Saturday, December 11, 2004

Cleaning House Department, a.k.a. Department of Reap What You Sow

A friend of mine working in the nether regions of Central Asia drew my attention not very recently to "this thing that I think is particularly stupid and about which I am personally and politically outraged."

"This thing" is "a job description for the director of a $15 million USAID grant to promote democracy in Pakistan. Not too unusual, though $15 million is a fairly big grant [and it] goes to an evangelical -- fairly agressively evangelical -- Christian organization called World Vision."

Said friend continued: "Here's what you have to do/be to get the job:

All applicants for staff positions with World Vision United States will be screened for Christian commitment. The screening process will include:
• Discussion with the applicant of his/her spiritual journey and relationship with Jesus Christ;
• Understanding of Christian principles;
• Understanding and acceptance of World Vision's Statement of Faith and/or The Apostles' Creed.

Still the friend:

I know, we're all faith-based and stuff now. But isn't this going a little too far? I have two questions:

1. Is it really a good idea to give $15 million to an evangelical Christian organization to promote democracy in a Muslim country?

2. How is it legal for an organization to take $15 million of taxpayer money and then say, Jews, Muslims, Lutherans, atheists, Episcopalians, or even just people who don't think it's appropriate for an employer to grill employees about their religious beliefs need not bother to apply? What happened to that "does not discriminate on the base of race, ethnicity, religion" disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of most job applications? How do these guys get a waiver on that?"

Yeah, I wonder: How *does* that work, anyway?