The minister responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency which has been giving funding to an evangelical organization that describes homosexuality as a “perversion” and a “sin,” said Sunday no further payments will be made until officials review the organization.
“I have asked officials to review this organization before further payments are made,” tweeted Julian Fantino, International Cooperation Minister.
The group was receiving funding from the government of Canada for its work in Uganda, where gays and lesbians face severe threats.
Crossroads had received 544 thousand dollars to dig wells and promote hygiene awareness in Uganda. Crossroads also works in Cambodia, Kenya, Zambia, Calcutta, Sudan, Ukraine and Haiti, and has received 2.6 million dollars from CIDA since 1999.
When the Canadian Press asked about Crossroads position on sexuality, the webpage was yanked.
In the past few years KIAROS, the Mennonite Central Committee and the Catholic Organization for Development and Peace have all seen CIDA funding cut:
CIDA’s shift away from working with long-time and often church-based development partners to financing private sector projects such as those of the mining companies has been in the works for several years.
In November 2009, CIDA cut off funding to the ecumenical social justice group KAIROS, which had been a long-time partner in development. Neither CIDA nor its minister Bev Oda would provide any explanation beyond saying that CIDA’s priorities had changed and KAIROS did not meet them.
Then in February 2012, CIDA turned down a proposal by the well-respected Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) for $2.9 million for each of three years to provide food, water and income generation assistance for people in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Haiti, Bolivia, Mozambique and Ethiopia.
In March 2012, it became apparent that CIDA had also cut off the Catholic organization Development and Peace (D&P). CIDA, which had provided the organization with $44.6 million in the years 2006-11, chopped that amount by two-thirds, to a total of $14.5 million over the next five years.
While Crossroads has gotten away from political involvement, the recent hiring of Jerry Johnston as Executive Director of Crossroads US and host of 100 Huntley Street is cause for concern. Johnston is a Southern Baptist minister from Kansas who was known in his state for his opposition to same sex marriage and other religious right politicking. I’ve covered the Crossroads hiring of Jerry Johnston here.
The debate about tax payer money going to religious organizations will continue as will debate about tax payer money going to religious organizations which are diametrically opposed to government policy. The Canadian government has said it does not support Crossroads view that homosexuality is a perversion. ”Canada’s views are clear — we have been strongly opposed to the criminalization of homosexuality or violence against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.”
Crossroads spokesperson Carolyn Innis told the Canadian Press that “”It has not been a practice of Crossroads to influence matters of policy in countries in which we are completing relief or development projects.”
The Uganda ‘kill the gays’ bill is opposed by the Canadian government and most Canadian churches. Crossroads sexual sins position is standard Pentecostal fare, the organization leans PAOC, but includes employees from other denominations. To be fair, Crossroads Television System yanked Charles McVety off air when he refused to tone down his anti-gay rhetoric and abide by CRTC rules. Many Canadian evangelicals do not hold the position Crossroads currently holds, and do not believe being gay is a perversion, nor are they opposed to same sex marriage. It is flat out offensive to list sexual orientation in with pedophilia and bestiality, and is a common tactic of the religious right. Nor do many evangelicals believe being gay is a sexual sin, nor do we support reparative therapy.
I see the larger issue as tax-payer funding currently going to a religious group to fund aid in a country currently at odds with Canadian policy. In 2011 Canada supplied 350 million dollars in aid to Uganda. The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill (kill the gays bill) was introduced in 2009. Along with the criminalization of homosexuality, those providing medical assistance or assistance of any kind to GLBT, those who know GLBT could face severe penalities. GLBT would face life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Crossroads Relief & Development Facebook
Crossroads yanked webpage on sexual sins
Update: Crossroads Christian Communications Inc response - the webpage in question was archival and should have been gone a long time ago, Crossroads welcomes the review by CIDA, Crossroads has put 35 million dollars into relief and development work in 41 countries, Crossroads supports the Canadian government’s position that strongly opposes the criminalization of homosexuality and violence on the basis of sexual orientation, Crossroads has put 3.2 million into Uganda, Crossroads is not anti-gay….