A United States district judge ruled in November that World Vision, a global Christian relief ministry based in the Seattle area, has no right to hold its employees to biblical Christian sexual ethics.
In January 2021, World Vision withdrew an offer of employment to Aubry McMahon as a customer service representative upon learning she was in a same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage, of course, is at dramatic odds with Jesus’ clear teaching.
Rather than respecting World Vision’s right to adhere to the clear convictions of the world’s largest religion, McMahon took the Christian ministry to court.
Initially, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart sided with World Vision, agreeing in June that the organization has the constitutional right to make employment decisions in line with its designation as a Christian ministry.
Now this new ruling signifies a surprising flip-flop by the judge, declaring the case can proceed “to trial to determine the appropriate relief that should be granted”to McMahon by World Vision.
This ruling makes all Christian ministries who seek to live faithfully by the teachings of Jesus deeply vulnerable to the controlling power of the new sexual regime, regardless of how hard they try avoiding LGBT topics.
It is not a matter of how “kind” or “winsome” the ministry is. World Vision is as winsome a ministry as they come. It is whether you insist on adhering to a biblical ethic of sexuality and the family that makes all of us vulnerable. All Christians must appreciate that is precisely what this ruling signifies.
This federal judge ruled that World Vision rescinding its offer of employment to McMahon “facially discriminates on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and marital status in violation of [federal] Title VII and WLAD [Washington Law Against Discrimination].”
The judge’s statement curiously admits that “the ministerial exception [of the First Amendment] ensures that courts ‘stay out of employment disputes involving those holding certain important positions with churches and other religious institutions.’”
However, this federal court definitively ruled, “First, the job posting title ‘Customer Service Representative’ is secular” and thus, “Ms. McMahon’s title lacks ministerial or religious substance.”
The court is now authoritatively telling a Christian ministry what ministry is and is not, dismissing World Vision’s assertion that customer service representatives regularly pray with donors, encourage them with Scripture, and lead and participate in regular devotions, not to mention hoping all employees have opportunity to rise through the ranks to roles of greater spiritual responsibility.
Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Lied
When degendering marriage through the legalization of same-sex marriage was being proposed by activists decades ago, those who opposed it were regularly told to settle down because the change would never impact them. It was a merely a private matter between two people. “How will my private same-sex marriage ever harm you?” we were repeatedly told. That was wholly disingenuous.
Denver cakemaker Jack Phillips can tell you it impacted his life dramatically. He has been harassed for more than a decade because he refuses to play along.
Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman, a sweet seventy-something year-old grandma, can tell you how she lost her business and how she was regularly hauled into court because of seemingly private “it will never hurt you” same-sex marriage.
Christian graphic designer Lorie Smith will tell you how disagreeing in public with same-sex marriage dragged her all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and cost her tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
And now World Vision, an organization focused on feeding and clothing children around the world, can tell you the new rule is, “Approve of same-sex marriage or we will sue you!” regardless of how nice you are.
When World Vision Blinked
Dealing with same-sex marriage is not a new issue for the relief ministry.
In March 2014, World Vision announced it was changing its employee policy to allow individuals in legal same-sex marriages to work in their U.S. offices. They reversed this decision just 48 hours later. Their U.S. board issued a statement saying their decision “failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, ‘We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.’”
Their apology expressed regret that “we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage.”
It is critical that Christians remain unflinching in their commitment to God’s good and loving design for humanity, marriage and the family. Concrete steadfastness in conviction and practice is one of the greatest spiritual and psychological defenses against these growing attacks. Our beliefs about such things are very much under assault from powerful sectors of society. This World Vision case demonstrates that no ministry is safe from the oppressive demands of the LGBT-allied regime.
Image from World Vision.