfect organisation that you can give to in order to make a difference.

        1. BJg and Hannah–I speaketh even more as a fool. According to the VERY Word of God, these abominators do not deserve to eat. They do not deserve a job. They, in fact. do not deserve to live. Stoning! That’s what’s called for here. This I know for the B-I-B-L-E tells me so. Leviticus 20:13.

        2. Exactly. And this subhuman depraved species deserves to have no civil rights (if we in our grace do not stone them as commanded in the bible).

          They should not be allowed to engage in their deviant behavior lest they reproduce themselves.

          Oh, wait.

        3. Thank God for US Christians who have helped push through the law in Uganda so that gay people can be imprisoned, or worse. Uganda is becoming a biblical, Leviticus 20:13 nation.

          Jesus loves me this is I know, except for the gays and lesbians. He hates them.

        4. Yup. Somehow we can’t forget what it is like to be hated and despised, but we still do it to others anyway.

          I am pretty sure that sins of the LGBT community pale in comparison to the sins against them by “Christians.” No wonder so many have no use for Jesus. To them, Jesus is a name used by their oppressors and persecutors.

        5. It’s Muslims that still stone/kill people for being homosexual.

          Islam kills people every day.

          2014.03.31 (Kunduz, Afghanistan) – A family of eight is exterminated by fundamentalist bombers.
          2014.03.31 (Nairobi, Kenya) – Six people are killed when suspected Islamists throw grenades into a food kiosk and bus stop.
          2014.03.31 (Cantt, Pakistan) – Fundamentalists gun down a female polio worker.
          2014.03.30 (Baghdad, Iraq) – A mother and three children are among eight Iraqis taken down by Mujahideen bombers.
          2014.03.30 (Ramadi, Iraq) – A Fedayeen suicide bomber slaughters thirteen people crossing a bridge.
          2014.03.29 (Azir, Nigeria) – Boko Haram gunmen skim through a village on motorcycles and take out four civilians.

          279 killed JUST this past week.

          Christians don’t stone people. Period.

        6. Not yet. Some still call for it. Some preachers call for the death penalty for LGBT people. I even read about a “Christian” politician who said liberals should be shot by those with guns so that America could become a Christian nation again.

          Yes, it was a news article. Over the years, ultra-right preachers and politicians have called for liberals, the President, Democrats, and LGBT to either be killed by people or struck down “by God.” One “Christian” judge in Alabama told a gay woman that he believed the state should put gay people to death in support of God’s law.

          My experience tells me that Fundamentalism and Conservatism here in the United States (aka “Christians”) would be just as bloody as Islam abroad is, had they the power. They wouldn’t use stones. They would use bullets, the electric chair, lynching, torture, and death camps. The indications are that they are getting themselves ready to be violent.

        7. Exactly. There are many, many Christians (reconstructionist Rushdoony-ite types, mostly) who advocate the death penalty for any number of offenses, just like the bible says. Adultery, homosexuality, back-talking a parent, idolatry, etc.

          The only reason Christians aren’t killing heretics and sinners is because they haven’t (yet) managed to regain the power to do so. When they had the power, they sure didn’t seem to mind using it.

  20. As Darrell expected, the forum has erupted into a heated discussion. Of interest is how terribly intertwined politics and religion have become in the American Psyche, and how easily political and religious hatreds still emerge from within us.

    Otherwise “good” people in the group forget the hurt they have experienced at the hands of fundamentalists, and are very willing to pass on the same kind of hurt and condemnation to individuals who are “gay.” People whose own rights were violated by religious zealotry are willing to say that they think gays should have no rights.

    Some people see the LGBT issue as a deal-breaker. You deviate from them on this issue and you cannot be a Christian — or at least their kind of a Christian. Some see Government as the problem and denounce everything from food stamps to Obamacare. Some see in gay marriage an “agenda,” that somehow the desire of two people to get married violates the rights of other people to tell them they can’t.

    We really don’t learn a lot by our own experiences, now do we? Not nearly as much as we should.

    As a person who experienced condemnation for not fitting in, for not just believing what I was told, and for not living up to the exalted high mukamuks’ standards of “righteousness,” I am sensitive to the denigration of others. I am not LGBT, but I have been called a “rebel against God,” “disgusting,” and other such things by people I cared about (and still do). I have been told that no one who is a Democrat can be a Christian.

    And some people on this board seem to feel the same way. Blast “the Left”? What are we? Subhuman? Yes. I identify with the Left.

    Jesus found Himself embroiled in people’s political hatreds as he embraced tax collectors, prostitutes, the Romans, and gave compassion to those whom society scorned. Conservatives hated Jesus back then.

    And if the policies toward, “the least of these, my brethren” are any indication, Conservatives would hate Jesus today if they had any idea of Who He Is and what he advocated.

    Darrell, I am sorry for the headaches this forum has given you. I am sorry for (possibly) being one of those headaches. And yes, I am going to stick around.

    Me? I am a Liberal, and a Christian. I want to treat people with compassion.

    1. thanks for saying this. bringing the human element of this debate into perspective!

      also “gay” as we know it today (some kind of inherent, vaguely biological identity as opposed to say, types of actions) didn’t exist when the bible was written. Is it sodomy that’s a problem or just sodomy between men?

  21. “And again (and again and again and AGAIN), marriage that involves signing a contract of mutual aid, financial reinforcement, agreed-upon parameters of fidelity, and the formation of a family nucleus has NOTHING AT ALL to do with two people becoming spiritually one. Civil marriage is not Biblical because it isn’t supposed to be.”

    Not sure what you’re pointing at here.

  22. I have a coupe of thoughts. First, the reaction of conservative evangelicals who pulled support from WV is a sad example of straining out gnats and swallowing camels. Sexual orientation is a very, very minor theme in scripture. Caring for the poor is an enormous one.

    Second, the whole homosexuality issue is being debated within the church because it is debatable. Not because the Bible does not condemn it – It does – but because the church is trying to figure out how to read the Bible in light of the issue. Like it did with slavery. Like it did with geo-centrism. Like it is doing with women in ministry. It is the task of interpretation. Slavery is a no-no to most Christians today even though the Bible does not condemn it and actually supports it. Most Christian women do not wear head coverings when praying or prophesying even though Paul said they must. Most Christians no longer practice the charismatic gifts (with the obvious exception of Charismatics) even though there is nothing in the Bible that suggests they should no longer be practiced. Things are not as black and white as some insist.

    Love God. Love other people. The rest will fall into place.

  23. “Not because the Bible does not condemn it – It does – but because the church is trying to figure out how to read the Bible in light of the issue.”

    That’s an argument I can respect because it actually shows some respect for the text itself. Trying to hold to inerrancy and then twist passages written by ancient Jews into supporting all sorts of modern thinking– well, it’s less than honest with the text.

    1. I agree Elijah. I would rather say “the Bible said ‘x’ but in light of ‘y’ and ‘z’ we need to re-think the ‘x’ than say “the Bible never really said ‘x’ at all”. This is what Paul did when he basically said “the Scripture commanded circumcision, dietary laws and holy day observance but in light of the number of Gentiles God is calling without any of those things, faith in Christ without these things is sufficient”. Scripture writers frequently re-interpreted, nuanced and even contradicted earlier writers. Scripture is dynamic and the process continues.

