FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICAGO — Truth Wins Out today condemned leaders on the Religious Right for putting anti-gay ideology before the needs of impoverished children, bullying the Christian organization World Vision into reversing their recent decision to allow for the hiring of married gay Christians. Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer and others encouraged anti-gay conservative Christians to threaten to stop sponsoring children around the world through World Vision, exposing to the world that their priorities are anything but “pro-family.”
“The Religious Right has shown that they despise gays far more than they care about starving children,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Furthermore, they’ve shown that their recent defenses of ‘religious freedom’ are simply a smokescreen for preserving their own anti-gay bigotry. They don’t respect the freedom of religious organizations like World Vision to make their own hiring choices, nor do they respect the religious freedom of the millions of Christians who are affirming of LGBT people. The fact that they were willing to abandon innocent, needy children in the process is as grotesque as it is unsurprising.”
When World Vision initially announced their decision to open up hiring to married, gay Christians, they explained that, because the church is no longer of one voice on this issue, they preferred to be neutral actors in the “culture wars,” and instead focus on their mission to alleviate poverty around the world. In response, the Religious Right declared that neutrality is not an option and that their anti-gay mission is far more important than the children World Vision supports, with an estimated two thousand families ending their child sponsorships. World Vision released a statement announcing their reversal, which reads, in part:
In our board’s effort to unite around the church’s shared mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ, we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, “We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.” And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners. As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage.
We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority. We ask that you understand that this was never the board’s intent. We are asking for your continued support. We commit to you that we will continue to listen to the wise counsel of Christian brothers and sisters, and we will reach out to key partners in the weeks ahead.
While it is unfortunate that World Vision felt the need to capitulate to these bullies’ demands, going so far as to apologize for “pain and confusion” they have caused for anti-gay Americans, it’s likely that they felt they had no choice if they were going to continue providing for children around the world.
“The spirit of Fred Phelps is alive and well in the Religious Right,” said TWO’s Associate Director Evan Hurst. “When given an explicit choice to love children or hate gay people, they chose the latter, and they chose it loudly. Had the organization stuck to its guns, I could scarcely imagine having to explain to a starving child in Africa that the money dried up because the well-fed family in the United States who sponsored them couldn’t get over their contempt for gay people. Perhaps the only silver lining is that the Religious Right truly just showed America, and World Vision, who they really are.”
Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a non-profit organization that works to demolish the very foundation of anti-gay prejudice. Our philosophy is simple: We attack the underpinnings of homophobia by debunking harmful lies, discrediting hateful myths, and countering anti-gay organizations. By chipping away at the underlying ignorance that fuels anti-LGBT attitudes, we can ultimately win our fight for fairness and achieve full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide.