It’s Not Your Mother’s YWCA

You probably remember the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) from when you were a kid. Maybe you took swimming lessons there, or attended a summer camp program — maybe you even got job training or day care at one of their facilities.



The YWCA has a long and distinguished history of providing help through its programs to young women in need — and to the community at large — in a Christian context.

But things have changed at the YWCA… in fact, you probably wouldn’t recognize it today. They still provide outreach and programming for young women, but that third element of their identity — “Christian” — seems to have been forgotten altogether.

The YWCA has been running away from its Christian heritage for years. But in the last few days, things have taken an even more ominous turn.

I’m referring, of course, to the newly-hired CEO for the YWCA.

Patricia Ireland.

Yes, that Patricia Ireland. The openly bisexual, militantly pro-abortion Patricia Ireland. The former National Organization of Women president of 10 years has assumed command of the YWCA, and while she seems eager to begin her job and take the organization in a new direction, it’s pretty obvious that the new direction will have nothing to do with its Christian past.

As I mentioned earlier, the YWCA’s slow drift from Christianity has been going on for some time now — close to 20 years. And now, the faith of their founders has become an embarrassment. The YWCA homepage conveniently avoids any mention of its Christian legacy, focusing instead on their outreach to women and minorities. Their causes are heavily political these days, as they weigh in on everything from Title IX debates to the war in Iraq.

But again, not a word about Christianity.

Perhaps the biggest sign that changes are ahead is the fact that the YWCA is moving its national headquarters to Washington, DC. It’s an obvious choice for those who want to be more politically active, as Ireland herself acknowledged:

“The relocation of our national headquarters to Washington, D.C. allows us to have a stronger and more effective voice for change. New initiatives on the grassroots level and in the nation’s capital will target policies that adversely impact women and girls, and people of color — especially those on the economic margins of our society.”

Sounds like the YWCA of our youth has been hijacked by a more politically correct ideology than Christianity. But really, do we need another NOW in miniature? What made the YWCA (and organizations like it) stand out was its commitment to Christianity when others were all too happy to shed that identity.

Oh, how things have changed.

Deal Hudson is editor and publisher of CRISIS Magazine. You can reach him via email at hudson@crisismagazine.com.

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