  24. Evangelical Christianity needs to regroup on our handling of the homosexual issue. Things like this cannot be addressed properly if there is no default statement on where Christian Conservatives stand that doesn’t involve looking like bigots. You can’t throw people out of a building or shun them because they’re attracted to the same gender. We need a much better method of ministry to them. The longer we put it off, the more difficult it will be to show our love for them because of the stereotypical look of our past.

    1. I have asked those who hold to a fundy or strong Conservative Evangelical stand why do they treat homosexuality so different than other sins. We accept that we are all broken and sinful even though we have trusted in Christ. We trust that God is going to work in each other’s lives and perfect us. Yet we find people saying you can’t be a Christian and homosexual. But you can be a liar or a glutton, or a gossip and be Christian still. And I am certain World vision has some liars, gluttons, gossips, etc working for them. Why the Conservatives feel they need to draw the line on homosexuality is confusing to me.
      Perhaps if they didn’t draw that line and treat it different than any other sin, they would not be seen as bigoted.

      1. Homosexuals are welcome at my non denominational church. I personally hope they get saved b/c ONLY Jesus can give the “peace that passes understanding.”

        I personally see homosexuality as a sex ADDICTION that a person can overcome, not by praying “away the gay” but b7 getting to the root of the pain in one’s life.

        God doesn’t hate gays and neither do I.

        “For God so loved the WORLD.”

  25. When it comes to things the Bible condemns, and even goes so far as to say they are abominations, there are lots of them that conservative Christians ignore because they do them, while focusing on the sex thing.

    For example, God finds eating shellfish an abomination. You shrimp eaters deserve to die. Also, those of you who wear clothes of mixed fibers are an abomination to God. Yeah, yeah, the “Age of Grace,” right? Hyperdispensationalism? “What God has cleansed don’t call common”? Oh, unless it is stuff you want to believe against. What about lying? God hates lying tongues, yet somehow we tolerate that and don’t expect to be treated as corrupt and unclean and worthy of death for our “little white/black lies.”

    Let’s face it. We all pick and choose what to “believe” and have our reasons for it. We hate others’ sin because we aren’t doing it. We love our own sin and claim God has forgiven it.

    It would be hard to find someone even in fundamentalism who would admit that they believe slavery is God’s Plan. (Some do, though!) But the Law endorses slavery. Slaves are their master’s “money,” so they could even be beaten to death without penalty as long as they lived a little while before dying of their injuries. Paul said nothing bad about slavery, and demanded that slaves be obedient even to the worst of masters.

    As for women, the Bible treats them as worth less than men. To bear a girl made the mother twice as unclean as to bear a boy. Women could not buy their freedom from their masters. When they were sold, they became sexual servants to their masters as well. They could not object. It was inferred that if nobody heard a girl being raped, that it was consensual sex, and if she was betrothed and raped, she was killed. Men could have many wives, and indeed God claimed credit for giving David the multitude of wives and concubines he had. So much for one-man-one-woman! Paul says that women should be covered, submissive, and silent. John the Revelator associates women in religion with apostasy.

    In fact, even taking medicine is Biblically worthy of death. The making of medicines, also known as “brews,” “concoctions,” “herbal remedies” and such was known as “sorcery” and condemned. Those who dabbled in it were stoned.

    That’s Biblical stuff, folks. Want to name it and claim it? Not to mention the things like God-commanded genocide of a nation for an offense over 200 years old, including killing women, babies, and abortion. Imagine being put to death for a crime your umpteenth grandparents had done! God’s Justice, eh?

    Do you really think that the LGBT people deserve the hatred Christians have given them? How Biblical do you want to be?

    If you are going to stand strong on principles against gay people, I challenge you to go the distance. Don’t be a halfway hater, hate everything and everyone. Hate yourself as well. Because we all have broken God’s Law, and your sin is just as bad before God as you imagine homosexual sex to be. Maybe worse.

  26. I don’t intend to get into a debate on the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality and same-sex marriage here. Regular readers of this blog’s comments already know what I think about those matters.

    But I do think there’s legitimacy to supporting those organizations that promote the principles that matter to you.

    For me, it’s a foregone conclusion that people of conscience support collective (as well as individual) efforts to help the poor. (If that’s not a foregone conclusion for you, that’s another conversation, for another day). So the question is not whether to support an antipoverty organization, it’s which one to support. We each choose among many groups that compete for our limited resources. And to support the one whose policies are closest to my own beliefs makes sense to me.

    I also submit that there is some line which, if an organization crosses, that organization will not have my support. Suppose a U.S. organization refuses to hire any black staff members as a matter of policy. Or suppose an organization fires any staff member who gets pregnant. Or suppose an organization will only help people who join the Unification Church. As private religious charities, they may have the legal right to do all those things and more. But they won’t do them with my money.

    1. Yeah, it really is that simple. If you want to give to, or work for, an organization that doesn’t require you to follow any certain religious dogma then there’s always Unicef or any number of secular organizations.

      I wouldn’t go into a gay bar and demand they stop doing whatever activity goes on in gay bars. Or into a strip club and demand they put clothes on. Of course there are people who’d do that, or at the very least get right outside the door and hold signs. We make fun of them here.

  27. Where do you draw the line? Would you support World Vision if they had a policy that they only employed white people? After all, the money is going to children then who cares? Would you support World Vision if they euthanized their older employees? Would you support World Vision if all their production cost was done by cheap child labor in China? I personally wouldn’t withdraw my support over the hiring of gay employees but to suggest that the only criteria for determining support is that if children are being helped seems foolish.
    Also, if a weaker brother withdraws support because his conscience is pricked then who am I to judge him? Romans 14:14 – “I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.” (NIV)

    1. We will have to have a talk about the idea of “the weaker brother.”

      Funny, though. I have never met a Christian who considered himself the “weaker brother.” The weaker brother always seems to be the one that disagrees with you, but they consider themselves stronger and more spiritual.

      I don’t mind if, due to their own conscience, they decide not to support the children of World Vision. I do mind if they decide to take hostages and threaten to destroy World Vision because of their prejudices and thoughts of moral superiority.

      In that case, they are no longer a weaker brother, but simply terrorists and probably not brethren at all.

    2. Promoting Racism, Ageism, and Child Exploitation would be antithetical to their mission statement of “building a better world for children” so supporting them at that point would be a self-defeating effort.

      Unless you can demonstrate that hiring married gay people demonstrably makes the world a worse place for children then you’ll have to construct a better argument if you’re going to try for a gotcha.

      1. Come on Darrell, that’s a weak response. (you just took my hypothetical and basically said “that won’t happen” and then ignored my point). Are you saying there is nothing World Vision can do that will cause you to withdraw support? Will you admit that maybe there should be other criteria for supporting an agency other than just “do they help children”?

        And what about offending the conscience of a weaker brother?

        1. “And what about offending the conscience of a weaker brother?”

          What if that brother is offending *my* conscience? Should he care? Should he change his behavior for me?

