Here’s a conundrum – America is filled with gangs and more children every day are pressured and enticed into joining them. The country could use some help giving these kids guidance and better alternatives to a life of crime. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has proposed getting World Vision involved, using a 1.5 million dollar grant that would go towards anti-gang initiatives.
Sounds like a good plan, but there’s a problem. The U.S. Congress set down a law against discriminatory hiring by grant recipients. If World Vision wants the grant, they’ll have to open up their hiring processes to everyone, even if they aren’t Christian.
God forbid. /sarcasm
As it stands now, World Vision is a Christian organization and they’re well within their rights (globally) to impose restrictions. They only wish to hire people who believe like they do, in God, and insodoing, are willing to do God’s work. (People can’t depend on God to solve the world’s problems. But they still pray for it to happen, like those people praying to Jesus yesterday to save the stock market. They aimed all their prayers at a golden bull. Doesn’t that count as one of those graven images their God is so dead set against?)
World Vision feeds, clothes, shelters, and provides medical care to poor people all around the world. They are among the first on the ground whenever disaster strikes. Why? Because of their faith. Likewise, their faith is why other groups build homes, minister to prisoners, and feed the hungry, regardless of race, color or creed.
Insisting that they hire people who don’t share their faith is asking them to cut themselves off from what motivates their efforts and makes them effective.
So, I have to ask the obvious question. Why?
Do Christians have the monopoly on good deeds? That only Christians can save the day? That only Christians have what it takes to sacrifice and devote their lives to helping others? Are they really implying that the God’s way is the only way to get the job done?
The obvious, if difficult, answer is for Christian organizations to refuse government money. Prison Fellowship, for example, accepts no federal funds. But there’s no reason to think that the problem will then go away. The anti-religion fanatics will next seek to strip Christian non-profits of their tax exempt status—and even access to those in need of our help—in order to pressure us and make religion a purely private matter.
In the end, the biggest loser will be the common good, as people who need help don’t get it, which is the cruelest kind of discrimination of all.
I think religion should be a private matter. I don’t think aid should come with any strings attached. That’s a pipe dream, probably. I’m anti-religion but I’m not anti-aid. I think it’s great how much groups like World Vision accomplish. Why would anti-religious people want them to be taxed? Aren’t all non-profit organizations tax exempt? It’s not just for church-run charities.
I think what’s really needed are more groups that will do good work without the promise of eternal reward. Do good because the world needs it, the people need it. Help because you can, not because it’s expected of you. Good deeds don’t require God’s stamp of approval.