“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
We don’t hear that idiom too frequently any more, probably because it’s creepy and kind of twisted. However, the warning behind that phrase still very much applies to us today. In case you’re not familiar with it, the saying basically means that we should be careful not to get rid of good things while attempting to remove the bad. It’s common sense, but it seems like we hear of this happening all of the time in our society, especially among Christians in the United States.
For instance, a few days ago a certain Christian organization responsible for combatting poverty in developing countries came under fire for updating its hiring policy so as to no longer discriminate against “persons in same-sex partnerships.” In short, the company didn’t come out as openly endorsing gay marriage, but rather publicly declared that it would be open to hiring homosexual employees. Unsurprisingly, many conservative Christian groups and individuals reacted with zealous fervor, taking to social media to declare their outrage and unwillingness to continue supporting the organization in question.
Now, I have no problem with people expressing their religious views- we’re all entitled to do so, but I do have a problem when the expression of one’s religious views negatively impacts others who have no say in the matter. Specifically, in this case, the children in the developing countries supported by the organization. Many of the outraged folks decided that the best way to make their displeasure known was to stop sponsoring the children that they had agreed to sponsor through that organization. I certainly understand the idea of “speaking with your wallet” (making your opinion/views known through how and where you spend your money), but what does a company’s hiring policy have to do with a commitment you’ve made to help a child living in poverty? If you had to look that child in the eye when canceling your sponsorship, what would you have said? When that child stopped receiving your support, would he or she have understood your “moral justification” for breaking your promise?
I haven’t read the press on it myself, but supposedly the organization under fire announced today that it was going to back down and return to its former hiring policy. Surely the formerly outraged Christians are celebrating their “moral victory,” but I can’t help but feel that we all lost in this exchange. While I could be wrong, I’m guessing that the organization made this decision as a response to the realization that suddenly it wouldn’t be able to financially support all of the children it had committed to support. Essentially, they were bullied into adopting a moral position by being forced into an ethical dilemma. The end result is that we as Christians told the rest of the world that we don’t mind short-changing children to make a statement of our beliefs.
The intent of this post/rant isn’t to influence anyone one way or another regarding the sensitive subjects of homosexuality and gay marriage. What you believe about that is your business, not mine. However, I do hope we’ll all stop and think about why we do what we do. My wife and I support a child through the organization that I’ve been referring to and we plan to continue doing so as long as God blesses us with the means. Why? Because we feel that it is a valid expression of our faith in Jesus Christ to help an impoverished child get what he needs to survive and hopefully have a better life. It has nothing to do with politics or our views on one “moral issue” or another. We don’t have to agree or disagree with the practices of the organization through which we sponsor that child to feel that our child- his name is Rafael- is worth our investment. After all, we’re talking about a life- a child created in God’s image who is beloved and precious in God’s sight. Rafael has nothing to do with the business practices of that organization, so why should he be punished for decisions that are beyond his control?
What sort of testament are we offering to our faith if we use the life and well-being of a child as an arbitrary bargaining chip to get what we want?
God forgive me if I’m wrong, but I seriously doubt that when I one day stand before my Maker that God will be terribly interested in the number of times I professed my opinion (through word or deed) on a hot button topic via social media or other means. However, I do believe that God will hold me accountable for how I chose (or didn’t choose) to help those in greatest need.
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ -Matthew 25:44-45 (New Living Translation)