          Or are Christians supposed to be held hostage to spiritual terrorism’s demands based on the weakest and most unreasoning form of faith?

      2. What I’m pointing out is that you’re not following the logic here. I’ve already drawn the “red line” where I would drop support for World Vision and that line is labeled “hurting the people you’re supposed to be helping.”

        Offending a Weaker Brother (TM) isn’t going keep the poor from having improved lives. Slaving (see Dr. Fundystan’s example above), on the other hand, on the other hand very much would.

        The problem is that evangelicals are saying YOU’RE DOING SIN!!! and refusing to acknowledge that the thing they’re so upset about has 0 impact on the mission. No little girl living in a mud hut gives a shit whether a gay person administrates the money that comes to give her the education that no woman in her family has ever had.

        And yet some people are going to be more upset that I just said “shit” than that little girls aren’t taught to read.
        (shamelessly Paraphrased from Tony Campolo)

        And lest you think I’m just taking a “lefty” hard line on this, I also think that people who signed up to sponsor a child in reaction to the policy change should keep their pledge and support those kids because the fact that straight (or celibate) hands are the only one touching the money doesn’t change the mission either.

        Some have already told me they intend to keep on sponsoring and I applaud them for that.

  28. I’m really not sure the whole argument that “fundies and conservative evangelicals hate gays so much they will starve children” argument holds water.

    Every evangelical leader I heard weighing in on the matter was in the process of weighing the issues. And many of those who did drop support claim to have rerouted their support to a charity with values more fitting with their own. Starving children are still getting funds, though he /she may be a different child through a different organization.

    If you take the religious argument out of it, there are plenty of reasons people choose to change the channels of their charitable giving based on the changing values of the charity. A great deal of the responsibility in these matters should lay with the organization remaining in touch with the principles of its donors.

    IFBs are irrelevant to this discussion. I’ve never met one who gave to WV anyways.

    1. “Starving children are still getting funds, though he /she may be a different child through a different organization.”

      I’m sure that’s of great comfort to the kids who just got dropped like hot potatoes through absolutely no fault of their own over an issue that has nothing to do with their well being.

  29. I don’t think I see the same equivalency between those who make a coordinated effort to maximize harm to supported kids for a political reason and those who for political reasons choose to add support to those kids.

    For one reason there’s no known link to charitable contributions moved as opposed to increased to get the influx to WV, and we certainly have no indication that those supporting gay rights are now immediately abandoning their new support. I’ve seen not coordinated effort to unsupport WV due to having reversed their decision.

    As others have pointed out there certainly are political motivations for choosing a charity, etc whether we like it or not. It’s up to us to determine whether those political motivations are moral or not, and I think everyone outside of rather old school evangelicalism would be able to easily identify which of these 2 reactions was moral and which wasn’t.

    1. ” I’ve seen not coordinated effort to unsupport WV due to having reversed their decision.”

      I have.

      For example, Tony Jones writes: “On the one hand, progressive Christians shouldn’t pull their money from WV because of this policy — Courtney and I will still sponsor Afra. On the other hand, there are organizations that do not discriminate against GLBT persons, and our future donations will go to those orgs rather than WV.”

      There’s definitely a theme of “unsupport by attrition” that’s going on here.

      I just hope that the people who have signed up to sponsor kids after the initial decision keep those sponsorships instead of abandoning them. So far I’ve seen a couple saying they will and I’m glad for it.

      1. >There’s definitely a theme of “unsupport by attrition”
        >that’s going on here.

        Well yeah. That’s what happens when you rely on volunteer donations. That’s why it’s bad to do a bait-and-switch where an institution that has operated for decades as explicitly evangelical tries to sneak in acceptance for a policy that the majority of its donor base finds abhorrent.

        The far biggest share of the blame rests on the leadership of World Vision.

  30. First – the name of your site tells me where you are coming from. Second – if Would Vision had decided to depart from the faith (encouraging sin as in Romans 1) , there are other organizations through which to give to the poor. An example is Compassion International. 2. God indicates in His Word that homosexuality is a sin, as is abortion, fornication etc. For a Christian to agree to a couple living in sin is itself morally repugnant to God. Examples would be for a heterosexual couple living together without being married, or a homosexual couple living together, whether or not married. This is something I do not expect non-Christians to understand, but Christians should as God has opened their eyes to the truth.

    1. So then, if a Christian organization (say, a church) has an obese Pastor whose life and manners demonstrate gluttony, you would tell them either to fire the preacher or you would no longer support any ministries they are involved in?

      If World Vision employed someone who in their personal life, say, tended bar part-time, would you demand that person be fired or else you would take your support elsewhere?

      Or what about employing a person who hated someone else? According to Scripture, that person is guilty of murder (in the heart). Would you demand their dismissal.

      Because all of these are lifestyle situations. It isn’t all about sex. What lines would you draw outside of sex? What sins would you allow your employees to possess and what sins would you decide merited your judgment on their employment?

  31. Darrell, you state that WV wanted to “quietly” roll this out on a department-by department basis. We (note the “we”) crucify IFB organizations on this site all the time for “quietly” handling controversial decisions so as not to hurt the bottom line. Then, we delight when scandals hit said institutions. And, we take offense at their defense that they should be excused because they’re “helping people”. How is this situation any different?

    I also think we’re focusing the blame on the wrong people. My contention is that the WV Board seriously dropped the ball here. They had to know that by making the initial decision and then later reversing that decision, they would cause donors on both sides of the issue to have a crisis of conscience. They present themselves as a “Christian” organization, which is a huge marketing plus. (If World Vision were a Muslim organization, for example, I doubt they would be as large. And, think Duck Dynasty, Son of God movie, Left Behind.) The Board had to know they were making an issue where there was none. They had to know they would be offending a large percentage if not the majority of their donors.

    I personally don’t blame anyone for dropping or initiating support for WV. Our family has and continues to support them based on their past performance. The current leadership, however, makes me seriously question their future.

    1. There’s plenty of blame to go around and I don’t disagree that the WV leadership should have been above board and completely misjudged the reaction, the impact to their operations, and the overall nightmare in the press. It appears that the leadership is very much out of touch with what will cause the average evangelical Christian (rightly or wrongly) to drop their support.

      Rich Stearns may lose his job over this and, frankly, he may deserve to.

      Our family has and continues to support them based on their past performance.

      To me that’s the key thing. Yesterday they were doing good in the world. Today they’re doing good in the world. I support doing good.

      1. Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I don’t see a reason to drop them.

        You might be able to clarify something for me as well. A lot of comments seem to indicate the belief that if one person stops sponsoring a child, then that child loses his or her support. Is that true? For example, if we are sponsoring Abdu in Ethiopia for $35, if we stop giving that $35, does Abdu go hungry?

        See, I seriously doubt that. I’m thinking all the money goes into one big pot and that pot of money helps all the kids in Abdu’s area. Granted, if enough people stop sponsoring WV, then the pot runs out. (Ok, poor chioice of words.) But some people seem to envision someone walking up to Abdu and saying, “Sorry, Abdu, but your sponsor hates gays, so no more for you’re out of like.) It can’t possibly work like that. Once again, it seems well-meaning people are manipulating children for their own agendas.

