Friday, March 28, 2014

The Shame Game: World Vision and the U.N. AIDS Resolution

With the recent kerfuffle surrounding World Vision's change and immediate reversal of a new policy that would allow 'married' gay individuals to work for them came a lot of backlash.
First, there were the Christians who were outraged by the mega-charity's decision to betray it's original principles.  Many of these people pulled their funding from the charity as a protest, stating that they could no longer in good conscience support the organization.

Round #2 was the backlash against the backlash, with left-leaning bloggers and reporters criticizing all the heartless, cruel monsters that were in essence taking food out of the mouths of starving children over a "narrow policy issue".

Finally, there was the follow-up backlash from the same people as backlash #2, who redirected their comments at World Vision itself when they reversed the policy, reaffirmed traditional marriage as a biblical Christian tenet, and therefore gave in to the bullying of their conservative Christian base.
The article I linked for 'Round #2' is a piece by a Patheos blogger that boils down to the following accusation: Christians who stopped supporting World Vision when World Vision started supporting homosexual "marriage" are hypocrites who defend an arbitrary, self-righteous hatred for the fact that "Janice from accounting has a wife" at the expense of "hungry children with empty bellies or sick children without medicine". Mr. Benjamin Corey, the author of the article, is definitely not alone in his sentiments, as I found many other articles with similar opinions all over the blogosphere.

But the title of Corey's piece in particular just begs a brief moment of...consideration? admiration?: "When We’d Rather Let Kids Go Hungry Than Be Reasonable On Gay Marriage."  This attack on Christians--who have committed the unthinkable crime of feeling entitled to decide that their charity dollars go to an organization that represents their beliefs--is incredibly smart. It simultaneously places believers on the defensive, and makes them look 1. stupid and childish, because the gay "marriage" issue is an innocuous issue, and 2. like rabid ideologues, who will kill children over an abstract and outdated principle.

It's another instance of the strategy that the Enemy appears to have realized works fairly well in modern culture: make the Christians out to be the bad guys because they actually stand for their principles and don't support the liberal agenda-clothed-in-humanitarianism. A hyperbolic headline like 'Christians steal bread out of the mouths of starving babies because they hate gays' incites much more outrage and support than a truthful one: 'Christians who have always Scripturally and ethically rejected homosexuality and affirmed traditional marriage choose to give money to a different charity so they don't violate their consciences'.


I didn't bring up the World Vision debacle, or Corey's article, however, just to point out their hypocrisy or their rhetoric.  Another piece of news surfaced this morning, unrelated to World Vision, but quite appropriate to discuss in light of it.

For the past week or so, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women has been reviewing an AIDS initiative spearheaded by several African countries where AIDS hits the hardest.  Today, those same countries backed out of voting on the finalized resolution because of language forced into the bill that downplays or removes stipulations about fidelity and monogamous partnerships, and which protects early "sexual debut" for teens, specifically girls and women.

This article from C-FAM describes how the language got into the resolution:
"In a surprise move, the Dutch delegate intervened to amend the resolution on behalf of the US and other countries in Europe and Latin America. They could not accept a mention of “delay of sexual debut” in a paragraph on helping women and girls protect themselves from HIV. Among the other defenses against HIV left in were condoms, gender equality, and gender sensitivity.
The draft had narrowly avoided being stripped of references to abstinence and fidelity. A confidential source told the Friday Fax that at the start of negotiations behind closed doors the U.S., European Union, and some Latin American countries insisted these be removed or there would be no resolution at all. A reference to reducing the number of sexual partners was removed later."
Perhaps I should title this piece "When We'd Rather Insist Kids Can Have Sex With Multiple Partners As Early As Possible Than Be Reasonable About The AIDS Epidemic"?

It sounds as ludicrous as Corey's headline, yet unlike his, this one is accurate.  Because American and European activists couldn't let go of an explicit U.N. commitment to pushing a sexually active lifestyle on kids, they caused countries most hurt by this issue to feel unrepresented and unaided.  "It’s all about sex, sex, sex, for them [the U.S./European agitators]," one of the African delegates remarked.

For the people who are living with the AIDS epidemic, making sure that teens can have as much sex as they want, as long as we are sure to provide them with condoms is a total misdirection of effort. (And condoms, incidentally, have been proven to be far less effective against AIDS than we have been led to believe by the Planned Parenthood cabal)  The issue is not how the people in the stricken countries are having sex, but that they are having it at all.  For non-married individuals, the best way to protect from the disease is simply to abstain from sexual activity.  The delegate's comment about it being all about 'sex, sex, sex' reveals that her perspective is not on sex at all--it is on the fact that people are dying.
"Early sexual debut and multiple sexual partners are associated with poverty. A pilot program in Malawi showed young women receiving cash transfers to attend school had lower HIV incidence because of delayed sexual activity, younger and fewer partners, and less likelihood of falling into prostitution. They were also more likely to continue their education and avoid child marriage. Other research shows partner reduction and fidelity led to HIV reduction in Kenya."
But, apparently, pleasure and immediate gratification is more important than the health, perhaps even the life, of these same children and teens.  Although the AIDS virus is such a threat in these regions, unhampered access to sex is given priority over anything else.

Furthermore, as the C-FAM report notes, "In Africa, women uniquely bear the brunt of the HIV epidemic, in part because male-to-female transmission is much more likely than female-to-male."  This means that, even more than the general disregard for the lives of the people in these countries, those refusing to let go of the sex-on-demand language in the resolution were specifically targeting women, since women will be the primary victims.

Who's waging a 'war on women' now?


The takeaway here is that in both instances, the World Vision policy shift, and the abandonment of the U.N. AIDS resolution by some of "the hard-hit areas in the HIV epidemic", Christian-shaming, or at least the shaming of moral or ethical principles, is spun to look like a great service to humanity.  Thank goodness for the voice of compassion that wants to feed the starving children; thank goodness we can rest easy at night knowing that little African girls can contract AIDS with as many partners as they like.

This cloaking of evil in a semblance of charity is sickening, but unsurprising.  Our culture loves itself above everything else, and would readily sacrifice the true well-being of others to preserve its shallow facade of justification for the way it wants to behave.

Checking the AIDS crisis by promoting abstinence would force us to admit that condoms don't always work, and that there are proven benefits to sexual restraint proportionate to the disadvantages of 'early sexual debut'.  Acknowledging that Christians have the moral obligation to stand for certain moral truths no matter what ends might appear to justify the means would require us to reevaluate the concept of absolute Truth, and would certainly require the occasional sacrifice of pleasure or preference to adhere to that Truth.
It is so much easier to disguise the sins of others and pat ourselves on the back for being compassionate than to submit to a real self-examination to reveal our own sins, and reveal what sacrifices true compassion for our fellow men and women would require of us.
But we should not allow ourselves to be made to feel ashamed for standing up for our beliefs, for the Truth, or should we be tricked by the language of charity that is wielded against us to make us feel like we are somehow hurting our neighbor instead of loving him.

"Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;  and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong." (1 Peter 3:15-17)

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