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ChloeB

World Vision Christian Humanitarian Org.

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ChloeB
World Vision, the Christian humanitarian organization, can fire employees who disagree with its theological tenets, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday (Aug. 23).

In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that World Vision is a "religious corporation" and therefore exempt from a federal law that bars faith-based discrimination.

"I am satisfied that World Vision has met its burden of showing that the 'general picture' of the organization is 'primarily religious,"' wrote Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain.

arrow3.gifRead more...

"World Vision is a nonprofit organization whose humanitarian relief efforts flow from a profound sense of religious mission."'

Three employees, two of whom had worked at World Vision for 10 years, were fired in 2006 because they did not believe in the divinity of Jesus or the doctrine of the Trinity, O'Scannlain wrote. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars religious discrimination, but carves out an exemption for companies engaged in a religious purpose, the court ruled.

Judge Marsha S. Berzon dissented from the majority opinion, saying Congress did not intend to allow all religiously motivated nonprofits to be exempt from the law.

"That interpretation would severely tip the balance away from the pluralistic vision Congress incorporated ... toward a society in which employers could self-declare as religious enclaves from which dissenters can be excluded despite their ability to do the assigned secular work as well as religiously acceptable employees," Berzon wrote.

The decision comes as President Obama is weighing whether the government should help fund religious charities that refuse to hire people of other faiths. White House officials have said the Justice Department is studying the matter, and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis until a final decision is rendered.

World Vision praised the Ninth Circuit ruling in a statement. "Our Christian faith has been the foundation of our work since the organization was established in 1950, and our hiring policy is vital to the integrity of our mission to serve the poor as followers of Jesus Christ."

Curious what everyone thought about this, surely they don't worry about the faith of the people giving the donations and they receive grants from the government, should they be able to use faith to discriminate against employees?

Edited by ChloeB

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Leonardo

Curious what everyone thought about this, surely they don't worry about the faith of the people giving the donations and they receive grants from the government, should they be able to use faith to discriminate against employees?

The simple answer would be to make it illegal for a religious organisation to be a company or a charitable organisation. Church organisations (for worship only) would be allowed to be based on a religious ideal, of course, but they would not be allowed to engage in charitable pursuits. Missionary work involving aid would not be allowed to be undertaken.

If a religion, or religious organisation, wants to be outside the law, then make it illegal for it to do anything to which secular laws (such as anti-discrimination employment laws) apply.

If the government wants to really crack down, then make it illegal for a religious organisation to own property.

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ChloeB

The simple answer would be to make it illegal for a religious organisation to be a company or a charitable organisation. Church organisations (for worship only) would be allowed to be based on a religious ideal, of course, but they would not be allowed to engage in charitable pursuits. Missionary work involving aid would not be allowed to be undertaken.

If a religion, or religious organisation, wants to be outside the law, then make it illegal for it to do anything to which secular laws (such as anti-discrimination employment laws) apply.

If the government wants to really crack down, then make it illegal for a religious organisation to own property.

I thought it was interesting because it's not the same as a teacher being fired from a private Christian school, they receive huge grants from the government, just a few from their site:

February 23, 2010, Seattle, WA – International relief and development agency World Vision has been awarded a $19 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development to help families and communities in Haiti affected by the devastating January 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince.

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance selected World Vision for the year-long grant to provide shelter, economic recovery activities, and water, sanitation and hygiene activities at six spontaneous settlements in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. The localities covered will include Delmas, Croix-des-Bouquets and Pétionville.

Washington, D.C., August 10, 2009—International humanitarian agency World Vision has received a $49.4 million grant from the U.S. government for projects improving health and livelihoods in Mozambique’s Zambézia Province with an innovative set of approaches.

World Vision will lead a consortium of local and international partners in the five-year program, including Adventist Development and Relief Agency, ACDI/VOCA, International Relief and Development, The Johns Hopkins University, Red Cross Mozambique and Vanderbilt University.

It would seem to me by accepting these grants from the pockets of tax-payers, not being privately supported such as a church or a religious school, that they would be bound to adhere to the anti-discrimination laws.