        Regardless, Darrell, thanks for your passion for WV. And this site.

      2. The money does go into community based programs so that the impact of any single sponsorship dropping is distributed.

        What Abu loses is the personal contact with you and your family and the knowledge that somebody on the other side of the world cares enough to be his sponsor. I’d imagine that’s pretty tough to deal with.

  32. Darrell, speaking as a somewhat bitter atheist-you’re the best. Seriously. This is the only essay I’ve seen about the World Vision mess that kept the focus on the children being effected and not on politics. Thank you, this site does a great service to the online communities, religious and not.

  33. Good post. Thanks for the reminder to keep the focus on those most in need, and not our personal political battles, and especially for the reminder to help, and to give.

  34. I think it is unfair to insinuate that Christians who feel that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a matter of morality first and social justice second are pushing a personal agenda. Poverty does not lead to immorality, as “social gospel” people imply. That’s an insult to poor people. But immorality does lead to poverty.

    I understand that if they die of starvation they’ll never hear the Good New. But if they embrace the Good News they’re much less likely not to go hungry. Our current level of technology is very capable of feeding the world. When people go hungry it is because of bad ideas from corrupt governments and bankrupt religions.

    – And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

    1. Immorality leads to poverty? Nonsense.

      Virtually every ultra-rich person is guaranteed to be an immoral person. He gets away with his immorality because he is rich. He “buys” favoritism at the bar of justice. Hear about the heir who, despite molestation and rape was given probation because the prosecution and the judge decided he wouldn’t handle prison very well? Or the heir who killed 4 people as he drove drunk who escaped prison because he was afflicted with “affluenza”? True cases, very recent.

      Poverty in most people is not due to their immorality, but to the immorality of those who employ them and a system that holds wages down so that people cannot decently live from full-time employment (or multiple part-time work).

      We call the theft of $100 immoral and worthy of jail time. We call the theft of $100 million a good job of banking and stock trading, give the thief a raise and hold him up as a model member of society. We see the person laid off from their job as being worthless, shiftless, and irresponsible because they cannot pay their bills. But we see the heads of corporations paying these workers presiding over multiple billions of dollars of profits, who shipped that job overseas and getting rewarded with millions in bonuses as a moral icon of business ethics.

      I am sure if you had thought about it, you might understand that James was right when he told the believers that the rich were their oppressors. Jesus had it right when He said it would be hard for a rich person to enter heaven.

    2. Actually, in my time on earth, I’ve seen (on the average, allowing for exceptions) an inverse relationship between how closely people follow the Gospel and how much they prosper economically. So I reject the claim that being a good Christian (or being “saved” or whatever you want to call it) decreases one’s likelihood of being poor. It does, however, increase the likelihood of a person sharing what he/she has with people in need, because Jesus commanded us to do exactly that.

  35. This issue of WV’s flip flopping is more about the organization itself. They seem to have an identity crisis, which in itself is harming the children they are supposed to be helping.
    Donors should be questioning the leadership, the focus, and the identity of WV.
    Jesus said we would know a tree by it’s fruit.
    World Vision has created confusion, and division.
    That is not the donors fault, many of whom have been encouraged to continue to support needy people around the world through Samaritans Purse, Compassion International, and others.
    Yes, we are supposed to be wise in our dealings, including our charity.
    Some are exhorting Christians to show mercy, forgive, forget, worry no more about it.
    Forgiving is Biblical, not being wise is not.
    In order to restore confidence, Stearns and the board of directors must step down. They abandoned Biblical standards.
    If they want to become a secular charity, then keep the leadership. But they cannot continue on claiming to be a Christian ministry when Christ is not part of it.

    1. I would suggest that an organization that excludes people because of their sexuality has more in common with the Pharisees (as they are represented in the NT) than they do with Jesus who ate with prostitutes (a sign of fellowship) and scandalized the self-righteous. I’m not sure I would be so quick to cast stones. Probably best to walk away quietly.

      1. Yeah. And he talked to the woman at the well. He also called her out for having five husbands and told her to sin no more. Jesus didn’t criticize the Pharisee’s moral standards, he criticized their arrogance and refusal to practice what they preach.

        These “hateful” evangelicals have been the backbone of World Vision’s support for decades. It’s easy to go on the Internet and criticize them but they’re the ones who have actually been giving the money to poor people and not just talking about how other people aren’t doing it right.

        1. So Jesus would favour excluding gay people from working to help the poor through an organization like WV?

  36. I have a cousin who is Gay.

    (I feel about like I am attending an AA meeting!)

    This man tried to deny his feelings, deny his attraction toward guys, but he could never establish a relationship with girls other than as “friends.” When he finally came out to his parents, he was crying and distraught. The church taught he was going to hell. He questioned why he could not feel differently.

    He had accepted Jesus as his Savior. He was trying to live right. He read his Bible. He prayed. He asked God for help to change and nothing happened. He had asked church leaders for help and they gave him nothing — except to shun him and warn others away from him! So he felt abandoned by the Church.

    Fortunately, his parents did not abandon him.

    He faced an awkward choice. He could “marry” a girl who he could not adequately love and feel attraction toward, ultimately cheating her of the richness of marriage she deserves. Or, he could have a man as his companion. It is not good that man, human, should be alone. It was forbidden for him to marry in his state. The last I looked, he and his partner were looking for a way to get married.

    And why not? What is wrong with someone seeking a committed relationship, under vows of monogamy and constancy? He is not seeking to be promiscuous. He wants to be as right as He possibly can.

    Should his parents have thrown him out as defective? I know “Christian” parents who have done that to their children. Those of you who are so adamant about not supporting WV for wanting to let people who were “gay married” work there, what would you do to your children, were they to come out?

    Come on! Answer the question! Your child, whom you love, comes out as gay or lesbian. How do you show a parent’s love? How do you show the love of Christ?

    It is time to bring the issue closer to home. Some of you can only be intolerant because you don’t think it affects you personally.

    1. I feel as though you are thinking in very black and white terms. The idea that an evangelical Christian ministry should accept homosexual marriage as equally valid as heterosexual, monogamous, traditional marriage is an extreme position. Maybe not for some disaffected young (former) evangelicals, but it is really, far out there.

      The idea that a family should disown a member who is homosexual is also extreme.

      I don’t know anyone personally who would disown a gay family member. I know relatively few people who feel that churches are “hateful” for expecting employees to adhere to moral standards the church has traditionally held forth. Nearly all those people are either extremely young women or homosexual.

      1. I would never disown my family either if they were homosexual or struggled with homosexual feelings.

        Even Paul had his, “thorn in the flesh” that kept him humble.

        We ALL have things we struggle with and me as well! But God can pull down the strongholds in our lives! I’ve seen in personally in loved ones with all kinds of addictions.

        My own father, while not a believe, has been sober for 30 years! He hasn’t touched a drop.

      2. I personally have know 4 people who were disowned by their Christian parents when they came out as gay . One was *literally* thrown out of the house and told not to come back. None have much time for Christians or Christianity

  37. Thanks for this analysis! It is definitely the best I’ve read on the WV fiasco.
    Now to get you on the Christianity Today editorial board…

  38. Notes on the passing parade:

    * Elijah Craig makes a ton of sense and seems very fair-minded.

