World Vision Canada covert discrimination – I Was Blocked From Hiring a Gay Person at World Vision Canada

Then I was called into the office of a senior staff member for a one-on-one meeting. I was so stunned by what I heard that I didn’t even know how to respond. He told me that he had made the final decision not to hire this candidate. He had come to the realization that if you’re gay, you can’t be Christian. And only Christians can work at World Vision, so we couldn’t hire her.

I Was Blocked From Hiring a Gay Person at World Vision Canada was written by Kristen Woudstra a few days ago, after World Vision USA reversed a hiring policy regarding married gays and lesbians.

When World Vision USA reversed it’s policy change (lasted 2 days after 10 thousand calls were made dropping sponsorships), I stood up online for World Visions around the world which re-iterated clear hiring policies. I stood up for, and applauded World Vision Canada. A WV Canada executive told Mike Bell that a non-discriminatory hiring policy had been in place for 15 years. Mike Bell also stood up for World Vision Canada.

We couldn’t have known that World Vision Canada executives are free to decide gay people can’t be followers of Jesus Christ. (Or could we?)  Did we know that Canadian labour laws are covertly circumvented at the whim of men who play the assistant Holy Spirit while Canadian tax dollars are openly received?

World Vision Canada was swift to release a statement in response to I Was Blocked From Hiring a Gay Person at World Vision Canada.

It was with much sadness that I read Kristy Woudstra’s article published on this site on Thursday morning. Sadness because of what was written, but also sadness because of what it means for the work that World Vision Canada is so committed to doing.

When I look at the very serious concerns that were described, it is so upsetting to think that anyone might feel excluded by World Vision Canada. While World Vision U.S. has made changes to their policies over the past week, World Vision Canada has not.

While it’s not appropriate to comment on any of the specifics around any individual’s hiring, we can say this about our approach: World Vision Canada does not ask questions around sexual orientation during interviews.

As a Christian organization, we follow the example of Jesus who reached out to everyone, especially those who were marginalized or left out. We support equality for all and the rights of all people. In the work that we do, we provide assistance to people regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or religion. Integral to the work we do is standing up for the marginalized and disenfranchised. We need to continue to stand up and speak out for children and families around the world who are living in poverty. We are so grateful for the thousands of Canadians who partner with us, and we are deeply committed to continuing this important work.

This is a non-response.

Don’t ask, don’t tell.

A lot of us are sad.

“Sadness because of what was written, but also sadness because of what it means for the work that World Vision Canada is so committed to doing.” I’m very glad Kristin Woudstra  spoke up.  Is World Vision saying they are sad that covert behavior has been made public? Is World Vision sad that the public is now aware a qualified applicant was turned away for her openness and concern?

Yes, World Vision does provide assistance – and trust has been broken. If an executive can say a gay person who openly and transparently acknowledged her orientation, who was able and willing to abide by employee policies has to stay in the closet; how is anyone assured discrimination isn’t happening in the field? It is happening here at home where the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and provincial labour laws are in place, and ignored by an a senior World Vision executive who has decided gay people cannot be Christians; and who didn’t think he’d be outed. Trust isn’t broken because Kristin chooses to speak up, trust is broken because a senior World Vision executive breaks trust.

Yes, World Vision Canada is obeying labour law by not commenting on the specifics of any “anyone’s individual’s hiring.”

No, obviously World Vision Canada does not, “support equality for all and the rights of all people.” These are idealized words circumvented, uttered publicly while opposite words are uttered privately, and decisions are made that deny employment to a qualified someone or someones who approach employment honestly.

“World Vision Canada does not ask questions around sexual orientation during interviews.”

Yes, of course not, that would be openly against the law. World Vision Canada’s message is, don’t tell us your orientation during interviews. We can’t ask, but don’t tell. If you tell, we have people who will decide you are not a Christian, and we won’t hire you.

World Vision says, we don’t have to be faithful in the small things because, we are faithful in the great ones:

We need to continue to stand up and speak out for children and families around the world who are living in poverty. We are so grateful for the thousands of Canadians who partner with us, and we are deeply committed to continuing this important work.

The law of love works the way our executive wants it to work. If you tell, your qualifications don’t count, stay silent and stay in your closet, and thanks for your concern:

In the final stages of the recruitment, HR informed me that the candidate had shared she was gay and she wanted to make sure that wouldn’t be an issue at a Christian organization.

The none response from World Vision does not address an exposed internal culture of discrimination where an executive are permitted to decide someone who is gay cannot possibly love, follow and serve Jesus Christ.

There are Canadian organizations which are faithful, which would not tolerate executives deciding gay Christians have no voice or no place, there are organizations worthy of our giving which  do not encourage behind closed doors bigotry; while just as effectively meeting the needs of children and families around the world. That need is great and is well served by many groups.   This World Vision hiring decision was made in 2010. World Vision Canada hiring policy:

We comply with provincial laws on this matter which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. For example, as part of our hiring and employment, we do not ask questions about sexual orientation, marriage or related issues.

