The Nose: World Vision can’t see how it betrayed the 12th Man

TheNose@thenewstribune.comMarch 28, 2014 

Things have gotten blurry lately for World Vision. The faith-based humanitarian organization seems to have a case of astigmatism.

Sure, they still do God’s work helping the poor overseas. And they’re still the pride of Federal Way – second only to Wild Waves. But good luck taking that to the bank and cashing it.

A front-page TNT story last week documented budget woes that caused World Vision to make layoffs and CEO Richard Stearns to ask donors to dig deeper.

Then came this week’s policy reversal on whether the nonprofit would hire married, same-sex Christians. On Monday, it was yes; by Wednesday, it was no.

Memo to World Vision: Taking a moral stand is fine, but it works better if you don’t wear flip-flops.

These folks change policies the way Fife changes mayors.

And Stearns, the former CEO of Parker Brothers, suddenly finds himself playing a giant game of Sorry!

One wonders if his organization started taking advice from the Susan B. Komen foundation.

We’d like to believe the about-face resulted solely from prayerful consideration and not financial considerations. We’d really like to.

But what the Nose really wants to know is why nobody’s talking about the biggest World Vision story of all.

It’s a made-for-TV scandal with strong elements of betrayal. And it centers on what’s become the leading religious creed in the Northwest.

The Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl title.

A sin against the 12th Man: It happens every year, as surely as winter turns to spring and NFL players start brushing up on their golf games.

Sporting goods companies are stuck unloading thousands of items of Super Bowl Champion apparel they made in advance for the team that ended up losing.

For the past 17 years, World Vision has gladly taken this mislabeled merchandise as donations, and sent it overseas to Third-World countries that need clothing.

It’s a great plan, most years. Nothing wrong with the good people of Bosnia, Nicaragua and Rwanda wearing T-shirts falsely proclaiming the Bears as world champs in 2007, or the Patriots in 2008 and 2012.

But the Steelers in 2011? Sacrilege! Seahawk Nation won’t even accept that the Steelers really did win the Super Bowl in 2006.

And the 49ers in 2013? Blasphemy!

Now comes the worst sin ever committed against the church of the 12th Man: Pallet loads of Denver Broncos Super Bowl Champion merchandise are being distributed around the globe.

Have World Vision leaders forgotten where they’re based, or their duty to preach the good news to the ends of the earth?

Seahawks 43, Broncos 8.

Here endeth the lesson.

“I was naked and you clothed me:” OK, Jesus did say that.

But have you seen all the deeply discounted Seahawks gear on the racks the last few weeks? World Vision could clothe half of Africa with all that overstock.

Mark your calendars: The City Club of Tacoma has announced its next dinner program, on April 2, with a catchy title: “Dr, Lawyer, Rev & Death.”

We’re not making this up, though it does sound like the set-up to a joke.

A doctor, a lawyer, a reverend and the grim reaper walk into a bar ...

Not sure how they got Death: He’s a tough booking.

Maybe the City Clubbers worked through the Agent of Death.

It’s a dinner program: So beware the salmon mousse!

Burning mad: We’re outraged that the governor signed a bill Thursday that bans tanning salons from offering their wholesome, Vitamin D-stimulating services to minors.

How can he sleep at night knowing Washington children will be forced into the clutches of back-alley tanning booth operators? Or that our youth may engage in unsupervised tanning at home, using high-powered lava lamps or waffle irons or by lying on the lawn on a beach towel?

We’re red-faced with anger. Either that, or we fell asleep in the tanning bed again.

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