    * Support is fungible be it from WV or Compassion International or other type groups. Having worked for a few non-profits, I’m pro-choice. Choose to support the one(s) you share your values most with.

    * These are seldom winning issues and follows a typical arc…irritate the base at the expense of a controversial group or decision. Make-up with the base and alienate the original group you intended to support. Everyone is suspicious and trust is in jeopardy.

    * I read many editorial and opinion pieces each day from both a liberal and conservative viewpoint. To say that conservatives are any “nastier” than liberals is foolish. They both have their idiots and haters.

    * Openly practicing homosexuals are a bit more blatant sometimes than many of the secret sins we all have. Perhaps less hypocritical but nonetheless they are choosing to go against scripture…and this from someone who believes there really might be a “gay gene”, believes the evangelical church tends to harp on this issue a bit too much and believes in “unions” for homosexuals.

    * Most conservatives believe their economic principles promote the welfare of all who choose to embrace those principles and do not “hate the poor” and still give in large numbers to charity. (I’m always amused at the percentage difference between charitable giving of a GOP presidential candidate and a Democrat presidential candidate. It almost always tilts one way).

    * Most liberals feel that confiscatory tax policies to support the poor promote the welfare of all and “do not hate the poor”.

    * We have to get over this nonsense of thinking everyone who doesn’t agree with me is “bad”…but at the same time realize tolerance does not equal acquiescence. Every point of view cannot possibly be valid but I can disagree with you and be a good person and you can disagree with me and be a good person.

  39. We have had an annual Christmas tradition of using the World Vision Catalog to choose $1000 worth of gifts such as goats and chickens, clean water, etc.

    We won’t be doing that through WV anymore despite the reversal. The fact that they did it in the first place spoke loudly enough.

    1. Wow. Now THAT’S the Christmas spirit! Ok, well, there’s bound to be a charitable organization that meets your standards somewhere or the other. Before giving, however, you’ll want to get intel on all the employees and volunteers. Wouldn’t want a gay to slip in unawares and spoil your gift to a needy child.

        1. Not sure what you’re getting at, Elijah. Your comment seems sarcastic, but it’s hard for me to tell where you are directing your sarcasm. If it’s toward me–I know I’m not suggesting Gem not give to the needy. In fact, just the opposite.

          Gem has a right to give or not give as she wishes. Nothing I said suggests otherwise. However, I have a right to say it’s silly to make this decision based on something so inconsequential as gay employees–inconsequential as it pertains to how this would affect the giving or the delivery of the gift, that is.

          I recognize that for some people, the appearance of gays on the scene is a deal-breaker. I don’t believe that way and I’m not afraid to say it.

          I’m not afraid to say I disregard what the bible clearly teaches about homosexuality. Just like other people disregard what the bible teaches about divorce and remarriage, or wimin being silent and submissive and long-haired, or the teaching that a Christ-follower should sell ALL and follow, or that Christians can drink poison and handle serpents without fear of harm, and so on.

          As rtgmath commented earlier, no one believes everything is of equal value in the bible. No one. I just draw the line in a different place than some other people do.

      1. There is a big difference between an official policy and a something an individual might do…even unawares.

        You don’t strike me as very tolerant of Gem’s viewpoint or decision where to spend HER charitable dollars.

        1. Only as tolerant as she appears to be of other people’s position. It is a two-way street.

          She is certainly free to spend **HER** dollars where she pleases. The reasons she expresses for her change of venue are disappointing to many of us.

          Can you be tolerant of our viewpoint? Or must tolerance be only our virtue?

        2. John, really? Intolerant? Did I insist Gem had to give to WV or not give at all? You really went and used the word “intolerant” here, right in the middle of discussing people who are willing to leverage the well-being of children in order to force a ministry to exclude Christian gays from employment? heeheehee.

          You think I’m intolerant for believing it’s silly to stop supporting a ministry that is welcoming to gays (a ministry with a stellar record for actually using the funds for programs rather than “administration,” I might add), then when said ministry reverses and decides to once again exclude gays one STILL will not consider giving through them, and this at Christmas time, peace and good will and joy and forgiveness and all that stuff? So Gem is exercising discernment and I’m intolerant?

          I realize there is a difference of opinion here. Gem voiced hers. I voiced mine. I’m not trying to shut her view out. I think her position is silly and I’m not afraid of saying so. That’s how free speech works.

          Allow me to help you out here. If you want to disregard my view, don’t say I’m being intolerant. Say I’m being unbiblical in my thinking by not believing what the bible teaches about homosexuality. That’s a much stronger argument, far more correct, and one against which I will not argue. Uncle!

  40. I think you missed the point of people like Rachel Held Evans asking for people to start supporting children, or support more children. Those reactions had very little to do with a triumphant statement over the policy change, and everything to do with the horror that Christians would advocate for, and themselves stop supporting children in need, all to keep someone like me, a gay Christian from having a job, and the feeling that we desperately had to do everything we could to stop this unthinkable damage that was being done, all in the name of Christianity.
    I sat for several hours with Rachel Held Evans the evening that World Vision retracted their policy change, all of us reeling from what felt like a devastating week (and remember, it was only Wednesday) where Christians had made it clear they’d rather “sacrifice children” as one author advocating dropping sponsorships put it, rather than potentially view a gay person as a Christian, or even capable of assisting the work World Vision does. And in that conversation I didn’t hear (and have yet to hear) a single person that sponsored more children that day (because most of us already supported WV) say that they would, or wanted to drop their sponsorship – we didn’t start or add support to make a statement, we added support because we could not believe that Christians would do this, and we felt we had to do something to help.

    1. Thanks for posting Jon – I appreciate hearing from a gay Christian who has to live through this whole situation. I for one am ashamed of how some evangelicals have handled this. I can’t imagine how it feels to be marginalized to the point where it is more important that you can’t work for a charity like WV than needy children continue to get sponsored. If loving our neighbour as our self is the royal law, this is a failure towards both you and the children in need. I marvel and am glad that you haven’t left the faith altogether. Peace.

    2. Whether it was wrong or right for WV to do what they did I don’t think it’s fair to criticize others as “sacrificing children” as some here have done. If someone has a strong belief about an issue and their trust in an organization is broken over that issue it’s not unreasonable for them to redirect their charitable dollars to similar non-profits that DO exist. Afterall, these other children in need would go without support otherwise.

      1. today we learned that Christians dropped over 10,000 children in the days after World Vision attempted to allow gay Christians in affirming denominations and churches to assist in their work. Ten. Thousand. Statistically, the probability that every one of those almost $5 million is still going towards charitable relief work elsewhere is almost definitely impossible.
        I didn’t make up the “sacrificing children” line (notice, it was in quotes, it was a quote), you can thank Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition for stating that as he recommended that people pull their support of World Vision.
        “Sex is our god. Children are our sacrifice.” is the full line, accomplishing two important things for evangelicals – reducing every gay person to a sex act to make it easier to despise them, and inferring that the suffering (sacrifice) of children is the fault of gay people everywhere.

        1. Thanks for the update, Jon. I’ve taken a pretty good scolding here (probably deserved, mostly) for not being nice enough in my opposition to the willingness of evangelicals to use hungry children as leverage just so they can make a stand against The Gays, so I want to be as kind as I can be. . .

          10,000 children. $5 million dollars. Nope, I’ve written and cut 7 or 8 times already, and still can’t manage to be nice about it. So, let me just say I am with you, brother, and if I had the wherewithal to start a mission on the level of WV, you’d be more than welcome to even run the whole thing for me.

        2. Thank you, Jon.

          Funny how some people’s concept of being “righteous” translates into directly damaging and devaluing people.

          Firing people because they are gay is an example.

          Cutting food stamps because some people think they are lazy and need incentive to work is another example.

          The determination to kill the health care law is another example. After all, enabling the health care companies to go back to killing people by denying treatment, dropping coverage when you get sick, making obscene profits and paying CEOs huge bonuses is so much more of a godly system than caring for the sick.

          Paying people an unlivable wage is another. James appears to have a lot to say about that one!

          Oh, and how about “Stand Your Ground”? After all, some people think their right to guns is more important than your right to life. Their right to shoot you is more important than trying to avoid confrontation.

          The push to eliminate unemployment insurance is still another. After all, the fact that the employee has paid into it as part of his compensation package doesn’t matter. If he doesn’t find a good job that can support his family, he should take the lowest job possible and just accept the economic ruin coming from God’s Capitalistic Invisible Hand.

          Yes, I know. I am radical. Somehow I believe that people matter. They matter more than ideology and they matter more than things. When people value their “rights,” their doctrines, and their pocketbooks so much that they are willing for others to suffer and die for their convenience, something is wrong.

    3. I’m sorry, Jon. Thank you for having the courage to speak your truth here. I have been wandering around Cxn circles for over 50 years now and the general tenor of hatred now–directed toward the LGBT community–is only comparable to the hatred displayed by fundies for blacks and integrationists in the 1960s Birmingham. I’ve lived through both.

      The fundy and evangelical marginalization of the LGBT community is one of the main reasons I quit church. The God that I worship isn’t at all like that.

      1. Thanks for this, BJg. I know that people resist this comparison, but it rings true in my experience as well. I know gay Christians, some of them I have known from childhood. They didn’t choose to be who they are, no more than an African American chose to be who they are. I have felt their struggles to reconcile their orientation with their Christian faith. I have seen them ostracized. I have seen them in despair, not knowing what to do. God help me, in my younger days I even participated in mistreating them. No more.

  41. @rgtmath

    “Only as tolerant as she appears to be of other people’s position. It is a two-way street.

    She is certainly free to spend **HER** dollars where she pleases. The reasons she expresses for her change of venue are disappointing to many of us.

    Can you be tolerant of our viewpoint? Or must tolerance be only our virtue?”

    The disconnect here is that Nico is positing on the side of tolerance for acceptance of homosexual marriage or at least tolerance for the WV’s initial decision but is harsh and condemning when Gem doesn’t deliver. His/her lack of tolerance for Gem’s supposed lack of tolerance is no virtue. It’s hypocritical.

    People are just going to disagree on this issue. I come from the same IFB garbage most of us share and left it 20 plus years ago but that doesn’t mean I have a laissez-faire or libertine attitude about every issue. As I mentioned, I think the conservative evangelical church….but mostly on the fundamentalist end of the spectrum…beat the anti-gay drum too loud and too often because it’s red meat, tickles the ears (gawd I hate that phrase) or many of the smug and ignorant in the pews because it’s easy to point out others public sin and one most of them will never have to face the temptation and humiliation of.

    At the same time in my opinion the Bible says the ACT of homosexuality is wrong so I don’t wink at it. But I do have great compassion for those who struggle with it or those who have gone beyond the “struggle” and have just “lived it”. I have a couple of close friends who have done both and I can’t imagine the pain and guilt they feel so to say people who believe like I do “hate them” is not close to accurate. No, I hurt for them…NOT because I look at the sin because I have my own share but I feel for them that their “thorn in the side” may be that they were really born this way but have to abstain to meet a biblical standard (I know, many of us hate that word) much as I believe alcohol consumption is totally fine but to be drunk in excess crosses a biblical plain and for most alcoholics, perhaps born with that propensity, it is necessary to abstain to avoid crossing that boundary. I can only imagine that abstinence from sex of any kind would be exponentially harder than abstinence of alcohol (save perhaps a fine single batch bourbon as I get older). And again, I have compassion and believe we should not hammer on or beat up rhetorically. But nor can anyone who really holds to a belief acquiesce to that belief only because it’s adherence to is hard or painful.

    1. Thank you for your considered comment.

      That said, yes. Taken “literally” without any consideration for historical contexts or considerations, the Bible does say homosexuality is wrong.

      The Bible also says that slavery is right. It says that killing a person who is your property is right, if the person lives a couple days after you beat them.

      The Bible also says that stoning rebellious children is right.

      The Bible also says that women should be submissive and silent.

      God commanded an entire people be destroyed for something their distant ancestors had done. Later, God told Ezekiel that people would be judged only for their sins, not the sins of their parents, nor the sins of their children.

      The Bible says that a third of the stars of heaven will fall to the earth and burn it, but that the earth will survive.

      Jesus said that to Love God and Love your Neighbor as yourself was the entire basis for the Law.

      Jesus ate with tax-collectors and prostitutes. He had fellowship with them. No, it does not say they were “former” or “repentant.”

      Does it matter why we do things? Does it matter that what you do speaks so loudly to the LGBT community that they might not be able to hear you say that you love them? Does it matter that they perceive your hatred? Does God list their sin as being sin # 1, to hound them with, to deny them employment, rights, decency? Would Jesus have hounded them this way?

      The Law is our Schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. But when we are grown, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. When we are grown, the Law of the Schoolmaster is there, but we realize that even Teachers can be wrong. We realize that Parents can be wrong. We have to make decisions for ourselves and for others, to best reflect the Love of God in Christ Jesus.

      We do not kill our kids because of commands. We do not cover up our wives and daughters to teach angels a lesson.

      Perhaps we should stop trying so hard to meet a “Biblical” standard and start trying to act like our Father in Heaven who blesses the just and the unjust alike, and who brings people to Him by goodness, not by judgment.

      Perhaps it is time we look at our beliefs and judge them. Not everything we believe is right or good. And yes, according to Scripture, even God Himself has changed His mind. If He can, why can’t we?

    2. John, again, really?

      “The disconnect here is that Nico is positing on the side of tolerance for acceptance of homosexual marriage or at least tolerance for the WV’s initial decision but is harsh and condemning when Gem doesn’t deliver. His/her lack of tolerance for Gem’s supposed lack of tolerance is no virtue. It’s hypocritical.”

      I’m feeling a little like you’re being intolerant of my right to dissent from the majority opinion here, John. It’s starting to bum me out.

      Harsh and condemning just because I didn’t agree with Gem? How so? Hypocritical? How so? Disagreement does not equal intolerance, John, no matter how many times you say it does.