Don’t ask is in place because Canadians have put anti-discrimination hiring practice into law. Don’t tell exists because World Vision telegraphed it’s okay for an executive to send a message to honest applicants that their silence is preferred.

“In that same meeting with the senior staff person, he told me that God would protect the organization in this decision not to hire an openly gay person.”

Wow. I am so fed up with God  being evoked as a cover, God getting blamed for our bigotry, our sin, our blindness, our exclusion, our unfaithfulness.
Will God protect buddy here from the consequences of his hubris?

“While World Vision U.S. has made changes to their policies over the past week, World Vision Canada has not.”  World Vision cannot change policy if they wish to operate in Canada. But the message is out, buddy here has refused employment to an honest Christian and probably other honest brothers and sisters.

World Vision Canada could have said the senior executive is no longer with them, or that he has been spoken to, monitored, re-trained and removed from a position of public trust. But that was NOT said and we’ll never know.

“I left World Vision in 2010. I have spoken to a couple of my former colleagues since the news from the U.S. broke and some reassure me that the situation is better in the Canadian office now. Apparently the board and senior staff are more accepting of gays and lesbians. I sincerely hope they’re right.”

I hope so to, but given today’s statement from World Vision Canada, that was not what was publicly said. And until I hear from openly gay and lesbian World Vision Canada employees, hope will be tempered by my sadness.  World Vision Canada could have said we have gay and lesbian employees who love Jesus Christ. World Vision Canada could have said we have openly gay and lesbian employees who serve Jesus Christ. But World Vision Canada did not.  I can not and will no longer defend World Vision Canada. It will be quite some time before I and many others work through our sorrow.

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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9 Responses to World Vision Canada covert discrimination – I Was Blocked From Hiring a Gay Person at World Vision Canada

  1. Bene D says:

    Dave Toycen, President and CEO of World Vision Canada is an experienced leader and a skilled communicator.

    He clearly communicated, ‘don’t tell.’

    Deflecting to the great need around the world and World Visions importance is a crock. Guilting people doesn’t work, pr stunts don’t work.

    He could say he was reaching out to Kristin Woudstra, investigating the senior executive, he could have apologized publicly to qualified gays and lesbians applicants who have been turned away.
    He could take a clear public stand against the belief that gay people can’t be Christians.

    He didn’t.

    I was left wondering if Toycen was buddie here – but I find that thought somewhat implausible, he didn’t get where he is being honest, it’s more practical to hire people to do the dirty work for you and slap them on the back in the evangelical closet.

  2. John Payzant says:

    Bene why don’t you have a link so I can put it on facebook like I do with all the others?

  3. Jane says:

    John – copy and paste the link from the browser bar and add it to facebook. That’s what I did.

    Also – There is something else that World Vision (the great Christian ministry) doesn’t do and that is they do not teach about sin and repentance and faith alone in the Gospel …. they do not “proselytize”.

  4. Bene D says:

    Hey John:

    You mean a FB link. Good question, I’ve never asked my tech company for one.:^)
    Cre8d-design donates their services to BDBO for free, I pay server costs. So I only ask for help when it’s something serious.

    Copy and paste, friend, copy and paste, and thanks for wanting to share it.

  5. Bene D says:

    Jane:

    Because World Vision doesn’t proselytize, they are able to take some skills (like disaster recovery) into areas where they normally won’t be welcome. They are not only able to protect their own workers this way who live and work for them there, but save lives with their rapid response.

    There are advantages to doing first, and leaving the sharing to locals. World Vision UK has an excellent program which helps church workers learn to be more culturally aware and save everyone grief.

    Hmmm. Maybe World Vision Canada needs to take that course.

  6. Richard Williams says:

    The Bible says Christians can’t be gay. As far as the Christian faith was concerned, I thought that the Bible was the Word of God.

    1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

    It seems to be saying that a Christian could be formerly gay, but when they come to Christ, they shouldn’t be looked as gay any longer.

  7. Bene Diction says:

    Richard:

    Thanks for letting my know your position. I disagree with you as do many others who are followers of Jesus Christ, and I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you voiced your thoughts to be helpful. You’ve been heard, but please don’t come back and repeat yourself or attempt to define or argue.

  8. fjc says:

    As I grow older I feel so thankful that I was brought up in a Christian home and taught by my parents to be intolerant of intolerance.

    We we taught not to accept everything that someone espouses as truth simply because they are holding a Bible in their hands, quoting or interpreting a Bible verse, or standing at the front of a church.

    My parents witnessed many unpleasant things during WW2 and during the postwar period. They came to understand that the some amongst the clergy and faith leaders place themselves, their financial well being, their prejudices, and their intolerance above all else. Including fairness, just treatment of all, and the rule of law in our democratic country.

    It saddens me to see behavior like this in a so called Chistian organization that I happen to support. Not because of their faith but because of their good works.

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