This past week has been a roller coaster ride for the LGBT* non-profit community. This past week World Vision announced that they were going to immediately recognize the same sex marriages of their gay and lesbian workers. They were quoted as saying
“It’s been heartbreaking to watch this issue rip through the church. It’s tearing churches apart, tearing denominations apart, tearing Christian colleges apart, and even tearing families apart. Our board felt we cannot jump into the fight on one side or another on this issue. We’ve got to focus on our mission. We are determined to find unity in our diversity.”
World Vision is one of the largest faith driven organizations in the world, working in almost 100 countries. This move wasn’t an endorsement, but it certainly had the potential of creating positive waves in the aid / relief community. Unfortunately World Vision backed out of this decision from overwhelming pressure and bullying from the political evangelical community. I probably should have seen this coming;I didn’t have dreams of grandeur. I didn’t think an acknowledgement of same-sex marriages would lead to every faith-based group to reevaluate their perception of the LGBT* community.
This could have been beyond huge. For too long Christian (and secular) organizations in the non-profit sector ignored or separated themselves from acknowledging the LGBT* individuals in their workforce. Challenging that separation through open acknowledgement would force people to at least look at their understanding of what it means for a queer person who is working toward similar goals. This could have been a time where Christian non-profits to look at itself, its staff, and its volunteers; World Vision had the chance to say that LGBT* workers are just as impactful as their straight counterparts, and should have equal footing.
Instead, we are shown that with enough negative pressure, positive change can be reversed. What could have been a great leap forward towards equality in the non-profit sector has become another example of discrimination and homophobia. World Vision’s mission is to “[work] with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice”. They had a chance to fix an injustice within their own organization. I hope someday that revisit this, and I hope that organizations while acknowledge that LGBT* aid workers fight poverty and hunger, work for quality education, and advocate for those who do not have a voice.
As a diverse community, we need to focus on WHY we are doing what we’re doing. That is our commonality – what unites us toward making the world a better, happier, and brighter place.