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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Question Begging

Without digging into the underlying issue, I found curious the headline of this post by Robert George on Mirror of Justice, although I rather admired it for talking in terms of the Bible rather than natural law. The headline is: "World Vision reverses course and returns to the biblical view of marriage." World Vision is a Christan charity group that engages in mission-oriented hiring, and the issue was its board's brief decision that individuals in same-sex marriages who were also believing Christians would be eligible for employment by the United States branch of the charity. It has since reversed that decision.

What I don't see in these stories, or in George's post, is any indication that World Vision had ever altered its views on same-sex marriage; World Vision's president made clear at the time of the brief policy change that it had not, in fact, changed its views on that issue. More centrally, I do not see any explanation on George's part about why the "biblical view of marriage" requires an entity not to employ any individuals who depart in this particular respect from the biblical view as he understands it. Note, although I think it's only partly relevant, that as far as I can tell the policy applies to all employees of the organization, not just people serving in particular capacities. Far be it from me as a non-Christian to presume to interpret the Christian scriptures. But if George believes that the organization, despite stating that it had not changed its views on same-sex marriage, departed from it once it declared that it would not deny employment to mail clerks or janitors in same-sex marriages, I wish he would cite some scripture to that effect. (I would also be personally curious to know whether he thinks this is what a biblically grounded Catholic doctrine, in particular, requires of employers, no matter the nature of the employment.) 

While he is at it, it would be nice if he offered some view on whether those groups that urged individuals to cease offering financial support to the charity, which engages in worldwide relief efforts, until it returned to its prior policy were also departing from biblical views. The leader of one such group, once the policy was reversed, asked its followers "who hastily canceled their sponsorship of children in World Vision programs to immediately reinstate that support in order to ensure continuity of care for the poor children whom Christ loves." If "continuity of care" for "poor children" was put at issue by halting donations, as the statement implies, that suggests that doing so was not merely symbolic or easily substituted by donations to other groups. So was halting one's donations at some risk to the well-being of the suffering not itself un-biblical? Have such donors now "returned to the biblical view of charity?"      

Posted by Paul Horwitz on March 29, 2014 at 06:00 PM | Permalink


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Does the charity also follow that policy in regard to the "biblical" view of divorce, noting the gospels are admittedly somewhat divided on the technicalities there? I note that quite a few Christian churches think same sex marriage is "biblical." But, I realize the matter is a matter of interpretation. I do wonder, as does the OP, how broadly the group here applies their conscientious principles. I have cited my concerns, personally sympathetic to religious belief, that we need to set up policies here that are consistent.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 30, 2014 11:42:28 AM

Or the 'Biblical view' on what marriage is, slavery, justly punishing a people for the evil misdeeds of their (dictatorial) rulers, ...

Posted by: Barry | Mar 31, 2014 12:32:38 PM

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