World Vision has backed out of its openness to hiring Christians in same-sex marriages, made only days ago.
Monday's story from The Lead included this and an excerpt from their letter:
The letter stresses that this decision is based on a desire for Christian unity, "not a compromise", and it's worth noting that over 50 denominations contribute staff to World Vision, including both The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
"Each of us has his or her own views on a wide range of potentially divisive issues, and the board and I are not asking anyone to change their personal views. We are asking, rather, that you not let your differences on this issue or others distract us from our work. We are asking you to unite around our sacred and urgent mission in the world and to treat those who don’t share your exact views with respect. If we cannot love one another, how will we show Christ’s love to the world?"
Today the policy changed back. Christianity Today:
Only two days after announcing it would hire Christians in same-sex marriages, World Vision U.S. has reversed its ground-breaking decision after weathering intense criticism from conservative evangelical leaders.
"The last couple of days have been painful," president Richard Stearns told reporters this evening. "We feel pain and a broken heart for the confusion we caused for many friends who saw this policy change as a strong reversal of World Vision's commitment to biblical authority, which it was not intended to be."
The ABC News story noted that "A few other conservative religious charities have tried to change hiring policies to recognize gay relationships, prompting controversy and a drop in donations, but World Vision was the largest and most prominent by far to take the step."
Many Christians tried to support this position, urging people to donate the past few days, including Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz-Weber.
Held Evans wrote on her blog after the rumor of reversal was confirmed:
I don't know what to say. I really don't.
For those of you who donated, thank you. That money will be put to good use, I assure you. But I am deeply, profoundly sorry that I inadvertently rallied these fundraising efforts in response to a decision that would ultimately be reversed. Though I certainly hope everyone who sponsored a child or made a donation will continue to support World Vision, I can see how this effort would make you feel betrayed, as though it were launched under false pretense. And I'm so, so sorry for that. I'm as surprised by all this as you are.
This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken, and lost. I don't think I've ever been more angry at the Church, particularly the evangelical culture in which I was raised and with which I for so long identified. I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under pressure. Honestly, it feels like a betrayal from every side.
Nadia Bolz-Weber, on her public Facebook page, wrote first on Tuesday as people were threatening to withdraw their support from World Vision:
Yesterday, the Christian charity World Vision announced it would be changing it's hiring practices to include Christians who are in same-sex marraiges. WV is a respected organization supported by a wide range of Christians who hold varying beliefs on any number of subjects, including human sexuality. They are not changing their focus from poverty to GLBTQ issues, they are simply no longer discriminating in their hiring policies.
Rather than rail against those who will now be withdrawing support from World Vision, maybe we who applaud this policy change should give big fat donations today to show that we think Christian organizations with open employment policies can actually thrive.
Want to join me?
On Wednesday, she expressed disappointment, but promised to not play the same game:
World Vision is reportedly taking it all back. I'm very disappointed, but still happy to support their work. The critique of pulling support for charity due to an employee hiring practice I disagree with has to cut both ways or it's bullshit.