THE BLOG

Hurray for World Vision! Round One to the World's Impoverished Children - Or Not?

28/03/2014 10:53 GMT | Updated 27/05/2014 10:59 BST

After fighting hard, being the trailblazer for Christian organisations rights to hire and fire on faith basis and opposing USAID's attempt - just two years ago - to "strongly encourage" faith-based contractors to stop discriminating against LGBT people in order to receive federal funding, one wonders what went wrong in the World Vision board room.

Richard Stearns statement that "we're not caving to some kind of pressure ... this is simply a decision about whether or not you are eligible for employment at World Vision US based on this single issue, and nothing more" just does not resonate well with its actions.

Was there a threat by USAID to withdraw aid money, Mr Stearns?

Cheque book diplomacy is a way of life for governments who wield hefty aid budgets as truncheons over countries and organisations.

For example, the US punished tiny Caribbean nations in the early 2000's by cutting aid to them because they refused to sign a Bilateral Immunity Agreement that would prevent them from surrendering US citizens to the International Criminal Court - a campaign waged by the George Bush administration. The Caribbean Regional Security System - a drugs interdiction and disaster response unit based in Barbados suffered badly.

Developing countries have always been wary about what they call 'foreign cultural penetration' where developed countries impose their ways of life and views on them. In some cases, under the threat of punishment.

The same thing is happening in the wake of same-sex marriage laws which have now been passed in 17 of the world's 206 nations. A small number of nations but a very powerful group of countries with huge financial coffers and massive aid budgets.

I fear that a new type of foreign cultural penetration is underway under the banner of human rights.

While the affluent battle each other in rich states over their human rights, it is the impoverished people of this world that will feel the blows if aid budgets are withheld.

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Should aid be withheld to rebuild these homes because the aid agency won't hire gay people?

When a desperate mother takes her severely malnourished child, tottering on the brink of death, to a CRENI in Niger, for example, only to be turned away because they don't have the treatment costing 49p, that child then becomes a casualty of the gay marriage fight thousands of miles away.

How on earth can that be right?

When the next severe lean season sweeps across The Sahel forcing millions to turn to aid agencies for food support and if the aid budgets of those agencies are cut as punishment for not supporting the gay 'marriage' movement, how can that be right?

Why should gay rights be allowed to thwart the rights of others, especially in these life and death situations? Why should the right of a person to marriage someone of the same sex be more important than a child's right to life?

If enthusiastic technocrats and government advisors feel compelled to move in this direction they need to stop, take stock and do the right thing. They must not allow the new gay rights to curtail the legitimate rights of others. Sense must prevail.

The UK has seen some religious charities, which get government funding, suddenly change their doctrine and hail gay marriage as their new religion.

Tampering with aid budgets is a dangerous thing. It can mean life and death to millions of children and if it is not nipped in the bud, the situation will worsen as a new wave of foreign cultural penetration sweeps the world in the wake of same-sex marriage laws.

The sceptic's rebuttal may well be that when one aid agency falls away then a gay-friendly agency will take its place. But it's not that easy because access is a major issue which humanitarian organisations, such as World Vision, have cultivated over decades.

World Vision USA was courageous to reverse its decision. Well done. Now Mr Stearns, please come clean and tell us the pressure - which you did not have - that you caved into before climbing out of the hole 48 hours later?