      1. The argument fundamentalists use is, “If you are tolerant then you should tolerate my intolerance.”

        That *is* the essence of an unthinking position, by the way. Simply cast off all reason, hold to a belief regardless of the cost, and do not question the belief itself, ever, to ascertain whether it is correct.

        If I am tolerant of others and wish to promote that virtue, I have to be intolerant of intolerance. The middle way must not endorse or enable the extreme positions.

        Such a position is not hypocritical in the least. Such charges are made to deflect, to cast the intolerant individual as reasonable and the tolerant person as extreme. This is a form of calling light “darkness” and calling darkness “light.”

        We should all remember that we shall appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, to answer for what we have done. Every thought and intent of the heart will be laid bare. Every attitude will be revealed.

        Why do we see such reverse pointing of fingers? Why the “nya, nya, but what are you?” type of childish rhetoric?

        I think it is out of fear.

        After all, if we “hold to a standard,” we do not have to think. We do not have to love the unlovely. We can just apply the standard where we wish, find that the person doesn’t measure up, and we can push them away. That is on reason why so many children who come out to their parents are thrown out of their homes! Harumph! No child of mine will, etc. ad nauseum.

        But if we hold to Christ, we find time and again that Jesus ran up against the “standards” and rejected them. There were no limits on his love. He tried to squelch no one. He limited no person’s rights, and elevated the standing of every person before God. Because if God loved the world and gave His Son, then the world even as sinful as it is has value. God sends His blessings on the Evil and the Good. But to be known as Children of the Father, we must be compassionate like the Father.

        The Father welcomed his errant and spendthrift son without recriminations. Our Father gives good gifts to all. We are commanded to love our neighbors as we do ourself. And I am pretty sure that the more intolerant, “standards-based” viewpoints would be unwelcome on the receiving end. If you dish it out but cannot take it, you shouldn’t dish it out. After all, in a place you least think you will be judged, you will reap what you have sown. God is not mocked.

        We are not to take vengeance. We are not to retaliate. So retaliation against WV for accepting that there may be openly gay workers in its midst is not Biblical. If you are going for standards, make sure you adopt them all!

        Perhaps instead of ordering our lives so that people see our devotion to God, we should order our lives so that people see our compassion on others. Do we threaten people into the Kingdom, or do we love them into the Kingdom? Do we only accept the best, or do we carry in the lame, guide the blind, enable the poor, and seat them all as they are before the Table of our Father?

        Yes, I am intolerant of intolerance. There is no hypocrisy in that. There is mercy.

      2. Let me try this again Nico. You were harsh and sarcastic to Gem. Her offense? She was stating a position of what she was going to do with her charitable dollars. HER dollars. Your real bottom line anger? She is doing this because WV had chosen a path of “tolerance” to allow married homosexuals to be hired and may tacked onto that is that she still intends to do that after WV’s reversal.

        Now whether either decision of WV is right or wrong it is your harshness and sarcasm that is intolerable to Gem. We all have our viewpoints. Your underlying viewpoint here is one that WV and others should be tolerant to homosexuals in general and homosexual marriage specifically in this case yet you are not willing to extend that tolerance to others here in these discussions. That is where I throw the flag of hypocrisy. And I do so in part because I am weary of those who view people such as myself who is typically conservative on most social issues as “hateful” or participating in a “war on women” when it’s BS. Now you (a generic “you” in this case) may not agree with my views and you may not even like me for them but those on the other end of the spectrum whom I also scold for being harsh and hateful would certainly disagree that I hate homosexuals or women.

        People on both ends of a spectrum have to allow for those who take a principled approach as they believe it and articulate it without hatred or malice, especially if those on end of the spectrum want to be on the “tolerant” bandwagon. Tolerance should never equal acquiescence for tolerance sake.

        And to rgtmath comparing my thoughts to a fundamentalist…I think any of us who were in that train wreck may always struggle with some of the debris and I don’t claim to be more special than another however I escaped 20 plus years ago and have made it a life’s goal to help others going through it to get out of it. However I have not thrown off the vestiges of Christianity and Evangelical Christianity at that. That may still be a “fundamentalist” to some, so be it! 🙂

        1. Yeah, “Now THAT’s the Christmas spirit!!” I believe was his exact words. Granted, he didn’t state that she didn’t have the right to do it. I just think the greater good here should be emphasized. Her family gives $1,000 a year at Christmas time.

        2. Elijah, thanks so much for granting me the fact that I didn’t actually say Gem did not have the right to give or withhold as she pleased, yet still find reason to accuse me of doing so.

          Gem did not write to emphasize the greater good. She wrote to voice her displeasure at WV for their policies and reversals, and to hold out on her customary $1000.00 gift as a way to make her displeasure felt. My remark shows I disagree with her reasoning, not that I think she has no right to give where she wishes, or even if she wishes.

          Elijah, if you didn’t like the style of my comment, fine. You might think I’m a jerk. Fine. I think so myself sometimes! 🙂 But if your argument against me is merely “You’re an assbasket,” or “This is his exact words but I’m sure he meant this instead,” I’m going to start to wonder if maybe what I said hit a vulnerable spot.

        3. Ok, John, thanks for trying to help me understand. Can I also have one more try at it? Because I’m not sure if you are condemning my content, or just my style. I just want to know the exact nature of our disagreement, my friend, so we can come to some kind of terms here.

          Based on what you have written, you seem to be assuming that Gem has the right to do what she wants with her money and also has the right to speak her mind about it. I agree wholeheartedly. I agree wholeheartedly. I agree wholeheartedly. How many times need I say it?

          But you also seem to assume that I have no right to think she is mistaken in her reasons for doing so and to speak my mind about it; or if I do so, I am necessarily being harsh, intolerant, and condemning. She said she is not giving through WV anymore and stated why. I, with a bit of ironic humor, pointed out what I felt was silly about her reasons. That’s all.

          Yes, my mocking style might come across as overly sarcastic or derisive. It’s honestly not something I can help. Sometimes I mean it in a mean way. Here, I didn’t mean to be mean. I saw some absurdity, some silliness, in Gem’s reasoning, and I used absurdity and silliness to point it out. Among grown ups, this kind of debating style is allowable. If feelings are so tender that they are that easily wounded, perhaps it’s best not to engage. No one really needed to know that Gem gives $1000 every year and is now refusing to do so. Left hand, right hand, and all that.

          Sometimes I just poke fun. I see irony and humor and inconsistencies everywhere, even in my own self, and I can’t help myself from saying so. Please excuse my style and try to see where I’m coming from. C’mon now, you didn’t see the irony in saying that at Christmas time she will refuse to give gifts? How am I to be blamed for taking a swing at that slow pitch? 🙂

          John, why am I obligated to change my view to fit yours, or hers, or anyone else, at the risk of being labeled intolerant? I don’t think you’re obligated to agree with me. But I do think you have no right to accuse me of harshness and intolerance and even malice, for crying out loud! for having the unforgivable audacity to disagree with you. You wrote, “Tolerance should never equal acquiescence for tolerance sake.” But this is exactly what it seems you are asking me to do.

