An official statement by World Vision president Richard Stearns and board chairman Jim Bere claims that the board "made a mistake" and "failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners".
"Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our national employment conduct policy. The board acknowledges 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 ... We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness."The statement contained a halfhearted affirmation of LGBTQ people's humanity, insisting that "we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect."
Just not hired for jobs at Christian charities. Or allowed to marry. Or granted the privileges that heterosexuals take for granted. Please.
The news disappointed me, since World Vision could have set a good example for LGBTQ-affirming policies in faith-based organizations. What happened? Did World Vision's board cave in to pressure from Religious Right voices? Did they fear that offending anti-gay Christians would cost them donations and collaborative partners? Did anti-gay leaders win out over pro-LGBTQ figures in some internal struggle over the policy? Whatever their reason, the decision to reverse the policy was an act of moral cowardice. Discrimination has no place in the workplace.
World Vision's work does immense good around the world, and I do not question their devotion to the hungry, the sick, and the war-weary. However, the organization's vision of justice should include LGBTQ people, who have been marginalized yet again by this reversal. When will World Vision's rhetoric of Christian unity match its practice?