by Rob Schwarzwalder
March 23, 2012
Last year, we celebrated when the Supreme Court upheld the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling that the Christian charity World Vision was within its legal rights to fire three employees who, after signing the ministrys doctrinal statement, admitted to denying the Deity of Christ.
Now, World Vision and other international Christian ministries are once again being pressured to jettison a key biblical teaching only this time, on marriage. According to Christianity Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development has issued a new federal policy that strongly encourages all contractors to develop anti-discrimination policies covering employees’ sexual orientation.
According to World Vision Senior Vice-President Kent Hill, all World Vision U.S.employees must sign a statement of faith and agree to a standard of conduct that limits sexuality to a God-ordained covenant between a man and a woman.
But World Vision is hardly alone: many other Christian charities that operate abroad could be affected. Many of them belong to the Accord Network (formerly the Alliance of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations), whose Executive Director, Chad Hayward, warns of a chilling effect on the federal governments willingness to partner with Evangelical ministries as a result of the new encouragement.
Interestingly, the only way I have been able to access the text of this new “encouragement” is by going to the Web site of the Washington Blade, a homosexual newspaper, which has printed a PDF of the USAID letter. A review of the USAID Web site reveals neither publication of this announcement nor any news release relating to it.
The Obama Administration was quick to deny any potential discrimination: According to USAID spokesman Drew Bailey, The LGBT anti-discrimination policy is not binding … Nothing in the policy precludes our continuing strong partnerships with religious organizations or otherwise affects contracting or grant decisions. We have strong, productive relationships with many faith-based organizations, and [they] will not be adversely affected by this policy.”
Let us hope. Yet if thats the case if the religious convictions of Christian relief and anti-poverty groups is, in fact, not only recognized but respected why send a formal government letter with the inference of a veiled threat to ministries that affirm the historic, orthodox Christian belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, for life.
Let us do more than hope: Let us pray that this tacit attack on religious liberty will not impede the ability of Christian groups to partner with Washington in providing aid to those so in need. And let us act, by contacting the Obama Administration and our elected federal representatives to express to them that this potentially massive violation of our first freedom freedom of religion will be stopped.
To contact the White House, click here.