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Fluffybunny

Churches should never be exempt from taxes and laws of the land...

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Llucid

A faith-based organization should be able to establish what faith it is based on. Without this control the organization, who's explicit goal is to represent its faith, would be forced to be comprised of elements that run contrary to its purpose. It would self destruct. Prohibiting these organizations from controlling who works for them would, in essence, be prohibiting the organization from working at all. This extends to all organization who are defined by stated beliefs. Should a pro-choice organization be forced to allow pro-lifers on its Board of Directors? Should the Democratic National Convention be forced to hire Republicans?

An organization should be allowed to accept financial aid to accomplish efforts that are well defined. If the government is offering aid to organizations who are trying to help Haiti, then faith-based organizations should not be discriminated against because of their faith, as long as the aid is specifically for that purpose and its usage is heavily documented.

Churches should be tax exempt if there is to be a separation of church and state. Taxing a church would make that church subservient to the government. This extend to all entities that are to be kept separated and granted independent sovereignty. Should the American government tax Indian reservations? Should California be allowed to tax Nevada? Should New York be allowed to tax the United Nations and all the countries that comprise it? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” means that all religions are completely free from government control, including tax control.

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ChloeB

A faith-based organization should be able to establish what faith it is based on. Without this control the organization, who's explicit goal is to represent its faith, would be forced to be comprised of elements that run contrary to its purpose. It would self destruct. Prohibiting these organizations from controlling who works for them would, in essence, be prohibiting the organization from working at all. This extends to all organization who are defined by stated beliefs. Should a pro-choice organization be forced to allow pro-lifers on its Board of Directors? Should the Democratic National Convention be forced to hire Republicans?

An organization should be allowed to accept financial aid to accomplish efforts that are well defined. If the government is offering aid to organizations who are trying to help Haiti, then faith-based organizations should not be discriminated against because of their faith, as long as the aid is specifically for that purpose and its usage is heavily documented.

Churches should be tax exempt if there is to be a separation of church and state. Taxing a church would make that church subservient to the government. This extend to all entities that are to be kept separated and granted independent sovereignty. Should the American government tax Indian reservations? Should California be allowed to tax Nevada? Should New York be allowed to tax the United Nations and all the countries that comprise it? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” means that all religions are completely free from government control, including tax control.

From what I've read they receive 29% of their support from government funding, somewhere around $340+ million taxpayer dollars. And that is for their social services they provide, i.e. disaster relief, etc. It would seem to me for a true separation of church and state they wouldn't be able to accept these funds while hiding behind the religious curtain of being allowed to hire and fire based on faith, basically leading to taxpayers supporting employment discrimination. If they want to grant and deny employment based on religion, they should have to be privately funded. It looks to me like they want it both ways, and they got it.

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Llucid

From what I've read they receive 29% of their support from government funding, somewhere around $340+ million taxpayer dollars. And that is for their social services they provide, i.e. disaster relief, etc. It would seem to me for a true separation of church and state they wouldn't be able to accept these funds while hiding behind the religious curtain of being allowed to hire and fire based on faith, basically leading to taxpayers supporting employment discrimination. If they want to grant and deny employment based on religion, they should have to be privately funded. It looks to me like they want it both ways, and they got it.

These are two separate issues- Religious organizations getting government grants to perform humanitarian work and the ability of the government to overrule a religious organization's decisions concerning their employees.

Government aid is funneled through this organization into the relief they provide. They are allowed to get this aid because the aid does not finance religious activity. This same activity is being performed by many organizations that are secular. To try and claim an activity is a religious activity simply because the people that are performing it hold to religious values or are affiliated with a religious organization would open up a can of worms.

For the government to enact standards on the religious organization's hire practices would be, just like the tax issue, a form of control. A religious organization is completely free from the control of the government, a principle that this country was founded on. Someone may feel that a religious organization should not have the authority to hire those of their own religion but I, and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, do not agree. The very identity of the religious organization is based on their members holding to that religion and to deny this would be to not allow religious organizations to exist.

