The US based evangelical Christian charity, World Vision America, changed its employment policies on March 24th to allow Christian married same-sex couples to be employees. After only days of backlash from conservative evangelicals, the organisation reversed its decision.
Richard Stearns, the president of the charity organisation, told Christianity Today the point of the policy change was to bring itself outside of the conversation between denominations and churches. Other issues the organisation does not involve itself in are issues over women in the clergy, divorce/annulment/remarriage, and the place of baptism. Stearns insists that World Vision is "not a theological arm of the church." The plan was to bring unity to Christianity, not play about divisive issues:
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.
However, after 48 hours, Stearns and the World Vision board reversed themselves, claiming that the policy had led to more divisiveness rather than less:
Rather than creating more unity [among Christians], we created more division, and that was not the intent. Our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake … and we believe that [World Vision supporters] helped us to see that with more clarity … and we're asking you to forgive us for that mistake.
Unfortunately, this leaves World Vision in the exact situation it started from: employing straight members of denominations where same-sex marriages are performed, blessed and accepted while not employing gay people in recognised unions. The United Church of Christ, The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) are examples of churches which perform, bless and accept same sex-marriage.
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