          Can you see why this is problematic to me? Why, when others disagree with WV and withhold money from them is this touted as holding forth biblical standards, exercising discernment, following the call of Christ, whatever you want to call it; but when I disagree it’s harsh and condemning?

          I understand if we don’t see eye to eye on the fundamental issue. I’m ok with that, John, really I am. I hold no hard feelings toward you or anyone else that disagrees with me. But I don’t feel I should have to bite my tongue here, among friends–or should I? Am I not among friends who happen to find themselves in a heated disagreement?

          If you disagree with me just say so and state your reasons. If you want to combat my views by sarcasm, irony, satire, point-by-point rebuttal, any of the accepted methods and tools of substantial debate be my guest. Calling me harsh and intolerant is not really a very convincing argument. It’s called ad hominem, and most people frown against the use of it. Again, a hint at how you gain the victory over me. Accuse me of disregarding the bible about homosexuality. That, I acknowledge. 🙂

          This is way too long. I’m sorry. But I am trying to understand and to make myself understood, and sometimes it takes a good deal of words to get through to some common ground. Please accept my attempt in a generous spirit, just as I have accepted yours.

        4. Nico…

          I will likely not post after this but you made many points, comments or statements I would like to comment on.

          1. You didn’t even have to say it once. No, I never thought you were questioning Gem’s right to give her money where she chooses. it would be silly to suggest such. We still have much freedom in the US.

          2. Similarly you of course have every right to “think she is mistaken in her reasons….and to speak (your) mind about it”. Again, it would be ridiculous to suggest otherwise and I can’t imagine how you would ever “assume” me saying otherwise. I never got close to the neighborhood!

          3. I didn’t see the same irony you claim to see in Gem “not giving gifts” at Christmastime because that’s not what I understood her to say. I understood her to say she wouldn’t be using the WV catalog to do so in the future. It seemed from your response you also thought she was going to continue to give, just not through WV. Please forgive me if I misread you.

          4. I see much of this discussion centered on tolerance. Was it tolerant for WV to make their initial decision? The reversal tolerant? Is it intolerant for a person to disagree with either decision? Is it intolerant for Gem to give to one charity and not another based on her beliefs? What is tolerance?

          I think tolerance is important to this discussion because tolerance is central in asking those who disagree with something, in this case gay marriage, to politely go along with it or risk being branded “intolerant” if you speak up. I can be tolerant AND disagree. I am respectful. I listen to others. I am open to changing my mind and have done so many times. I can respectfully agree to disagree.

          4. Yes, I am precisely criticizing your style and only your style. That is a key part of being tolerant IMO because I wouldn’t call you intolerant for simply not agreeing with me but rather how you do so. And really, your style does get in your way of presenting your point, to me anyway. Maybe others too. I get it. I used to do the same. For me a lot of it came from my certitude of “rightness” as a fundy for the first 20 years of my life. 🙂

          There is nothing wrong at all with irony, absurdity, silliness, humor, etc to make a point. In fact, I like it. Rush Limbaugh would say the exact same thing. Yet I think you might call him “intolerant”. (MY humor, but no, I’m not a Rush fan). My first read of the day each morning over breakfast is It shares the best of political commentary and punditry from all points of the spectrum. I am well-versed in debate and argument. In MY opinion Nico you were overly harsh and sarcastic on a personal level. Now I am definitely disagreeing with you as I have done in my other posts but I have made it only about your actions and demeanor. I haven’t assailed you on any of your beliefs even though I disagree with some of them and agree with others. There has been no “ad hom” from me to you at all.

          If you look back over your posts on this issue and can say you were not harsh and personal then we can part in the knowledge we respectfully disagree,

        5. Thanks again, John, for taking the time to work through this thing with me. Yes, it seems we will end up respectfully disagreeing with each other. I’m glad you clarified that it was my style that was a problem rather than the content, because this helps me understand why we were talking past each other.

          I consider my initial response to Gem as pointed, not harsh and intolerant. The difference might be subtle to you, but to me it’s crystal clear. I should have used several smiley emoticons, I suppose, to try to indicate that I was not intending to be intolerant, harsh, or personal. I didn’t intend to hurt anyone’s feelings. Obviously it backfired here. That’s cool. That’s the way life goes sometimes. (I know Gem was probably planning to give through another ministry, but her comment taken literally struck me as silly. Christmas? Not giving gifts? Still no giggle from you? Nothing? Yeah, not all my jokes hit the mark. 🙂 )

          If you have read other comments I’ve made on SFL, you know by now that I make pointed comments, most often in order to get laughs–and sometimes, often quite by accident, make people think. When disagreements happen, as they sometimes do, I am always eager to talk things out. Wasn’t it Jefferson that said something like, “I will never separate from a friend over disagreements about religion, politics, philosophy”? That’s where I am, and hope you are here too. It’s been my pleasure to get to know you, John, and I mean that with no sarcasm at all.

        6. Hello, Just John!

          I agree. You can take the person out of fundamentalism, but you can’t take fundamentalism out of the person! It is an insidious evil.

          That said, please be aware that I have not “thrown off the vestiges of Christianity.” I probably have thrown off more of the evangelicalism. I am definitely willing to question my faith because I want to believe what is true and right, not only what I have been taught. I recognize that my belief structure was formulated by the fundamentalism that so abused me and abuses others.

          Would you take ethics instruction from an unrepentant crook? Would you take business instruction from someone who cheated his clients? Would you take religious instruction from people who abuse their privilege and power? Because ultimately, we cannot separate the message from the messenger.

          I *do* hope you are not hinting that I have abandoned Christianity or the faith of Christ. Nothing of the sort. But what you may not realize is that you probably “believe” all sorts of heresies introduced in modern times that the Church never had believed or conceived of in the beginning. You have been taught to read the Scriptures a particular way, and you do so without thinking about it because it is natural to you.

          We all have to be careful. We have to realize where the chains have not come off, where the sin that so easily besets us is weighing us down, preventing us from running the race as we ought.

          I hope I can get to know you better. I am sure you are a good person. You advocate strongly for your viewpoint, as do I. And you tend to take disagreement personally — as do I. I know you have suffered hurts and spiritual wounds. I beg you to be aware so that you do not inflict the same suffering on others.

          Because what *does* the Lord require of us, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God? If we love God and love others as we love ourselves, we will be fulfilling all God’s will.

          And I don’t think that God is counting the points of the Law that we keep or discard. I don’t think that God has a laid out pattern of belief or theology that all have to agree on in order to be a “TRUE” Christian (trademarked!).

          My belief is that we come to Christ as we are. He receives us as we are. Then the indwelling Holy Spirit works inside the person to meet their needs, to show them their sin and enable them to begin coming free from it. And His Agenda may not be Our Agenda. What and if the Lord does not lay the “sin” of gayness on their heart? What if God decides to deal with, say, the need to put away bitterness and anger instead?

          If you are aware of your own chains, you may be less willing to condemn others for theirs.

    3. I don’t want to get to the end of the rodeo of this life and realize that my strident position on any issue drove people away from the faith.

      To take such a strident position doesn’t honor the holiness or righteousness of God. It just smacks of me trying to convince myself or others that I am good enough to deserve to get to heaven.

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