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Leonardo

A faith-based organization should be able to establish what faith it is based on. Without this control the organization, who's explicit goal is to represent its faith, would be forced to be comprised of elements that run contrary to its purpose. It would self destruct. Prohibiting these organizations from controlling who works for them would, in essence, be prohibiting the organization from working at all. This extends to all organization who are defined by stated beliefs. Should a pro-choice organization be forced to allow pro-lifers on its Board of Directors? Should the Democratic National Convention be forced to hire Republicans?

An organization should be allowed to accept financial aid to accomplish efforts that are well defined. If the government is offering aid to organizations who are trying to help Haiti, then faith-based organizations should not be discriminated against because of their faith, as long as the aid is specifically for that purpose and its usage is heavily documented.

Churches should be tax exempt if there is to be a separation of church and state. Taxing a church would make that church subservient to the government. This extend to all entities that are to be kept separated and granted independent sovereignty. Should the American government tax Indian reservations? Should California be allowed to tax Nevada? Should New York be allowed to tax the United Nations and all the countries that comprise it? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” means that all religions are completely free from government control, including tax control.

No organisation should be forced to hire anyone based on any form of belief or point of view. What has happened with respect to World Vision, however, is they have been allowed to fire people simply for holding a certain belief or point of view.

So, the argument is not to force organisations to hire only like-minded individuals, or force them to hire individulas with diametrically opposing beliefs, but to prevent them firing people simply on the basis of belief. If these non-Christians were doing a good job, then they shouldn't have been fired. The article appears to indicate they were fired not because they were poor workers, but because they were non-Christian.

If World Vision wishes to be able to fire people simply on the basis of their faith, they should be prevented from operating as an Aid organisation, and made to operate as a religious organisation only (i.e. let World Vision become a church.) No organisation is above, or outside, the laws of the land. Churches should be accountable to the government of the country in which they operate.

Also, your reading of the establishment clause is incorrect. The US Government can tax religous organisations as they do any other organisation, business or corporation, as that does not prevent, or hinder, the practice of that faith. The Government would have to tax all religions at the same rate, however.

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Llucid

No organisation should be forced to hire anyone based on any form of belief or point of view...

From my understanding, the law that prohibits organizations from hiring and firing based on belief is the Civil Right Act. This is the grounds that was used in the case. However, there is an exemption from the Act for religious-based groups. According to Judge O’Scannlain, who authored the ruling, “If Congress had intended to restrict the exemption to ‘[c]hurches, and entities similar to churches’ it could have said so."* O'Scannlain continued, "Because Congress did not, some religious corporations, associations, and societies that are not churches must fall within the exemption.“* He then went on to identify the criteria needed to identify an exempt religious organization: "1) is organized for a self-identified religious purpose… 2) is engaged in activity consistent with, and in furtherance of, those religious purposes, and 3) holds itself out to the public as religious"*. He ruled that World Vision met all of these requirements. This means that a group does not need to be established as "a church" in order to be qualified as a religious group, and therefore the exemption extends to them as well.

In my opinion, a religious group should be able to retain their identity while being allowed to organize and distribute aid, just like everyone else. I know this means that even an atheistic organization could fire someone for being a theist, and I believe they should be able to exercise that right.

*(source)

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eight bits

World Vision can purge the heretics from its ranks, so far as I am concerned. Free exercise surely impliess that. If World Vision would like to distribute aid, funded by private donations, then they have every right to do so under American law. Free exercise surely implies that, too. The private donations would be tax exempt for the recipient and tax deductible for the donor, under the imperfect, but probably the best we can do, system that we have to avoid interfering with religious expression.

But Chloe called it. They don't get federal grants anymore. Not a dime. For 300 mill, we can find somebody else to run soup kitchens.

Problem solved. World Vision is free from government control, and the government is out of the heretic persecution business.

Win win.

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Leonardo

*Whoops!*

Wrong "World Vision!!!!" :blush:

I disagree, eb, that "free exercise" grants the capacity to ignore anti-discrimination laws, but I agree that World Vision International, being a religious, missionary, organisation should not be granted Government funding.

