World Visions Shortsightedness: Alan Hawkins
World Vision is on everyone’s mind. They stepped into the middle of the most volatile religious-political conflict on the planet. Offering a neat self-exhonerating explanation of a new policy giving tacit endorsement to gay marriage they threw their conservative constituency into frothing confusion. 48 hours later, an apology and a recanting of their avant-garde policy put them back in step with their constituency.
What they gave us was a glimpse into the future. What they failed to anticipate was collateral damage. I write this because that piece of the problem has been so overlooked. When multitudes complained and many promised to withdraw pledges it changed the scenario. Suddenly two issues arose. One got all the attention the other is my focus. The first was of course the benefactors of World Vision dollars, specifically the children supported by pledges.
Overlooked in all of this was the pending demonization of World Vision’s constituency by untold numbers of people who spoke up for the children. Most of those who spoke up were condemning people for withdrawing pledges while they themselves had not been donors. To be fair many new pledges were garnered but where were all of these concerned and compassionate souls before this political hot potato? Where were these morally outraged people before WV tossed their hat into the ring of political correctness? Doesn’t it seem odd for people who were on the sidelines to condemn people who had been in the game, many of them for years? It was the height of hypocrisy for people doing nothing to condemn people who were doing something.
America is first and foremost the land of freedom. Central to that freedom is the freedom of conscience. The freedom to determine the dictates of ones’ own heart. Freedom to live by conscience without coercion. At the root of religious liberty is a respect for individual conscience. World Vision created a perfect storm. They set the grid for future suppression of conscience. In the middle of it all? The lives of children. The discussion of our cultural conflict over homosexual marriage was obfuscated behind a wall of kids. You would think that the WV donors were literally throwing kids into the abyss by all the hue and cry that was raised. You would think the donors were terrorists hiding within a schoolroom.
World Vision cannot hide their guilt in this. They put children at risk and they put their donors in a conundrum of conscience that they knew could not be easily solved. They forced people to choose between conscience and children. The left, secretly could not be more pleased. Even in losing this round they won again. They were able to portray Bible believing Christians as bigots, hate mongers and murderers of children. Witch hunting has found a new definition in America but the school text books will never tell you the unvarnished truth.
Compassionate people all over America are now marked as hateful and murderous. It is easy to dismiss those that you consider evil. World Vision has retracted and apologized but they have inadvertently labelled their own constituency as enemies of virtue. WV leaders were careless stewards of the people who support them. This sad chapter will have endless implications. However, it is not the faithful donors who should account for this mess. It was conscience that drove them to support WV and a crisis of conscience that cause them to be endlessly condemned. We must not hate conscience. We must not destroy it. We must find ways to solve our cultural dilemmas without harming innocent people whether they be donors or benefactors. We must find better means to wage our wars.