No Ransom Will Be Paid.
If an organisation puts people ahead of “money, structure, systems and other institutional machinery” (as World Vision's core values state), would we pay a ransom if one of us got kidnapped?
This is the awful judgement facing the Christian & Missionary Alliance in the Philippines.
As I write this, no news had come through about the release of missionary, Lynette Cook, her daughter, Cheree and two American colleagues.
The CM&A had said they would not pay a ransom. In similar circumstances, neither would World Vision. Why?
Because we are concerned for justice.
It's not that we don't care for our people. We do.
But every person who travels for World Vision to risky and dangerous places knows that our policy is never to accede to the demands of criminals. That goes for demands for bribes, just as it does for demands for ransom.
So far, World Vision has not faced the moral dilemma posed by Lynette Cook's kidnapping. But a few of our colleagues have given their lives for the sake of God's justice without a ransom even being offered.
Racism At Home.
Some of you may have heard Gary Foley on 3LO during the week.
Under discussion was the action of some policemen who dressed up as Aboriginal Australians who had died in custody. They thought it was funny.
Gary was reacting to comments made by a policeman the day before. The policeman had seemed to excuse the behaviour of colleagues on the grounds that they had become racist because of their jobs. It sounded like a plea of diminished responsibility - like a drunk pleading for special consideration because he's had a few too many.
It didn't wash with me. And it didn't impress Gary either.
Gary talked about the unconscious racism that exists in our society.
Lots of people use Abo to refer to Kooris. They don't intend to cause offence. But they do.
Gary had other examples, and he backed them up by contrasting the way the media reports wars in Africa compared with wars in Europe. Croatians and Serbians are simply warring factions. Tigrayans and Eritreans are suffering from tribalism. “What's the difference?” asked Foley. Good question.
Another example of this unconscious prejudice occurred to me.
Lots of people say “Jesus” as a swear word. They do not realise how offensive this is to Christians. Many are quite surprised or even offended if a Christian checks them.
Likewise, lots of people describe mature women in our office as girls. Not all the women are flattered.
Guilt is not an appropriate or necessary response. If our speech or actions are racist, sexist or blasphemous because of the way society has created unhealthy habits in us, we should not waste time feeling guilty.
We should just stop it.