*Side-note: I have learned that World Vision International has a very different "mission statement" than it's UK affiliate, World Vision UK.

Edited by Leonardo

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eight bits
I disagree, eb, that "free exercise" grants the capacity to ignore anti-discrimination laws,

You're welcome to, of course, but the question is one of American law, and it's been litigated.

As I have posted many times over the years, American Establishment Clause law will always be intellectually unsatisfactory, since the dual mandate, no establishment and unrestricted free exercise, is impossible to carry out perfectly. So, it will be carried out imperfectly.

However, there could not be a clearer example of government interference with free religious expression than requiring a religious organization to provide economic emolument to a heretic.

Corporal works of mercy and missionary outreach have been integral parts of Christian religious expression for as long as we have records. There is simply no question that religious folk are entitled to form corporations for these purposes, with all the immunities of other organized religious expressions.

You can't burn heretics anymore, but you don't have to keep them on the payroll, either.

This case is well decided, both constitutionally, and regarding the intent of Congress in crafting the Civil Rights Acts, including its examptions, IMO.

As to the grant question, there will always be some hard cases at the margin. We will pay church-run schools to vaccinate their pupils on-premises, without otherwise becoming involved in the schools' operations.

But apart from such cases, reasonable and uniformly applied conditions on how the subsidized work is performed are permissible and desirable aspects of grantmaking. Pulling the grants solves the problem revealed by this case, and allows the Republic to survive another day.

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Grandpa Greenman

I don't give to Christian or Muslim based organizations. Not my religion I see no reason to support them. I also object to the Government giving to them.

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ChloeB

These are two separate issues- Religious organizations getting government grants to perform humanitarian work and the ability of the government to overrule a religious organization's decisions concerning their employees.

Government aid is funneled through this organization into the relief they provide. They are allowed to get this aid because the aid does not finance religious activity. This same activity is being performed by many organizations that are secular. To try and claim an activity is a religious activity simply because the people that are performing it hold to religious values or are affiliated with a religious organization would open up a can of worms.

For the government to enact standards on the religious organization's hire practices would be, just like the tax issue, a form of control. A religious organization is completely free from the control of the government, a principle that this country was founded on. Someone may feel that a religious organization should not have the authority to hire those of their own religion but I, and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, do not agree. The very identity of the religious organization is based on their members holding to that religion and to deny this would be to not allow religious organizations to exist.

I wouldn't claim it was a religious activity simply because the people who are performing it hold religious values, but if religious activity doesn't play a part in the government financed activities, why the need to fire these people who aren't Christian? You've said the explicit goal is to represent its faith and being forced to employ those outside that faith would cause the organization to run contrary to its purpose. Then you say we shouldn't try to claim the activity is religious because the people performing it are religious. Well, which is it? When they take federal grants, don't claim religious activity, but when they fire someone based on religion, we are to assume it's vital to the mission of the organization?

This is from the Americians United for Separation of Church and State:

February 4, 2010

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today joined 25 national religious and public policy organizations in a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to make major changes to the “faith-based” initiative.

The joint letter to the president lays out a specific set of proposals to protect civil rights and religious liberty in federally funded social services and urges Obama to adopt them. They include banning employment discrimination based on religion in tax-funded projects and issuing uniform guidelines to ensure that no person seeking help in a publicly funded program is subjected to unwanted proselytizing.

In a speech today at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama insisted that his administration has “turned the faith-based initiative around.” In fact, leaders of civil rights, civil liberties and religious groups say the president has failed to correct Bush-era policies.

“I was surprised and disappointed to hear President Obama suggest that the faith-based initiative has somehow been ‘turned around,’” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “In fact, in all significant ways, the Obama faith-based initiative right now is the same as the Bush faith-based initiative.

“The Bush rules and regulations are all still in place,” Lynn continued. “Administration officials have failed to safeguard the vital constitutional boundary between church and state, and they have not restored the damage to civil rights law.”

The joint letter notes that Obama, as a candidate, promised to reform the faith-based initiative – a concept first pioneered under the administration of George W. Bush. Yet since taking office, Obama has kept in place various rules and executive orders promulgated during the Bush administration.

