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.