URGENT UPDATE: Less than 48 hours after World Vision U.S. stunned the Evangelical Christian community with its decision to allow the hiring of gay Christians in same-sex marriages, the Christian charity reversed its decision. In announcing this reversal, Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S. acknowledged the mistake:
Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our employment conduct policy. The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.” (full text of World Vision’s letter here)
As strongly as I took World Vision to task for their unbiblical decision to condone same-sex marriage, I believe that Christians should accept World Vision’s apology and extend grace to them. Of course, we should likewise continue to extend love, grace, and truth to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation and treat everyone with dignity and respect as those made in the image of God.
Using language that would surely make George Orwell proud, Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S., one of America’s largest “Christian” charities, announced that the organization would now hire Christians who were in same-sex marriages:
Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues,” he said. “It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage.”
This one statement brings up multiple questions, not the least of which is “Can someone in a same-sex marriage can be a true, born again follower of Jesus Christ?” Most conservative Evangelicals, which apparently does not include Stearns or the majority of the Board of Directors of World Vision U.S., would answer that question with a clear , “No!” Furthermore, to characterize homosexual employees as exhibiting “fidelity within marriage” places same-sex marriage on the same moral plane as Biblical marriage.
To not answer the question, as World Vision U.S. is trying to do, is really answering the question. There can be no fence-sitting on this issue. Sooner or later, denominations, churches and parachurch organizations, will have to decide what they believe the Bible teaches about same-sex marriage. To try to split the baby in half, as World Vision U.S. is (badly) attempting, will not work. Stearns’ protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, World Vision U.S. has come down in favor of same-sex marriage:
“It’s easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there,” he said. “This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support.” “We’re not caving to some kind of pressure. We’re not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us,” said Stearns. “This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We’re an operational arm of the global church, we’re not a theological arm of the church. “This is simply a decision about whether or not you are eligible for employment at World Vision U.S. based on this single issue, and nothing more.”
Are Richard Stearns and the Board of Directors for World Vision U.S. really that obtuse? I would expect this kind of Orwellian language to be employed by Washington, D.C.’s finest politicians, not from the leader of one of America’s largest and most well-respected charitable organizations. What World Vision U.S. has done is the exact opposite of the statement above. By their actions, they have most certainly endorsed same-sex marriage. By their actions, they have taken sides. By changing their hiring policies to accommodate homosexual couples in same-sex marriages, they have rejected traditional marriage. By treating homosexual employees in a gay marriage the same way as heterosexual employees in a traditional marriage, they have loudly proclaimed that World Vision U.S. has endorsed same-sex marriage. By charting this moral course, World Vision U.S. has assuredly compromised on one of the most pressing moral issues of our time. No amount of political spin or Orwellian language can change those cold, hard facts.
This was not a simple decision. To argue otherwise is disingenuous, to say the least. World Vision U.S. cannot claim that they are merely “an operational arm of the global church.” Whether they realize it or not (and I believe the leaders of World Vision U.S. know exactly what they are doing), this “Christian” charity has become theological bedfellows with the liberal arm of Christianity in America. Somehow I have a feeling that World Vision U.S., were they operating in Nazi Germany during the 1930s and early 1940s, would have chosen not to get into the debate about what was happening to the Jewish people, but rather deferred to the churches and denominations in the Third Reich on controversial theological issues. No matter how World Vision U.S. tries to defend its political decision, they will never be able to give even the appearance of solidity to pure wind.
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ” George Orwell