Asserts the letter, “We urge you to act now to restore the constitutionally required safeguards and civil rights protections governing partnerships between government and religiously affiliated institutions – standard operating procedures that had been largely in place for decades prior to the creation of the Faith-Based Initiative.”

Among specific recommendations, the letter asks the president to:

• Revoke a June 2007 legal memo issued by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that asserts that a 1993 religious freedom law gives religious groups the right to take tax funds and still discriminate on religious grounds in hiring. This interpretation, the joint letter asserts, is “erroneous and threatens core civil rights and religious freedom protections.”

• Issue policies making it clear that social-services providers must give proper notice to beneficiaries of their religious liberty rights and access to alternative secular providers.

• Require that houses of worship and other religious institutions that infuse religion into every program create separate corporations for the purpose of providing secular government-funded social services.

Aside from Americans United, groups signing the letter are: African American Ministers in Action; American Association of University Women; American Civil Liberties Union; American Humanist Association; American Jewish Committee; Anti-Defamation League; Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty; B’nai B’rith International; Human Rights Campaign; The Interfaith Alliance; Jewish Council for Public Affairs; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; OMB Watch; People For the American Way; Secular Coalition for America; Texas Faith Network; Texas Freedom Network; The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Union for Reform Judaism; Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations; United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society; United Sikhs; and Women of Reform Judaism.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

http://www.au.org/media/press-releases/archives/2010/02/au-joins-broad-coalition-of.html

And another from them regarding World Vision:

Publicly Funded Agency Fired Staff For Religious Errors

One of the most glaring deficiencies in the “faith-based” initiative is that it fosters employment discrimination at taxpayer expense.

When religious groups are given tax aid to provide social services yet are still permitted to deny jobs to qualified people on the basis of what they believe about religion, we have a problem. The approach is a serious affront to civil rights laws.

This issue is often oversimplified. Christian groups will argue that it makes no sense for them to be forced to hire Jews, Muslims or non-believers. The claim may have superficial appeal to some Americans, but it falls apart when we look a little deeper.

Consider the case of World Vision. The evangelical relief agency fired three employees from its Washington state affiliate in 2006 for being the “wrong” religion.

But here’s an interesting wrinkle: The three fired employees all are professing Christians. All were happy to be working for a Christian group and believed they were advancing the cause of Jesus Christ.

The three were fired because World Vision said they were the wrong type of Christians. World Vision apparently subjected its employees to a theological purity test, which the three failed because they have an understanding of the Trinity that conflicts with World Vision’s view.

Yet World Vision received 29 percent of its budget in 2009 from the government!

Imagine if your boss suddenly started quizzing you about religion – is the Bible literally true? Was there really a Noah’s ark? Is Jesus the son of God? Is salvation brought about through faith alone or good works?

Now imagine that your continued employment hinges on getting the answers “right,” at least to your boss’ satisfaction. Outrageous, right?

Yes, it would be. Unless you work for a privately funded house of worship or ministry, such questions should be off limits. And such bias should certainly never be allowed at a government agency or a contractor who receives public funds.

So why is it permitted in taxpayer-funded faith-based operations – which are in effect state contractors?

The answer is that few of our political leaders are motivated to put a stop to it. Instead of listening to the American people, who understand instinctively that tax-funded religious hiring bias is wrong – too many leaders have been swayed by sectarian lobbyists who want all the perks of government funding with none of the appropriate restrictions.

That approach is both unrealistic and unfair. There should be no tolerance of religious discrimination in any tax-funded program.

Some faith-based groups say hiring along religious lines is essential to their mission. For them, there is an easy answer: Don’t take government money.

http://www.au.org/media/church-and-state/archives/2010/07/world-vision-blinders.html

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Sthenno

The problem with this is that it creates an environment where an authority is deciding who is and isn't 'Christian enough' for the organisation. Surely donors giving to this organisation want its employees chosen by merit, rather than specific adherence to dogma? As long as employees aren't anti-Christian I don't see the problem.

