Here is another brilliant commentary on sodomite marriage by Rachel Held Evans at CNN Belief blog. I don’t know who she is. I am told she is another influential writer.
How evangelicals won a culture war and lost a generation
Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN
(CNN) – On March 24, World Vision announced that the U.S. branch of the popular humanitarian organization would no longer discriminate against employees in same-sex marriages.
It was a decision that surprised many but one that made sense, given the organization’s ecumenical nature.
But on March 26, World Vision President Richard Stearns reversed the decision, stating, “our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake.”
Supporters helped the aid group “see that with more clarity,” Stearns added, “and we’re asking you to forgive us for that mistake.”
So what happened within those 48 hours to cause such a sudden reversal?
The Evangelical Machine kicked into gear.
Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the decision pointed to “disaster,” and the Assemblies of God denomination encouraged its members to pull their financial support from the organization.
Evangelicals took to Twitter and Facebook to threaten to stop sending money to their sponsored children unless World Vision reversed course.
Within a day of the initial announcement, more than 2,000 children sponsored by World Vision lost their financial support. And with more and more individuals, churches and organizations threatening to do the same, the charity stood to lose millions of dollars in aid that would otherwise reach the poor, sick, hungry and displaced people World Vision serves.
So World Vision reversed course.
Stearns told The New York Times that some people, satisfied with the reversal, have called World Vision headquarters to ask, “Can I have my child back?” as though needy children are expendable bargaining chips in the culture war against gay and lesbian people.
Many of us who grew up evangelical watched with horror as these events unfolded.
As a longtime supporter of World Vision, I encouraged readers of my blog to pick up some of the dropped sponsorships after the initial decision. I then felt betrayed when World Vision backtracked, though I urged my readers not to play the same game but to keep supporting their sponsored children, who are of course at no fault in any of this.
But most of all, the situation put into stark, unsettling relief just how misaligned evangelical priorities have become.
When Christians declare that they would rather withhold aid from people who need it than serve alongside gays and lesbians helping to provide that aid, something is wrong.
There is a disproportionate focus on homosexuality that consistently dehumanizes, stigmatizes and marginalizes gay and lesbian people and, at least in this case, prioritizes the culture war against them over and against the important work of caring for the poor.
1.) Why does Evans believe that all because Evangelical dollars were taken away from World Vision because of their change of policy that therefore those dollars were no longer going to go to the poor? There are many many relief ministries out there and it is not unreasonable to think that Christians withdrawing money from World Vision would not take that same money and support some other relief agency that was not compromising on the Gospel. The poor would still be aided. True … different poor but poor all the same.
2.) Why are Evangelical principles misaligned? Why should they support with their monies a ministry that is contrary to their convictions? What would it take for Evans to conclude that people could withdraw their money, once designated for a set ministry, in order to protest the direction of the company the monies were formerly designated? What if World Vision had come out in favor of Pedophilia? Would that be a good enough reason? By what standard does Evans adjudicate that withdrawing support is commendable?
Evangelicals insist that they are simply fighting to preserve “biblical marriage,” but if this were actually about “biblical marriage,” then we would also be discussing the charity’s policy around divorce.
But we’re not.
Furthermore, Scripture itself teaches that when we clothe and feed those in need, we clothe and feed Christ himself, and when we withhold care from those in need, we withhold it from Christ himself (Matthew 25:31-46).
Why are the few passages about homosexuality accepted uncritically, without regard to context or culture, but the many about poverty so easily discarded?
1.) We should discuss the Charity’s policy around divorce if it needs discussed.
2.) Held misinterprets the Matthew 25 passage. The passage is referring to ministry to the Brethren of Jesus — that is those who wear the name of Christ. Secondly, Held assumes that all because monies were going to be withheld from World Vision that necessarily means that those same funds were going to be withheld from the poor. That is a very tenuous assumption. People can withhold money from the poor of World Vision and still help the poor of some other organization that they believe is more faithful to their convictions.
3.) Who says that the passages about poverty are easily discarded? Held doesn’t get what she wants and she throws a fit insisting that the passages that have to do with poverty are neglected?
4.) The “without regard to context or culture” comment of Held is suggestive that she likely dismisses the passages forbidding sodomy.
As I grieved with my (mostly 20- and 30-something) readers over this ugly and embarrassing situation, I heard a similar refrain over and over again: “I don’t think I’m an evangelical anymore. I want to follow Jesus, but I can’t be a part of this.”
I feel the same way.
Whether it’s over the denial of evolutionary science, continued opposition to gender equality in the church, an unhealthy alliance between religion and politics or the obsession with opposing gay marriage, evangelicalism is losing a generation to the culture wars.
A recent survey from Public Religion Research Institute revealed that nearly one-third of millennials who left their childhood faith did so because of “negative teachings” or “negative treatment” of gay and lesbian people.
1.) If the Church must lose people because it is faithful to the message of Scripture than it must bear that loss. What will it profit the Church, Rachel, to gain the whole world but lose its own soul?”
2.) Rachel’s comments above demonstrate that “Evangelical” means both nothing and everything. We are better off being done with the whole word and movement. Let the various splinters go their various ways and find another orbit to circle around.
Christians can disagree about what the Bible says (or doesn’t say) about same-sex marriage. This is not an issue of orthodoxy. But when we begin using child sponsorships as bargaining tools in our debates, we’ve lost the way of Jesus.
So my question for those evangelicals is this: Is it worth it?
Is a “victory” against gay marriage really worth leaving thousands of needy children without financial support?
Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth losing more young people to cynicism regarding the church?
Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with LGBT people?
And is a “victory” against gay marriage worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks, “what if we get this wrong?”
I, for one, am tired of arguing. I’m tired of trying to defend evangelicalism when its leaders behave indefensibly.
I’m going AWOL on evangelicalism’s culture wars so I can get back to following Jesus among its many refugees: LGBT people, women called to ministry, artists, science-lovers, misfits, sinners, doubters, thinkers and “the least of these.”
I’m ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.
1.) This is an issue about orthodoxy. See Romans 1, I Cor. 6, Jude 1, Galatians 5, etc.
2.) When other poor are being still helped because previously designated money is going to different poor people, it is not holding the poor as bargaining chips when money is no longer sent to merely one of dozens of agencies for the poor.
3.) Held seems to hold that the money that is committed to World Vision is automatically World Visions whatever it does and that somehow there is some immorality in someone deciding that they are going to support someone different than World Vision with their monies. That is a most tenuous assumption.
4.) All because people are not interested in supporting an agency that supports the LGBT movement doesn’t even get close to meaning that we have lost the way of Jesus. That is just more emotive language to try to get people all verklempt.
5.) As to Held’s questions
#1 — Does not apply. Withholding money from World Vision does not equal withholding that money from the poor.
#2 — Yes
#3 — Yes
#4 — We are not getting this wrong.
6.) As to Held’s “least of these comments” she should try being a White Male Biblical Christian Minister. Talk about the least of these.