USA (MNN) — Just two days after a bomb-shell announcement about a change in policy allowing same-sex partners to be hired at World Vision, the organization’s board reverses its decision.
In a letter sent to supporters late yesterday afternoon, President of World Vision Richard Stearns wrote that the “World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed” its controversial policy change allowing the hiring of same-sex married couples.
He writes, “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.”
According to Stearns, they were confronted by “trusted partners and Christian leaders who have come to us in the spirit of Matthew 18 to express your concern in love and conviction. You share our desire to come together in the Body of Christ around our mission to serve the poorest of the poor. We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
Stearns acknowledges that the organization “failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, ‘We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.‘”
Stearns fielded questions from nearly 20 individuals during a teleconference call yesterday following the board’s decision. “It wasn’t about money,” he said.
He told the group that World Vision was guilty of not seeking enough counsel on its initial decision which he says received overwhelming board support. However, this recent decision which resulted from the huge ground-swell of protest was also overwhelmingly supported.
This is an issue that will continue to be discussed among board members in the weeks and months ahead, says Stearns.
Were board members surprised by the negative reaction from World Vision supporters and friends? “We shouldn’t have been surprised, but we were surprised, yes,” Stearns responded.
Many child sponsors called to cancel their sponsorships, Stearns says, “which really hurts the kids. That’s the hard part of all of this.”
He says the board is “brokenhearted over the pain and confusion” caused to supporters, who saw this decision as a reversal of their commitment to Biblical authority, which he claims was never their intent.
Stearns goes on to say that the organization stands firm on the biblical view of marriage and that World Vision strongly affirms “that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.”
Stearns says World Vision is committed to listening to the wise counsel of Christian brothers and sisters in the days and weeks ahead. It’s yet to be seen how many disenfranchised supporters will respond.