The other alarming thing about this is that the regional pages for World Vision don't advertise the fact they are a Christian organisation. If you googled 'sponsor a child', for example, it's quite possible that you could get through the whole process without noticing.

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Leonardo

You're welcome to, of course, but the question is one of American law, and it's been litigated.

As I have posted many times over the years, American Establishment Clause law will always be intellectually unsatisfactory, since the dual mandate, no establishment and unrestricted free exercise, is impossible to carry out perfectly. So, it will be carried out imperfectly.

However, there could not be a clearer example of government interference with free religious expression than requiring a religious organization to provide economic emolument to a heretic.

Corporal works of mercy and missionary outreach have been integral parts of Christian religious expression for as long as we have records. There is simply no question that religious folk are entitled to form corporations for these purposes, with all the immunities of other organized religious expressions.

You can't burn heretics anymore, but you don't have to keep them on the payroll, either.

This case is well decided, both constitutionally, and regarding the intent of Congress in crafting the Civil Rights Acts, including its examptions, IMO.

As to the grant question, there will always be some hard cases at the margin. We will pay church-run schools to vaccinate their pupils on-premises, without otherwise becoming involved in the schools' operations.

But apart from such cases, reasonable and uniformly applied conditions on how the subsidized work is performed are permissible and desirable aspects of grantmaking. Pulling the grants solves the problem revealed by this case, and allows the Republic to survive another day.

I will ask two simple questions, eb.

Does the US Government exist?

Does God exist?

Now, on the basis of your answers to those questions, on whose 'laws' should employment in the US be based?

I agree there has been an 'exception' made in the case of religious belief as a basis for hiring and firing when the organisation working within the US denotes itself a 'religious organisation. My argument is that competency to do the job should be the basis for this [hiring and firing], not what a person's private religious beliefs are (or aren't). A priest, for example, is only competent to be a priest if they adhere to a specific religious tenet. An aid worker, however, is competent to be an aid worker based on their humanitarianism (among other secular attributes), not their 'Christian values'.

If World Vision wants all it's employees to be missionaries, or these particular employees were working specifically as missionaries, then they have a case for using religious beliefs as one criteria for competency. Two of these employees had been working for the organisation for 10 years, however. I find it unreasonable to think they had been employed as 'missionaries' for 10 years if they were not Christian.

So, what was their job within the organisation and did that job require adherence to a religious tenet in order to be competent at it?

If adherence to religious tenet was not required to be competent at the job they were employed to do, would you still agree with the decision to fire them on the basis of their non-Christianity?

The problem with this is that it creates an environment where an authority is deciding who is and isn't 'Christian enough' for the organisation. Surely donors giving to this organisation want its employees chosen by merit, rather than specific adherence to dogma? As long as employees aren't anti-Christian I don't see the problem.

The other alarming thing about this is that the regional pages for World Vision don't advertise the fact they are a Christian organisation. If you googled 'sponsor a child', for example, it's quite possible that you could get through the whole process without noticing.

I agree, the organisation's web presence is very confusing. Here, for example, is the mission statement from World Vision International...

Our Mission

World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

source

...but here is the "who we are" mission statement of World Vision UK...

About Us

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.

Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.

World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

Financial support is received from; the UK Government, the European Union, charitable trusts, corporate supporters and also more than 100,000 individuals, who sponsor children in poor communities overseas. Lives are also transformed through the Alternative Gift Catalogue and events such as the 24 Hour famine.

World Vision works to change the root causes of poverty through campaigning, church partnerships, education and influencing policy makers.

In whatever we do, we place a special emphasis on ensuring the needs and rights of children are met, because they are often the hardest hit by conflict, disaster and chronic poverty.

Is evangelism a part of World Vision's projects?

World Vision does not proselytise. The organisation does not coerce nor demand that people hear any religious message or convert to Christianity before, during or after receiving assistance.

Educational activities based on Christian values are included in World Vision projects if appropriate and desired by the community. However, World Vision respects the religious beliefs and practices in countries where it operates, and seeks mutual understanding with people of all faiths.

