Here’s a novel idea: one of America’s largest Christian charities, World Vision U.S., will allow gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to continue their employment with the organization.
World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns explained:
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. It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage.
Stearns said the decision was “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity” and expressed hope of avoiding the division over the issue “tearing churches apart.”
The evangelical aid organization employs more than 1,000 people in the U.S. and is one of the ten largest charities in the nation in terms of revenue. Might any Arkansas employers be inspired to follow suit? Well, we can pray.
The Washington Post labeled the move “a groundbreaking change for an evangelical institution and a reflection of the impact that gay marriage is having on religious organizations,” noting that World Vision is the second-largest organization listed with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, behind Salvation Army. The Post also rounded up reactions from various prominent evangelicals unhappy with the move:
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, took aim at the new policy, writing, “At stake is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“If sexual activity outside of a biblical definition of marriage is morally neutral, then, yes, we should avoid making an issue of it,” he wrote. “If, though, what the Bible clearly teaches and what the church has held for 2000 years is true, then refusing to call for repentance is unspeakably cruel and, in fact, devilish.”
Donor bases come and go, he wrote. “World Vision is a good thing to have, unless the world is all you can see.”
Retired megachurch pastor John Piper called the decision tragic. “I pray they will repent and turn back to their more faithful roots,” he wrote.
Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham, president of the relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, said the new policy is “ungodly” while interviewed on Family Research Council’s radio program. He suggested that the organization could eventually approved of polygamous relationships.
“It’s obvious World Vision doesn’t believe in the Bible,” Graham said, who also released a statement. “I am sickened over it.”