Whenever appropriate, World Vision works in partnership with local churches and other faith-based organisations in an effort to work inclusively and collaboratively within existing community structures. Our focus is to respond to human need, and our compassion and professionalism reflect our faith.

source

So, the UK regional site states the mission of World Vision is not to proselytise, yet the global World Vision portal clearly states their mission is "to bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God".

If the global mission statement is the authoritative one, then they should reflect this in their regional sites else they may be accused of misleading the public.

Edited by Leonardo

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ChloeB

The problem with this is that it creates an environment where an authority is deciding who is and isn't 'Christian enough' for the organisation. Surely donors giving to this organisation want its employees chosen by merit, rather than specific adherence to dogma? As long as employees aren't anti-Christian I don't see the problem.

The other alarming thing about this is that the regional pages for World Vision don't advertise the fact they are a Christian organisation. If you googled 'sponsor a child', for example, it's quite possible that you could get through the whole process without noticing.

True, I don't think the people fired ever claimed to not be Christian, everywhere I've read the issue of the trinity came up. Here's a little more about it from a Christian site I was reading:

When Sylvia Spencer applied at World Vision's U.S. headquarters near Seattle in 1995, she described herself as a committed Christian.

Asked on an employment form why she wanted to work for the international humanitarian aid organization, Spencer wrote, "Because I would love to work for an organization dedicated to carrying on the Lord's work!"

Another World Vision employee, Vicki Hulse, mentioned her 15 years as a Christian in a résumé attachment when she applied a few years later.

"I recently moved to this area and would very much like to find a place of employment with a Christian organization where I could be of value," Hulse wrote.

Both women signed statements affirming their Christian faith and devoted a decade to World Vision, which serves impoverished children and families in more than 100 countries.

But in November 2006, they and colleague Ted Youngberg were fired. Their offense, as determined by a corporate investigation: The three did not believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and a member of the Trinity.

"They are deeply religious Christians," said Judith Lonnquist, a Seattle attorney who filed a federal discrimination lawsuit on their behalf. "They just don't have the same beliefs that World Vision espouses."

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/june/15.17.html

And you're right, these beliefs that "World Vision espouses" don't seem very clear when they are seeking donations.

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eight bits
will ask two simple questions, eb. Does the US Government exist? Does God exist?

Yes, and I don't know, in that order.

Now, on the basis of your answers to those questions, on whose 'laws' should employment in the US be based?

Neither. It should be based upon the statutory law of the United States, and be consistent with our Constitution.

If adherence to religious tenet was not required to be competent at the job they were employed to do, would you still agree with the decision to fire them on the basis of their non-Christianity?

Part of the dispute in this case was whether orthodoxy was a bona fide job requirement. Surprise, surprise, one side says yes, and the other side says no.

That's pretty much how lawsuits go. Who am I to say that religious orthodoxy isn't required to be competent at a job which the religious-organization employer defines as "advancing our religion in the world by performing some task?"

I live in a country where people have a right to form a religious organization to advance their religion. So, they are not required to define their organization's jobs as "performing some task," say no more.

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The Silver Thong

So do they give aid based on faith as well. Here's a bowl of soup but first you must convert type thing.

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Sthenno

I think there is something a bit dodgy going on here...

There doesn't seem to be anything on their website about furthering Christianity. In fact, the descriptions of their activities contain nothing that one would need to be a Christian to be qualified for.

Surely religious exceptions to equal opportunities laws should only apply to organisations whose main purpose is to further that religion. It seems World Vision want to have their cake and eat it too; enjoying the benefits and sanctioned elitism of religious status with the public-friendly image of a secular group.

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puma

If a religion, or religious organisation, wants to be outside the law, then make it illegal for it to do anything to which secular laws (such as anti-discrimination employment laws) apply.

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Bluefinger

Curious what everyone thought about this, surely they don't worry about the faith of the people giving the donations and they receive grants from the government, should they be able to use faith to discriminate against employees?

Since the primary focus of World Vision is to demonstrate the compassion of Christ, to solicit other religions would be contadictory to is vision. If someone wants to work for a secular non-profit org, then that is just as available.

Edited by Bluefinger

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